Through regular collaborative workshops organized over three years, the groups experimented with drawing, music, and movement. They considered song and gesture as ways to communicate through the body and reflected on how the voice can shift registers to express pain, joy, rage, and care, whether alone or surrounded and supported by other voices. In a process that is documented throughout the film, the groups rehearse and eventually perform together, referencing the long history of singing as an act of collective self-care.
Bass Notes and SiteLines is part of Rituals of Speaking, a film-led series that explores how artists represent the voices of others through collective storytelling.
Images: Bass Notes and SiteLines: The Voice as a Site of Resistance and the Body as a Site of Resilience, stills (2022).
Bass Notes and SiteLines: The Voice as a Site of Resistance and the Body as a Site of Resilience was commissioned as part of Radio Ballads, an ongoing multi-year project at Serpentine in London that asks how we can start to understand, listen, learn, and heal through collective storytelling. In a time of multiple crises, the project explored how voices–individual and collective–can illuminate structures of care and allow us to reflect on living conditions and the effects of labor in our communities. Radio Ballads was organized by Serpentine Civic (Amal Khalaf, Elizabeth Graham and Layla Gatens), in partnership with New Town Culture, a Cultural Impact Award-winning project, part of London Borough of Culture, a Mayor of London initiative. The project was produced in collaboration with Pause, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Children and Adult Social Care Services and InJoy Choir.
Collaborators: Aleecha, Amelia Grant, Amy Pope, Claire, Claire Martin, Charlotte Marshall-Vale, Danielle, Deanna, Gemma, Georgia Barrington, Georgia Scotland, Jasmine, Joanne Vaughan, Kellyanne, Kirsty, LBBD Community Solutions, Lois Otu Enwo, Lucy, Paige, Paula Robinson, Petra Prince, Sam Griffiths, Sandra Cammock, Sarah, Sarah Boosey, Sarah Foord, Shannon, Stacey, Susan Cade, Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Tia Rose, Tish Marble, Tracey Hayward, and Wendy Pickles.
About the artist
Helen Cammock uses film, photography, print, text, song, and performance to examine mainstream historical and contemporary narratives about Blackness, womanhood, oppression and resistance, wealth and power, poverty and vulnerability. Her works often cut across time and geography, layering multiple voices as she investigates the cyclical nature of histories in her visual and aural assemblages.
In 2017, she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, and in 2019 she was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize. Helen has exhibited and performed worldwide including recent solo shows at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer’s Gallery, and Serpentine Galleries (London, UK); Performing Arts Center STUK (Leuven, Belgium); Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia, Italy); VOID (Derry, Northern Ireland); the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland); Kestner Gesellshaft (Hannover, Germany); and Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg, Germany).