Live Performance, 2014

'Biter' (n) a person who steals another’s words, style or ideas.

As Biters David Blandy and Larry Achiampong examine the possibility for truthful, authentic experience via the popular cultures that have influenced them. They investigate what identity might mean in the post-colonial and post-mass media age by crate-digging through history, recycling already-sampled beats and reciting stolen rhymes.

Biters references the image of a DJ and MC from a rap crew, acknowledging the debt their practices hold to hip-hop culture and its relationship with art and appropriation; the reconfiguring of prefabricated objects, a logo or symbol becoming a mark of tribal affinity, an audio source and/or drum break that paints the environment to an entire song. American rap lyrics are filtered through Blandy’s British voice as Achiampong (re)mixes second-hand beats in front of projected montages of found video, bringing hip-hop’s 'real' into the white cube. 

Linking Lacanian thought around the fiction of identity and the shape-shifting God of Stories from Anansi folklore, Blandy and Achiampong alter their image with each performance, taking faces from high-capitalist culture as a way to critique from within. A particular touchstone is the Nintendo game Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, in which a series of different masks are used to achieve different objectives, putting the world to rights through a series of alternate identities. 

© Photos by Christa Holka, Larry Achiampong & David Blandy

Biters, produced with the help of Arts Council England

© Larry Achiampong & David Blandy