What They Could Do, They Did

Arts, events and culture in South London and beyond...

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David Tudor's Rainforest IV at Area 10, Peckham

David Tudor's environmental sound piece Rainforest IV is to be performed at Area 10 Project Space, Peckham, from July 3-4. It's a monumental piece, in size, scope and time, making use of the resonant properties of physically installed objects to create a strongly immersive and collaborative work.

Tudor himself describes it thus:

"In 1973 I made 'Rainforest IV' where the objects that the sounds are
sent through are very large so that they have their own presence in
space. I mean, they actually sound locally in the space where they are
hanging as well as being supplemented by a loudspeaker system. The
idea is that if you send sound through materials, the resonant nodes
of the materials are released and those can be picked up by contact
microphones or phono cartridges and those have a different kind of
sound than the object does when you listen to it very close where it's
hanging. It becomes like a reflection and it makes, I thought, quite a
harmonious and beautiful atmosphere, because wherever you move in the
room, you have reminiscences of something you have heard at some other
point in the space. It's (can be) a large group piece actually, any
number of people can participate in it. It's important that each
person makes their own sculpture, decides how to program it, and
performs it themselves. Very little instruction is necessary for the
piece. I've found it to be almost self-teaching because you discover
how to program the devices by seeing what they like to accept. Its
been a very rewarding type of activity for me. It's been done by as
large a group as 14 people. So that was how our Rainforest was done."

-- David Tudor

The performance features several luminaries of the London DIY/noise scene.

Read more on the Area 10 website.

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Heavy Pencil (ICA), Transformations (National Gallery)

Two thrilling events featuring WTCD cohorts appearing around central London this week:

Heavy Pencil (ICA)
Thursday 7 May | FREE

Mimi Leung is taking a break from drawing landscapes and recording dingo songs in the Outback in order to visit the ICA with her cohorts, visual and sound artists Tom Moore and Ad Hoc. They will be drawing in response to music produced by each other, plus better-known songs remixed live by Ad Hoc, and they might even play a live song or two.

Transformations (National Gallery)
Friday 8 May | FREE

Princes, showgirls, painted ladies and dazzling gentlemen descend on the Gallery in May to take part in a series of live art events and costume parades.

Models wearing costumes designed and interpreted by students from Wimbledon College of Art – and inspired by paintings in the National Gallery Collection – perform outside the Gallery between 5.30pm and 6pm (weather permitting).

After the parade outside, the Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing Theatre stage becomes a catwalk for a special free show. Here, the costume designers and makers will talk about their creations.

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The Forest's Golden Hour in Camden tonight

Our good friends from beyond Hadrian's Wall, Edinburgh's marvellous Forest Publications, are embarking on a Europe-wide tour of their poetry, prose and songsmithing. The Golden Hour passes through London tonight, appearing at The Camden Head for an evening's varied entertainment.

Entry a meagre £3, including a free copy of their Stolen Stories book.

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WTCD: Escape, April 2009

Tomorrow! This month curated by by Tom Moore, and featuring Organised Violence, AEO, The Ethical Debating Society, Dire Euphorrhea and more...

In one month's time, it's the first birthday of the Escape series, so watch this space for an exciting megamix of a lineup. In the meantime, we're thrilled and slightly perplexed to be involved in events at the ICA and National Gallery over the next two weeks. Details very very shortly.

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Greenwich Village Market to close, Brixton Market gets reprieve...

I was devastated to discover that Greenwich Village Market is to cease trading after this weekend (21/22 March) — to make way for a housing development which is no longer to take place. As the Evening Standard reports:

The land was originally earmarked for housing but the recession stopped that. The developers have pulled out. Yet the owners of the site, Capital and Counties, have still given the market notice to quit.

There is talk of Greenwich University buying the land but even if it happened, the site would be vacant for years while a proposal is worked up and taken through the planning process.

