Elizabeth Price

SLOW DANS

82 Borough Road, London
04 September 2020 - 25 October 2020
Captivating ★★★★  The Observer

The three works that make up SLOW DANS  – KOHL, FELT TIP and THE TEACHERS – present a fictional past, parallel present and imagined future, interweaving compact narratives that explore social and sexual histories and our changing relationship between the material and the digital. 

Featuring a montage of image, graphics, speech, and sound, SLOW DANS is designed to be experienced in a darkened space. The works, between five and 10 minutes in duration, are presented across a total of 10 suspended screens, with each piece spanning over six metres in width or height. The total viewing time for SLOW DANS is 25 minutes. Whether seated or standing in the space, or watching above from a mezzanine level, visitors can view the full cycle twice within a one-hour pre-booked slot.

Presented in London for the first time, the large-scale installation was conceived by the artist for a repurposed 19th-century assembly room and is the first major show of Price’s work in London since she was awarded the Turner Prize in 2012. 

SLOW DANS has in parts or in full been previously shown at the Walker Art Center, Nottingham Contemporary and the Whitworth, The University of Manchester.


Image: Still from Elizabeth Price’s KOHL (2018). KOHL is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price

THE TEACHERS

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THE TEACHERS

A satirical tale set in the future, amid a culture similar to our own, THE TEACHERS narrates a contagion that has spread rapidly through the establishment. Those affected no longer communicate through talking. As a proxy for speech, the ‘teachers’ in the work make and wear elaborate costumes and perform absurd and profane rituals. The story is delivered by a group of four academics who dispute the origins and meaning of their imposed silence. Each projection expresses a different voice, visually differentiated only through their formal attire.

The work draws closely on dress designs featured in Vogue magazines, utilised to filter through robes worn by professors, priests or judges. Price’s mesmeric edit across four channels, take on the appearance of a strange and sombre dance.


Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's THE TEACHERS (2019). THE TEACHERS is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price

FELT TIP

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FELT TIP

FELT TIP interweaves design motifs of men’s neckties from the 1970s–80s, with patterns that evoke electronic networks and digital programmatic systems. The ties are presented as symbols for demographic and technological revolutions taken place in the ‘professional’ office space. They also act as a familiar visual reference-point to examine the role of certain garments in assigning gender and class and dictating performativity vs agency to varying degrees. 

Projected floor to ceiling at over 15 feet high, the screen is split in two to allow for a paralleled distinction in the artwork between the digital space associated with storage, matter and waste presented on the lower screen, and visual themes of language and executive authority playing in the upper screen.


Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's FELT TIP. FELT TIP is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price

KOHL

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KOHL

Conceived as a ghost story, KOHL describes a vast and unseen underground liquid network that hosts mysterious apparitions called “visitants”. 

The images featured in KOHL are taken from the archive of Albert Walker, a former miner who systematically photographed UK coal-mine architecture between 1970–90. In Price’s work, these images appear upside down and in negative to reference the erasure of industrial landmarks whilst revealing how the mining of coal has underpinned much of our present social reality. KOHL gestures to what remains, and provokes an engagement with the evolution of architectural and societal fixtures that map our present.


Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's KOHL (2018). KOHL is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price

FOOTNOTES

Excerpt from INKY SPIT
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FOOTNOTES

Elizabeth Price's new series of short single-screen video works FOOTNOTES mines some of the social, cultural and technical histories in her new video installation SLOW DANS. Created by Price whilst self-isolating during lockdown, the videos use ad-hoc props and sets built by hand and combine footage created in total darkness using infra-red light with sound and image debris scavenged from the internet.

These videos are being released weekly at 12:00 BST on Thursdays.

  • 17 September 2020: STILETTO
  • 24 September 2020: SUPERTUNICA
  • 1 October 2020: COAL
  • 15 October 2020: INKY SPIT

WATCH NOW

As part of the series of new digital commissions by Elizabeth Price, the artist will also be sharing a two-part lecture series. The first online lecture takes us inside the edit and image library of SLOW DANS. Meanwhile, the second sees Price consider the various physical and digital treatments of archival materials and historical artefacts in SLOW DANS. 

  • Lecture #1: THE CHORUS AND THEIR MEMORY

WATCH NOW


Video: Excerpt from INKY SPIT, (from FOOTNOTES series) (2020) An Artangel Commission ©️ Elizabeth Price. 

