Rudiments consists of new photographic, moving image and performative works that collectively explore tensions between discipline and chance, precision and chaos, empathy and the involuntary pleasure of watching the pain of others.
Central to the project is a film work in which Broomberg & Chanarin have collaborated with a group of young army cadets at a military camp on the outskirts of Liverpool. Whether the scenes we observe are staged by the artists or simply a document of the camp’s routine practice remains unclear. The absurd and disturbing introduction of a Bouffon (Hannah Ringham) – a dark clown whose performance teeters on vulgarity – radically challenges the military codes and interrupts their carefully choreographed routines. Broomberg & Chanarin’s film explores the formative moments of childhood and early youth in the presence of authority, and is propelled by a dramatic improvised score devised for the drums by the American musician Kid Millions.
A series of large-scale photographic works shows still-lives of bullets that have collided in midair. These improbable objects were originally found on the battlefields of the American civil war and are said to have effectively saved the lives of two soldiers. In a second series, Broomberg & Chanarin have photographed military grade prisms, shards of optical glass that are used in the sights of precision weaponry. Violence is transmitted through these materials: fused lumps of lead and the shear edges of crystal glass.
The exhibition includes the Double Act: a live performance with two drummers, one snare drum, one chair, two clocks and a lead carpet, in which the drummers play a drum roll for the duration of the exhibition, without interruption.