Whitechapel Gallery

Spells and Sadness
10 December 2020

What are text scores but spells? Works that ‘unmake the world around them so that it might be remade anew’, to quote Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamas’s ‘Spells: 21st-Century Occult Poetry’ (Ignota Books).

This premise – which lay at the heart of London Contemporary Music Festival’s Witchy Methodologies extravaganza of 2019 – was also the impetus behind a series of new commissions, linking the text score to the talismanic world of mantras, recipes and guides to awakening and conjuring. Two materialise in sound and visuals for the first time for this online event.

Vocalist, composer and artist, Elaine Mitchener gives shape to her new text score ‘SKIP, BARK I + II & WALK’, alongside a screening of three of her own film shorts, originally commissioned by the Holland Festival, Colour Out of Space and Ruhrtriennale Festival.

Christopher Kirubi, an artist and poet – a key part of the LCMF 2016 Julius Eastman retrospective – reads and performs a selection of recent work for spoken word, sound and film.

Further performances include Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence Himali Singh Soin joining us with a sonic ritual from the ruins of Pompeii; composer Oliver Leith presenting a melty work for solo harp; and electronic producer and artist Elvin Brandhi yowling the night out with a signature slice of unruly wild pop.

We are also joined for a discussion with the artistic directors of LCMF, Igor Toronyi-Lalic and Jack Sheen, to introduce the assorted cast of exhausted ‘sadbois’ and ‘sadgurls’ that will make up the 2021 festival, looking to the creative possibilities of ruination, melancholy and hysteria.

In partnership with the Whitechapel gallery.


Special thanks to artist Emily Tilzey for designing the LCMF logo