Helen Cammock: Bass Notes and SiteLines
Bass Notes and SiteLines: The Voice as a Site of Resistance and The Body as a Site of Resilience is a series of collaborative projects between artist Helen Cammock and adult social care staff. Cammock is interested in what resistance and resilience look and feel like, and the relationship between them. As a former social worker, she 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, Cammock explored these ideas in collaborative workshops, where the groups sang together 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.
These ideas were collected together through a new film commission that was revealed at the Serpentine Galleries as part of the group show, Radio Ballads*, before travelling to Barking Town Hall and Learning Centre. The exhibition also contains corresponding paintings, drawings and contextual materials that share the participants collaborative research process.
31 March – 29 May 2022
125 × 194 mm
Collaborating with Cammock, we produced a booklet that collected drawings, photography and a playlist compiled by the workshop participants, interspersed with text based artworks by Cammock. A piece of ephemera that lasts beyond the exhibition.
The landscape format is informed by the size of cards created within the workshops, allowing the imagery to be produced as 1:1 facsimiles. Printed on a lightweight but robust paper with a card cover, the colours of which were custom mixed based on references from the artist and matching the floor covering in the Serpentine Galleries exhibition.
Typeset in a medium weight of the sans serif typeface Lars by Bold Decisions. A contemporary design that gives warmth to the text works.
* Radio Ballads is the culmination of three years of work by artists Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Rory Pilgrim and Ilona Sagar. Presenting four bodies of work created through collaboration with social workers, carers, organisers and residents of London boroughs. The projects were developed and sustained throughout multiple global crises, amid the compounding issues of systemic racism, ableism and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have shed light on the innumerable ways in which those who do the work of care are often unsupported and devalued.
The exhibition takes its name from a revolutionary series of eight radio plays broadcast on the BBC between 1957–64. Focusing on workers’ experiences and struggles through a combination of song, music, sound effects and the voices of communities, each ballad presented lived experiences and stories of work and resistance in the UK, at a time of rapid growth and change. Building on this rich history, the four new ballads have been produced in the aftermath of twelve years of austerity and dismantling of the UK care sector.