Transcript: Sonia Boyce, Pioneer and Trailblazer | Feb 18, 2019

(music plays)

Logo: TVF International.

The name of the show appears in white letters against different colourful abstract backgrounds. It reads "Brilliant Ideas."

A song says I-D-E-A-S
IDEAS

Katharine says HER OPENNESS AND HER CAPACITY
FOR RISK-TAKING; SHE'S REALLY,
REALLY EXCITING.

Sam says SHE WAS THE FIRST EVER
BLACK WOMAN TO HAVE A SOLO SHOW
AT THE WHITE CHAPEL GALLERY.
THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO BE
ACQUIRED BY THE TATE
COLLECTION.
AND THEN, MORE RECENTLY,
SHOCKINGLY, IS STILL THE FIRST
BLACK WOMAN TO BECOME A ROYAL
ACADEMICIAN.

Glane says SONIA IS AN AGENT ACTIVELY
CHANGING FORMS OF
REPRESENTATION.

Fast clips show Sonia working with male and female performers.

Mark says OH, SHE'S UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF
PROMINENT WOMAN ARTISTS WORKING
IN THE UK.

A caption reads "Sonia Boyce." Sonia is in her mid-forties. She wears a black turban, a beige jacket and a black shirt.

Sonia says I AM QUITE HOOKED ON
THE MYSTERY OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
PEOPLE ARE TOGETHER AND WHAT
THEY DO.

A clip shows Sonia and a crew setting up a theather play.

A Female Narrator says BRITISH ARTIST
SONIA BOYCE IS ABOUT TO STAGE A
PERFORMANCE AT THE INSTITUTE OF
CONTEMPORARY ART IN LONDON FOR
A MAJOR NEW ARTWORK.
SHE'S INVITED A VOCALIST AND
DANCERS TO PERFORM IN FRONT OF
A MASKED AUDIENCE.
ALL THE ACTION WILL BE FILMED
BY SONIA'S FOUR PERSON CAMERA
CREW, BUT EVEN SHE HAS NO IDEA
HOW IT WILL UNFOLD.

Sonia says NOBODY REALLY QUITE KNOWS
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
IT'S GONNA BE MAYBE A LITTLE BIT
CHAOTIC.
I'M HOPING THAT THE DANCERS WILL
KIND OF TEASE OUT AN ENGAGEMENT
WITH THE AUDIENCE.
WHEN PEOPLE KIND OF DO THINGS
TOGETHER, PARTICULARLY WHEN
THEY'RE UNEXPECTED, THERE'S
ALWAYS A MOMENT WHERE THERE'S
SOMETHING ALMOST LIKE A KIND OF
EUREKA MOMENT THAT KIND OF
HAPPENS.
I THINK THERE'S A CERTAIN KIND
OF ENERGY, FOR ME, THAT COMES
WHEN I STEP BACK A BIT AND ALLOW
OTHERS TO LET THE PROCESS KIND
OF UNFOLD.

A metal ring with pink strings hangs on the stage.

The caption changes to "Barbara Gamper. Choreographer." Barbara is in her forties, with short light brown hair. She wears a blue turtle-neck sweater under a beige cardigan.

Barbara says YEAH, THERE'S GOING TO
BE 70 PEOPLE WEARING MASKS, THE
AUDIENCE, AND I FELT VERY MUCH
LIKE CREATING A SORT OF
PLAYGROUND AND THAT THERE WOULD
BE OBJECTS AND BODIES.

The Narrator says COLLABORATION AND
IMPROVISATION ARE VERY MUCH
SONIA'S STYLE.
SHE WORKS WITH THE ELEMENT OF
CHANCE, BRINGING PEOPLE
TOGETHER TO CREATE PERFORMANCE
AND VIDEO WORKS THAT SPAN FILM,
MUSIC AND DANCE.
BUT SONIA MADE HER FIRST
ARTISTIC MARK IN A VERY
DIFFERENT MEDIUM-- DRAWING.

(reggae music plays)
An old clip shows a London street market.

The Narrator says SHE WAS BORN IN 1962 IN
LONDON'S EAST END TO PARENTS
WHO HAD RECENTLY IMMIGRATED
FROM THE CARIBBEAN.

Sonia says SO, I'M ONE OF FIVE CHILDREN.
AND, YOU KNOW, I GREW UP IN A
CARIBBEAN HOUSEHOLD, WHICH WAS
VERY, VERY NOISY AND THE HOUSE
WAS ALWAYS-- SEEMS TO BE KIND OF
ON THE MOVE.
I WAS ALWAYS DRAWING AND I NEVER
NOTICED THAT I WAS ALWAYS
DRAWING.
YOU KNOW, ALL THE MARGINS OF ALL
MY SCHOOLBOOKS AND ANY SURFACE
THAT I COULD KIND OF FIND, I
WOULD BE DRAWING ON IT.

