Saturday 8 June 2019 – A Soft Rebellion in Paradise – The International Premiere of a film by Chloë Brown

A Soft Rebellion in Paradise

For one day this spring, Sheffield’s historic Paradise Square is set to transform into an art gallery for a major outdoor screening event as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest. A Soft Rebellion in Paradise, a new short film by artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Chloë Brown shot on location in the Square, will receive its international premiere on Saturday 8th June. The film, which centres on women’s voices, was created with an all-female crew, production team and cast, and was commissioned by the city-wide visual arts programme, Making Ways.

Over 200 women participated in creating the film, performing a series of ‘Soft Rebellions’, a term used by Brown to describe her on-going exploration of artistic actions. Previous ‘Soft Rebellions’ have included working with participants who dance, eat, meet and applaud in places where it is unusual, or even forbidden, to do so.

At the heart of the film is the poem, Soft Rebellions in Paradise Squared by Sheffield-based poet, Geraldine Monk, who worked with Brown on the project. This part chant, part song and part incantation sits alongside a goose bump-inducing silence and an ear-splitting yell by the crowd. It is a call to action by ‘The Unquiets’ (the women in the crowd) who urgently chant as Monk performs on the balcony where, in the past, John Wesley once addressed the masses who gathered in the Square and the chartists were dispersed by troops leading to a running battle. Alongside this, a group of four women perform a discordant ‘song’ that references both historian, Mary Beard’s lecture, ‘Women & Power’ and author, Henry James’ criticism of the female voice, which he described as ‘a mumble or jumble, a tongue-less slobber’.

To accompany these ‘Soft Rebellions’, Belfast-based musician and performer, DIE HEXEN, has composed an evocative soundscape that builds to an intense and powerful crescendo.

A Soft Rebellion in Paradise - Chloe Brown

Paradise Square – Chloë Brown

Chloë Brown says:

‘At a time when the world is still reeling from the #MeToo campaign and we mark the one hundred year anniversary since some women first achieved the right to vote in this country, I wanted to make a film that could contribute to this debate by focussing solely on women’s voices to create a defiant piece of art that is demanding to be seen AND heard.’

The premiere takes the form of an outdoor screening in partnership with Sheffield Doc/Fest on Saturday 8th June 2019, in Paradise Square. The film, which is approximately 10 minutes long and a certificate U, will be screened from midday to 9pm as a free drop-in event. There will be a special introduction by Chloë Brown at 4.30pm.

The full Doc/Fest programme is now available online.

About the artist

Chloë Brown has exhibited internationally over the last 30 years including three international biennials (Istanbul Biennial, Mardin Biennial and the British Ceramics Biennial) with work recently included in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). She is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Brown creates films that are socio-political at heart and often participatory, working with the inhabitants and locations in post-industrial cities: in Stoke-on-Trent (The Potteries), then in Detroit (The Motor City) and now in Sheffield (The Steel City), in order to question the position a city finds itself in once its’ industry and the associated employment has dwindled. She poses the question: ‘what happens when the economic engines of a city slow down but the people don’t?’ with a sense of optimism and empowerment.