Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
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Would a band by any other name, i-D Magazine

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Article in i-D magazine

Iain and Jane.
Would a band by any other name smell as sweet

Niru Ratnam

Ian Forsyth and Jane Pollard graduated from Goldsmiths in 1995 and a day later were exhibiting in one of the late Joshua Compston's now-legendary Shoreditch art events. Since then, they've hovered somewhere between art and music, practitioner and fan, producing films, fanzines and performances. They've dressed up as Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux, and recreated David Bowie's final concert as Ziggy Stardust in loving detail. In March, the artists staged File under Sacred Music, a re-enactment of the 1978 gig by iconic punk legends The Cramps that originally took place at the Napa Mental Institute in California. Many a puner has observed that London's ICA tends to resemble an asylum; now the management seems to have taken it to heart. With the help of a band that included Alfonso Pinto from The Parkinsons and White Stripes collaborator Holly Golightly, Forsyth and Pollard recereated the gig to an invited audience of mental health patents (and a number of slighly uneasy journalists). Inevitably the hacks hurled rent-a-loon accusations, but the duo are quick to point out that the performance depended on collaborating with, not poking fun at, mental health organisations. "After they had seen the performance, many of the journalists changed their outlook," says Pollard, "and they tended to write very personal accounts of what they experienced." Forsyth and Pollard have been working on a film of the event which they hope will replicate the dodgy fucked up bootleg that has made the original gig so mythic. "The initial idea was to do all the work in post-production to get that battered effect," explains Forsyth, "but it just looked really artificial, so in the end it was all very manual, we just pulled the tape out, chucked it around a bit and poured things on it. We've broken a lot fo video players." The film premiers at the ICA on June 13 and then takes to the open road like a touring rock band, hooking up arts centres, festivals and a few panel discussions on the way. The latter should certainly be worth visiting given the raucous nature of the debate that followed the filming, involving a whole host of lewd lager-tossing screechy rants and general larking about. "Um, it was very unlike any panel discussion we've ever taken part in before," says Forsyth with quiet understatement. The whole project has an element of predictability that recalls the best of '60s and '70s performance art. As Pollard says it's not so much what was being done, but how it was being done, "We were looking for something that would communiate very directly with the audience." And when your audience is barking mad, that's quite an achievement.

Iain and Jane.
Would a band by any other name smell as sweet

Niru Ratnam

This text originally appeared in i-D Magazine, July 2003

 

 

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Cover of i-D Magazine with Chloe Sevigny and Terry Richardson
Cover of i-D Magazine

Excerpt: "The whole project has an element of predictability that recalls the best of '60s and '70s performance art."

Click to watch

Related works
File under Sacred Music

Related essays and press
'Nests, Puke, Frames...' -
Tom McCarthy, 2003

'Psychotic Reaction' - Mojo, 2003
'Rewind and repeat to fade' - Art Review
'Spastic Fantastic' - Sleazenation, 2003
'Kick the kitsch' - The Independent, 2003
'It Beats Bingo!' - The Guardian, 2003

Related shows
File under Sacred Music

Related sites
i-D Magazine
Niru Ratnam, Store Gallery

 
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