6 @ Space289
IKONIKA • POULOMI DESAI • MONICA TOLIA
+ Décalé residents: Chooc Ly & Alpha
After more than ten years, three albums, a dozen EPs, and gigs all over the globe, Ikonika is one of the most respected names in the UK bass diaspora. Best known for her numerous releases on and affiliation with Hyperdub Records, her most recent EPs on DBA and Night Slugs offer a glimpse of an artist ever in motion, light years away from the post-dubstep landscape where she first made her name. While certain aspects of her sound remain consistent – a love of club-friendly rhythms purpose built with digital flair – the diversity of her interests ¬– pop, R&B, bashment – have become more evident.
As a DJ, Andrew Ryce got it about right in a review for Resident Advisor when he said, “She's a criminally underrated DJ who breezes through whiplash-inducing tempo or style changes.” Musically adventurous, expertly mixed, but always in the groove, Ikonika DJ sets are up-to-the-minute journeys of the club space now.
Poulomi Desai's unique, modified sitar and home-made instruments embrace elements of chance, challenge and subversion - industrial, noise influenced improvised, art performances. Her sitar is extended with modified cassette decks playing her field recordings, circuit bent toys, optikinetic instruments, kitchen knives, axes and massage tools. It is a conscious response and reaction to the idea of 'authenticity' seeking to break the rules and expectations of how a 'sacred' instrument should be played, the strictures upon the player, the guru-shishya approach, and the assumptions made upon the identity of the player herself. Her sitar is the primary basis for sonic improvisation and exploration; an allegorical antidote to the objectification of the 'South Asian woman's body' in 'Bollywood' cinema / 'popular culture' and, in a broader sense, affirming her idea of 'Noise' as protest. She runs the Usurp Art Charity and is an Oram Award winner.
Monica Tolia is a London-based visual artist, performer & organiser. Their multidisciplinary practice culminates into sensory installations and performances drawing on communal ritual acts, animist & Taoist spiritual themes as decolonial approaches to inhabiting space together. Their research is based on how non-Western knowledge practices can inform collective-building, deep connections & healing amongst human and more-than-human worlds, contemplating critical questions with regard to influences of technology & political reality. Recent commissions & awards include shapesLewisham Grant for Lunar New Year Festival (2022), a-n Artists Bursary (2022), Deptford X Festival (2021) & Trinity Laban Ignite Award (2021). Since 2021, they are co-founder of the ESEA diaspora collective ‘Have you eaten yet?’, organising performance events on the intersections of food, migration, art/activism & creating affectionate space.
Flyer by Opashona Ghosh