Celebration (Cyprus Street) is inspired by the tradition of street parties in London’s East End and was developed over a period of six months with the involvement of residents of Cyprus Street in Bethnal Green. Reminiscent of newsreel footage and Edwardian event photography, Celebration (Cyprus Street) is filmed as a single tracking shot, culminating in a group portrait that captures the current rich diversity of East End residents following four centuries of immigration.
In Walk (Square) children are shown leaving their schools and heading purposefully toward a civic square in the heart of the city, where they become part of a vast choreographed crowd. Filmed as a live performance in front of the Deichtorhallen Museum in Hamburg, it eloquently captures the power of human action when directed toward a common goal.
Walk (Square) is the result of an event constructed by Manchot, but inspired by real situations that involve walking as a form of expression: processions, parades, pilgrimages or protest marches, such as in the recent wave of mass demonstrations across North Africa, the Middle East, mainland Europe and the UK.
Both works seek to examine our collective identities, how we behave in public space, and reflect Melanie Manchot’s continued interest in portraiture as a performative event.