Neolithic camp recreated for Brighton Festival

Neolithic Cannibals – Deep Listening to the Unheard offers a new exhibition for Brighton Festival 2024, created by a group of young people from Whitehawk and East Brighton, supported by artist Simon James, in collaboration with Class Divide and Lighthouse.
Neolithic Cannibals (contributed pic)Neolithic Cannibals (contributed pic)
Neolithic Cannibals (contributed pic)

Spokeswoman Niamh Hicks said: “Neolithic Cannibals will recreate the Neolithic Camp on Whitehawk Hill, a place of communion, celebration, and ritual, as a compassionate listening space inviting audiences to discover Whitehawk's richness, joy, playfulness, and hope, empowering local voices through rarely explored sonic expressions

“Neolithic Cannibals, a socially-engaged sound art project and exhibition, is set to debut in Brighton Festival 2024 opening to the public on May 4 at Lighthouse’s project space. The exhibition offers an immersive experience that intertwines ancient history with contemporary social activism, spearheaded by artist Simon James, born and bred in Whitehawk, in the east of the city, created by the young people of Whitehawk and East Brighton. In collaboration with Class Divide and Lighthouse, this project challenges perceptions and elevates unheard voices.

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“Drawing inspiration from the history of the Neolithic era in East Brighton and the vibrant soundscape of Whitehawk, Neolithic Cannibals is a fusion of archaeology, psycho-geography, sound art, and activism. Through imaginative and fantastical sounds, audiences will leave with a deeper appreciation for empathetic listening and consider the power of collective effort and the part we all play in addressing complex and current social issues.

“Central to the project is a series of workshops led by Simon James, with the young people of Whitehawk, who have delved into the contemporary environment of East Brighton using the Whitehawk Hill Neolithic Camp as a focal point. Employing the innovative Bosing technique, pivotal in discovering the Neolithic Camp in 1929, participants have embarked on sonic explorations to uncover hidden narratives and amplify local voices.

“Neolithic Cannibals will recreate the Neolithic Camp in the exhibition space at Lighthouse - a place of communion, celebration, and ritual, inviting audiences to engage in compassionate listening. By embracing the richness, joy, playfulness, and hope of Whitehawk, this exhibition empowers local voices through rarely explored sonic expressions.”

Simon said: “The creative and media industry is dominated by middle and upper-class people in privileged positions, which means that stories from areas like Whitehawk rarely get told. The exhibition space itself should be a space to have those kinds of conversations about what it means to grow up in Whitehawk, and how that affects the rest of your life and can impact it.

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“From playful experimentation to crafting unique sounds, the young artists have dived headfirst into the world of sound art; improvising with and mixing electronic sound sources with the unique resonances of materials gathered from around their environment. This project is about more than just sound. It's about empathy, collective effort, and addressing social issues.”

Alli Beddoes, Lighthouse’s CEO and artistic director, added: “Neolithic Cannibals invites us to experience the power of sound in shaping narratives, bridging divides, and fostering empathy. Embark on a journey through time and space, guided by the voices of Whitehawk and East Brighton. We’re delighted and truly honoured to be co-producing this beautiful, thoughtful and timely exhibition with Class Divide and the future artists of Whitehawk.”

Saturday, May 4-Sunday, May 19, Wednesdays to Sundays. Doors: 12 5pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday, except Monday, May 6 or by appointment. Lighthouse Project Space, New England House, Elder Place, York Hill Corner, BN1 4GH.