An Artist Lecture. Notes from Lubberland
‘Lubberland’ is an English version of the medieval fantasy land of Cockaigne. Traces of this myth can be seen in dances, songs and calendar customs, still regularly performed and enacted today. This place in English traditional performance reflects a similar lineage in ritual and folk ballads, dances and traditional drama across Western Europe. Its motifs and inversions are present in numerous performances and rituals that make use of humour, subversion and the carnivalesque. This lecture explores an artistic research practice reframing the realm of folklore and forgotten traditions in a renewed mode that re-contextualises tradition as something that also belongs to the present and the future. This includes a questioning of the role of humour, luck and the historical museum.
Matthew Cowan is a New Zealand artist, based in Helsinki and Berlin, working in the realm of traditional European customs. His works are photographs, videos, installations and performances, which play with the inherent strangeness of the continued popularity of long established folk customs in a contemporary world. In 2009, Matthew was the first artist in residence at Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, in London. His contemporary art practice and research examines folk traditions and their connections to communities and places.
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