H264: The New Hub of Artists You Need To Check Out

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In my relatively short time in London, there is a recurrent sentence I have heard among creative people – it’s expensive to be creative. Equipment, space, exposure are not so easily accessible in this big, crowded city. But lack of means is sometimes where new ideas find a fertile ground to grow. Things like h264, that I decided to check out on the 14th June at The Book Club in Shoreditch, are more likely to grow where there is a real need for them.

“h264 unveils a unique experience involving 10 cameras, 3 acts and you. Inviting collaboration and participation – audiences will journey through a prime selection of content, discovering a multi-screen set-up, live music-mix and open-source experiment”. After reading this description on The Book Club website, I was not any closer to understand what exactly it was all about. If you were wondering the same and didn’t go, shame, because it was cool, but fortunately I did go and that’s what I found out.  

h264 is a project run by Ben Mottershead, Marcus Thorn, Ross Henbest and Andy Greenhouse, born as a platform of independent artists, who every two months are provided with a place –and an excuse –where to meet, to chat and find out what’s going on in the creative lives of other creative people. You can show your art –be it music, poetry, films or whatever else you can present in a room in front of people –or you can just sit, have a drink and enjoy what other fellow artists are showing. “We especially like the idea that we can give students a chance to be taken seriously in what they do; there was nothing like that when I was at Uni and the world looked pretty terrifying”, says Ben Mottershead, who underlines that, on the other hand, h264 aims to give a chance to everyone, student or not.

If you feel you could suite the h264 vibe, just send an email to Marcus@swhype.com  with some of your work and if they think you have the right vibe too, you’re on stage. Every performance is professionally recorded, both sound and video, allowing the performers to have some documented proof of their talent at the end of the day (in addition to feeling of performing in front of people who actually listen to you and clap generously at the end, which is also nice). 

“It’s like an open mic, but it is curated”, says Ben, and I do agree. The atmosphere is different from an open mic, be it only for the location in the heart of Shoredicth, less random than most open mics I have seen, or even for the coloured light bulbs on the ceiling that make the room look like a big soft bubble. The performances I saw last night (spoken word; badass poetry; dark short movies and angelic voices accompanied by guitars) were worth the £3 I paid. If that was not enough, h264 does not make any money from the events, as all the proceedings go to Shelter, a charity, says Marcus Thorn, “ who help and aid homeless people and try to reduce the levels of homelessness within Britain”.

I have the feeling that h264 is going to build a good network of aficionados and if I was you I would try and be there for their next event in August. h264 can grow into something quite cool, and not to put any pressure, but it pretty much depends on you.  

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Marina Dora Martino