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pass! shoot!! goal!!! single screen film

Commissioned by Touchstones Rochdale, ‘Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!’ is a community engagement project made in conjunction with fellow artist Neville Gabie. It is a contemporary interpretation of an early 1930s football song recorded by Rochdale’s iconic Gracie Fields.

12 minutes 58 seconds. This single screen version of the immersive synchronised multi-lingual interpretation of Gracie Field’s song was originally made up of a projection and three wall mounted monitors, with four accompanying floor-based cube monitors in the centre in Gallery 1 of Touchstones Rochdale. This is the single screen version.

Full Kit Gardeners, 2021

Full Kit Gardeners, 2021
Alan Ward

Triptych: 2 x early 1900s glass negatives, 1 modern. Hand coloured (digitally) on archival 300gsm HP Satin Art, antique frame. Edition: No. 2
identically framed work one remains in the artist’s collection
Framed dimensions: 72cm x 42cm

As a collector of early 1900s glass negatives, I found the juxtaposition of the two early photographic portraits amongst the vegetables to be a curious composition.

There is often a self-referential aspect to, or adoption of persona within my practice. I am the grandson of a Norfolk market gardener and I revisited one of the very first photographs I took as a boy*, of him amongst his cabbages on the farm, to complete this triptych. This work was made during the ‘Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!’ commission with Touchstones Rochdale, as a side-project.

* See An Archive Reimagined, ‘Photographs from Another Place’ page 2

Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!

From the very beginning, Ward and Gabie had a clear desire to re-record the song, to be interpreted and sung in several languages, including British Sign Language, by communities currently living and working within the Borough. They imagined the terraces at Spotland coming alive with the sounds of different voices, an idea that has been realised in this new video and audio recording of Gracie’s original song.
 

11 minutes 33 seconds looped. An immersive synchronised multi-lingual interpretation of Gracie Field’s song, made up of a projection and three wall mounted monitors, with four accompanying floor-based cube monitors in the centre. 

Commissioned by Touchstones Rochdale, ‘Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!’ is a community engagement project made in conjunction with fellow artist Neville Gabie. It is a contemporary interpretation of an early 1930s football song recorded by Rochdale’s iconic Gracie Fields.

 


Working alongside:
Deaf Rhinos Football Team
Nigeria Community Association Heritage Cultural Group
Rochdale Retirement Choir
Members of the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society with Jennifer Reid
Saliah Begum (Hindi) and Peter Latham (Sitar)
Ukrainian Association, Rochdale branch

Rochdale Borough’s Museum collection and Local Studies archive held at Touchstones are filled with football memorabilia from the local area. Old photographs of local school, church, industrial works and village teams sit alongside silverware for tournaments that are no longer contested.

And then there is Gracie Fields. In amongst the song sheets, old 78 rpm records and photographs of Gracie in football gear athletically kicking a ball, were the words to a song – ‘Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!’ It was a gift waiting for us to discover. And it was the beginning of a journey of creating an immersive film and sound installation involving many different people from around Rochdale.

Rochdale would be unrecognisable to its pre-war self. It has grown into a multi-cultural community reflecting a positive outlook on the global world, something artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie wished to celebrate and embrace. Uncovering Gracie’s recording of ‘Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!!’ represented an opportunity to do just that.

From the very beginning, Ward and Gabie had a clear desire to re-record the song, to be interpreted and sung in several languages, including British Sign Language, by communities currently living and working within the Borough. They imagined the terraces at Spotland coming alive with the sounds of different voices, an idea that has been realised in this new video and audio recording of Gracie’s original song.

A special commemorative programme was published at the end of the exhibition to celebrate this commission and the wider engagement titled 100 Years of Life in the League – a reflection on the importance of Rochdale AFC within the community from the fans’ points of view, referencing items in the Borough’s collections. it is listed under books here.

Community Partners:
The Royal Northern College of Music courtesy of Fiona Stuart. 
Rochdale AFC’s Community Trust, courtesy of Ryan Bradley and Leighanne Coyle from Rochdale AFC.

Our thanks to Arts Council England Sport England for their generous funding for this project.

