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Elizabeth Price


THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979
HD Video, 18 minutes
2012

Concerned with processes of assembly, CHOIR brings together disparate bodies of material and archival technologies into dissonant concert.

It is a work of several parts. Part one constructs an auditorium in which an action will be staged. Part two assembles the chorus to narrate the action. Part three supplies the action.

PART ONE: THE AUDITORIUM
This employs an archive of 19th and 20th century photography featuring the ecclesiastical architecture and furnishings of the choir. This is narratively organised in order to effect the construction of an auditorium within the video.

PART TWO: THE CHORUS
This draws upon informal internet archives of musical performance, particularly featuring the coordinated gestures of singers and backing singers. Many different performances are convened in the edit, to generate a single sardonic and intoxicated dance. The emphasis upon consistent and similar hand gestures, in particular, across many diverse performances is used to establish the dancers as a coherent expressive assembly, addressing the viewer.

PART THREE: THE FIRE
The chorus established in part two introduces and narrates an action. This is concerned with a historical event: a notorious fire. Once again, this section of the film draws upon archival sources, in this instance the public documents (inquests, photography, scientific reconstructions) which were generated as a result of the fire. The Chorus use these sources to reconstruct the event of the fire within the auditorium, completing the narrative cycle.

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