Josh Bitelli

A special online commission for Chisenhale Gallery’s website produced by London-based artist, Josh Bitelli as part of our 21st Century programme.

For his commission, Bitelli worked with members of the London Doctors Choir to present a musical performance that he composed for soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The musical score draws on sections of Claude Debussy’s Préludes (1909-1913), as well as excerpts from pop and metal music and film soundtracks, all of which use patterns of repetition and simple chord construction to evoke emotional response. The lyrics are drawn from sources including guidelines for medical etiquette, the pre-operative oral contract and case studies on consumption of foreign bodies published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The performance took place at Chisenhale Gallery in February 2016.

Bitelli’s online element of the commission is a broadcast of the performance on Resonance FM radio station. The score combines medical language and popular tropes of music composition to explore the roles of care and empathy – both in the context of professional doctor-patient relations and amateur musical performance. Bitelli incorporates a series of warm-up exercises, focusing on various body parts and muscle groups and their relationship to the voice. This heightened awareness of the performers’ bodies contrasts with the clinical vocabulary of the medical case studies.

In this work, Bitelli does not seek to re-enact moments of medical care, but to re-articulate its language through the doctors’ embodiment and rehearsal of the score and the scores resonance as a live event, a radio broadcast, and an online archive.

Bitelli’s piece was aired on Micro Clear Spot, Resonance FM on Tuesday 21 June, 5pm and will be repeated on Monday 27 July at 10:30am.

Chisenhale Gallery’s 21st Century programme 2015-16 is supported by
Marie and Joe Donnelly.

With a special thanks to: London Doctors Choir, Roy Dodds, Jo Hutton, Rebecca Lewin, Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe.
  • 21st century
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