Larry Achiampong & David Blandy (UK)

FF Gaiden: Control, 2015

Single-channel projection with sound, variable durations; installation environment


The Finding Fanon project, of which this work is part, is inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon (1925–1961). Fanon was a radical humanist, psychiatrist and writer whose work explored the mental distress caused by colonisation and the consequences of decolonisation. Larry Achiampong and David Blandy re-interpret Fanon’s ideas, thinking through how they are relevant to their friendship, and for society today.

In this series of works (divided into titled chapters) Achiampong & Blandy have used the virtual space of Grand Theft Auto V  in collaboration with various groups, such as paperless migrants at Mennisker i Limbo (People in Limbo) in Oslo; Tyneside Cinema's young digital group;  a group of veterans in prison and family members at HMP Altcourse in Liverpool; and most recently with members of Nottingham’s Women’s Cultural Exchange.

FF Gaiden: Control was made in collaboration with Liverpool prisons, as the first artistic commission of FACT’s Prison’s Programme. This chapter focuses on ex-services inmates, exploring the tensions inherent within the dual identity of ‘veteran’ and ‘offender’. It does so through a series of personal testimonies from the perspective of incarcerated veterans and their family members, played out in the game world. Achiampong and Blandy guided the inmates through using the game in ‘Director Mode’, which allows you to explore the extensive, diverse landscapes of GTA and customise avatars, devoid of any necessity of violence or goal-driven narrative. This allows an investigation of a virtual space synonymous with violence whilst providing a platform for the expression of direct experiences of societal control.

FF Gaiden: Control is commissioned and produced by FACT, supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. With thanks HMP Altcourse, Keith McDonnell, Tony Connolly and the HMP Altcourse gym team, HMP Liverpool and Partners of Prisoners.