Marcus Coates is a shaman. He's also an artist. Shamanism occurs all over the world and over the past few years Coates has turned his search for anthropological nirvana to that most amorphous of lands: Elephant & Castle. Truly, here is a place on the fringes of the centre of arguably the most metropolitan of world cities; a place with balance in its settling and its transience. A place under the threat of the modernisation; a place defined by its blurred boundaries.
Two summers ago Coates and disco-thunder band Chrome Hoof performed A Ritual for Elephant & Castle at the Coronet Theatre. Now, playing from today, is Vision Quest - part documentary, part performance, this feature-length movie explores the redevelopment of Elephant & Castle with Coates' channelling animal spirit guides to undertake a vision quest on behalf of the area, its history and potential futures.
Screening, appropriately, in unit 237 of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre (everyone's known landmark) the film incorporates contributions from residents, the local authorities and property planners to evoke an alternative collective vision of what Elephant & Castle could be. It's a strange experience, but Coates is an able guide. Having completed a rich vein of work over the past couple of years, his is a strong artistic hand and the technique is assured. This is a unique film.
Vision Quest - A Ritual for Elephant & Castle is at Unit 237, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre until 22 April.