A black and white sketch shows hands brading a woman's hair.

Sonia says STUDIED AT PRESTIGIOUS
ART SCHOOL STOURBRIDGE
COLLEGE OF ARTS.

Sonia says AND SO, WHEN I WAS IN MY
FIRST YEAR AT STOURBRIDGE, I WAS
CONVINCED THAT SOMEONE IN A SUIT
WOULD COME IN WITH A CLIPBOARD
AND SAY, "ARE YOU MISS BOYCE?
I'M SORRY, WE'VE MADE THIS
TERRIBLE MISTAKE," BECAUSE I WAS
REALLY SHOCKED THAT I WAS
ALLOWED TO DRAW ALL DAY.

The Narrator says SHE DECIDED THAT SHE WANTED
TO MAKE ART THAT DEPICTED HER
OWN VIEW OF THE WORLD.

Sonia says I SAID TO MYSELF, "THAT'S
WHAT I WANT TO DO, THAT'S
EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO.
I'M GOING TO DO FINE ART BECAUSE
I WANT TO DO WORK ABOUT LIFE,
BUT ALSO WITH A VERY KIND OF
EDGY POLITICAL SENSIBILITY."
I BEGAN BY LOOKING-- LOOKING AT
IMAGES IN MAGAZINES AND BECAME
VERY AWARE THAT THE IMAGES OF
AFRICAN DIASPORIC WOMEN, YOU
KNOW, BLACK WOMEN WERE VERY
LIMITED.
LOOK THROUGH THE ART MAGAZINES,
LOOK THROUGH THE BOOKS, AND MOST
OF WHAT I COULD FIND WERE BOOKS
ABOUT TRADITIONAL AFRICAN TRIBAL
ART OR WHAT PEOPLE FELT ABLE TO
SAY PRIMITIVE ART.

The caption changes to "Katharine Stout. Head of Programmes, Institute of Contemporary Art." Katharine is in her late thirties, with shoulder-length blond hair. She wears a black sweater.

Katharine says I THINK THAT'S REALLY WHAT
GRAVITATED HER TOWARDS BEING AN
ARTIST, IS A MEANS TO SORT OF
CREATE A SPACE THAT ALLOWED HER
VOICE AND HER OWN PERSONAL
EXPERIENCES TO BE HEARD.

The caption changes to "Sam Thome. Director, Nottingham Contemporary." Sam is in his late thirties, with a beard and brown hair. He wears a white shirt under a dark gray sweater.

Sam says IT'S REALLY ABOUT INSERTING
HERSELF INTO THESE KINDS OF
HISTORIES, INTO THESE KINDS OF
DEBATES, TO REALLY KIND OF
REDRESS THE BALANCE OF ART
HISTORY.

(minimal music plays)

The Narrator says HER POLITICALLY CHARGED
DRAWINGS TACKLED ISSUES OF
IDENTITY AND BELONGING FACE
ON.
SHE PLACED HERSELF IN THE
CENTRE OF HER WORK, WEAVING
VISUAL METAPHORS AND PUNS INTO
HER COLOURFUL IMAGERY.
ONE OF HER BEST KNOWN WORKS
FROM THE PERIOD RE-EXAMINES
BRITISH HISTORY.

An artwork made of four framed pieces shows a black woman on a floral background.

The caption changes to "Lay back, keep quiet and think of what made Britain so great, 1986."

Sonia says I WAS REALLY INTO WILLIAM
MORRIS WALLPAPERS AND THEN THERE
WAS A WALLPAPER THAT WAS
DESIGNED TO COMMEMORATE QUEEN
VICTORIA'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY AND
OF, REALLY, THE EMPIRE.

She opens a book and points to an illustration.

She says AND IN THIS WALLPAPER WAS THE
VARIOUS CONTINENTS, THE FOUR
CONTINENTS THAT THE BRITISH
EMPIRE RULED OVER.
I USED THAT AS A KIND OF
BACKGROUND TO KIND OF TALK ABOUT
BOTH THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH'S
RELATIONSHIP IN TERMS OF EMPIRE,
THE QUESTION ABOUT COLONIALISM.

Katharine says IT'S VERY HUMAN.
IT'S DEALING, SORT OF, VERY
PERSONAL ISSUES, AND YET IT'S
KIND OF BEING PRESENTED IN THIS
VERY CONFIDENT, SORT OF VERY
HEROIC SCALE AS WELL.

The caption changes to "Glane Tawadros. Author, Sonia Boyce, Speaking in Tongues." Glane is in her early forties, with shoulder-length curly brown hair. She wears a long necklace over a white blouse.

Glane says I MEAN, HER TITLES ARE JUST
SO FANTASTIC AND SO EVOCATIVE
AND THEY RAISE ALL SORTS OF
QUESTIONS.

