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A series of audiovisual commissions about British folk culture

Arianne Churchman & Benedict Drew

 Paul Kindersley

  Ox Art (Annabel Pettigrew & Rob MacPherson) 

Verity Birt & Una Hamilton Helle  

Fourthland 

Her Mother the Mountain & Matthew-Robert Hughes

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Legion Projects are proud to announce a new series of specially commissioned listening works. Inspired by how oral traditions have been instrumental in the upholding, retelling and sharing of folk tales, songs and customs, the commissioned artists were asked to interpret and respond to why the interest in ‘folk culture’ still stands strong in Britain today. The resulting responses will take the form of radio plays, guided journeys, experimental music scores and podcasts, all hosted online. 

 

‘Folk culture’ is often associated with a specific geographic location, a sense of nostalgia and perceived authenticity, but these works complicate this definition. They show that folk culture is not frozen in time, but in a continual process of being updated, redefined and renewed. 

 

Tradition is a lively and fluid state rather than a static condition and the malleable and experiential nature of the oral tradition is a key part of this. By interpreting and subverting existing customs and practices, the artists show that ‘folk culture’ has a continued relevance, which can be used both as a barometer and coping mechanism in response to current climates. 

 

What becomes clear, when seen together, is that the resulting projects mark a need and longing to learn from the land and its history. Inspired by pasts and presents, both real and fictional, they are contemporary expressions of the age-old need to convey story, rhythm, subversion and myth. 

 

The six projects, all the result of collaborations and borne out of a communal spirit, both celebrate and interrogate heritage, rurality, the sacred, weirdness and queerness. In short, they can be seen as contributions to our continued communal search for meaning and belonging in the constantly shifting British landscape. 

 

Ploughing Old Patterns, Raising New Ground is the second podcast series Legion has commissioned, after the successful A Common Craft by Blue Firth. The audio works will be released throughout 2023 and can be streamed from the Legion Projects website or downloaded from all major podcast providers.

Ceramicist Ashleigh Fisk (@af_clay) will be making a series of artist editions inspired by folklore, seasonal customs and magic. Released soon!

 

The commissions are:

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Arianne Churchman & Benedict Drew 

The Limitless Field

The Limitless Field is a radiophonic space, a dream, an active dismantling of borders and a redrawing of lines. Emerging from worlds within this world, we take up ploughs, drawing new lines between traditions and acts of resistance. We travel through winter customs and traditions, stopping at points of misrule and role reversal. Our lines draw new relations, not of upwards power, but of lines that draw across to support and empower. We dismantle the field's borders, and begin our limitless dreaming.

Paul Kindersley 

The Ballad Of William Hazelnut

A grotesque fairy-tale based on an amalgamation of folklore and myth. The Ballard of William Hazelnut is based on Paul's childhood love of Agatha Christie audiobooks and the strong memories of companionship he had with the radio. The play will mine Paul's previous trilogy of playscripts where characters were born from personal biography, memory and fairytale.

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Ox Art (Annabel Pettigrew & Rob MacPherson)

The Avebury Enigma

The Avebury Enigma is a guided walk, audio collage and exploration of the sacred landscape at Avebury. What is it about Avebury that people find so enchanting? We walk, dowse, and record the stones and landscape, communing with the energy and pop culture mythologies to divine our obsession and response. 

Verity Birt & Una Hamilton Helle

Beneath Clouded Hills

The term "Deep England" evokes a landscape untouched by industrial progress, modernity and globalisation. It has been used as the subject of nostalgic longing and as a patriotic symbol of a “true” and “authentic” England as well as holding radical possibility through a mythic and enchanted connection to the land. This two-part podcast explores how such mytho-pastoral images resonate today and attempts to unpack the term's complexities - all with the help of artists, folklorists, musicians, geographers and cultural researchers who wish to turn Deep England into a more experimental, inclusive and radically open proposition.

 

The podcast is the research-arm and companion piece to the artists’ exhibition at Bloc Projects, Sheffield,

19 May - 17 June 2023. 

 

https://www.blocprojects.co.uk/exhibitions-events/2023/beneath-clouded-hills

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Fourthland  

Hand of the Sky Land of the Sea

4 stories exploring the myths that have arisen from Fourthland´s practice over the last ten years. Each story unravels a mythology, written as a characterisation of the social practice and the people encountered. We recommend lying down to this one with your eyes closed as they take you on a journey.

Matthew-Robert Hughes

The Tides of Kilpeck

A short film/opera work exploring the mysterious site of Kilpeck Chapel in the Welsh Borders.

 

Expect vibrant costumes, movement and musical mystic theatre.

The project will be shown online to close the season this Summer.

 

This Project has been supported by Art Council Wales

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