A Million Darkened Kitchens
5.1 channel sound installation, 4 mins, 2022.
This sound piece for a nineteenth century era kitchen aims to shed light on the historically neglected space of the domestic kitchen – it’s numbingly repetitive, thankless (mostly female) labour, it’s subversive creative resistances. But rather than illustrate these ideas through expansive explanation, the piece focusses on a repeated sung and spoken phrase (“a million darkened kitchens”, from a 1911 poem inspired by women suffragists and strikers). This allows the amplified grain and texture of the embodied female vocal sounds to come to the fore; the sung syllables, intakes of breath, scrap of speech (all chopped and sliced in an echo of the repetitive tasks of kitchen work), creating a space within which a listener can contemplate for themselves the unimaginably numerous histories and experiences that are implied.
Thanks to James Oppenheim, Leon Rosselson, Susan Whitwam, Bread and Roses singers (Frankie Armstrong, Laura Bradshaw, Pauline Down), Mark Ager, Melanie Williams, Sue Starr, Anne Hodge, Julie Dempster and all the volunteers at Colne Valley Museum, Arts and Heritage, Arts Council England. Commissioned by Colne Valley Museum.
A stereo version of the work appears on the Paul Rooney album Surface Industries II on Owd Scrat Records.
Carl Filby (Unicorn Magazine folk blog). 27/10/2022 preview of the work.
The Newsroom (Big Issue in the North magazine). 24/10/2022 preview of the work.
Dai Jeffries (Folking.com blog). 7/10/2022 preview of the work.
The Newsroom (Yorkshire Post). 4/10/2022 article referencing the work.
Ellen Wilkinson (A-N website). 29/9/2022 preview of the work.