Aspex (Portsmouth) 30th March – 10th June 2018
Eastside Projects (Birmingham) Summer 2018
The Endless Village is a satirical sitcom set in Kingdom#3 of an imagined future post-Brexit Britain. Investigating life, localism and trade relations, the sitcom pilot (‘Banana Day’) presents a satirical meditation on future daily life in NFKATUK – the Nation Formerly Known As The UK.
It is 2066, 50 years since Brexit and 1000 years since the Norman Conquest. A devolution revolution has gripped the public consciousness as first countries then counties sought political control on a local level leading to a succession of endless villages, tribes and small self-sufficient communities. The resulting breakdown in global trade renders legally sourced bananas as virtually non-existent. But each year in Kingdom#3, a special community celebration is held called ‘Banana Day’, a time to celebrate the forbidden fruit. Why do Kingdom#3 insist on celebrating the banana, an unavailable fruit with a dark colonial history? How will they possibly find a banana in time and what ethical compromise will its purchase entail?
Written and produced by General Public (visual artists Chris Poolman & Elizabeth Rowe) & filmed by Oli Clark, a former BBC director/producer whose TV credits include the BAFTA award winning series ‘Coast’.
The project takes its name from a book by Bunny Teagle called The Endless Village (1972) – a pioneering study of the natural history of Birmingham and the Black Country. He argued that the natural heritage of Birmingham and the Black Country is inextricably woven into its social, industrial and cultural heritage. The film was show on location in pockets of ‘urban countryside’ that populate Birmingham – contemporary parallels to those identified by Bunny Teagle.
Alongside the moving image work, the exhibitions at Aspex & Eastside Project will feature props & costumes from the film, archival material relating to the global banana trade, oral history interviews with those who remember life before banana’s & fictional artefacts from life in NFKATUK (The Nation Formerly Known As The UK). And of course, banana’s.
There are a number of elements to the wider project which have fed in directly to the production of the film. These include an oral history project with elderly residents of Sparkbrook (an inner city area of Birmingham) about the changing availability of food in the UK & an Endless Village workshop programme in Frankley, South Birmingham. Some of the results of this – objects, locally sourced River Rea Clay – can be seen in the film & exhibition.
Funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund & Birmingham City Council.