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A LOCK IS A GATE

A LOCK IS A GATE
Ruth Ewan, Kerry Andrew, Evlynn Sharp, Laburnum Boat Club
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A LOCK IS A GATE

Media

1 Setting Off
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2 Journey Through The Canal Tunnel
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3 Seeing The Moon
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4. A Lock is a Gate
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5. Magic Machine
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6. Moving
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7. Like Birds
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8. Like Fireworks
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9. Turning
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Visiting Information

See the Visit page for details of accessing this station

  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Stratford station. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. An Art on the Underground commission for the Central line
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. An Art on the Underground commission for the Central line
  • 
A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. An Art on the Underground commission for the Central line
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. An Art on the Underground commission for the Central line
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. An Art on the Underground commission for the Central line
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison
  • A LOCK IS A GATE © Ruth Ewan 2011. Artwork for Bethnal Green station escalators. Photograph by Daisy Hutchison

23 Aug 2011

Ruth Ewan, Kerry Andrew, Evlynn Sharp, Laburnum Boat Club

A LOCK IS A GATE

A mini concept album and drawing project for the Central line

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Artwork now installed at Bethnal Green and Stratford station. Scroll along the bar above to see the images of the work in situ.

About
Limited edition CD album
Album artwork
Listen and download
Artwork for Bethnal Green Underground station
The artists
Laburnum Boat Club
Central line series
Project partners
Stratford Underground station


About
A LOCK IS A GATE is an Art on the Underground project. It is devised and led by artist Ruth Ewan with composer Kerry Andrew and poet Evlynn Sharp. It was created by young people from the Laburnum Boat Club youth project in Hackney.

Nearly 40 members of the Club aged 9 to 19 years old took part in creating an album of experimental songs, album artwork in the form of a book of drawings, posters for the Central line and forthcoming artwork for Bethnal Green Tube station. All the voices, words and drawings are the participants’ own.

A LOCK IS A GATE weaves sounds, songs and drawings into a part-real, part imagined journey that winds through London from the Tube to the canal. Along the way the young voyagers pass through a long canal tunnel and negotiate a lock. From their narrowboat they see puzzling sights and dazzling colours. They make songs telling of who they are and how they think others see them, and share their hopes and dreams for a better world in which to grow up.

A lock on a canal is a watergate that requires special knowledge to unlock. But once open, it lets a boat pass along different levels of water. In that way, a lock is both a barrier and a way through. In the title song, the lock stands both for a real canal lock and for the obstacles we all face in life.

Limited edition CD album
A special edition of the album as a CD with sleeve artwork is available for free for a limited period at the V&A Museum of Childhood and other venues. To request a copy by post email art@tube.tfl.gov.uk

Album artwork
The CD album sleeve artwork is in the form of a book of drawings that follows a parallel journey to the songs below. You can download the booklet of drawings as a PDF.

Listen and download
Here are notes on each album track, and links to our podcast page where you can listen to and download the songs. Download a full transcript of the song lyrics.

1. Setting off
A young traveller gets ready and sets out on a journey through London from the Tube to the canal. He tells us what he sees and hears on the way.
listen and download

2. Journey through the Canal Tunnel
Orange chalk! White goo!
We go with him on a narrowboat along Regent’s Canal and through Islington Tunnel. The boat passengers describe what they see on the tunnel walls: signs, images and messages hidden beneath the city. There is a puzzle to solve, letters to piece together.
listen and download

3. Seeing the Moon
Moon’s word is beautiful, colour is blue, taste is old
socks, smells like the same, weather would be O, very,
very cold is the moon, outside is orange…
We come through the tunnel and out under the night sky. As we approach the canal lock the passengers talk nonsense. The only clear thing is the moon in the sky
listen and download

4. A Lock is a Gate
Pressure’s always going to be there…
The boat comes to a canal lock. The passengers think about other obstacles they have met in life. They solve how to open the lock like a gate so we can keep moving.
listen and download

5. Magic Machine
Good magic words, say it again, good magic words
Live forever machine, equal money machine, water
machine, food machine
Everlasting friends and time and space, a canon that
shoots out stars
After unlocking the lock, the voyagers share their wishes and ideas for a better world.
listen and download

6. Moving
The boat carries us through the landscape. The traveller feels the thrum of the boat against the water.
listen and download

7. Like Birds
I am calm, I am gentle, I am like songs the birds sing
This place inspires one of the young passengers to sing a song about how it feels to be her.
listen and download

8. Like Fireworks
Green means happy, yellow means happy, red means
angry, blue means sad. And that’s all I know
Another voyager sings a song about herself. The others join in, and the sky fizzes with colour.
listen and download

9. Turning
It’s time to leave. We turn the boat around.
listen and download

Artwork for Bethnal Green Underground station
A LOCK IS A GATE includes two artworks that are displayed above the length of the escalators at Bethnal Green station. These are based on drawings created in response to the album songs.

The artists
Ruth Ewan is an artist whose research-based, often collaborative, works have been commissioned and exhibited around the world. Kerry Andrew is a composer, performer, writer and educator whose works are broadcast on both BBC 6Music and BBC Radio 3. Evlynn Sharp is an award-winning poet, playwright and educator.

Laburnum Boat Club
Laburnum Boat Club in Hackney is a social education facility, concerned with the development of children and young people of all abilities, primarily through watersport activities.

Central line series
A LOCK IS A GATE is part of Art on the Underground’s Central line series of artists’ projects taking place from 2011 to 2012. Each project explores the themes of communication, connection and exchange. The series is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Project partners
A LOCK IS A GATE was selected from a series of invited proposals for commission by Art on the Underground in partnership with the Barbican Art Gallery, Chisenhale Gallery, Create Festival and the Whitechapel Gallery.

Stratford Underground station
A range of drawings by the members of Laburnum Boat Club, working with artist Ruth Ewan, will also be available to view in an exciting new installation in Stratford Underground station from Saturday 12th November 2011. As you visit the work you can download all the tracks on the album using a QR code available on the information panel in the station. We hope you will to listen to the tracks at the same time as viewing the artwork and also on your journey around the city. Alternatively download the entire album from this website. Images of the artwork at Stratford coming soon in the scrolling bar at the top of this page.

Ruth Ewan (born 1980, Scotland)  is an artist whose research-based, often collaborative, works have been commissioned and exhibited around the world. Recent group shows include ‘Younger Than Jesus’, New Museum, New York (2009); ‘Come in, friends, the house is yours!’, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart (2009) and ‘Altermodern: Tate Triennial’, Tate Britain, London (2009).




Comments from the public


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Comment posted by Jonathan may, 31 Oct 2011

Absolutely love this project. A real gift for all of us commuters tired of advertising and bad posters. Great job guys - less ads more art! Well done all!

Comment posted by shanti thomas, 07 Sep 2011

good images and message



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