BREADROCK is a new film and sculptural installation for PEER, by artist collective Fourthland (Louise Sayarer and Eva Knutsdotter) and artist and filmmaker Rosalind Fowler. Reflecting on a ten-year collaboration with the diverse communities of Wenlock Barn Estate in Hackney, East London, the work is a visceral homage to cultural history, memory and universal myth. Melding experimental and ethnographic filmmaking, the work presents a series of staged vignettes drawing on the rituals and artefacts of the Estate’s Bangladeshi, European, Kurdish, Serbian, Turkish, Ugandan and West Indian communities, to create new kinships and myths.
Shot on 16mm film against the artists’ makeshift stage sets of textiles, paintings, and objects in a public garden on the Estate, BREADROCK manifests the inner worlds of Wenlock’s inhabitants: a Bangladeshi woman wearing her wedding dress buries a symbolic ‘umbilical cord’ in front of forty guests to mark her son’s birth; a West Indian man channels his deceased grandmother through an old-fashioned telephone and a cosmic donkey; another man surrounded by sheet music conducts an invisible orchestra and symbolic ancient rock, inspired by his love of geology; and others slowly process and gesture, holding bowls and plates aloft. The soundtrack is a composition of raw sounds improvised from domestic household objects found in a resident’s flat.
Close to the large-scale projection of the film in PEER’s street-facing space, pieces made by the artists - inspired by their exchanges with the Wenlock community - and objects belonging to residents, form an assemblage of quasi-mystical sculptures.
Fourthland have been working with the residents of Wenlock Barn since 2008, on projects connecting the land and people of the Estate, including micro-allotments, foraging spaces, a salad-growing scheme, an orchard, a wheatfield and a series of public gardens, each with its own distinct cultural identity. By introducing traditional crafts such as wool spinning, breadmaking, carpentry, bricklaying, music making and herbalism, Fourthland have revealed the hidden sources of knowledge and skills owned by the Estate’s diverse community of residents. BREADROCK is their first collaboration with filmmaker Rosalind Fowler, known for her explorations of the politics and poetics of place and belonging in the contemporary English landscape.
PEER has worked on several projects with Fourthland throughout the ten-year collaboration with nearby Wenlock Barn Estate, including Everything Happens on The Street, Handling, Repairs and Alternations Studio (2015), a series of 'street acts' and 'street scenes' involving passing members of the public. The project, which took place during PEER’s re-landscaping of the public area at the front of the gallery in 2015, resulted in a new garden and seating area, situating the street as a place where home, work and public sharing dissolve into one another.
BREADROCK will tour to Kestle Barton in Cornwall from 8 September to 3 November 2018 when the artists will additionally exhibit collaboratively made work which was produced with local makers and groups.
The artists have generously produced three prints to support PEER's programme. Each is offered in an edition of 5. These prints are 16mm film scans, printed on 300 gram cotton rag paper in a handcrafted frame. They are available to purchase individually (£300 / £275 for Friends of PEER) or as a set (£750 / £725 for Friends of PEER). More information.
In June 2018, Fourthland and Rosalind Fowler presented 'I Carry You in my Eyes: magic, myth-making and socially engaged practice', an experimental symposium held at Regan Way Community Hall. Contemporary craft, performance and film were explored as forms of mythmaking and ‘modern magic’*; each with their own power to transform, enchant and conjure new forms of kinship within artistic and socially engaged practice. Speakers Ben Cranfield, Tanya Harrod and Rachel Moore were invited to respond to these themes, drawing on theory and examples from their own practice . Read Tanya Harrod's contribution I Hold You in my Eyes here.
*The term ‘modern magic’ is borrowed from Rachel Moore’s book titled Savage Theory: Cinema as Modern Magic (1999).
Fourthland (Louise Sayarer and Eva Knutsdotter) is an artist collective that uses objects, ritual, storytelling and enactment to co-create public space and performances. Recent solo works include BearMotherHouse with Xenia, SPACE London 2017 ; The Storm within Jeremy Deller’s Utopia Treasury, Somerset House, London (2016); back to where we have not quite been, Arnolfini, Bristol (2015); The Collective Tongue, Errant Bodies, Berlin; and everything happens on the street, PEER, London (2015). They have had recent residencies at CASS School of Art and Design, London (2016), Cabot Institute of Climate Change, Bristol (2015); Bergen Academy of Art, UCL Urban Lab, London and South London Gallery Local (2015). Fourthland also run a twice-yearly nomadic residency programme, yörük—a creative and holistic retreat co-hosted with different alternative communities around the world. www.fourthland.co.uk
Rosalind Fowler is an artist and filmmaker, with a background in visual art and anthropology. Her work explores the politics and poetics of place and belonging in the contemporary English landscape. Recent solo works include NowhereSomewhere (2016) a 2-screen film installation for William Morris Gallery, Barbican Foyer Art commission, and Somerset House’s Utopia season. She was selected as artist in residence at the William Morris gallery in 2016. Others commissions include What Lies Below (2015) supported by Wellcome Trust and BFI, Tamesa (2015) NOW gallery, and Folk In Her Machine (2014) supported by AHRC. Her work has exhibited and screened widely, including at ICA, BFI, Jerwood gallery, Plymouth Arts Centre, Pumphouse gallery, and PLACE: Common Ground, curated by Gareth Evans. www.rosalindfowler.co.uk