Phoenix City 2021, Duncan Whitley’s new commission for the Biennial, examines Coventry’s relationship with the phoenix.
Stemming from Donald Gibson and Basil Spence’s use of the mythical bird as a symbol to represent their respective town-planning and cathedral proposals (realised in the 1950s), it also examines the hypothesis that UK City of Culture is conceived as the city’s next ‘phoenix moment’. The film is Whitley’s second collaboration with renowned electronic musician Abul Mogard, and also his second time of working with Coventry’s Jaguar Land Rover Band, who also feature in Things Fall Apart.
Filmed from 2013-14, Things Fall Apart follows Coventry City Football Club supporters as their club is uprooted 35 miles from Coventry to Northampton during a dispute with a stadium and casino complex. With an international hedge fund appearing to hold all the cards, the film shows the impact on the city and fans, depicting a disenfranchised community and their local battle for identity and belonging.
Duncan Whitley is an artist and filmmaker who grew up locally and has recently returned to live in Coventry. He was Coventry Biennial artist in residence at Coventry University’s School of Media & Performing Arts from 2018 to 2020. For this special screening event Whitley will perform a live spatial sound mix of the Phoenix City 2021 and Things Fall Apart soundtracks.
The two films will be followed by a conversation between Duncan Whitley and Sarah Shalgosky, curator at the Mead Gallery.
Coventry Biennial 2021: HYPER-POSSIBLE will take place across Coventry and Warwickshire from October 2021 – January 2022.