Pil and Galia Kollectiv, C. Julian Hughes (2).jpg

Photograph: Julian Hughes

Pil and Galia Kollectiv: Epic Sea Battle At Night: A Revolutionary Play Permitted With The Economic Thinking Of Milton Friedman


The play Epic Sea Battle at Night was originally staged in 1967, to commemorate two of China’s People’s Liberation Army’s military triumphs over the Taiwanese navy two years previously. Produced at the height of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the play is an example of the exploitation of the arts as an ideological instrument, celebrating military heroism and political conviction. Today, these images are clear representations of an ideology.

By juxtaposing the visual language of ideology, with the text of the capitalist manifesto, the re-enactment of a scene from Epic Sea Battle at Night harnesses the aesthetics of the past so as to allow us to reconsider the alleged neutrality of the present. Neither a lecture on neo-liberal economics, nor a theatrical performance of a narrative, the piece appropriated the format of the propaganda play to re-evaluate the relationship between art and politics now.

Pil and Galia Kollectiv are London based artists, writers and curators working in collaboration. Their work addresses the legacy of modernism, and explores avant-garde discourses of the twentieth century and the way they operate in the context of a changing landscape of creative work and instrumentalised leisure. They are interested in the relationship between art and politics and the roles of irony and belief in its current articulation. Their films and performances often use choreographed movement, juxtaposing consumer rites and religious ceremonies. They also run the Xero, Kline & Coma Gallery and teach at The University of Reading. 

Frank Abbott

Frank Abbott

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Robin Deacon

Robin Deacon

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Jenny Hogarth and Kim Coleman

Jenny Hogarth and Kim Coleman

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Janice Kerbel

Janice Kerbel

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Ruth Proctor

Ruth Proctor

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Neal Swettenham and Michael Pinchbeck

Neal Swettenham and Michael Pinchbeck

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Jennet Thomas

Jennet Thomas

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Loughborough University Arts

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