Events Programme

Currently showing: Hannah Catherine Jones, BLACK KOHL
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Events programme

A programme of events inspired by SLOW DANS takes place throughout the final month of the exhibition. Contributors to the programme include writers, poets, musicians, and artists all invited to respond to the themes present in the Elizabeth Price's trilogy of works.

Each present their interpretations in their chosen craft, filmed inside the exhibition on Borough road in September 2020, and presented here on our website. 

The series of videos are being released at 18:00 BST weekly on Tuesdays throughout October 2020. 

  • 6 October 2020: Jay Bernard, Cookies
  • 13 October 2020: Carol Morley, Tongue Tied
  • 20 October 2020: Margarita Gluzberg, Actual Song of the Canary Bird
  • 20 October 2020: Hannah Catherine Jones, BLACK KOHL

Video: Margarita Hannah Catherine Jones, BLACK KOHL (part of SLOW DANS events programme) (2020). This video is also available to watch on VimeoYouTube and Facebook.

About Elizabeth Price

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Elizabeth Price

Elizabeth Price was born in Bradford in 1966 and lives and works in London. 

Often beginning with research into archives and museum collections, Price creates short videos that explore the social and political histories of artefacts, architectures, and documents.

Editing plays a key role in Price’s practice, and her arresting works are widely regarded for the interplay of the visual and aural – as witnessed in the rapid succession of imagery combined with layered soundtracks. During this process, archival footage is brought into conversation with digitally rendered imagery, whilst the narrative moves between historical facts and strange fiction. 

Pop music and its technologies are featured often in Price’s work and her soundtracks include percussion and songs. This interest in pop is long-standing as Price was a founding member and songwriter for the 80’s indie band Talulah Gosh.

In 2012, she was awarded the Turner Prize for her video installation THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979. In 2013, she won the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. Price studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and the University of Leeds. 

She has exhibited in group exhibitions internationally, and has had solo exhibitions at Tate Britain, UK; Chicago Institute of Art, USA; Julia Stoschek Foundation, Düsseldorf; The Baltic, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK, and The Whitworth, Manchester, UK. Throughout her career, Price has continued to work in academia, and is presently Professor of Film and Photography in the School of Art, Kingston University, UK.

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Image: Elizabeth Price at SLOW DANS, at the Assembly room, London. Presented by Artangel. Photographer: Zeinab Batchelor

Book: SLOW DANS

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SLOW DANS

£16.95 from Cornerhouse

In FELT TIP, an equivalence is struck between the depths of the coal mine and the computer cache, a correspondence forged between seeming opposites: highly material solid rock and immaterial digital files. — Pavel Pyś

Interspersing sections of stills from Price’s work, Katrina Palmer’s text narrates her experience of viewing SLOW DANS, Pavel Pyś draws parallels between Price’s work and baroque trompe l’oeil painting, and Adrian Rifkin considers Price’s work in a world saturated with archives and images. Mary Griffiths’ glossary provides backgrounds to a wide range of source materials from mine-head architecture pitheads to men’s neckties from the 1970s to 1980s.

  • Published by Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella and The Whitworth, University of Manchester.
  • Soft-back
  • 144 pages, colour
  • ISBN: 9781902201337
  • Designed by Spencer Fenton
  • Edited by James Lingwood,Steven Bode and Mary Griffiths

Press

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It is a signature Price combination: formal ideas mingled with painstaking research, all transmuted into poetry by means of a fierce and rigorous imagination.– Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian

Selected Press

The Assembly Room, London

Out of this melee emerges a trio of stories that have a funny, haunting tale to tell about labour and the world of work, about women’s place in that world, about the way society and technology have changed in Price’s own lifetime. – Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian, 25 August 2020
Set to pulsating electronic music, the series builds to crescendo at a thriller pace. – Kabir Jhala and Tom Seymour, The Art Newspaper, 18 September 2020
Each lures us into a world that is familiar yet alien, a parallel fiction in which we are plunged into an unfolding history, revealed to us through a chorus of unidentified voices. – Hettie Judah, i News, 31 August 2020
These are superbly orchestrated by Price – who used to be a professional musician – into a surging soundtrack that incorporates mouse clicks, humming hard drives and what might be the furious internal monologue of a keyboard. – Laura Cumming, The Observer, 13 September 2020
The films of Elizabeth Price are complex, playfully and intricately layered, and visually and aurally arresting... In Price’s fictionalised world, past and future, facts, half-facts and tall tales elide. – Fisun Güner, The Quietus, 3 October 2020
Price’s works have balanced their critical fascination with the thrall of commodity culture with an increasingly research-driven attention to the social world of labour and industry, and the different register of solidarity and sociality embedded in labour and making. Seeing SLOW DANS – an iteration of Price’s most recent trilogy of videos, co-commissioned by Artangel – glowing gaudily in the cavernous space of a nineteenth-century public assembly room in South London conjures ghosts: who assembled here, once? Suffragettes? Union men? Ballroom-dancing enthusiasts? Disco divas? Political groupings? – J.J. Charlesworth, Art Review, 8 October 2020

