The Trivia of Eccentric England
May 2011 - October 2011
Eccentricity is widely regarded as a slowly diminishing behavioural trait in today’s society, compressed and pressured to conform to popular consensus of normality. Yet looking closely throughout our England and Lincolnshire pockets of eccentric behaviour are still rife.
The Trivia of Eccentric England explored through a series of new commissioned projects and accompanying talks and films, the nature and role eccentricity plays in today’s modern lifestyle, and asked what role an artist can have in reviving and reinventing English eccentricity in Lincolnshire. A film programme looked at past examples and explores in wider sense societies eccentric behaviours, which teeter on the edge of popular conformity.
Film: The Gainsborough Packet, 2009 (10mins) followed by live music set
The Gainsborough Packet, was the culmination of a year’s research and development, which began with Stokes’s discovery in the Tyne & Wear archives of a letter written in 1828 by an ordinary man named John Burdikin. The letter became inspiration for lyrics, music and film created by Stokes and his collaborators on the project.
The film was followed by a live music set by Robin Grey
Symposium workshop: A collection of eccentric subjects bought together under one roof to be shared and dissected.
The workshop bought together artists and eclectics from across the UK to explore subjects that were both personal passions and eccentric explorations. The mix of subjects presented had no collaborative connection but acted as an eccentric explosion of thought processes and behaviours.
The workshop did not strictly set out to establish the framework of eccentricity and what it means today, but aimed to open the door to quirks in the system that may led to further debate and exploration by the attendees.
Participants included: Anthony Schrag, Victoria Melody, Project Pigeon, John Plowman, The World Egg Throwing Championships, John Ward
Lincolnshire County Council, Lincoln University, Arts Council England, Cultural Olympiad and its partners
Saturday 3rd September 2011
The Company of Ringers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln was formalised on 18 October 1612, in a constitution granted by the Dean, and is the earliest known Company of Ringers still performing their duties for which they were set up. A patent, dated 23 September 1614, confirming the Rules of the Company and granting the use of the "one Chappell scituate and beinge within the dore that leadeth upp to saincte Hughe steeple to bee theire meetinge place". Thus the Lincoln Cathedral Company were granted their own Chapel, known today as The Ringers' Chapel, and unique in the field of bell ringing.
Matthew Cowan worked with the Company of Ringers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln to produce a new film of their meeting and practice which accompanied a performance. The ringers operate the 13 bells of the Cathedral in the Bell Ringer's Chamber high in the West Tower of the Cathedral. The film is a record of the ritual of the practice of the ringing of the cathedral bells, in space that has been dedicated to such activity for nearly four hundred years.
Alongside the film a new live performance involving the repetitive ritual of bell ringing, the mechanism of the bell ropes, and the artist's own take on the physicality of campanology took place where folk traditions encapsulated the performance.
Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich
The Ancient Order of Eccentrics Banquet
Saturday 29th October
Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich
Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich celebrated the end of Lincoln Art Programme’s The Trivia of Eccentric England programme, with an evening of food, entertainment and speeches in a celebratory evening banquet. The banquet aimed to reignite the spark of eccentricity and celebrate eccentric attributes which have historically broken down boundaries, forged new ideas, and given the status quo a short shift.
Celebrating attributes of eccentricity and exploring myth making which is inherently a part of family histories the first and last ever banquet of the Ancient Order of Eccentrics took place in The Guildhall, a building filled with history and politics. The banquet choose to look at the ways in which people re-invent themselves and the attributes they uphold re-casting them through this event which draw inspiration and influence from aristocratic eccentric.
The banquet acted as a unique celebration of eccentric genealogy, with an evening of food, conversation and entertainment that re-ignited the revolutionary spirit of the eccentric. Invited guests were initiated into the ancient order before taking their seats at the dinner table to tell tales of eccentric genealogy.