Dead Rat Orchestra (UK)
James Holcombe (UK)

Sat 07 Nov 2015

Toynbee Studios

Photo by James Holcombe


Tyburnia explores the parallels between contemporary and historical notions of crime in relation to economy and property, the spectacular nature of punishment, and the state’s use of the body as a site for political control. Shot on 8mm and 16mm film and using hand processing and historical chemical techniques, Tyburnia is presented here as a unique three screen expanded performative film piece. Bringing their gritty, rough hewn interpretations and dexterous multi-instrumentalism; Dead Rat Orchestra will perform a live sound track to Tyburnia featuring songs that were composed for those condemned to ‘dance the Tyburn jig’. The work offers a new understanding to broadside ballads that have become a staple of folk music, here presented in closer association to their original socio-political context.

Dead Rat Orchestra are one of the UK’s most innovative ensembles, their work has been performed, installed and experienced across Europe, North America and the Middle East, and their soundtracks have featured on BBC Television and at Tate Modern. They have toured and performed internationally with the likes of Martin Carthy, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Pere Ubu, Silver Mount Zion, Eric Chenaux, Silver Apples and Baby Dee. Aside from their own unique performances, they have composed works for performance by the London Contemporary Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and the Ukranian Conservatoire, and collaborated with The Pitt Rivers Museum.

James Holcombe’s work combines a deep material engagement with film; the chance outcomes possible through expanded projection and improvisation across sound and image. Lyrical structuralism collides with handmade film techniques, chemical interventions, and socio-political historical narratives.

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