Sam says YOU SEE HER ON THE RIGHT-HAND
PANEL, KIND OF LOOKING OUT AT
THE VIEWER, SLIGHTLY
IMPASSIVELY.
AND BEHIND HER ARE THESE KIND OF
TUDOR ROSES, BUT THEY'RE ALL
TURNED BLACK.
THEY'RE ENTANGLED WITH THESE
CRUCIFORM SHAPES.
IN EACH ONE OF THEM IS A NAME OF
A DIFFERENT COLONY.
AND SO, THINKING ABOUT THESE
DIFFERENT LEGACIES OF EMPIRE,
THINKING ABOUT THE WAYS IN WHICH
EMPIRE IS COMPLETELY INTERTWINED
WITH THE WAY IN WHICH HISTORIES
AND NARRATIVES GET BUILT.

Glane says THE ROSE ITSELF IS A KIND OF
AMBIVALENT MOTIF-- BEAUTIFUL,
FRAGILE, BUT ALSO THORNY,
INTRACTABLE.
AND THAT SENSE OF AMBIVALENCE
IS THERE THROUGHOUT SONIA'S
WORK.
WE LOOK AT WILLIAM MORRIS NOW AS
SORT OF REPRESENTATIVE OF
QUINTESSENTIAL ENGLISH ARTIST.
AND YET, WILLIAM MORRIS WAS AN
ANARCHIST.
YOU KNOW, HE WAS ACTUALLY VERY
DISRUPTIVE IN HIS OWN RIGHT.
AND I THINK THERE IS A SYNERGY
THERE BETWEEN A FIGURE LIKE
WILLIAM MORRIS, WHO'S
INTERROGATING AND ENGAGED WITH
QUESTIONS OF ENGLISHNESS AND
REPRESENTATION, AND SONIA BOYCE,
WORKING 100 YEARS LATER AND
INTERROGATING THOSE SAME THEMES
BUT FROM A VERY DIFFERENT
EXPERIENCE AND IN A VERY
DIFFERENT CONTEXT.

The Narrator says THE ARTS COUNCIL OF BRITAIN
BOUGHT THE PASTEL.
THEY WERE SWIFTLY FOLLOWED BY
TATE, WHO ACQUIRED TWO OTHER
WORKS, MAKING SONIA-- AGED JUST
23-- THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE
ARTIST AND ONLY THE FIFTH WOMAN
IN TATE'S COLLECTION.

Katharine says IT'S WORTH POINTING OUT THAT
NOT EVERY ARTIST SORT OF ENDS UP
BEING IN NATIONAL COLLECTIONS AT
THAT EARLY POINT.

Sonia says I WAS 23.
I MEAN, THIS IS JUST-- IT'S KIND
OF CRAZY.
WE WERE VERY, VERY AWARE OF
THERE BEING-- THAT THE STATUS
QUO WAS THERE TO BE CHALLENGED,
WAS NOT THERE TO BE-- TO TELL
US, "OKAY, THIS IS WHAT YOU
THINK" AND YOU JUST FOLLOW IT.
IT WAS OUR JOB, IN A WAY, TO
CHALLENGE THINGS.

(delicate music plays)

The Narrator says SONIA'S PERFORMANCE HAS JUST
WRAPPED.
RATHER THAN LASTING HALF AN
HOUR AS PREDICTED, IT WENT ON
FOR TWO HOURS, AS THE AUDIENCE
BECAME MORE INVOLVED, EAGERLY
RESPONDING TO SONIA'S
INVITATION TO PLAY.

Sonia says I MEAN, WE WANTED-- WE WANTED
THE PERFORMERS TO GET THE
AUDIENCE MEMBERS INVOLVED, BUT I
DIDN'T REALIZE THE EXTENT TO
WHICH THEY WOULD REALLY JUST...
PEOPLE JUST WANTED TO PLAY.

Actors and members of the public wearing masks dance and play with colourful fabrics on the stage.

Katharine says WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
AND WE WERE WORRIED THE WHOLE
TIME THAT PEOPLE WOULDN'T DO
ANYTHING.
AND ACTUALLY, THE OPPOSITE
HAPPENED, THAT THROUGH THE
COURSE OF THE PERFORMANCE AND
WHAT UNFOLDED, WE ACTUALLY
COULDN'T GET THE AUDIENCE TO
STOP.
THEY SORT OF BECAME VERY
INVOLVED AND IT CONTINUED.
AND THAT'S WHAT'S FASCINATING
AND THAT WAS THE CONFIDENCE AND
THE TRUST THAT SONIA HAD, THAT
SHE KNEW SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN.
THE MASK, I THINK, DID OPERATE
IN THE WAY THAT SONIA HOPED, IN
WHICH THERE WAS A SORT OF
LETTING GO THAT TOOK PLACE
DURING THE COURSE OF THE
PERFORMANCE.

