Roles in Archive: Artist, Speaker
b. 1980 Aberdeen, Scotland
Ruth Ewan’s work mixes cultural anthropology and musicology with a historically-minded engagement with public protest and leftist politics. To this end, she has produced works that range from focused, quasi-anthropological studies, as in her work Fang Sang (2008), which documents the life of an eccentric artist, poet and folk-punk singer named Fang, to social interventions, like Did You Kiss the Foot That Kicked You (2007), in which she conscripted one hundred London street musicians to integrate their own versions of radical folk musician Ewan MacColl’s “Ballad of Accounting” into their acts. For her work A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World (2009) Ewan has collected six hundred songs of various origins that have political or idealistic themes, providing us with both a loose musicological taxonomy of protest songs, and a prism through which to view the past, the present, and possibly the future of human idealism and opposition.