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Oh Europa

Action Hero

In 2018, Gemma & James will set off on a 6 month long journey to every country in Europe. Along the way, they'll record people singing love songs to add to a continuous transmission, broadcast from the edges of the continent.

Action Hero- Oh Europa

Oh Europa

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Action Hero

Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse share an interdisciplinary performance practice together under the name Action Hero

In 2018, we will move out of our house in Bristol and into a motorhome. Over 6 months, we will drive through every country in Europe.Along the way we will invite people into our motorhome to sing, a capella, a love song to add to an ever-growing archive. This project is called Oh Europa.

We will build an evolving library of voices singing with sentiments of love, loss, heartbreak, union, hope and longing, and we’ll carry them with us as we travel to every corner of the continent. From the Northern-most tip in Norway to the Southern-most point in Spain, attempting to reach all the cardinal points of the landmass we call Europe, and a whole host of edge-spaces and borderlands in between. Like geological surveyors or (art)venturers on expedition we’ll collect and carry samples and then we’ll find locations across the length and breadth of Europe to transmit them from.

Each time a new song is recorded, it is added to the archive. We will transmit this vast collection of voices, a type of epic song cycle,via beacons we place across the length and breadth of the continent. The locations for the beacons will be edges, junctures, points of departure: both topographic, geographic, man-made, historic and political. The idea being that in placing these beacons, Oh Europa offers up a different way to experience orunderstand the landscapes we share, drawing new connections between disparate sites.

Suddenly, edges aren’t edges at all, they are points of navigation and orientation. Oh Europa seeks to imagine other forms of mapping, one that represents the relationships between people and space rather than one that is about territory. The beacons will be like an acupuncture of the body of Europe in order to create a different set of connections, flows and circuits.

The result is an ever-expanding bank of songs, broadcasting simultaneously across multiple locations wherever a beacon has been placed. This means that a listener in Istanbul, looking across the Bosphorus and a listener in Cap Nordkyn in Norway at the most northerly edge of continental Europe would be listening to the exact same broadcast in real time. The broadcast will last at least as long as we are travelling, but hopefully much longer, perhaps even several years.The act of recording people singing is a performative exchange inside our motorhome. We will be in residence, the site of the motorhome acting as a place of sharing, an installation that invites audiences to listen, sing and talk with us. After each recording period, we will share our findings and stories from our travels so far with a public audience.

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