Emma Smith’s commission in Nottingham responds to stories about working songs and whistles from local factories that have permeated the streets – looking at whistling, humming and song in relation to labour, agency and expression.
Nottingham has a particular history of communal whistling, a democratic form of music making adopted by Nottingham miners. Historically whistling has been adopted as a form of agency, a tool in protest and resistance, as a mode of self-expression and communication and as the vocalisation of collective labour and memory.
Through this project, Emma invited local residents to share experiences and practices of music making at work and in protest, working together to research the history of whistling, humming, clicking, singing and ditties from the local neighbourhood. The project will resulted in the composition of a communal score that was performed by a whistling orchestra.
The first Whistling Orchestra performance took place on Saturday 27 February – visit the event page to see documentation of the performance.
Left Lion featured Wayne Burrow’s interview with Emma Smith in their March issue, where she talks in more detail about the project.
Intersections is an ongoing strand of commissions that expands our activity beyond the boundaries of the building, engaging with people and places in the local area. Each project extends an invitation to individuals and communities to share and explore specific sets of knowledge, in connection to artists’ research and production processes.
The Intersections programme is kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.