Interview with GIANT BOMB


GIANT BOMB, a collaboration between 12 year old Lucian Shalmy and his mum Shiri, are exhibiting Apollo 1, an 8 minute retelling of Greek Mythology. (Apollo 1 was actually the first submission we received for the Nanny Cam open call that asked for videos by artists without a degree in Fine Art - and, not gonna lie, I momentarily forgot the rules of the game and replied straight away to say it was accepted, lol. But no regrets at all, it’s excellent and I’m very excited to share it with the world). I spoke to Lucian over Skype when he got back from school. Shiri was at his side but out of view as she wanted this to be Lucian’s interview. sneakily snapping pix tho 8-)


The two shot the video in the summer of 2015 on top of a windy hill. ‘It was in Cornwall. It was like a ruined factory that they used to make bullets and ammunition in the world wars. This is on top of a mountain.’ ‘It’s on top of a mine,’ Shiri clarified off screen, ‘It’s where they were harvesting minerals to make bombs.’ There are 3 figures in costume in Apollo 1, Lucian, Shiri and a friend, acting out the story of Apollo and Leto. ‘So essentially, Leto was Apollo’s mum and she was murdered by the python also known as the Yeti. So, Apollo is out seeking revenge and he kills the python, but then his dad, Zeus, is not very happy. And so, Apollo goes into hiding in that cave that I went to. After 38 years he comes out and - hahaha - he threw the dead body of the Python into a hole. Then this woman - the Oracle! They sat on top of this hole and the fumes from the dead python made them see visions into the future. They told prophecies. But I think for real, like in real life, it wasn’t a python. It was just some gases underground that made them slightly bonkers.’ After Lucian kills the python, he throws its vacated body spinning across the sky and for a moment it looks like a kid’s TV show. He’s wearing a silver mask over his head, carrying a toy sword and a bow and arrow, and the Yeti costume is defeated and floundering in the air. But much more developed than a kid’s TV show, this production is paced, careful, and it has an engaged sense of humour.

GIANT BOMB chose to work with this myth in particular because it is relevant to their dynamic as mother and son. And Lucian happily admits it’s cool to make art within this relationship. I ask about school and he realises that where other kids might be better at painting or drawing, he is enjoying a wider creative experience. He says he ‘gets’ art, and that his classmates ‘don’t get to do things like we have,’ looking left to Shiri and smiling. Lucian lists Martin Creed and Carsten Höller as artists he likes, and remembers best exhibitions as those with video games and interactive tech. But he explains at school, ‘we're taught to draw each other or (the teacher) takes pictures of us, prints them out and then we have to draw ourselves.’ I wonder how many more kids would enjoy art if they knew it was more than faces and representation. Because besides video, GIANT BOMB have worked in live performance too. As Lucian explains, ‘We made a piece where I sat and I played a video game. You had to shoot a ragdoll out of a canon and knock down blocks and whatever. What I was shooting had different skins and one of them had a yeti, and it was the same yeti as Apollo 1 and mummy was dressed up as it. Every time I shot the canon she would go like this (he shakes).’ There’s a recording here of that performance at Yinka Shonibare's Guest Projects gallery, and it's great. There’s screamo playing in the background and it’s kind of amazing to watch Lucian sit small in front of a MacBook, his legs swinging, not even reaching the ground. Even the fact we can see the same character of the Yeti coming through into other works - it's impressive to watch Lucian build rhetorics and an aesthetic vocabulary. Like, when I was his age I was just badly drawing out scenes from Ghibli films and buying little canvases from home and bargain. 👏🏻 bravo 👏🏻


:))) thank you 2 GIANT BOMB for being a part of this screening. You can see more on their website here

Gabrielle is seen speaking on a macbook to a Lucian, a young white boy, who is sat at a desk
Gabrielle takes a screenshot of Shiri taking the picture above
a kid stands on a cliff with a dramatic blue water and landscape behind. The kid has a silver mask all over their head, a blue and whtie striped top, and a bow and arrow on their back
a white furry figure is seen being flung through the air