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Dancing in the Boardroom (Turnin' My Heartbeat Up)

Friday 04 October 2013

The focus of Brown's work for the international research project ‘Topographies of the Obsolete’ is on the landscape of post industry and takes the disused Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent as its critical prompt, as defined by the factory's history, legacy and socio-political context. Brown's approach employs methods of sculptural practice, site-specific intervention and film in order to develop poignant narratives questioning these contexts.

Her film 'Dancing in the Boardroom (Turnin' My Heartbeat Up)' follows this enquiry through the filming of two dancers dancing to Northern Soul in the boardroom of the factory. Through this film connections between post-industrial cities of Stoke and Detroit, where Northern Soul music largely originates, are made and issues such as the class system, labour and norms of behaviour are questioned.

The dancers are seen dancing with passion in the empty, once splendid Boardroom at Spode leading to collisions of meaning, not least the questioning of the sanctity of the Boardroom - a place where traditionally the Managing Director of the factory and Board members would entertain buyers and guests. In the film, the room is transformed into a ballroom, a dance hall, where ‘soulful’ music is played and a couple dance, absorbed in their own movements and thoughts creating a piece that is both haunting and uplifting.

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