A special online commission for Chisenhale Gallery’s website produced by London-based artists, Milo van der Maaden and Imran Perretta, as part of our 21st Century programme.
This online commission is a new sound work produced by van der Maaden and Perretta. The work is composed from elements of an audio recording of a live performance of Pale News, a theatrical script and musical score, devised by van der Maaden and Perretta in collaboration with LGBTQ community members. The live performance of Pale News took place in Victoria Park in August 2016.
Pale News, both performance and sound work, responds to the history of Victoria Park, which is often referred to as the ‘People’s Park’. As the first purpose built communal green space in London, the park was established in 1845 to promote public health for local factory workers whilst also increasing their productivity.
Also reflecting on the park’s history as a site of political activism, Pale News explores the potential of collective action in a contemporary climate marked by division. The script is comprised of news articles and personal stories, presenting individual and collective experiences of precarious housing, as well as labour conditions and the normalization of xenophobia, particularly in the post-Brexit moment. At the intersection of these concerns around gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religion, Pale News reflects on pinkwashing where LGBTQ rights are used to market a seemingly liberal attitude of tolerance, but in fact further marginalise local minority groups within current anti-immigrant and Islamophobic discourses. Drawing its formal aspects from Western oratory traditions and Bengali folk-theatre, the performance was enacted alongside a live musical score played on the harmonium.
The confessional monologues of each cast member are presented as online excerpts from the live performance of Pale News. Reflecting on personal narratives of oppression and marginalisation, the audio works document the cast in seeking solidarity and collective agency through the act of public address.
The full script of Pale News is available to download here.
Produced in partnership with Tower Hamlets Parks and Open Spaces Department.
Chisenhale Gallery’s 21st Century programme 2015-16 is supported by Marie and Joe Donnelly.