During the spring of 2017, Ève Chabanon created discussion groups with local residents, opening up the space as a venue to explore questions around the growing anxiety about gentrification and the consequences of austerity on women. Weekly screenings at The White House showcased a retrospective of films by Ken Loach. Ève hosted the screenings and dinners to meet residents and begin to consider the social issues faced by communities like the ones in Barking & Dagenham, inviting along guest speakers like Paul Maheke & BDYD.
Ève had planned to begin working with local teenage girls during her residency to set up a salon/coding space, but adapted her residency programme in response to difficulties setting up the group and inspired by working alongside Christina Ford and her group of single mothers.
The result was Anti Social Social Club: Episode 1 Chamber of the Dispossessed, a performance that took the form of a public debate on the topic of ‘dispossession’.
Anti Social Social Club was born of these complications. Ève produced the structure and script of the debate out of these conditions, considering her relationship to the public context she was working in, and the wider connotations of social interventions and change. The performance-come-debate challenged the conception of how communities operate, asking audience members to imagine what they would do if trapped in the council chamber after a zombie apocalypse. Led by performance artist Chloe Cooper, whose role as ambivalent but invested god: the only person in the room that knew what could happen next, but constantly putting the power to determine what was discussed back into the hands of the audience.
The audience was a real mix of people from the borough including retired members of the Women’s Institute, a Rastafarian poet and his daughter, Paul Hogan from the council, Muslim teenagers from a local school, as well as French artists from Ève’s own community. A combination of people that do not often come into contact with one another, all led on a strange journey through civic duty, compassion, and free will at the hands of Chloe. Recorded and documented by students from the local college.
There was a particular electricity to the performance created by having such an incongruous event in Barking Town Hall, around those ideas, with those people really throwing themselves into the simulation and taking part. By the end they were all invested in the fantasy created, and in many ways dealt with the issues of her residency through this spectacle more openly, democratically and explicitly.
Ève was awarded the Prix Science Po for Contemporary Art 2018 for her work, Anti Social Social Club.