 

#I Am Clarion

Sunday 19th September 2021 was commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts to make a series of portraits of Clarion cyclists as they converged on the last Clarion House just north of Nelson in Lancashire. The weather held fair and it was a privilege to photograph over 90 cyclists who celebrated Clarion Sunday. Many of these riders have contributed data of their journeys. In some instances they also photographed or filmed their rides for me to look at for the limited edition bookwork [link]. All participants have been included and many contributed their thoughts on the importance of the Clarion’s cultural heritage. This commission is part of Pendle Radicals, a wider look at radical thinkers and activists who have shaped not only the local landscape but the nation. I was also commissioned to mark these people and their importance with a series of stone etched panels.

As a devotee of cycling culture and fashion, I also designed a special musette for each cyclist, with the declaration #I_Am_Clarion emblazoned on it - filled with the limited edition publication and Clarion and Pendle Radicals goodies.As the beautiful banner says ‘Fellowship is Life’, ‘Socialism the Hope of the World’.

Foreword to the limited edition publication #I_Am_Clarion

As an artist I’m a collector of stuff. I’m to be found buying things on eBay that will at some point in the future inform or appear in a project at an appropriate moment. These invariably include old maps, photographs and in particular ‘lost negatives’. Amongst my collection, there are numerous cycling related items. When Mid Pennine Arts approached me to discuss working on something to celebrate Clarion Sunday 2020, I immediately began to think of my old cycling maps and the journeys that have been made to Clarion House over the many decades.

At this point my engagement was loosely titled ‘Fellowship of the Wheel’ after William Morris’ reference. I began immersing myself in the Clarion culture and then suddenly we were engulfed by a pandemic. I’d just bought a gravel bike before lockdown and took the opportunity of my one hour daily exercise routine to explore the tracks and paths around the Mersey Valley on my doorstep, as a way of escaping the confines of the city. 

As Clarion Sunday drew nearer it became clear that the event would have to be cancelled. I wondered about the route I might have taken on my new bike if I’d been riding there, and made a little video exploring the journey from my home to Jinny Lane. Partly inspired by the fly-throughs of Tour de France stage previews, it was a reminder of the varied landscapes we inhabit on our bikes, and a gentle nod to the celebration that couldn’t happen. A ride from a city, through its industrial heartland, out to the wide open countryside. Very much a journey referencing the liberation and mobility the bicycle gave the working classes in the formation of those first Clarion clubs. I launched the video online the morning of the 14th June 2020, the day we should all have been gathering at Clarion House. [link]

Somehow a year was lost to limited riding and Clarion Sunday 2021 was again delayed. Almost a year to the day of my video, mainstream press began running stories that the National Clarion Club had voted to remove references to socialism from its constitution, ‘after a majority of members decided it was “divisive and non-inclusive” and could alienate new members.’

As someone who believes strongly we are informed by our geographies, whether these are physical or metaphorical, it seemed particularly sad that those formative links were being written away, it’s what makes Clarion Cycling so unique – its USP in modern terms.

The commission suddenly took on a different energy. On two previous projects, I’ve adopted a character’s persona in making a piece of work (a journeyman footballer in one, and an engineer/photographer in another), and I began to do the same with this piece of work. I made a simple declaration #I_Am_Clarion and began sharing it on social media. I combined old glass negatives of cyclists with the statement and also made self portraits, using a 100 year old camera. I created a limited edition printed musette with the message as a visible yet abstract statement of identity. It was about sharing a pride in the heritage. I became a fully paid up Clarion cyclist, kit and all.

Others began using it in their social media, a club produced a bike frame sticker using the declaration. I realised, despite not riding with Clarion groups on club runs, I felt part of something, I had a shared identity and commonality.  

Making this book is a small reflection of what being part of Clarion means. It appears the original foundations of the Clarion message may sadly not be universally acceptable, with some cyclists seeing the word ‘socialist’ as having negative connotations. But the basic belief and principle that society needs to be fairer and more just is increasingly prescient, and for that alone, its socialist roots and spirit should not be forgotten, indeed it should be widely celebrated.

It was a privilege to finally make this piece of work through the Pendle Radicals project funding, to collaborate with Charles Jepson, who has been so supportive in preparation, and to meet all the participants. I thank you for your time and written contributions, you have all made this what it is: a collective piece of work.

I look forward to riding out to next year’s Clarion Sunday and just being part of it, come rain or shine.

Alan J Ward

cartes cabinets – la vojo returne postcard details

A series of small details in the style of cartes cabinet photographic portraits. These are all taken from postcards of the small town of Grandpré.