Sound art residency: Radical Voices - Second Report

William Beveridge
William Beveridge

I’ve been tasked to create a performance and installation based on the Radical Voices Exhibition at Senate House, which features a collection of books, letters, pamphlets, posters and a various ephemera connected to the British tradition of progressive ideas, dissent and protest.

I feel a weight of responsibility working with this material. The Wrong Show, my series on Resonance 104.4 FM was basically satirical in nature, treating its subjects like so much sonic play-dough to be twisted into grotesque shapes for the goulish amusement of the listener. I feel that the protagonists of the narratives illustrated in this exhibition deserve a little more respect. To turn the Right Honourable Baron William Beveridge, principal architect of the post-war welfare state, into a mutant chipmunk from space might come across as flippant...

On the other hand I don’t want to come up with some bland hagiography, wherever my ideological sympathies might lie. And even the upright Baron Beveridge had a dark side; he, along with many other post-victoran ideologues (G.K Chesterton, Bertrand Russell, H.G.Wells, John Maynard Keynes) was an advocate of eugenics. My initial researches uncover the uncomfortable fact that Beveridge recommended that the unemployable be prevented from reproducing. Such innocent times…

Blog post details