Text by CLOT Magazine
In a recent interview, we delved into Richie Culver‘s artistic exploration of British identity. He grapples with the nuances of the class system and contemporary masculinity, reflecting on the ever-shifting landscape of digital media. Culver’s work plunges into the depths of human turning points and metamorphosis. Freshly graduated with a Master’s in Painting from the RCA, his creative output remains as prolific as ever, consistently embracing a multidisciplinary approach.
Today we are presenting an audiovisual work accompanying his most recent release, ALIVE IN THE LIVING ROOM – على قيد الحياة في غرفة القعدة, released on September in the Jordan-based experimental label Drowned by Locals, and unorthodox but completely perfect match. The label defines itself as the voice and face of the marginalised brutes, misfits, savages but delicate at heart. If one has experienced Richie Culver’s art, that being in any of its expressions, seems a paring made in sublime bleakness.
The video we showcase today, artfully crafted by Allen Golder-Carpenter, features a triptych of visuals: one is a live video of Golder-Carpenter himself painting; the second is a censored snippet captured surreptitiously from the artist’s chest pocket during his daily train commute, precisely timed to the length of his track, “Alive in the Living Room.” The third visual layer offers a live feed from a security camera located in the Czech Republic.
On the sonic front, the landscape immerses us in the artist’s intimate encounters with sleep paralysis, a condition that has shadowed his adult life. The improvised sound piece sets a Bleak terrain of dead dreams, — vocals intentionally omitted to echo Culver’s speechlessness during paralysis. The release also includes a book containing Richie Culver’s handwritten poem, thoughtfully presented in both English and Arabic. The accompanying poem, originally intended as spoken word, now invites the reader or listener to traverse its verses, unfolding the artist’s subconscious experiences that evoke discomfort and vulnerability.
The audiovisual piece spans over 27 minutes, weaving together the stacked visuals by the unconventional Golder-Carpenter, a relentless digital clock, and the repetitive clanging of nearly metallic sounds, conjuring an unsettling and unrelenting atmosphere. These visuals seamlessly merge with the sonic landscape, forming a hypnotic mantra, one that ventures deeper into the realm of sleep paralysis rather than seeking escape.
Quoting Richie Culver himself as he discusses his album, these words are simply too beautiful to be left behind:
With Alive in the Living Room, I wanted to present a sonic landscape that unfolds into three parts that make up aspects of sleep paralysis,
Something I have lived with all of my adult life.
Instead of fighting against it.
Going with it and seeing where it may lead.
Instead of fighting to wake up.
Fall deeper into it.
I could never speak or shout for help in moments of paralysis during sleep, so I decided to put no vocals onto this body of work.
Letting the 27 minutes of improvised DIY music dictate the space that would be the Bleak terrain of dead dreams.
After making the music, I decided to write a short poem to describe what sleep paralysis is to me.
Pulling off my fingernails, being ridiculed, and scabs that won’t heal are a common thread into where my subconscious takes me in my moments of dead sleep.
Facing my obscure fears head-on and waking up to a nothingness that is the sofa in my mother’s living room.
Questioning what just happened?
Who am I?
What am I?