Elaine Mitchener is a vocalist, composer and movement artist. Her innovative work slips between disciplines, embracing aspects of contemporary music theatre and performance art. Sweet Tooth (2017), is a visceral experimental music theatre work that uses different mediums to expose the brutal realities of transatlantic slavery and the sugar trade which fuelled it. Deriving from one of its six ‘chapters’, Mitchener’s sound installation [NAMES II] an evocation (2019-21) memorialises some of the 2,000 enslaved African people owned by an eighteenth-century British planter. Here, as in other sound works and performances, Mitchener explores ‘Eingedenken’: Walter Benjamin’s philosophical concept and practice of memory as an act of responsibility, which is ultimately both liberating and healing.
Elaine Mitchener (born 1970, London) lives and works in London. Mitchener studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London.
For me, the challenge was to liberate the dry historical facts of slavery and somehow breathe life into them. I had to seek ways to absorb information, much of which was deeply upsetting, disturbing and difficult to accept.
– Elaine Mitchener