Created in collaboration with a group of former coalminers, the video Earth Sounds features industrial noises sung by the old miners and resonating across the desolate site of a disused colliery in Southeast England (shut by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1987). The artist Mikhail Karikis invited the old miners to vocalise the sounds of industrial activity they used to hear when they worked inside the mines, and in collaboration with the artist Uriel Orlow they filmed the men singing in formations reminiscent of picket lines. At once political and poetic, Earth Sounds functions as a terrestrial audio-visual portrait, a re-collective lament and a salvaging of memory; it raises the spectre of human subterranean activity and gives a brief glimpse into a community, their connection to the earth, and the solidarity of sharing a common purpose in work and in song.
Mikhail Karikis is a London-based artist, born in Greece and working internationally. He studied architecture at The Bartlett (UCL) and fine art at The Slade (UCL). His recent body of work engages with different communities connected to specific sites of production or former manufacturing, and explores the role sound plays in creating a sense of collectivity while resonating each community’s socio-political, cultural and psychological circumstances. His projects often assert people’s connections with places and their search for dignity and purpose, while highlighting different modes of human existence.
Mikhail Karikis has exhibited at 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014); Mediacity/Seoul Museum of Art Biennale (2014); Assembly, Tate Britain (2014); Aichi Triennale, Japan (2013); Art Sheffield, UK (2013); Aquatopia, TATE St Ives & Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2013-2014); Videonale, Germany (2012); Manifesta 9, Belgium (2012); 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Recent solo exhibitions include Children of Unquiet, Villa Romana, Florence, Italy (2014); SeaWomen, Arnolfini, UK (2013). Forthcoming exhibitions include Inside at Palais de Tokyo (2014-2015) and Listening, Hayward Touring Exhibition, UK (2014-2015).