This is the first of a series of events and collaborations to accompany Dead Yard, the exhibition by R.I.P Germain, as part of Languid Hands' No Real Closure curatorial programme at Cubitt Gallery.

Open Deck is an ongoing project and series of gatherings giving space to collectively listen, discuss and explore relationships to music and sound recordings. It has a ‘bring your own’ ethos to encourage an informal space for group listening and conversation. The idea was developed from an interest in the ways memories and stories are carried through global musical practices and a curiosity for what we are able to learn about value systems, histories and cultural traditions through the documentation, preservation, and dissemination of sound recordings.

This iteration of the Open Deck will be happening in response to Dead Yard, the exhibition by R.I.P. Germain at Cubitt Gallery, curated by Languid Hands. With intricate detail, Dead Yard redresses our collective relationship towards death in multiple forms. Works in the exhibition see R.I.P. Germain honouring those he has personally lost, lamenting the various ways in which Black people are denied the right to mourn, even as we are forced to confront death and dying in a world aggressively indifferent to our safety. 

Ongoing conversations over recent months have allowed us to think about ways of utilising the Open Deck format to garner a collective space of exchange. We are inviting people to submit music, sound recordings and responses relating to the wider themes in the exhibition revolving around grieving, mourning, lamenting and ritual. 

Taking the current Covid-19 guidelines into account, we set up a temporary phone request line for people to make contributions which were edited and produced into a radio show broadcasted on Saturday 21st November on the Tough Matter show on NTS Radio.

Radio platforms have been a particularly important and an interesting space during recent months and have revealed an immense potential for listeners to be able to feel a sense of connection, comfort and safety in sharing and exchanging music and conversation whilst in isolation.

Ashley Holmes is an artist and DJ based in Sheffield working across sound, video, radio broadcasts and performance. He organises Open Deck, a series of gatherings giving space to collectively listen, discuss & document relationships to music & oral histories. He also hosts Tough Matter, a monthly show on NTS Radio. Selected recent exhibitions include: A Free Moment at Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, curated by Christina Gigliotti (2020) away, completely: denigrate, group exhibition at Narrative Projects, London, curated by Languid Hands (2019) Double 6, collaborative performance w R.I.P. Germain at former Court Room of Leeds Town Hall, commissioned by Poor Image Projects (2019) Survey, group exhibition by Jerwood Arts, London (2018/19)

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