Glane says SHE USED HER OWN PORTRAIT,
BUT IT'S NOT QUITE CLEAR THAT
IT'S SONIA, AND CREATED THESE
MASKS WHICH SHE GAVE TO THE
AUDIENCE SO THAT THEY HAD A
LICENCE TO ENTER INTO THE WORK
AND PARTICIPATE WITHOUT BEING
IDENTIFIABLE OR, I SUPPOSE,
EXPOSED.

Sonia watches the members of the public enter the theatre.

Sonia says AS AN EXPERIENCE, THAT WAS
JUST TOTALLY OFF THE CHARTS.
I'M ACTUALLY BEAMING, THINKING
THAT WAS-- THAT WAS QUITE
EXTRAORDINARY.

The caption changes to "Mark Hudson. Art Critic, The Telegraph." Mark is in his early fifties, clean-shaven with white hair. He wears a striped white shirt under a black sweater.

Mark says BRITAIN IN THE EARLY 80S WAS
QUITE A BITTER, EMBATTLED PLACE.
THATCHER HAD RECENTLY COME TO
POWER, UNEMPLOYMENT WAS ON THE
UP, YOU HAD THE RIOTING IN
LIVERPOOL, BRIXTON, SOUTHALL.
SO, IT WAS QUITE AN EDGY PLACE.

An old clip shows the police covering themselves with shields in a protest.

The Narrator says BORNE OUT OF THIS TUMULTUOUS
TIME, THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT
WAS STARTED BY YOUNG PEOPLE
FIGHTING FOR THEIR PLACE IN
SOCIETY.

Glane says SO, IN 1980S BRITAIN, THE
IDEA OF A MAINSTREAM,
HOMOGENOUS BRITISH IDENTITY WAS
SOMETHING THAT WAS BEING
CHALLENGED BY A WHOLE RANGE OF
ARTISTS AND FILMMAKERS AND
WRITERS, AND IT WAS INTO THIS
CONTEXT THAT SONIA EMERGED,
AMONGST A GROUP WHO ARE REALLY
GIVING VOICE TO A DIFFERENT
NOTION AND IDEA OF WHAT IT WAS
TO BE BRITISH, AND IT WAS A
VERY, VERY EXCITING TIME.

Katherine says SHE WAS A KEY PART OF A SORT
OF VERY ACTIVIST BLACK ARTS
MOVEMENT.
IT WAS ABOUT IDEAS AND HOW YOU
CAN ARTICULATE MESSAGES THAT
NEED TO BE HEARD MORE WIDELY.

Mark says THE IDEA THAT A BUNCH OF
YOUNG ARTISTS WERE GOING TO COME
ALONG, WHO HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP
HERE AND WERE GOING TO USE THE
EXPERIENCE OF HAVING GROWN UP IN
QUITE A DISADVANTAGED, EMBATTLED
SITUATION ON MANY LEVELS AND
ACTUALLY PUT THAT INTO ART, I
MEAN, THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT
THE BRITISH ART SCENE WAS NOT
PREPARED FOR.

Sonia says AT THAT POINT, I WAS REALLY
WANTING TO MAKE IMAGES THAT
SOMEHOW DESCRIBED NOT ONLY WHO I
WAS, BUT THE CONTEXT WHICH I...
FROM WHICH I WAS COMING FROM.
I WASN'T DOING IT IN TERMS OF
THINKING, "OH, THIS IS ABOUT
MAKING HISTORY" OR ANYTHING.
IT WAS JUST, "YEAH, OKAY, YOU
KNOW, LET'S JUST DO THIS,"
WITHOUT THOUGHT, REALLY, ABOUT
WHAT IT MEANT HISTORICALLY.

A painting shows a young strong woman lifting a woman, a man and two girls.

The caption changes to "She ain't holding them up, she's holding on (some English Rose), 1986."

The Narrator says SONIA'S FOCUS ON FAMILY AND
THE DOMESTIC SPACE SHONE A
LIGHT ON A COMMUNITY THAT,
UNTIL THEN, WAS BARELY SCENE IN
BRITISH MUSEUMS.

Glane says "SHE AIN'T HOLDING THEM UP,
SHE'S HOLDING ON (SOME ENGLISH
ROSE)" IS AN EXTRAORDINARY WORK.
I MEAN, YOU CAN SEE ALREADY
SONIA'S INTEREST IN THE IDEA OF
THE ARTIST AS THIS CATALYST,
THIS TRIGGER, THIS ACTIVATOR OF
NARRATIVE.

Sonia says I WAS PARTICULARLY MAKING
REFERENCE TO, YOU KNOW, THE KIND
OF DOMESTIC SPACE AND THE
PARTICULAR KIND OF DOMESTIC
SPACE WITHIN THE KIND OF
CARIBBEAN HOUSEHOLD, WHICH IS
VERY, VERY PATTERNED AND VERY
KIND OF QUITE SENSUAL.
THERE'S ALWAYS A LOT OF COLOUR
AND A LOT OF TEXTURE.

