RITUAL EXCHANGES 2019-20
Ritual Exchanges is a multi media investigation into autonomous vernacular creativity and traditional celebration in 3 coastal towns.
In partnership with artists,archivists and local participants, we collaborated, argued and produced audio visual pieces, multiples, text and soundworks for broadcast and installation in public realm spaces.
The project explored recurrent themes and the motives and investment of participants; the longevity of practices, games and events and the importance of key sites in maintaining the cycles of expression, celebration and liminality in each town.
In recent projects we have engaged with grass roots events in Cumbria and Yorkshire as artists, supporters and critical friends. We have made contacts within cultural industries, broadcasting, autonomous music and arts scenes and with folk archivists and performers.
At the same time, old alliances have been rekindled with people who can work together, see where an idea is coming from and where it might go.
These have provided access to a wealth of traditional and vernacular material and new contacts here and in the USA. We want to make new work exploring that material, reflecting and contributing to the traditions and motivating forces behind it. RE is the first attempt.
Stymied to some degree by Covid, the work changed its shape while retaining its focus and filling the space available.
“The film is really fantastic and the split screen works really well for the material. Good to hear you’ve been working with Doc Rowe, who is a good friend and has such a wealth of knowledge on anything folkloric. I would be delighted to have a high-res version for the museums archives.” (Museum Of British Folklore)
Audience responses to Horngarth and wider project:
" ..there's a great air of reassurance carried in your film. Perhaps it's the combination of Lol Hodgson's rich voice and his steady pace recounting the why's and wherefores, unquestioning something that is and that will be..I hope Lol et al can make it happen next year.'
"A delightful and gentle film."
"How fascinating.. Beautiful, atmospheric film"
"Really thought the double screen worked well. Sitting and watching the whole film created a pleasant feeling of calmness, thanks.
It reminded me of something I think Thomas Hardy wrote, about how you can tell if it's real because the people involved in the tradition (I think it was dancing) aren't laughing and enjoying it. They are just resigned to the fact that it has to be done, and done in a particular way."
"I really liked that. I had no idea it existed. I liked all the old footage next to the more recent. Such along tradition. Fab"
"Horngarth is wonderful. Beautifully edited and as always - a great idea."
'Twas grand. First gathering I've ever been to where people got giggly over rogation ceremonies whilst wearing masks.
"Great short films and indeed a fabulous time in scarves, hats and masks"
"An intriguing meditation on tradition. Really well put together....subtle soundscapes, interviews and adroit narration."
“Here in Ulverston as the ‘Oss was at the Market Cross, Furness Tradition were running a zoom event for the year end with live performances of music song and dance during which we were able to include a mummers play and partner up with Ritual Exchanges to bring live video of The ‘Oss at the Market Cross into the gathering. What is it? Where is it from? Why here? Why now? The unknowing, the scariness makes us ask questions we know cannot be answered and they must be looked at internally. These are traditions and events which “need done” and when done then we can go on our way and things are more settled. The Ulverston ‘Oss is a relative youngster – or is she? A marvellous construction, She strides towards the Market Cross out of a wreath of bad weather. A brief message was passed around town short hours previously and a crowd has gathered to witness the appearance. The event is brief and when done the ‘Oss is gone – to where? This year has been difficult due to social restrictions but these events have continued across the country often whether folk are there to experience them or not. Things needed to be settled and the year turned in whatever ways needed in villages and towns where these things happen. Things are thus sorted and settled and we look forward through insecurities to the sure knowledge that the ‘Oss will rise. “
(Furness Traditions Festival on 'Safe Rising' event.)