Idea of North presents a series of displays and projects that play with the convention of the ‘expo’ event. Spanning the vast space of the Level 4 gallery, pavilions, architectural constructions and guest curated displays converge in the exploration of northern imagination, unpicking and revealing different voices within the idea of a ‘northern’ identity. Through artworks and narratives, a constellation of counter-stories and divergent lines through recent history will be explored, addressing our sense of community, place and belonging.
Architectural feats of imagination from the past, present and future are recreated in partnership with Ryder Architecture. The unrealised modernist masterplan TyneDeck, 1969, is presented alongside a constructed geodesic dome housing an exhibition by guest curators material driven. This project looks towards innovation in design, experiments with new materials and sustainable futures. A major presentation titled Women by Women curated by photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, founder member of the Amber collective will occupy a gallery within Level 4. This intimate collection explores the representation of women and girls in the North East by women photographers, moving back and forward through time, between the 1970s and the present.
A new film by artists David Blandy and Larry Achiampong combines footage of Hadrian’s Wall with computer gaming visuals to generate a new immersive installation that tells a fantastical tale of a land that isolated itself into near extinction. Matt Stokes stages his Real Arcadia – an installation exploring the little-known Cumbrian cave rave scene of the 1990s. Chris Killip presents The Station, a remarkable and hitherto unseen set of photographs depicting the underground music scene of Gateshead in the mid 1980s.
Idea of North serves to make the connections between counter-cultural moments, combining moments of protest with individual stories of community and collective belonging. Within the exhibition, interpretations of the recent past are recomposed in order to inform future thinking. Through architecture, photography, music, design and culture the enduring resilience and transforming spirit of ‘northern’ identity is celebrated.