Wednesday, February 5, 2014
A while ago a friend told me about Darcy Lange because he knew I was a Kes fan and Lange's work reminded him of Ken Loach. Lange is a video artist whose piece "Work Studies in Schools" has been showing in various places lately. From 1975-77 Lange visited schools in Birmingham and Oxfordshire and filmed classroom activities, then turned the camera around to film the teachers and students reacting to their own images onscreen. You can watch a lot of these videos here. Some magical moments, especially in Mrs. Schalgosky's art class. On a desk in one of the photos above, you can see a pamphlet called 'Explorations in Worship.'
Lange has also been deeply involved in Maori land rights in New Zealand, where he was born and where I believe he now lives. The interesting thing here is how his music-making enters in. Lange is a dedicated flamenco guitarist, and his mixed-media performances line up with his political activism in various ways. He was a student of the famous Gypsy flamenco guitarist Diego del Gastor. I love these pictures of Lange performing with his partner Maria Snijders. In a book I'm reading (er, where all these photos come from) the artist Dan Graham likens flamenco to New York punk rock in its outlier perspective and political snarl. Punk flamenco -- I like that!