Glane says AND THE WORK, I THINK, IS A
REALLY KEY WORK, NOT JUST FOR
SONIA, BUT ALSO FOR BRITISH ART
BECAUSE IT'S THE FIRST TIME, IN
THE NATIONAL COLLECTION OF
BRITISH ART, THERE IS A WORK
WHICH IS ADDRESSING WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE A BLACK BRITISH
WOMAN.

The Narrator says SONIA'S INTEREST IN BLACK
IDENTITY INSPIRED HER TO MAKE
A NEW WORK ABOUT THE POPULAR
FICTIONAL CHARACTER TARZAN.

Sonia says THE PIECE WAS ABOUT KIND OF
DECONSTRUCTING NOT ONLY, YOU
KNOW, THIS FIGURE OF TARZAN,
WHO, YOU KNOW, IS THIS WHITE
MALE WHO GROWS UP IN THE JUNGLE
AND IS ABLE TO MASTER THAT SPACE
BETTER THAN PEOPLE WHO'VE LIVED
THERE FOR CENTURIES.
INVARIABLY, THE BLACK SUBJECTS
THAT ARE RALLIED AROUND HIM WERE
INDECIPHERABLE.
THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO SPEAK.
THEY'RE INCOHERENT.
THEY ARE OFTEN STUPID.
THEY'RE UNABLE TO WORK OUT THE
THINGS THAT HE'S MANAGED TO WORK
OUT, YOU KNOW, AS THIS LONE
FIGURE.
AND SO, THE PIECE WAS ABOUT KIND
OF DECONSTRUCTING ALL OF THAT,
ALL OF THOSE KINDS OF NARRATIVES
GOING ON AS A WAY OF TRYING TO
THINK THROUGH HOW WE RELATE TO
REPRESENTATION.

A collage shows women' faces and caricatures on a white background with leaves and tribal stings.

The caption changes to "From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born 'Native' Considers Relationships to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction, 1987."

Sam says LIKE A LOT OF SONIA'S WORK AT
THE TIME, THIS IS REALLY
THINKING ABOUT HOW IS IDENTITY
PRODUCED, HOW IS IDENTITY
CONSTRUCTED, HOW IS GENDER
CONSTRUCTED.
AND TO THIS, SHE OFTEN TURNS TO
COLLAGE.
AND THIS KIND OF PICK AND MIX
APPROACH SHE DOES PARTICULARLY
DEFTLY, I THINK, AND FROM TARZAN
TO RAMBO.
AND THERE'S A CERTAIN KIND OF
LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE HERE, THE
WAY IN WHICH THE SELF BECOMES
PERFORMED.

Sonia says SO, THE REASON WHY I WAS
USING COLLAGE, IN A WAY, IT WAS
MY PATHWAY INTO THINKING ABOUT
THE MOVING IMAGE AND ACTUALLY
CREATING MOVING IMAGES, WORKING
WITH COLLAGE.

The Narrator says IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EASY FOR
SONIA TO CONTINUE WORKING IN
THIS WAY.
BUT EVER RESTLESS AND CURIOUS
FOR NEW THINGS, FROM THIS POINT
ON, SHE STARTED TO WORK
EXCLUSIVELY IN VIDEO AND
PERFORMANCE.

Sonia says I NO LONGER WANTED TO START
WITH A KIND OF CLEAR NARRATIVE,
SO TO SPEAK.
AND I SUPPOSE I REALIZED IN
DOING SOME OF THAT WORK WHERE I
WAS CENTRE OF THE WORK THAT,
ACTUALLY, I FOUND IT MUCH MORE
INTERESTING FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO
KIND OF TAKE THAT KIND OF CENTRE
STAGE.

Sam says JUST AS SOME OF THOSE EARLY
WORKS WERE DIFFERENT EXPRESSIONS
OF IDENTITY OR INVESTIGATIONS
INTO IDENTITY, WHAT PERFORMANCE
AND MOVING IMAGE ALLOWED HER TO
DO WAS TO APPROACH THESE KINDS
OF QUESTIONS WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
IT WAS HER ALLOWING A DEGREE OF
CHANCE, OF IMPROVISATION, AND
IMPORTANTLY, OF COLLABORATION
INTO THE WORK, TOO.
SO, IT'S A WAY OF KIND OF
OPENING THE WORK OUT ONTO THE
WORLD.

A woman plays with water inside a public fountain and rolls down a stone sidewalk.