For those who aren't familiar with the Greenwich markets, the Village Market is the slightly scruffy outdoors part towards the station, open on weekends with myriad antiques, record and bric-a-brac stalls of the type that can be eminently rooted through for a full afternoon. It's adjacent to the fantastically nichey Old Bottle Shop, and has long been my favourite of London's markets, nestling between the overpriced tourist-magnets of Portobello and Spitalfields and the glorious rock-bottom junk hoard of Deptford.

And yes, it's being turfed out to remain derelict for the foreseeable future. Thanks, developers. This weekend is the last weekend that they will be trading, and I urge people to make a swift visit before it's gone.

There's also news that the venerable Brixton Market almost befell the same fate, with London Associated Properties attempting to steamroller it into a "West End-style shopping precinct", but it has received a temporary reprieve thanks to the onset of recession and protests from local traders. There's a current attempt to get the site listed to make this arrangement permanent - here's hoping...

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London Twitter feeds

It's recently been announced that Her Maj herself is to take up twittering. There's no sign yet of any activity, but there are a whole load of other London-centric twitter feeds to dig into...

Here are some favourites, each in 140 characters or less.

  • towerbridge is a brilliant feed of announcements each time Tower Bridge is lowered or raised.
  • se1 covers the postcode area around London Bridge, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Borough & Bermondsey.
  • Londonist is run by the eponymous website, covering culture, food+drink, etc.
  • DowningStreet features all things related to the PM and his cohorts
  • uktr_southeast is an unofficial feed of disruption to Southeastern Railway rail services
  • and londontraffic does similar for road systems.
  • bbcbreaking broadcasts the BBC's breaking news from around the UK

o yes, and

  • theydid is our very own feed, covering SE21/SE24/SE27/SW2 and nearby arts etc.

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Shunt to inhabit former cigar warehouse in Bermondsey
[icon] http://www.thestage.co.uk/.../...

It's with a mixture of delight and sadness that we are to be one of the last tenants of the current incarnation of Shunt Vaults, a landmark of London's cultural landscape.

However, fear not for the future of this inveterate venue: it has recently been announced that they have been granted permission to inhabit a former cigar warehouse just down the road in Bermondsey, with a three-year lease, opening with "a large-scale, site-specific Shunt theatre production". Image of the building here.

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What They Could Do, They Did brings The Freakeasy to Shunt Vaults

As our doomed country continues to dovetail with the Great Depression of the 1920s, we can't help but cast our minds back to those halcyon days of prohibition America -- and so it is that, this Saturday, What They Could Do bring to your our very own take on smokey subterranean vaudeville and sleaze with THE FREAKEASY...

Taking place within the underground tunnels of SHUNT VAULTS, we'll be featuring the spooky B-movie cabaret of THE CAPSIZED SMILES, the molasses blues of KARDY, other-wordly refrains from THE TEA AND TOAST BAND, the lunatic country of THE LONESOME COWBOYS FROM HELL, and the
fruit-based titillation of MADAME MARIE.... plus, as always, much more.

Read about it here:


The Freakeasy is also just one part of the four-day Allfours festival
curated by Brighton's Beatabet collective. Access to the whole night is
included in the ticket price; info here:


Shunt Vaults, London Bridge
Saturday 7 March
8pm - 3am
Entry £10 pounds, photo ID mandatory!

see you all underground...

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South London art events in early 2009

So it seems that 2009 has hit the ground running with cultural happenings in S/SE London. The Goldsmiths institution of the Thursday Club, a mostly-weekly showcase for innovative new works, kicks off with two talks on sensory interfaces by Ryan Jordan and Artemis Papageorgiou (today, 15 January, free). This is followed by the first of the monthly Electronic Music Studios concerts (16 January, free), at which I'll be performing with AtomSwarm on their 8-channel diffusion system.

Also related to Goldsmiths, though taking place further north, is a 2-day show of events and performances organised by students from Goldsmiths MFA Curating and Royal College of Art Curating Masters. Contested Ground is at Project Space 176 in Chalk Farm this Saturday/Sunday (16-17 January, free). Some of us will be heading over for the series of multi platform events on Saturday, followed by the amusingly-nomenclatured "artist disco" in the evening.

