Party for Freedom is an hour-long moving-image work presented as an audiovisual album of 10 interconnected tracks, all with original music including Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, Morgan Quaintance and the all-girl-punk-band Woolf. The work is an urgent artistic interrogation of the visual, cultural and political values associated with Western Freedom and an attempt to foreground moments of unconscious recognition. Is our political imagination debunked? What is it that we are trying to protect and from whom? Drawing upon histories of experimental performance, theatre and film, satire, biopolitics and popular media, and loosely based on Mayakovsky’s evocative 1921 play Myster-Bouffe, telling the story of the Clean and the Unclean, the work responds to the political assassinations of Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and Theo van Gogh in 2004, followed by a public surge of nationalistic and anti-Islamic sentiments and the ensuing popularity of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician and leader of the far-right Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom).
Party for Freedom, the artwork, poignantly and humorously examines populist claims and mediascapes that run Europe with emptied scenes of imagined nationhood and where immigration and Islam are portrayed as an ‘outside-in’ threat to Western values of Freedom. In collaboration with artists across a range of disciplines and developed through a series of workshops, Party for Freedom features an irreverent and animated array of characters and scenarios filmed in the lush settings of a 13th century church in the English countryside. Engaging with the cultural productions of 1960s-70s’ Naked as a Jaybird, Kollektivnye Destviya and Scratch Orchestra, Party for Freedom uses nakedness, trash aesthetics and collective sound and action to explore performances of liberation; their histories, currencies and potential futurities.
With special thanks to the following artists and performers taking part in the film: Kimbal Bumstead, Miles Coote, Edd Hobbs, Lucy Hutson, Tim Owen Jones, Eirini Kartsaki, Lynn Lu, Ana Godinho de Matos, Runa Norheim, Owen G Parry, Vanda Playford, Irene Revell.
Commissioned music by: Timo-Juhani Kyllönen, Woolf, Chyskyyrai and Morgan Quaintance
Supported by: Art Council England, Artangel, Kone Foundation, Funen Art Academy and Performance Matters, a collaboration between Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Roehampton, and the Live Art Development Agency, financially assisted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.