Turner Contemporary is leading O Dreamland, an innovative co-produced project that provides employment and skills development for young people and culminates in a major exhibition at the gallery in autumn 2023.
Over the course of two years, a group of young Emerging Producers are working alongside the artist Mark Leckey and Turner Contemporary staff to help research, develop and deliver an exhibition that uses Lindsay Anderson’s film O Dreamland as a starting point. This will include realising significant new commissions and a public programme of live performance.
Since he came to prominence in the late 1990s, Leckey’s practice has addressed the relationship between popular culture and technology while also exploring the subjects of youth, class, and nostalgia. He is well known for his performances that offer a platform for critical engagement. Implicit in this is the belief that artists have a role in shaping society through the politics of their practices but that they are only one group in a large equation involving other cultural agents.
Speaking about the project, Leckey says: “I have a longstanding commitment to working with young people, and I create art to directly deal with issues of class and leisure. Through O Dreamland, I want to explore a fundamental question that has preoccupied me for several years: who gets to make and experience art? The project is a chance to bring my knowledge and experience to the project, give visibility to my and others’ concerns, aspirations and voices, marginalised histories and stories, current issues, and speculative futures. In challenging the status quo and finding alternative pathways into exhibition-making, I want to direct an inquiry framed around the history of Margate’s seaside amusement park and make connections to my own experience of childhood trips to Blackpool and New Brighton. An examine representation of class and leisure will allow exploration of creative and curatorial processes.
In Autumn 2023, Turner Contemporary will stage a major community-curated exhibition inspired by Lindsay Anderson’s film O Dreamland. Key to the exhibition is a group of eight Emerging Producers.