Previously at the ICA - Films
2 Dec 2010
The extraordinary 22-piece women's choir Gaggle have been invited by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White to re-interpret a 1969 cantata for women's voices and to perform it live at the ICA.
The radically remixed cantata takes as a starting point The Brilliant and the Dark, a work for women’s voices composed by Malcolm Williamson and Ursula Vaughan Williams, and first performed by 1,000 women volunteers at the Royal Albert Hall. The libretto approaches history from the Middle Ages to WWII through the eyes of women, via characters including witch-hunters, embroiderers, crusaders’ wives, plague stricken women, mourners and war workers. Simpson and White became interested in the piece following an artists’ commission for the Women’s Library and have negotiated with music publishers Josef Weinberger for permission to use elements from the original choral work. The Brilliant and the Dark is released under a copyleft license – generating a new resource available for the future.
Part of the regular Artists’ Film Club at the ICA, prior to the performance, artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White will present their new short video work, featuring Gaggle, and filmed on location at The Women's Library. In the video the choir re-animate the 1969 performance through restaging situations – from the backstage preparations, to choreographed moments in the 1969 performance – which are documented in photographs held in the Women’s Library collection. Gaggle are seen in new costumes referencing the originals and amidst remade props.