Forma

Baseline Drift

Responding to Vestry Road Playground as a dynamic and inclusive public arena, artist and athlete Beth Kettel worked with local basketball players and WAVE choir to explore how games and play shape our understanding of the world. Playfulness is a powerful tool for uniting people and creating opportunities to meet and share meaningful experiences across age, class and ethnicity. In Baseline Drift, some of our most playful universal languages - sports, music, and art - are brought together to present an immersive new performance as part of Art Night 2019.

All games are understood to involve at least one of four components; Challenge, Chance, Vertigo, and Make-Believe. During Baseline Drift, these components weave around one another, both in harmony and opposition. By uprooting and reimagining common actions, sounds and rituals from sports and gaming cultures, Kettel presents a living collage that is at once dreamlike and familiar. 

With an interest in the origins of games as survival strategies for humans, Kettel explores how actions developed for danger scenarios, such as sprinting (away from predators) and running after objects and throwing (hunting), are now key elements that make up game play in sport (without the danger). Using this idea, Kettel plays with abstract movements taken from basketball stances positioning them in different contexts using dance, play and basketball across the site.  

WAVE Choir accompany the action as a crowd chorus, blurring the lines between spectator and performer. Their bespoke compositions both guide and respond to the players, as the collective energy of match day becomes music to our ears. Audiences are invited to follow the performance through the playground, as performers explore the spatial, bodily and abstract language of games through rules, boundaries, and symbols.

Presented as part of Art Night 2019


Forma

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Baseline Drift

Beth Kettel
22 June 2019

Responding to Vestry Road Playground as a dynamic and inclusive public arena, artist and athlete Beth Kettel worked with local basketball players and WAVE choir to explore how games and play shape our understanding of the world. Playfulness is a powerful tool for uniting people and creating opportunities to meet and share meaningful experiences across age, class and ethnicity. In Baseline Drift, some of our most playful universal languages - sports, music, and art - are brought together to present an immersive new performance as part of Art Night 2019.

All games are understood to involve at least one of four components; Challenge, Chance, Vertigo, and Make-Believe. During Baseline Drift, these components weave around one another, both in harmony and opposition. By uprooting and reimagining common actions, sounds and rituals from sports and gaming cultures, Kettel presents a living collage that is at once dreamlike and familiar. 

With an interest in the origins of games as survival strategies for humans, Kettel explores how actions developed for danger scenarios, such as sprinting (away from predators) and running after objects and throwing (hunting), are now key elements that make up game play in sport (without the danger). Using this idea, Kettel plays with abstract movements taken from basketball stances positioning them in different contexts using dance, play and basketball across the site.  

WAVE Choir accompany the action as a crowd chorus, blurring the lines between spectator and performer. Their bespoke compositions both guide and respond to the players, as the collective energy of match day becomes music to our ears. Audiences are invited to follow the performance through the playground, as performers explore the spatial, bodily and abstract language of games through rules, boundaries, and symbols.

Presented as part of Art Night 2019

  • Credits

    Special thanks to our partners and collaborators:

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    The fourth edition of Art Night, London’s most popular free contemporary art festival, took place on the night of Saturday 22 June 2019.

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    WAVE Choir (Walthamstow All Voice Ensemble) is a community based, ‘no audition’ choir led by Virginia Firnberg. Their unique approach and eclectic stylings have led WAVE to perform regularly at cultural events in the borough and beyond. 

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    Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 will highlight the character, diversity and cultures of the borough, the things we have in common and the things that make us different, in a year-long celebration.

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Reuben Henry

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Karolina Magnusson Murray

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Karolina Magnusson Murray

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Karolina Magnusson Murray

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Karolina Magnusson Murray

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Beth Kettel, ‘Baseline Drift’, Art Night, London, 2019. Produced by Forma, supported by Arts Council England. Photo credit: Reuben Henry

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About the artist

Beth Kettel is a cross-disciplinary artist, living and working in Nottingham, with a strong record of developing artworks in varied contexts across the UK and internationally. 

Grounded in experimental texts, Kettel’s work manifests across costume, sound, text, voice and gesture, with an interest in the flexibility and obscurity of language, action and objects. Often borrowing structural devices from popular culture, for example sport, music videos and recipes, Kettel creates multi layered performance, video and installation works. 

Recent solo shows include ICA Art & Screen Network, Phoenix, Leicester, 2018; Zabludowicz Collection Invites, London, 2017; Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2016; Two Queens, Leicester, 2016; Hutt Gallery, Nottingham, 2016, Telfer Gallery, Glasgow (2015). Specially commissioned performances include Cob Gallery, London (2018), Caustic Coastal, Salford (2017), Jerwood Space, London (2016), and Art Sheffield (2016).