The Ballad of The White Ship

The Ballad of The White Ship, Serf, Leeds, July 2018, in collaboration with Chris Alton

The Ballad of The White Ship by Chris Alton & Liam Geary Baulch was their first collaboratively produced exhibition. It builds upon the ongoing dialogue that exists between their practices, drawing out various commonalities. These include; recourse to popular and folk culture; humorous engagements with power; and a range of reoccurring political concerns, such as; climate change, notions of ‘Britishness’ and the commons.

The original White Ship was a vessel that sank in the English Channel on 25 November 1120. Amongst those who drowned was the heir to the English throne, William Adelin. His death led to a succession crisis and a period of civil war known as the Anarchy. A ballad concerning the sinking was written by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and published by the Kelmscott Press (1893-94).

Throughout the exhibition, The White Ship serves as a metaphor for that which catalyses change. In their banners, drawings and posters, Alton & Geary Baulch look to other monarch-less moments throughout British history and the radical ideas that arose from these periods of civil unrest.

Their punk cover (by the Deptford punk band Etc.) of Rossetti’s ballad ties the 12th Century Anarchy to The Sex Pistols; debut single, Anarchy in the U.K. (released 26 November 1976). Their next single, titled God Save the Queen, was an anti-monarchy anthem, which attacks the hegemonic structure of monarchy; an emblem of British class hierarchy.

The Ballad of The White Ship retreads various points throughout British history with a view to articulating this country’s future, be it a utopic punk republic or an island steeped in colonial nostalgia. Alton & Geary Baulch are interested in how these moments intersect, collide and inform each other, and how they might be used to imagine the world that we inhabit in new ways.

Watched Over, Tryptic, Pencil on paper, by Liam Geary Baulch. On display at The Ballad of The White Ship, Serf, Leeds.

The Ballad of The White Ship, 2 min 29 seconds, Original text: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1881, Arranged by: Liam Geary Baulch and Chris Alton, 2018, Music written and performed by: Etc. (Edu, Tom and Colm)

William Drownded, 2018, digital print by Liam Geary Baulch and Chris Alton
900 years of anarchy in england, 2018, digital print by Liam Geary Baulch and Chris Alton
Playing at being men (after black annis womens morris side), pencil on paper, Liam Geary Baulch, 2018

This Air Is Toxic

Costumes and Creative Protest designed by Liam Geary Baulch for Stop Killing Londoners
THIS AIR IS TOXIC, window display for solo show

An exhibition and week of events in a shop front on New Cross Road to coincide he release of a study showing that New Cross Gate and Deptford are up to six times above the world health organisations limit for the small dangerous PM2.5 air pollution particles.

A serious problem which is being faced all across London, and affects poorer and BME communities the hardest. Liam collaborated with local academics, artists and activists to create a week of free art and discussions about air pollution in the local area. Something Liam learnt more about while working with the group Stop Killing Londoners to design creative protests.

As you walk, cycle, take a bus, or drive along New Cross Road you may notice a new sign, it reads as a warning to all who pass it, “This Air is Toxic”.

You might not expect a road with schools, a university, health clinics and local pubs to be the 48th most polluted in the UK. However the study, published earlier this month by Goldsmiths Professor Jennifer Gabrys, who led the Citizen Sense research team. They found that between October 2016 and September 2017 highs of 150 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air were recorded by citizens from October 2016 to September 2017, who used ‘dustbox’ monitors to collect air samples. The recommended amount of PM2.5 is 25 micrograms per cubic metre, and the EU legal limit is 40 micrograms.

The new findings show a rise since 2012 when New Cross Road was named the 48th most polluted in the UK – 101 micrograms per cubic metre. The results are above Lewisham Council’s own records, which may be because the council are not taking nearly as many readings as regularly as the local people and organisations who helped create this new citizen sense study.

Despite the statistics, the Mayor of London has failed to include Lewisham in his new special budgets for tackling air pollution across the city. Campaigners and activists in London are currently pressuring the mayor to do more to tackle the problem. Mums for Lungs have been writing letters to the government, and 4 members of the group Stop Killing Londoners were recently put in prison for protesting about the issue. Representatives from both groups along with local school and parent campaigns spoke as part of the event to promote action locally.

Members of the public could even wear some of the art works in the form of Totobobo masks designed to protect people from the worst effects of air pollution.

Air pollution symbols drawn on Totobobo air pollution masks
Air pollution poster designed for Stop Killing Londoners and given away at the exhibition

CV + Upcoming Shows

UPCOMING SHOWS

TedXEastEnd – Sea Squad, Hackney Empire 2, 3.15 and 5.45pm on Sat 25th Feb

You’re Surrounded By Me – Turf Projects, 9th Sept – 21st Oct

EDUCATION

2015 BA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, First Class Honours

2012 Foundation (Fine Art, Drawing) Camberwell College of Art, UAL

AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES

Est-Nord-Est Artist Residency, supported studio practice, Quebec, Canada, 2016

Space, City, Land, Sea: ONCA performance residencies & artist mentoring, Brighton, 2016

The Elke Lacey Award for Textiles, 2015

EXHIBITIONS

2016
Thylacine Night, ONCA gallery, Brighton

Three Sheets to the Sea, The benevolent association of excellent sollutions, London

Soft Apocalypse, The Averard Hotel, London

Visions in the Nunnery, Bow Arts, Nunnery Gallery, London

Sunday Funday, Performance Cabaret Event, Fat Relic, London

La Fete des Chants de Marins, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada

La Biennale de Sculpture Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada

Residence d’artiste, Est-Nord-Est, St. Jean Port Joli, Quebec

Have A No at Limbo, Performance and Party Night, Limbo, London

I am the Sea, Performance, 7.30-9.30pm 15th April, ONCA, Brighton

Space City, Land, Sea: ONCA performance residencies, Brighton

Ghouls, Gateways and Gatekeepers, The PAD, London

2015

Bon Fire, Laines Organic Farm, Cuckfield

Once More with Feeling(s), Lewisham Arthouse, London

Performative Acts, Ai Weiwei, Royal Acadamy of Arts, London

Goldsmiths Fine Art Degree Show, New Cross, London

2014

Direct Action Dance Workshop, Woodcraft Folk Camp, near Bradford

Rounds, in conjunction with Art Licks Weekend, DIG, London

Reclaim the Space, DIG, London

Art Music Politics Must Meet, Bussey Building, London

DEL+REW, Postgraduate Art and Curatorial Studios, Laurie Grove, New Cross, London