Ploughing Old Patterns, Raising New Ground
A series of audiovisual commissions about British folk culture
Arianne Churchman & Benedict Drew
Ox Art (Annabel Pettigrew & Rob Macpherson)
Verity Birt & Una Hamilton Helle
Her Mother the Mountain & Matthew-Robert Hughes
Legion Projects are proud to announce a new series of specially commissioned listening works. Inspired by how oral traditions have been instrumental in the upholding, retelling and sharing of folk tales, songs and customs, the commissioned artists were asked to interpret and respond to why the interest in ‘folk culture’ still stands strong in Britain today. The resulting responses will take the form of radio plays, guided journeys, experimental music scores and podcasts, all hosted online.
‘Folk culture’ is often associated with a specific geographic location, a sense of nostalgia and perceived authenticity, but these works complicate this definition. They show that folk culture is not frozen in time, but in a continual process of being updated, redefined and renewed.
Tradition is a lively and fluid state rather than a static condition and the malleable and experiential nature of the oral tradition is a key part of this. By interpreting and subverting existing customs and practices, the artists show that ‘folk culture’ has a continued relevance, which can be used both as a barometer and coping mechanism in response to current climates.
What becomes clear, when seen together, is that the resulting projects mark a need and longing to learn from the land and its history. Inspired by pasts and presents, both real and fictional, they are contemporary expressions of the age-old need to convey story, rhythm, subversion and myth.
The six projects, all the result of collaborations and borne out of a communal spirit, both celebrate and interrogate heritage, rurality, the sacred, weirdness and queerness. In short, they can be seen as contributions to our continued communal search for meaning and belonging in the constantly shifting British landscape.
Ploughing Old Patterns, Raising New Ground is the second podcast series Legion has commissioned, after the successful A Common Craft by Blue Firth. The audio works will be released throughout 2023 and can be streamed from the Legion Projects website or downloaded from all major podcast providers.