Richard John Jones: National Idiom
Saturday 27 July, 3pm

Part of the Work in Common Summer Residencies, 1 – 31 July 2019.

A performance drawing on the folk tradition of East-Lancashire clogging to explore the impact of technology on the body, working through and against systems of constraint and control.

Free to attend and everyone is welcome.

About the work

National Idiom draws on the folk tradition of East-Lancashire clogging to explore the impact of technology on the body, working through and against systems of constraint and control. Emerging from the cotton mills in the 19th century, where women would tap along to the relentless rhythms of the mechanised looms, clogging is a symbol of the deeply interwoven histories around textile production, local cultural idioms, and feelings of belonging. This work, which is in development, intends to contextualise the various historical ‘rediscoveries’ of folk traditions within the current context of a resurgence of nationalisms in post-industrial regions in Europe and elsewhere. Clogging and other folk expressions are both extremely specific whilst also being deeply interconnected and shared amongst many regions and cultures across the world. At the heart of this work is an understanding of the connection between the development of technology, particularly the mechanical loom and early computers, and the effect these developments have had upon bodies and subjectivities.

Technology is normally associated with greater control and has now encroached upon every aspect of daily life. In our post-industrial societies much of the manufacturing skills and the means of production have been automated and often moved overseas. Far from providing greater control and efficiency, these technologies and their effects on working communities are now partly responsible for our current political volatility. What has been developed on an idea of enhancing control is now being experienced as creating unpredictable and uncontrollable crises, bodies and politics that are a threat to democracy.

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