No Human is an Island
No Human is an Island is a song and short film by Tom Hickox, featuring the Chineke! Orchestra, commissioned by the BBC as part of their Culture in Quarantine programme, and made entirely under lockdown conditions.
Written 2 weeks into lockdown after Tom Hickox re-read John Donne's iconic poem No Man is an Island, it echoes its resonances of the need for community and physical contact in human life.
The verses draw on naturalistic imagery, imagining elemental forces without their most rudimentary patterns and comparing them with humans in isolation. The repeated mantra "I'm not alive without love" underlines the point of what existence really is without external contact.
The film, directed by Grammy nominated Nicolas Jack Davies, shows each musician performing the song in the odd context of their own homes. They are in their concert clothes as if going to work but the settings are unmistakably domestic. The power and technique required to play their instruments are fetishised in close-ups and odd angles. And in the element of portraiture, with each musician holding a card on which they have written the word "Human", this shows what binds us all.
Everything was recorded, produced and filmed under lockdown conditions.
Flying Home by Birdgang
South London based Hip Hop theatre company BIRDGANG have been commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England to produce a dance film under covid-19 lock-down conditions. The piece FLYING HOME is on BBC iPlayer since Wednesday 8th July and brings cutting edge choreography to the nation’s screens.
Choreographer Simeon Qsyea said "We normally use dozens of dancers on big stages, so the commissioners presented us with a great challenge to perform and shoot a piece constrained by self-isolation".
MD Kendra Horsburgh said "We're delighted that BIRDGANG has been selected for this commission, we've performed all over the world, our mission is to demonstrate that there is an evolving Hip Hop Culture that influences the creation of contemporary arts and we are excited to push our art form on to a BBC platform".
BirdGang Ltd Chair, Tom Harvey said “It’s a real achievement for us to get Hip Hop dance theatre onto the BBC as an art form in its own right, we commend BBC Arts and ACE for commissioning bold work from innovative companies.”
The dance piece features six local dancers working together in video conference screens to break out of isolation and reconnect with each other and the world.
Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts, said of the finished piece “BIRDGANG have created a timely piece of work that demonstrates how creativity connects us all. Their thrilling style represents the influence street culture has on dance, and I’m delighted it has a home on BBC Arts, as part of Culture in Quarantine”.