Vauxhall Pleasure


We wanted to lay it on thick about traffic and pollution and gardens… Maybe the same thinking that creates gardens, encircled zones of nature, also enables the sort of uber-junction of roads that is Vauxhall Cross. The separation-out of beauty, art and pleasure from all the other activities of everyday life is about the industrialisation of society and the principles of capitalism. This project was along term collaboration with Paul Whitty. 

In 2008/9 a series of projections and a single screen film was made and a series of performances toured music venues.



This project was a way of making ideas of the past, present and future of Vauxhall Cross collide through a performance event staged for a single day. Vauxhall Cross is on the site of the legendary Pleasure Gardens, which were renowned as a place combining pastoral beauty and fresh air with the musical entertainments, fountains, fireworks and fun of 18th century public urban culture. I worked with composer Paul Whitty who re-arranged music by Thomas Arne. Our aim was to explore the relationship between political protest and entertainment, traffic and pedestrians, pollution, breathing and song.

50 singers performed to the traffic, their singing conducted by the phases of the traffic lights, and in the evening, recordings from the Vauxhall Cross performances were accompanied by a live chamber ensemble across the river in Tate Britain . Alongside the singers, a research team from Imperial College (DAPPLE) measured the air pollution levels using a specially adapted bicycle. The website holds an archive of research material which was available during the exhibition connected with the project Tempered Ground at the Museum of Garden History.

The current performance and film has toured The Warehouse, London, The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, The ICIA, Bath, and Oxford Contemporary Music, Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford.





Paul Whitty

Locations and venues

2004 –

Vauxhall Cross, Tate Britain, Museum of Garden History

2008 –

The Warehouse, London

2009 –

The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, The ICIA, Bath, and Oxford Contemporary Music, Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford.


Live event

single screen video (approx 22′)

video and audio installation

musical performance


2004 – Parabola
Arts Council England
Cross River Partnership

2007 – AHRC thanks to Paul Whitty at Oxford Brookes



Tempered Ground catalogue (Danielle Arnaud Gallery)

julieta gonzalez essay



Anna Best and Paul Whitty

2008/9  partners links

2004 project partners

Danielle Arnaud – Parabola
Catherine Wood, Tate Live – Tate Britain
Dr Roy Colvile – Imperial College (DAPPLE Dispersion of Air Pollution & Penetration into the Local Environment Consortium Research Project)

Production team

LAND – Siobhan Wootton, Sara Watkins, Ben Tomlinson, Charlie Tweed

Video recording

Simon Steven & Andrea Crociani
Magz Hall – sound

Audio recordings

Seth Brignell
David Chin
Ingrid Plum
Michael Wright
Adrian Shaw


Amy Plant – design and editing
Anna Best – research and editing
Ella Gibbs – design advice


Kamila – Bonnington Square CafĂ©


Wilma Roest, St. Peter’s Church


Theresa Simon PR

Website 2004

Pete Edwards – e-2

Tate Late performers

Cheryl Enever / soprano
Catherine Laws / harpsichord
Helen Godbolt / cello
Caroline Welsh / flute
Emma Welton / violin
Paul Whitty / electronics

Singers at Vauxhall Cross

Nicholas Merryweather
Juliet Prew
Ross Parfitt
Elena Klaudis
Ben Cooper
Graham Titus
Adey Grummet
Paul Sheehan
John Milne
Imogen Mitchell
Francesca Best
Madelaine Holmes
Cecilia Wee
Joanna Gamble
Jon English
malcolm Banham
Viv Corringham
Angela Henkel
Doro Wing
Lorna Perry
Melanie Lodge
Mark Seberton
Alexander Poulton
Juliet Wood
Micaela Leon
Jonathan Williams


Mary Acland Hood
Adam Coffman – CTC working for cycling
David Gryn – artprojx
Terry Horner – PFA Consulting
Siraj Ishar – xyzlondon
John Jordan – broadsheet concept
Live Art Development Agency
Jonathan Meares – Lambeth Council Area Parks Officer
James Marriot – Platform
Peter Nicholson – Transport for London
Kathy Preece – The Kennington Association
Naomi Siderfin – Beaconsfield Contemporary Art


and thanks to the AHRC at Oxford Brookes and Paul Whitty –

  • single screen video (22′)
  • audio recording and video documentation of BMIC Warehouse event Nov 2008
  • performances at – the warehouse, london – the pound arts centre, corsham – ICIA, bath and OCM, Oxford