Katherine says ACTUALLY, I THINK THAT HER
TRUE MEDIUM IS PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW, IT'S WORKING WITH
PEOPLE AND IT'S WORKING WITH
OTHERS, AND THAT ACTUALLY VIDEO
AND SOUND OFFERS THAT KIND OF
FORUM TO SORT OF WORK IN THE
KIND OF WAY THAT NOW SUITS HER
IN THE WAY SHE WANTS TO EXPRESS
HER IDEAS.

A clip shows a woman singing operatically in split screens.

The Narrator says BY WORKING WITH VIDEO, SONIA
CONTINUED TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVES, BUT WAS NOW ABLE
TO LOOK AT DIVERSITY IN MUSIC
AND SOUND, TOO.
IN "FOR YOU, ONLY YOU" SONIA
TOOK ON THE CHALLENGE OF
BRINGING THE AVANT-GARDE SOUND
ART OF MIKHAIL KARIKIS TO A
COMPLETELY UNFAMILIAR CONTEXT...
OXFORD UNIVERSITY.

The caption changes to "2007."

A clip shows Mikhail breathing heavily, exhaling sharply and grunting on a screen as a choir sings quietly.

Sonia says I WAS JUST SO STRUCK
BY THE WAY THAT HE-- THE WAY HE
PERFORMS AND KIND OF
NON-LINGUISTIC USE OF VERY KIND
OF GUTTURAL SOUNDS, BODILY
SOUNDS IN HIS PERFORMANCE.
MIKHAIL WORKS A VERY DIFFERENT
WAY TO, YOU KNOW, KIND OF
RENAISSANCE, HIGHLY STRUCTURED
WAY OF SINGING.
THE CHOIR WERE REALLY TROUBLED
BY WHAT MIKHAIL HAD DONE WITH
THIS PIECE OF CHORAL MUSIC BY
JOSQUIN DESPREZ.
BUT WHAT MIKHAIL HAD DONE IS HE
CHOPPED IT UP AND REARRANGED,
SO THAT THERE WERE HALF
SENTENCES AND IT WAS FAMILIAR
AND UNFAMILIAR TO THEM.

(vocalizing)

Glane says YOU HAVE THIS EXTRAORDINARY
KIND OF DANCE THAT GOES ON
BETWEEN THESE TWO PIECES OF
SOUND AND MUSIC-- THE CHOIR
SINGING AND MIKHAIL KARIKIS'
IMPROVISED SOUND PIECE, WHICH IS
GUTTURAL.
IT SOUNDS LIKE ANIMAL NOISES.
THAT PIECE IS VERY MUCH ABOUT
HOW WE RECEIVE AND UNDERSTAND
SOMETHING THAT'S DIFFERENT,
THAT'S UNFAMILIAR, THAT'S
STRANGE, AND HOW WE OPEN
OURSELVES UP TO ACTUALLY
EMBRACING THAT DIFFERENCE.
AND IT'S A VERY RESONANT PIECE
IN TERMS OF THE TIMES WE LIVE
IN, YOU KNOW, THE QUESTION OF
HOW WE EMBRACE THE STRANGER, THE
FOREIGNER, THE UNFAMILIAR IS A
KEY QUESTION FOR OUR TIMES.

Sonia says AND ACTUALLY, IT'S CONTINUED
TO MAKE ME THINK ABOUT WHAT
REPRESENTATION, NOT ONLY MIGHT
LOOK LIKE, BUT ALSO MIGHT SOUND
LIKE.

(jazz playing)

Sonia says STARTED LOOKING AT
BLACK FEMALE SINGERS IN
BRITAIN.
SHE WAS CAPTIVATED BY THE
STORY OF LITTLE KNOWN SINGER
ADELAIDE HALL.

Sonia says ADELAIDE WAS A SINGER IN THE
1930'S.
SHE KNEW DUKE ELLINGTON AND SHE
MADE ONE OF THE EARLIEST JAZZ
SCAT RECORDS WITH DUKE
ELLINGTON, WHICH IS-- A PIECE OF
WHICH WE USED AT THE END OF THIS
FILM "OH ADELAIDE."

Glane says SO, THE PIECE IS VERY MUCH
ALSO ABOUT WHAT'S VISIBLE, WHAT
WE ACKNOWLEDGE CULTURALLY,
WHAT'S PART OF A SHARED HISTORY
AND NARRATIVE OF OUR SHARED
CULTURE, AND WHAT GETS ECLIPSED
WHAT GETS FORGOTTEN.

The Narrator says SONIA IS TACKLING THE FOOTAGE
FROM THE PERFORMANCE AT THE
ICA.
HER CHALLENGE IS TO SHAPE A
HUGE AMOUNT OF MATERIAL INTO
THE FINAL ARTWORK.

Sonia sits at a table looking at a clip on a monitor.