SE London map

Gasworks in Vauxhall, meanwhile, is staging a radiophonic intervention by the Resonance FM Radio Orchestra on Friday (15 January, free) as part of its exhibition of South London artist-inventor Felix Thorn's amazing machines. Also features the long-awaited face off between sound theorist Nicolas Collins and SuperCollider/livecoding veteran Nick Collins, described in a mailout thus:

a live coding vs. live circuit building competition with Nick Collins (Sussex University) versus Nicolas Collins (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), vying for the annual award of the "Nic(k) Collins Cup," an exquisite ceramic vessel commissioned from Devon potter Nic Collins (no relation).

Finally, Herne Hill's 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning are hosting two further events as part of their current exhibition People, Signs and Resistance (28 Jan & 11 Feb, free). Next up is an audience with Sam The Wheels, a first-generation Jamaican migrant who arrived in London in the 1950s and has since been capturing video footage of the area which should be essential viewing for those interested in local heritage — through the Brixton Riots to their legacy.

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Sound, light and movement

The first of our events at Herne Hill's Escape events was a blast - so much so that we're now excited to announce that they'll be continuing on a monthly basis over summer, and perhaps beyond. Nights will be individually curated on a rolling basis, with the next lineups to be announced shortly.

In the meantime, two other things happening this week:

Tomorrow evening (14 May) in the ballroom of Chelsea College, I'll be attending the debut performance of a dance piece by the experimental Madarms group, for which I've contributed movement-sensitive sound design. As they move through the space, the dancers' motions are translated into sound via a system of wireless accelerometers, which then affects their movement in a tiny positive feedback loop.

Saturday night (17 May), in the Old Peanut Factory (Dace Road, E3), our good friend and cohort One Million Houses is celebrating his birthday in monster style, with live acts including Ad Hoc. PARTY!

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What They Could Do: Escape (08/05/2008)

Roll House! Roll House! Wake up, it's the summer!


WTCD,TD are having a party in their own back yard, Escape Bar & Art in Herne Hill, and you, specifically, should be there.

There'll be fancy decor and incredible art on the walls, musicians with songs and hearts true, punks, cinematic marvels, curiosities of nature and spectacles to shock and amaze you and your lovely wife! Come one, come all!


- wandering minstrels of old. they travelled the world, fought spiders and demons, and returned with rock'n'roll in their hearts.

Edinburgh's finest, occasionally angry, young man promoting his new EP.

- some say he's more machine now than man. yet even as the machine erodes the humanity from his soul, something within him fights back anew, and wills the machine, and forces it to dance.

- a broken man with sweet soul songs to share.

- underground treasures, fragments of lives and gazes.

what they could do, they did DJ's playing anything and everything.

visuals by the ludovico technique

& much more to be announced between now and the day of the show including a very special musical treat.

Escape Bar
214-216 Railton Road
London SE24

Thursday 8th May, 8pm - 1am

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THREE FORM at the Chelsea Gallery, 29/01 to 02/02
[icon] http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/.../080129galleryexhibition.asp

Kate is showing new work as part of Three Form, in the palacial surrounds of Chelsea's Old Town Hall over the next couple of days. Private view tonight, 5pm - 8pm.

Three Form brings together three dynamic and exciting Artists, showcasing new works of sculpture, drawing and painting for the first time in one fantastic venue.

Three Form aims to challenge and delight, with varied, engaging and thought provoking content we hope to leave the audience feeling moved and content with all this young generation of Artists has to offer.

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What They Could Do, They Did at Ginglik, Shepherds Bush, this Thursday

For 2008, What They Could Do, They Did are intending to shift our focus away from monolithic multi-day shows, instead staging a number of one-day (or -night) events around London and the wider world. The first of these is taking place this Thursday night at Ginglik, Shepherd's Bush, and features an all-star cast of What They Could Do contributors:


Hestia Peppe
Garry Sykes
Amy Houston and Kathryn Corlett
Guerilla Candy
Mimi Leung
The Ludovico Technique

Read more on the event homepage...

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