Imran Perretta: A Riot in Three Acts

Fri 27 September 2024 – Sun 10 November 2024,
Somerset House

A Riot in Three Acts is a new commission by artist, filmmaker, and composer Imran Perretta. It is the artist’s first major new work since 2019. The exhibition includes a programme of live performances, events and a 5-day workshop for aspiring creatives aged 16-19.

This large-scale installation presented by one of Somerset House Studios’ long-standing residents uses the tropes and techniques of cinema, in the form of an expansive film set and cinematic score, to reflect on the narratives of our urban spaces and the social inequality and racial violence that shape them.

Central to A Riot in Three Acts is a newly commissioned score, A Requiem for the Dispossessed, composed by Perretta and co-commissioned and performed by our members. Drawing on the classical tradition of the requiem, a musical composition honouring the dead, the score serves as a sonic representation of a civil uprising and its aftermath, questioning who controls the narrative around how these actions are interpreted.

Presented in spatialised surround sound by producers and fellow Somerset House Studios residents Call and Response, the installation mirrors the experience of cinema sound, with the audience physically located at the centre of the action. The full score will be performed live inside the installation by our members over two weekends during the exhibition run.

An integral part of this storytelling is Perretta’s old Blackberry handset and the now-defunct Blackberry Messenger (BBM) platform on which he received broadcast messages during the days of the London Riots. The platform was a key communication tool as one of the first end-to-end encrypted messaging services. The Blackberry displays looped video using found footage of Reeves Corner up in flames, an image that became emblematic of the five days of civil uprising in cities across the country, following the shooting of Mark Duggan, an unarmed Black man, by police in Tottenham on 4 August 2011.

A Riot in Three Acts provides a stage for the conflicting narratives that accompany these collective actions, historically spurred by racist policing, anti-war sentiment, disaffected young people, and discontent towards exclusionary and exploitative government policies.

This exhibition is Free / Pay What You Can.


  • A Riot in Three Acts

Performed By

  • Composer/ Artist Imran Perretta
  • Manchester Camerata
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