Calls from Blethenal Green, 5th – 28th July 2013

Posted by on Jun 29, 2013 | Comments Off on Calls from Blethenal Green, 5th – 28th July 2013

Calls from Blethenal Green, 5th – 28th July 2013

Catherine Clover & Johanna Hällsten


Opening night: Thursday 4th July 6 – 9pm, part of the Whitechapel First Thursday programme

Exhibition opening times: Fridays 2 – 6pm, Saturdays & Sundays 12 – 6pm

Performance Times:
Thursday 4th
7:20pm Stephen G Jakeman & the St John’s at Hackney bell ringers
8pm Secular Singers perform a Bethnal Green soundscape
Saturday 6th
4pm Stephen G Jakeman & the St John’s at Hackney bell ringers
Friday 12th
7:30pm Stephen G Jakeman & the St John’s at Hackney bell ringers (tbc)
8pm Secular Singers perform a Bethnal Green soundscape
Saturday 13th
4pm Stephen G Jakeman & the St John’s at Hackney bell ringers

Calls from Blethenal Green is collaboration between artists Catherine Clover & Johanna Hällsten. It explores the interactions between the different human and animal communities present in the area. Clover & Hällsten are interested in migration, cultural difference, and social engagement of both animals and humans. Location is pivotal in the understanding of human and animal behavior; the identification of place and home are key elements in this process, so the project responds site specifically to the church building and interacts directly with the church and wider Bethnal Green community. The artists will investigate these relations through voice, language and song, translation and dialogue. With communication at the centre of the project, the artists are developing a theme of call and response through a local choir, local birdsong and the manual ringing of the newly renovated bells in the belfry. The project will include live performance, moving image projections and recorded sound.
The Bethnal Green area is historically and culturally significant. The buying and selling of birds, legal and illegal, has a long history in the area. On Sundays in the late 1880s Sclater Street was full of bird trade – birdcages, bird fanciers, trappers and poachers. Birdcalls and bird patter (voices of dealers) filled the air. Calls from Blethenal Green uses the original name for Bethnal Green, associated with the word blether – to continuously chatter/speak.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with commissioned essays by Amy Sherlock and Shauna Laurel Jones.

During the exhibition the Praxis New Voices Festival (13th July, with pre-events in the church on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th July) will take place in the Museums garden adjoining the church. The event will celebrate the rich musical and cultural diversity in Tower Hamlets, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding and community cohesion. The exhibition and performances will feature as part of the pre-events and the exhibition will be open as normal during the festival.

Catherine Clover
Born and brought up in London, UK, Catherine studied at Wimbledon School of Art/University of East London in Fine Art (Painting). After several years’ practice, she pursued an arts residency with Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne, Australia and has been based there since the mid 90s. Her audiovisual installation practice uses field recording, digital imaging and text to focus on the human animal relationship in the urban environment. Ideas about communication within species and across species are addressed through voice and language and the interplay between listening and seeing. Recent projects include; Field Notes collaboration with Clyde McGill Trocadero Art Space Melbourne (2013); The Auspices Moreart Moreland City Council Public Art Show Melbourne (2012); A Filth of Starlings Platform Public Contemporary Space, Melbourne (2012); Billboard Art Projects New Orleans US (2011); birdbrain Soundfjord, London/Emerson Galerie, Berlin/ Screenspace, Melbourne (2011). She regurlarly delivers papers at conferences (such as Regarding the Earth Monash/RMIT Universities Melbourne, 2012) and publishes (such as Tierstudien 01 Animalität und Ästhetik edited by Jessica Ullrich pub Neofelis Verlag Berlin, centre page spread, 2012).

Johanna Hällsten
Born in Sweden, where she studied printmaking and then moved to the UK to complete a PhD in Fine Art and Philosophy on the uncanny in contemporary installation art, in 2004 at Staffordshire University (UK). Her current practice is situated within, and tests, the boundaries between environmental aesthetics, soundscape studies, music and philosophies concerning translation, space, duration and movement. She is interested in the perpetual cycle of translation between words and speech, speech and the visual, visual and auditory, auditory and words and so on: where interpretation systems are being unraveled and reassembled again. Recent exhibitions include; Screening Nature, Whitechapel, London (2013); “Hoopla” part of CREATE at Sugerhouse Studios, London (2012); Rural Architectures, Binaural/Nodar, Portugal (2012); commissioned by Royal Pavilions Brighton to produce A Regency Utopia for White Nights festival (2011); Everyday Opera for ANTI festival, Kuopio, Finland (2010); part of EV+A, Limerick, Ireland (2010); and some of her writing can be found in Korkea Taivas, (2012), and in n.Paradoxa (2007) for example.