Playworld is a group exhibition featuring artists working with roller derby, football, sports, games and their subcultures. Sports and pursuits have rules that govern them, becoming their own microcosms, but the cultures spawned by them bleed out into the rest of reality.
Roller derby encourages empowering alter egos through skate names and personas. The real world is left outside; all that matters is what happens on the track. Ellie Harrison (aka Ch£apSkate), an artist and skater with Glasgow Roller Derby, established the National Museum of Roller Derby (NMRD) during her residency at Glasgow Women’s Library in 2012. The two Northamptonshire roller derby leagues, the Shoetown Slayers and Vendetta Vixens, have helped select the exhibits from the NMRD alongside Ellie Harrison and Catherine Hemelryk, the curator of the project and skater with London Rockin’ Rollers. Many of the exhibits illustrate the grassroots and creative nature of the sport and the impact it has had on the lives of the skaters.
Jamie Shovlin‘s new body of work follows the Leicestershire Under 16s football team, the Anstey Swifts. NN will be screening Shovlin’s first film about the Midlands team from this, his new series. Phillip Marsden, meanwhile, turns computer games from his youth into the subject matter for tattoo art. Based in Sydney, Australia, Zelda, Streetfighter and Super Mario all feature in his ink drawings on paper stained with Yorkshire Tea.
Role-Playing Games are being created during this exhibition by SeeNN, NN’s Youth Arts Collective, in which players adhere to their internal logic. Entire worlds with complex infrastructure and altered metaphysics exist through shared consent and these ideas will be toyed with by SeeNN during the show.
Part of our Northampton Multiverse season.
Opening night: Playworld
25 July 2014, 6 pm–8 pm
Inspired by Phillip Marsden’s drawings, Josh Ryan is creating a soundtrack from computer games for the opening night of the Playworld exhibition.
25 July–21 September 2014
Throughout the exhibition, our Youth Arts Collective, SeeNN, will be popping up in the gallery working on different aspects of the games they are developing. Feel free to talk to them about what they are doing and if you want to get involved you can get in touch through their Facebook page.
Meet the skaters:
Shoetown Slayers: 9 August 2014, 2 pm–3 pm
Vendetta Vixens: 16 August 2014, 2pm–3pm
Members from both Northamptonshire roller derby leagues will be visiting the gallery to talk to you about their team, the sport and their contributions to the National Museum of Roller Derby.
Film Night: The Vixens present Whip It
27 August 2014, 7 pm
NN is screening Whip It (2009), a film that inspired a generation of women to take up a new sport, selected by Vendetta Vixens roller derby league.
In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin. Directed by Drew Barrymore, featuring Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis and Kristen Wiig.
Summer Holiday Family Workshop
29 August 2014, 2pm–4pm
Join artist Kate Harrison to invent some drawing games and toys inspired by the Playworld exhibition.
Roller Derby Life Drawing with Miller
6 & 13 September 2014, 2pm–4pm
Come along to NN for life drawing with artist and skater, Miller from the Shoetown Slayers. Skaters will be posing in full kit for these classes looking at form. Bring your own art materials.
Booking essential – email email@example.com to reserve your space. Arrive at 1:45 pm for a 2 pm start.
16 September 2014, 7 pm
NN hosts the Crit Group for artists at all stages of their career to come together to discuss their work in progress.
National Museum of Roller Derby: Make History
20 September 2014, 11am–6pm
Calling all roller derby leagues! Become part of the official history of roller derby by donating items to the NMRD at NN. Bring your team shirts, old flyers, zines and other paraphernalia that illustrates the rapid development of the sport in the UK over the past 7 years.