Walker Art Center

Elizabeth Price has been thinking about men’s neckties. The result is “Felt Tip,” a pointed survey of them as status symbols, digital design and more. It’s one of two new floor-to-ceiling (20 feet) moving-image works making their debuts. The other, “Kohl,” looks at coal’s many uses, from fuel to cosmetic. Ms. Price, the London-based Turner Prize winner, uses scrolling text, computerized voices and music to make her statements about class and gender. – Anita Gates, The New York Times, 25 October 2018

Through the use of architectural makeup of the room, Price creates a sense of the hierarchical structures that are referenced in the film. – Sheila Regan, City Pages, 11 December 2018
One of the most common—and fatal—industrial diseases related to mining was black lung, which produced what was called “inky spit”. So there’s this idea of this involuntary symptomatic emission from the history of mining, from both the problems of its production, the violence of its precipitous termination and the collective failure to deal with the burden of debt that we have to the people who have taken this stuff up. And this emission is here manifesting itself in these cold and useless places that are barely inhabited. – Elizabeth Price interviewed by Louisa Buck, The Art Newspaper, 7 December 2018
Nottingham Contemporary
For Price, it is in the digital realm that we can most clearly see the possibilities of the non-hierarchical sets of connections imagined in her films. ‘I’m interested in the sense of the digital, not as a radically new kind of experience of the world and images, but actually this quite dirty, confused, mixed-up realm, in which everything washes up, a promiscuous space of many, many different kinds of things.’  – Gabrielle Schwarz, Apollo Magazine, 21 February 2019
Price is skilled in constructing inviting surfaces: apparently simple stories, crisply edited percussive sound. Machine-cool the works may be, but not alienating. Once you’re in, they yield deeper oddness and affinities. – Hettie Judah, Frieze Magazine, 12 March 2019
the Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Animating all her work, too, is a mischievous sense of humour, ensuring that her serious intent – cleverly and deftly meditating on diverse issues including feminism and class, the decline of heavy industry in Britain, and the manipulative lies foisted upon consumers by advertising – never makes the viewer glaze over or recoil. – Alistair Sooke, The Telegraph, 25 October 2019
Remembering is not always a private activity; it is the precarious ground on which relationships are built, society is maintained and hierarchies are enshrined. Price is well aware of this, creating a fictional past, parallel present and imagined future for her first video trilogy, SLOW DANS. – Hannah Clugston, Guardian, 28 October 2019 

Production Credits

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Production Credits

Music: Andrew Dickens and Elizabeth Price
CGI Animation: Anne Haaning
Additional CGI (FELT TIP) Gabriel Stones and Ollie Dook
Motion Graphics and live sound: Rose Goddard
Font Design: Spencer Fenton
Director of Photography: (FELT TIP, THE TEACHERS) Jamie Quantrill
Stills Photography: Andrew Bruce; Theo Christelis
Editor: Elizabeth Price

KOHL features photographs from the Albert Walker Archive, courtesy of the National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield. It was produced with support from Arts Council England

FELT TIP was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

THE TEACHERS was commissioned by Artangel and The Whitworth, University of Manchester.

The development and realisation of SLOW DANS have been generously enabled by Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, London through the Research Centre for Contemporary Art.

Special thanks to Steven Bode, Susanna Chisholm and Pavel Pys (FELT TIP). Mary Griffiths and James Lingwood (THE TEACHERS). Additional thanks to Simon Bedwell and Rose Goddard.


Image: Still from Elizabeth Price's KOHL (2018). KOHL is part of the trilogy SLOW DANS a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photograph: © Elizabeth Price

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Credits

SLOW DANS is a collaboration between Artangel, Film and Video Umbrella, Glasgow Life, Nottingham Contemporary, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. The SLOW DANS publication is supported by Eileen Cohen. SLOW DANS is presented at The Assembly Room in London through the generosity of Peabody.

SLOW DANS is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works commissioned and produced by Artangel to galleries and museums across the UK. The Artangel Collection has been developed in partnership with Tate and is generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation.

Artangel commissioning programme is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International CircleSpecial Angels, Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels.

 


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