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My Generation

Reflecting on social and cultural activity past and present, Christian Bell’s research-based practice aims to explore the manifestation of youth culture, now and in the future.

Making Digital, Making History

Digital and performance

The artist undertook a collaborative approach to research with a group of students from Blackburn College who explored, shared and observed local contemporary youth cultures. This was undertaken over a series of digital workshops inspired by a local youth disco of the late 1970’s, and including the shared experience of a digital Friday night out/in during lockdown.

Through his research, Christian explored how modern youth cultures are transcending the clearly defined trends and sub-cultural interests that are recognisable of youth cultures of the past.


Now, through the access of social media and various other online/digital spaces; trends of youth and subculture are being pulled from past, present and future into the all consuming screen of the smartphone. Young people are breaking down the barriers of time through a cross-generational appeal; and identities are being formed and validated through algorithmic digital spaces. The interaction between the individual and the digital screen has become the embodiment of the modern age. The pros and cons of this are debatable. Christian was inspired by the young people’s own critical engagement toward this digital culture.

A series of interventions took place on the digital screen in Blackburn town centre, disrupting and hacking the everyday purpose of the information board. A digital/public artwork which responded to the perceived relationship between young people and the smartphone. The delivery of this work included a performance directed by the artist and included the young participants of the research. The glitching pieces of text and the performance surrounding them reflect a young generation’s critical engagement with digital culture, projecting suggestive ideas back at both the generations before them and the generations yet to come.

Christian’s work is continuing to evolve and will be recorded digitally through social media and web presence.

About the Artist

Christian is a research-led multi-disciplinary artist and a 2020 graduate of the BA Fine Art (Hons) at Blackburn University Centre.

Through his own personal interrogation of socially engaged and place-based research, Christian has developed a collaborative approach to delivering interventionist contemporary artworks. Christian’s most recent work explores past narratives of youth culture within the context of both contemporary youth and technology; excavating and reimagining collective memories of place, youth, and cultural reference.

Christian is currently studio based at The Making Rooms in Blackburn Town Centre where his work often emerges in public spaces in response to an engaged process with people of the area.

Funders

Sponsors

2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

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