Melanie Counsell


Under the aegis of a facile appropriation of Foucauldian theory, artists continue to busy themselves with the task of. literally and limply paraphrasing the social history of “site.” In far too many of these well-intentioned esthetico-archaeological projects not even the worthy recovery of a significant, albeit marginalized, past can mitigate their blandness nor justify their numbing effects. With all this in mind I can’t say that I didn’t approach Melanie Counsell’s installation with a great deal of skepticism. Sited in a dank cinema in a working-class neighborhood of London’s East End, the project seemed to be positively awash in social significance. From its inception as a music hall, supporting the type of burlesque entertainment treasured by the Irish and English working classes, to its subsequent refurbishment as a grand cinema, the Coronet’s history is inscribed as a recurring series

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