For Open Source, Chadburn will perform RED AND BLUE, which takes as its subject the Cold War 'special relationship' between the US and UK governments. The text is inspired by the correspondence between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the twin icons of right-wing politics throughout Chadburn's 1980s childhood in a UK East Midlands ex-mining town. Thatcher and Reagan's words are fractured and half-remembered in the surreal 'libretto', which imagines the two politicians as a pair of 'televisual spectres'.
The music is a collision between digitally-processed brass and distorted synthesizer drones; atonal electronic pop and drifting field recordings; and spoken word and unearthly vocalisations. It is by turns sinister, strange and mordantly witty, compressing a landslide of musical ideas into 16 and a half minutes. RED AND BLUE can be seen as either a hyper-condensed album, comprising twelve fragmentary songs; an extended, kaleidoscopic single; or an abstract, experimental radio play.
RED AND BLUE is also a sister project to artist/director Jennet Thomas' 2015 film THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE, for which Chadburn wrote the score. Thomas' film, commissioned and exhibited by the Grundy Gallery in Blackpool provoked wide critical debate upon its first showing and is a darkly funny science fiction fantasy, based on the idea of a futuristic 'cargo cult' of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. RED AND BLUE deploys soundscapes and recordings not included in the film, besides expanding on certain musical themes from the score.
In Marianna Simnett’s short film The Udder, shown at Open Source on a loop, the familiar teat of the cow becomes a mammary gland of memory – casting the viewer back into the uncertain time of female adolescence. Shot on location at a robot dairy farm in rural Sussex, Simnett’s tale has a magical-realist quality evocative of a Grimms Fairytale for today’s world, and involves captivating performances from the people who live and work there. Loaded with symbolism, the Udder is suggestive of a sexual rite of passage, and an awakening of the individual to the bodily discovery, fear, difference and desire.
The Udder (2014) was commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards: ‘What Will They See of Me?’, a collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and FVU, in association with CCA, Glasgow and University of East London, School of Arts and Digital Industries. FVU is supported by Arts Council England.
Benedict Drew utilises video, audio and sculpture to create works that use technology to confront fissures that lie at the heart of society in today’s world. His installations and performance have a visceral immediacy, often imbibed with a sense of anarchy and of the capacity of art and music to act as a passage to achieving a different perceptual or conscious state. Sound and image serve to illicit a guttural and at times absurdist respite from any and all forms of mediocrity and apathy.
Tai Shani's multidisciplinary practice, comprising performance, film, photography and installation, revolves around experimental narrative texts. These alternate between familiar narrative tropes and structures and theoretical prose in order to explore the construction of subjectivity, excess and affect and the epic in relation to feminine realism. Shani has presented her work extensively in the UK and abroad.
Joey Holder's work is an investigation of fluidity, whether in organic matter or concerning questions of
technology and nature. Layering images and items drawn from biology, nanotechnology and natural history Holder splices computer interfaces, screen shots and text, generating sequences whereby bodies transform and mutate in a congealing of subjects.
The work of Simeon Barclay (b. Huddersfield 1975) is concerned with the visual accumulation of identity, and deals with questions of class, celebrity race and gender construction. For Open Source, he will create a new series of posters to adorn the surrounding area of Gillett Square, an area that finds itself in a rapid process of regeneration and gentrification. Idealised or pinup images of masculinity or femininity punctuate seductive images drawn from advertising or products encountered in everyday life, carefully composed in a pared down and graceful visual style. Often directly confronting his background as a working class black man growing up in the North of England, his work acts on a fault-line between social realities, recent popular cultural histories, and visions of aspiration, elegance and refinement.