Sonia says THERE'S STUFF AND THERE'S
BODIES AND IT'S ALL KIND OF...
AND THEN, YOU'VE GOT THIS REALLY
HARD SOUND THAT...
MY WHOLE IMAGINING HAS KIND OF
EXPANDED AND MULTIPLIED TO TRY
AND THINK ABOUT TO KIND OF
CAPTURE A SENSE OF IT WITHOUT
TRYING TO DO A-- IT'S NOT LIKE A
DOCUMENTARY OF WHAT TOOK PLACE.
IT'S REALLY HOW TO MAKE
SOMETHING FROM ALL THAT
MATERIAL.
IT'S LIKE SCULPTING, REALLY, BUT
IT'S SCULPTING WITH KIND OF THE
VIDEO MATERIAL AND THE SOUND
MATERIAL.
THERE'S ALWAYS RISK.
THERE'S ALWAYS RISK WITH THE
THINGS THAT I DO.
I AM LOOKING FOR THINGS THAT ARE
GOING TO SURPRISE ME.

A young woman sits next to her editing the video.

Sonia continues BUT ALSO, I'M, YOU KNOW, VERY
SERIOUSLY INTERESTED IN HOW
OTHER PEOPLE RESPOND.
AND I WANT TO BE-- I WANT TO BE
SURPRISED BY-- BY MY OWN
PRACTICE, YOU KNOW.
I DON'T WANT TO SAY, "ALL RIGHT,
I DO THIS AND I DO THIS EVERY
DAY."
I'M NOT THAT KIND OF ARTIST
WHO'S VERY SYSTEMATIC.
AND I, YOU KNOW-- I'M WANTING IT
TO BE A KIND OF JOURNEY OF
DISCOVERY IN A WAY.

The Narrator says ALWAYS FASCINATED BY THE
UNPREDICTABLE NATURE OF
IMPROVISATION, BRITISH ARTIST
SONIA BOYCE TOOK ON A NEW
PROJECT AT THE VILLA ARSON-- A
RENOWNED ART SCHOOL IN THE
HILLS BEHIND NICE.

Sonia says SO, THE SITE IS STUNNING.
ALL OF THE WONDER OF SURREALISM
IS KIND OF BUILT INTO THAT
SPACE.
AND I WANTED TO WORK WITH THE
STUDENTS, AND IT WAS CHAOTIC AND
IT WAS TREMENDOUSLY ENERGIZING.
I THINK IT RELEASED SOMETHING IN
THE STUDENTS, IN EVERYBODY,
ACTUALLY.

The caption changes to "Paper tiger whisky soap theatre (dada nice), 2016."

Students stretch, roll, whisper and lay on the ground outdoors on a sunny day,

Sonia continues AND BY THE END OF IT, THE
STUDENTS, BASICALLY, WERE
LEADING WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND
THEY WERE MAKING THE MOST
EXTRAORDINARY ANIMAL SOUNDS, AND
IT WAS HILARIOUS BUT REALLY
SPOOKY.
AND THERE ISN'T-- I DON'T KNOW
WHY THAT HAPPENED, BUT IT JUST
DID, IT JUST KIND OF ROSE TO THE
SURFACE.

Katherine says RATHER THAN PROJECTING WHAT
MIGHT HAPPEN, SHE'S GENUINELY
INTERESTED TO SEE WHAT MIGHT
HAPPEN, AND THEN THAT'S THE
MATERIAL THAT SHE THEN USES FOR
HER ARTWORK.

Glane says ONCE AGAIN, SHE'S ACTIVATING THE
ARTWORK BY CREATING THE SPACE,
BY BRINGING THESE PEOPLE
TOGETHER, AND THEN WANTS TO SEE
WHAT HAPPENS.
IT'S TRUSTING IN THE PROCESS OF
COLLABORATION, OF BRINGING
DIFFERENT PEOPLE TOGETHER.

The Narrator says IT'S OPENING NIGHT AT
LONDON'S ICA AND SONIA'S NEW
WORK IS ABOUT TO GO ON SHOW.
THE FINISHED ART WORK SPANS TWO
ROOMS WITH SEVEN DIFFERENT
SCREENS AND SPECIALLY DESIGNED
WALLPAPER INVITING VISITORS
INTO THE SPACE.

Three screens show video installations.

The caption changes to "We move in her way, 2017."

