"One Never Knows" - Pearly Kings & Queens motto
It's A Knockout is a site-specific live event which responds to the society in which the commission takes place.
In its first incarnation in London's East End, we set up a live performance in the form of a public competition which would make explicit some of the influences at work in that area historically and now. With its influx of artists and tradition of Pearlies and markets, we made those three groups our teams and invited applications for the event. We then asked the teams to pick a charity that the money raised from the crowd on the day could go to.
During our research we found out that the original TV 'It's a Knockout' props were doing the rounds of management training / team-building events, so we hired them in and compered the games in our Tudor costumes - a homage to the disasterous Royal Family It's a Knockout (a ill-thought out charity event often cited as the beginning of the English monarchy's end). These gave the event a great live presence - a kind of music hall vaudeville charater that was very East End - and we got a huge crowd.
Strangely, the event ended in a draw!
In the event's Lake District version we've been invited to run the competition in the wider context of the Coniston Water Festival, an annual event which ran for some years in the village before lapsing. Grizedale Arts are leading the reincarnation of the event - curating and commissioning artists and generally upping the ante, and it's hoped that it will continue in future years with a varied and engaging programme which aims to do more than just draw in more visitors.
Coniston, like most Lake District National Park communities, is dominated by tourism in every sense, sitting as it does within one of the most iconic landscapes in England. Our teams will be made up of the stakeholders and custodians of this unique place and the games will form a critique of the conflicts and power bases at work in the Park.
Again, the event will raise money for charity and funds raised will go the the winning team's choice of charity.
Read more about Lake District culture in 'Park Life in the Lake District', an essay by Karen originally commissioned by Static.