Vauxhall Pleasure

Anna Best with Paul Whitty

Friday 6 August 2004   7.30pm and 8.30pm

Tate Britain

Vauxhall Cross traffic interchange

Vauxhall Cross traffic interchange





Vauxhall Pleasure was a collaborative work by artist Anna Best and composer Paul Whitty which drew upon the past history, present condition and future plans for Vauxhall Cross to explore the relationship between political protest and entertainment, traffic and pedestrians, noise pollution and song. The performance event was staged for a single day - Friday 6 August, 2004.

Although thunderous traffic and polluted atmosphere epitomize contemporary London's polluting car culture, Vauxhall Cross stands on the site of the legendary 18th century Pleasure Gardens, which were renowned as a place combining pastoral beauty and fresh air with the musical entertainments, fountains, fireworks and fun of urban culture.

At Tate Britain there were two free 30-minute performances at 7.30 and 8.30pm. Field recordings from Vauxhall Cross with the interference of traffic noise were played on a choir of loud speakers accompanying Paul Whitty's new composition. Whitty's piece used the recorded material to create a transformed version of Thomas Arne's cantata 'The Morning' (1755) which was performed by an 18th Century chamber ensemble. The contemporary site was mapped onto Arne's musical site 'The Morning...'Dr. Arne versus Vauxhall Cross' ' (Paul Whitty/2004)

The piece linked to the exhibition Tempered Ground at the Museum of Garden History, where there was a video piece, 'Roads for Prosperity and Progress' (1994), by Anna Best and an audio piece, 'Dr. Arne at Vauxhall Cross' (2004), by Paul Whitty.

Tate Late, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1

Background research information about the project can be accessed at the website in progress:

Vauxhall Pleasure was produced in partnership with Parabola, with support from Tate Live and funding from Arts Council England and Cross River Partnership.


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