Brank & Heckle

Brank & Heckle

exhibition and events, 2011

BRANK & HECKLE was an exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts which featured a selection of projects alongside new works relating to the social and political history of Dundee. The exhibition takes its title from two contrasting ideas: ‘brank’ refers to the Scottish word for the Scold’s Bridle, used to silence and torture women, while ‘heckle’ refers to an act of spontaneous vocal interjection, said to have originated on the floors of Dundee’s jute mills.

The exhibition included A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World a decimal clock and The Cutty Wren.Apotheosis (Paul), a recreation of a mysteriously missing sculpture of Paul Robeson by artist Antonio Salemme was shown alongside a crop of tomato plants Them that plants them is soon forgotten, and archive information offering a glimpse into Robeson’s activism and surveillance on both sides of the Atlantic.

Works produced specifically for DCA include Nae Sums, an imagined slogan of the 1911 city school strikes made from reclaimed school desks, archive material and drawings made with local young people of activist, poet and musician Mary Brooksbank and a stunted version of Dundee’s own Liberty Tree, once planted in support of the French Revolution.

Dreadnought no 4 Sair Fecht – Half Loaf, a walking tour of Dundee’s radical history led by local historian Siobhan Tolland touched on the life of Mary Brooksbank, the suffrage movement in the city, the unpopularity of Winston Churchill when he was MP in Dundee and the jute and school strikes of 1911/12.

A woodblock font called Menzieshill was designed by pupils at Menzieshill High School in Dundee specifically for the exhibition poster. A illustrated photocopied exhibition catalogue was designed and made by young people during a workshop with Ruth at DCA.