The Strange Face Project @ Idea Generation


Nick Drake committed suicide in 1974 when he was just 26 years old and an almost unknown artist. Today, almost 40 years later, he is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the last century and has had an impact on a large percentage of modern recording artists and musicians.

The Strange Face Project by Michael Burdett documents the reactions of ordinary people from the ages of two to 96 to a lost Nick Drake recording. Burdett worked as a post boy at Island Records in the 1970s and when asked to throw some tapes away – he decided to keep one which had the words ‘with love’ on the box. It was a version of Cello Song by Nick Drake. 20 years later, Burdett played the tape for the first time and heard an unknown version of the song. Instead of posting it on the Internet or sending it to radio stations, he decided to share it with the world visually in a series of black and white photographs with the initial first thoughts from the listener along the bottom of the images.

Of the 200 people approached to take part in the project, 167 said yes, including famous faces such as Fearne Cotton and Noel Fielding. The photographic display shows the impact that Drake had, whilst also showing how an artist so highly admired is unknown to many today.

The Strange Face Project: Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording is open until 12 February

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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