Sonia says SO, WE'RE FIRST DAY OF THE
ACTUAL EXHIBITION OF THE WORK.
ALTHOUGH WE DIDN'T START OUT
THINKING ABOUT IT AS A KIND OF
MULTI-SCREENED INSTALLATION,
BECAUSE THERE WAS SO MANY ANGLES
FROM WHICH THE PERFORMANCE WAS
FILMED, STARTED TO WONDER,
"WELL, IS IT POSSIBLE THEN TO DO
SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS
SIMULTANEOUSLY ACROSS DIFFERENT
SCREENS?"
I MEAN, ALSO, THE IDEA OF NOT
HAVING ONE PERSPECTIVE, YOU
KNOW, BUT THERE ARE MULTIPLE
PERSPECTIVES ON ANY GIVEN
SITUATION, AND THAT'S REALLY, IN
TERMS OF TRYING TO CONFIGURE THE
INSTALLATION, TRYING TO THINK
ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING-- NOT BEING
ABLE TO SEE EVERYTHING ALL AT
ONCE, IT'S NOT ALL LAID OUT FOR
EVERYBODY.
YOU HAVE TO KIND OF MOVE IN
ORDER TO GET A SENSE THAT THERE
ARE THESE DIFFERENT THINGS GOING
ON.
PEOPLE MIGHT ENGAGE WITH EACH
OTHER.
YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL
HAPPEN IN THIS SPACE OVER A
PERIOD OF EXHIBITION.

Mark says I THINK THE INITIAL
IMPRESSION OF IT IS QUITE
UNFATHOMABLE. I MEAN, YOU'VE GOT
SIX VIEWPOINTS UNFOLDING
SIMULTANEOUSLY.
YOU DON'T QUITE KNOW WHICH ONE
YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING AT
AND IN WHAT ORDER.
BUT GRADUALLY, YOU'RE KIND OF
SURROUNDED BY THE EXPERIENCE OF
THIS PERFORMANCE, ALMOST AS
THOUGH YOU'RE PART OF IT
YOURSELF.

A person drags a woman along the floor during the exhibition.

Katharine says ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT
SORT OF FOREGROUNDED IN THE
WORK, IT WAS AGAINST A BACKDROP
OF QUITE EXTRAORDINARY
POLITICAL, SOCIAL TIMES.
SO, AT THE HEART OF THIS WORK IS
THE IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, THE TITLE
IS "WE MOVE IN HER WAY," WHICH
CAN BE READ EITHER POSITIVE OR
NEGATIVE, WHETHER THAT'S A
ENABLING FACTOR OR AN
OBSTRUCTIVE FACTOR.

She continues BUT AGAINST A BACKDROP OF REALLY
WHAT, FOR A NEW GENERATION, ARE
SORT OF CONCERNING ISSUES ABOUT
THE IDEA OF A WOMAN IN POWER AND
HOW THAT IS THEN REGARDED IN THE
MEDIA.
THAT ACTUALLY PROVIDED A
BACKDROP, IN A WAY, THAT ALSO
KIND OF GAVE IT SORT OF AN EXTRA
RESONANCE AS WELL.

Gilane says AND I THINK SONIA WAS
PARTICULARLY DRAWN TO THE IDEA
OF AN ARTIST WHO WAS NOT MAKING
OBJECTS, BUT WAS ACTUALLY
CREATING ENVIRONMENTS AND
TRIGGERING THE PARTICIPATION OF
THE AUDIENCE IN A VERY DYNAMIC
AND INTERESTING WAY.
AND IT BROKE DOWN THE BARRIER
BETWEEN AN ARTIST AND A VIEWER.
THE AUDIENCE ACTUALLY HAS A VERY
ACTIVE ROLE TO PLAY IN
COMPLETING THE ARTWORK.

Sam says I THINK ART IS A PLACE
THAT DOESN'T TAKE US AWAY FROM
LIFE.
IT'S NOT A KIND OF PLACE OF
FANTASY OR ESCAPE OR REMOVAL.
IT'S ACTUALLY A LENS THAT BRINGS
US CLOSER TO THE WORLD.
SO, I THINK THE ARTIST SONIA
BOYCE, IN ALL OF HER COMPLEXITY,
IS REALLY STARTING TO EMERGE IN
A NEW WAY.

Gilane says YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY
IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT
SONIA'S WORK HAS CONSISTENTLY
BROKEN BOUNDARIES AND BEEN AT
THE VANGUARD OF FORMS OF
ARTISTIC PRACTICE IN BRITAIN AND
HAS BEEN EXTRAORDINARILY
INFLUENTIAL.

Sonia says I AM QUITE HOOKED ON, YOU
KNOW, THE MYSTERY OF WHAT
HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE ARE TOGETHER
AND WHAT THEY DO.
AND THAT'S WHY I WORK THIS WAY.
YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW THAT-- I
DON'T KNOW THAT ME SITTING IN
THE STUDIO ON MY OWN WOULD EVER
PRODUCE ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
AND ALWAYS THERE'S SOMETHING
UNEXPECTED.
I NEVER KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO
COME 'ROUND THE CORNER.

With her eyes closed, Sonia leans forward and backwards as people catches her.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Verity Sharp.

Edited and produced by Rosie Rockel.

Executive producer, Edward Morgan.

A Northern Town production.

Copyright 2017, Bloomberg LP.

Watch: Sonia Boyce, Pioneer and Trailblazer