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Mikhail Karikis, For Many Voices

12 October 2019 to 23 February 2020

Image credit: Mikhail Karikis, No Ordinary Protest, 2018. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Supported by Arts Council England.


The first survey exhibition of artist Mikhail Karikis amplifies the voices of those who may be unheard, unseen and structurally neglected. It includes work made across ten years, including two pieces commissioned by MIMA. The exhibition is an arena for listening in a time of change.

Karikis makes videos, sound pieces, performance, images and structures. Karikis develops extensive collaborations with communities who may be pushed into economic and socio-geographic fringes. He employs listening as a form of activism, tuning into voices that operate beyond mainstream frequencies. In the past decade, he has shifted how he works, from creating a space in which others participate in the work to one in which they become co-producers. The resulting projects highlight alternative modes of solidarity and action, while nurturing attention, dignity and tenderness.

In recent years Karikis has collaborated with teenagers and children to explore legacies inherited from older generations, including narratives of techno-dystopias, ecological injustice and economic recession. In the exhibition, installations include collaborations with elders (female octogenarian Korean pearl divers and ex-coal miners from Kent) and with young people (primary school children in East London and Middlesbrough; young people living near a former geothermal power plant in Italy; teenagers on the Isle of Grain, Kent). His projects nurture the potential for people to imagine possible, probable or desired futures.

In 2017 Karikis worked with children in Poplar, London, to make a new body of work, co-commissioned by MIMA, Film and Video Umbrella and Whitechapel Gallery, London. In 2019, he began a new collaboration with students at North Ormesby Primary Academy, Middlesbrough. This inspiring school focuses on making a creative and positive space for children, many of whom are experiencing change in their lives. Together, Karikis and the children explore the impact of industry, toxicity and climate change. They use the transformative power of communal noisemaking to think about the importance of democratic assembly.



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