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Douglas Gordon: The End of Civilisation. World premiere of north east Grants for the arts project, part of the London 2012 Festival.

  • Date: 21 June 2012
  • Area: North
A baby grand piano burns in the Cumbrian landscape

Douglas Gordon: The End Of Civilisation. Credit: Colin Davison

Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon will premiere The End of Civilisation, his first film shot in England, at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle on 5 and 6 July.

The film, now part of the London 2012 Festival, was funded through the Arts Council’s Grants for the arts scheme and shows a beacon in the Cumbrian landscape burning where the Roman border with Scotland once stood.

The beacon, a grand piano, was selected by Gordon as one of the western world’s great icons, with the burning serving as both a warning and a celebration. The work will premiere at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, itself built on land which used to be home to Hadrian’s Wall, connecting to the landscape where the film was made.

Artist Douglas Gordon said: “I wanted to do something with a piano in a landscape of some significance and I suppose, as a Scotsman, there's nothing more significant than the border. I thought it was beautiful to look from one country into another and I liked the idea Hadrian's Wall is, under a certain interpretation, a great end of civilisation… On my first visit I was overwhelmed to be in a landscape of such beauty and with such a huge unfathomable history".

Commissioned by Great North Run Culture and Locus+, the film was funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts scheme, and is part of the London 2012 Festival this summer, celebrating the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. 

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said:

“This Douglas Gordon commission is a wonderful addition to the London 2012 Festival and the wider Cultural Olympiad celebrations in the north east. The project is funded through Arts Council's Grants for the arts scheme – open for anyone to apply from any art form. The End of Civilisation is a great example of the kind of cutting-edge, unusual and ultimately engaging work that the fund is there to support.

“Now forming part of the London 2012 Festival, this is a great opportunity to give a piece of art based on an important piece of north east heritage international recognition this summer, and I hope this is the first of many screenings we see for the work.”

To book tickets for the screenings, go to this eventbrite page. 

Some useful links

Great North Run Culture


Grants for the arts

Cultural Olympiad in the North East

London 2012 Festival