David Blandy’s Run A Mile In My Shoes currently showing at the NewBridge Space in Newcastle is a delightful little jaunt of an exhibition. This multi-screen installation showcases 13 different individuals lip-syncing to one of their favorite songs whilst training for the Great North Run against a back drop of altering surroundings filmed across the North East and London. The songs lip-synched vary from The Smiths to The Ramones to The Doors. What permeates is a karaoke of various running and singing styles that leaves you taping your feet and gagging for a run!
Its funny, its enlightening and charming. Blandy in a simple and straightforward manner evokes the fun and happiness these 13 runners get from pounding the pavements to their favorite songs. Each runner displays a range of emotions, facial expressions, singing styles, running styles and a fascinating selection of different headphones! I sat there wondering what each runner was thinking. What was their purpose? What was their desire? What makes a person want to run 13 miles? I don’t know and perhaps I never will.
The Great North Run is one of Newcastle’s jewel in the crown events. An event that has a firm place on the British sporting landscape. Blandy documents the passion these runners have not only for the songs they listen to but the passion they have to both train and compete in the running of the Great North Run.
I could have sat all day watching each runner take its turn bashing out a tune wondering what each song meant to that particular person. One guy in particular singing The Smith’s Heaven Know’s I’m Miserable is a particular joy. I left the space with a firm smile on my face. Art at its most simplistic but also at its most effective.
Run A Mile In My Shoes is on until the 8th October at the NewBridge Space, 18 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AW