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Marcus Coates: 'Vision Quest: A Ritual For Elephant & Castle' feat Chrome Hoof at Unit 237, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre

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Time 18:30
Date 12/04/12
Price £5.95

The film follows Coates on an unlikely suburban adventure as he sets out on a Vision Quest, seeking animal spirits to help gain insight into a possible future for the failing redevelopment scheme.


Please build us something that is new / A shiny tower to house the few / Away we go, away, away / To new lands, oh to Bermondsey
Marcus Coates, Folksong, 2009

INTERVIEW: Artist Marcus Coates talks to Samantha Sweeting about his feature-length art-docu film 'Vision Quest'

Marcus Coates, artist, wildlife enthusiast and self-styled shaman, is about to unveil his latest project Vision Quest: A Ritual For Elephant & Castle in a special screening in the top floor of an endangered tower block. Coates talks to Run Riot about the importance of humour, finding solutions to sex trafficking in Norway, improvising on stage alongside futuristic music troupe Chrome Hoof, and watching the mating flight display of sparrowhawk from an East End bus stop. Click here to read the intereview.


Film screenings: 12th – 26th April 2012
18:30, 20:00 & 21:30 - Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Beneath the dull glare of night-time sodium lighting, three men play dominoes, seemingly unaware of the silent, silver suited man behind them holding aloft a mounted buzzard. When he utters a strange unearthly sound, the men briefly look up then resume their game. In broad daylight wearing a horse head and pelt, the same man strides purposely through Elephant and Castle’s grey shopping centre. Standing high on a balcony wearing white-lensed shades, he oversees the concrete urban-scape below. The man is Marcus Coates, artist, shaman and showman whose latest nether-worldly journey takes him deep into a community facing significant social upheaval… 
Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant & Castle is a feature-length film – part documentary, part performance, part art, part archive - exploring the major transitions currently taking place in the south London neighbourhood.  The film follows Coates on an unlikely suburban adventure as he sets out on a Vision Quest, seeking animal spirits to help gain insight into a possible future for the failing redevelopment scheme. In response to the Council’s formal vision and master plan for Elephant and Castle, Coates involves residents from the soon to be demolished Heygate Estate, council planners and developers to evoke an alternative collective vision of what it could be, a new kind of consultation for the Council planners.
Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant & Castle is the conclusion of an ongoing residency undertaken by commissioner and producer Nomad and Marcus Coates over the last 3 years.  At the centre of the film is the improvised live rock-shamanic-ritual collaboration between Coates and Chrome Hoof staged within the legendary Coronet Theatre, one of the oldest buildings in the area.  Coates performs a visceral shape-shifting act supported by Chrome Hoof to mark the passing of the neighbourhood and to envisage a new strategy for development that does not repeat the mistakes of the last redevelopment in the 60’s that came to epitomise inner city decay.
Marcus Coates creates ‘useful’, humorous and often dark cultural events for specific communities through the exploration of imagination and ritual within contemporary society.  His work draws on the role of performance as celebration, problem solver and healer amongst indigenous peoples, as well as his extensive knowledge of British birds and mammals to examine how we perceive human-ness through imagined non-human realities.  Coates previous projects include The Trip (2011), his real-life trip to the Amazon on behalf of a dying man, screened at Serpentine Gallery, Dawn Chorus (2007), in which he recreated the early morning birdsong using human voice voices, and Journey to the Lower World (2004) in which he performed a shamanic ritual in the front room of a Liverpool tower block scheduled for demolition.
Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant and Castle is a Marcus Coates film, commissioned & produced by Nomad and co-directed by Marcus Coates and Michael Smythe. Editor Ariadna Fatjo-Vilas. Cinematographer Annemarie Lean-Vercoe.

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