On view at Serpentine (31 March – 29 May 2022) and Barking Town Hall and Learning Centre (2-17 April 2o22), Radio Ballads presents new film commissions alongside paintings, drawings and contextual materials that share each project’s collaborative research process. Learn more here.
“I’m interested in how resistance and resilience can be shared by people but be presented in different ways, and how they can be read differently because of a person’s experience, context and subject position.” Artist Helen Cammock is interested in what resistance and resilience look and feel like, and the relationship between them. For Bass Notes and SiteLines, she asks how we use our bodies and voices to articulate what we feel, and how aware we are of these performances – both in a specific moment and throughout our lives.
As a former social worker, Cammock is conscious of the deep responsibilities that these workers hold for others, and the impact that this can have in people’s lives. Through sessions with both people receiving care and those who offer it through adult social care work and an organisation called Pause, Cammock explored these ideas and others using drawing, photography, film, and song. In their collaborative workshops, the groups sang together, considered gesture as a way to communicate through the body, and explored their connections through music and lyric writing – reflecting on how the voice can shift registers to express pain, joy, rage, and care, whether alone or surrounded and supported by other voices.
For the Radio Ballads exhibition, Cammock has shared the process of developing this project by presenting a film, a fabric banner, a reading table of reference materials, group drawings created through meditation exercises, and a live voice performance composed through collaborative songwriting and singing sessions. Throughout Bass Notes and
SiteLines, Cammock and her collaborators explored the ways in which text, voice and body can come together to offer forms of care and demonstrate resistance and resilience.
Project partners are Pause, LBBD Adult Social Care Services, and InJOY Choir.
Thanks to all project collaborators: Tia Rose, Charlotte Marshall-Vale, Claire Martin, Amelia Grant, Amy Pope, Lois Otu Enwo, Paula Robinson, Petra Prince, Susan Cade, Georgia Scotland, Sarah Boosey, Aleecha, Jasmine, Lucy, Kellyanne, Sarah, Paige, Shannon, Kirsty, Deanna, Claire, Danielle, Gemma, Stacey, Wendy Pickles, Sandra Cammock, Tish Marble, Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Sam Griffiths, Georgia Barrington, Tracey Hayward, Joanne Vaughan, Sarah Foord and LBBD Community Solutions.
Project Assistant: Becky Warnock
Singing Facilitator and Singing Group Leader: Katie Slaymaker
Helen Cammock (b. Staffordshire, 1970) is based between Brighton and London. She works across film, photography, performance, and print. Characterised by its fragmented, non-linear nature, her practice questions mainstream historical narratives around Blackness, gender, wealth, power, poverty, and vulnerability. Mining her own biography in addition to histories of oppression and resistance – forming multiple and layered narratives – Cammock reveals the cyclical nature of history. Her work makes leaps between different places, times and contexts, asking us to acknowledge complex global relations and the inextricable connection between the individual and society.
Cammock was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize 2019 and winner of the 7th Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Over the past three years, she has had solo shows at Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover; Touchstones Gallery, Rochdale; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; STUK, Belgium; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; and Turner Contemporary, Margate. Cammock has staged performances at institutions including Turner Contemporary, Whitechapel Gallery, London and the ICA, London.
New Town Culture
Radio Ballads is part of New Town Culture – a pioneering programme of artistic and cultural activity taking place in adult and children’s social care across the entire borough. This is a Cultural Impact Award winning project, part of London Borough of Culture, a Mayor of London initiative. New Town Culture responds to the incredible stories, knowledge and skills of the residents of Barking and Dagenham, delivering a programme of workshops, exhibitions, radio broadcasts, live performances and courses targeted at people using social care services in our borough. Working closely with social care professionals and artists, the project hopes to unlock the value of art and culture for all our communities. Its ambition is to support social workers and carers to try out new ways of working to enhance the brilliant work they already do.