Projects / It Rocks, But Gently


In 2002 we invited by Folly, a largely digital arts organisation in Lancaster to curate an exhibition in their gallery space. 'It Rocks, But Gently' was taken from the title of a Val Doonican record, and reflects the anit-heroic and homely nature of the exhibition and the works shown. The gallery was filled with dry ice, and beyond a white picket fence an array of furniture and television monitors displayed the work.

Jordan Baseman's piece 'The Sun Always Shines on the Righteous' is a film about the demolition derby races held in Barrow, a town very much on the edge of the mainstream and the mainland. Nathaniel Mellors, who was just beginning his residency at the time, showed a recent video 'Lancaster Fishmonger Complaint', a satire of public access television in which a man bemoans his local bus service.

Nathaniel had recently been a student of Jordan's at the Ruskin School along with Jonathan Griffin and Ben Sadler, who also featured in the show. Jonathan showed his sculpture 'Charger', a wooden object that hybridised elements of extreme sports equipment but nevertheless resembled the product of an enthusiast's garden-shed tinkering. The object's sense of ill-defined functionality was emphasised by a custom-built trolley and a length of rope attached to its underside. We still have it in the office.

Ben Sadler and Phil Duckworth, working together as Juneau Projects, made a piece of work which grew out of a performance they had recently done for the Grizedale Christmas Pantomime. 'Waking From a Dream of Incest and Feeling Ruined Forever' was an installation of detritus from the performance (including beer bottles and costumes) with a video depicting the desperate and debauched lifestyle of a pair of unemployed Father Christmasses, drinking cans of lager on park benches and staring at the bare walls of their flat.

Documentation of 'The Festival of Lying', a work made in 2000 by 'The People From Off', was also shown, as was a vandalised section of their billboard piece featuring 'David Shuttleworth (Rally Hopeful)'. A text piece on a scrolling LED display by Roddy Thomson and Colin Lowe read "Since the accident with the bandsaw at work I can count on the fingers of one hand the women I have loved". Tim Olden, who was Grizedale's first composer-in-residence, made a soundtrack for the exhibition and also showed 'White Label', a video featuring a composition by Tim being played on a barrel-organ.