a film by James Holcombe

with live soundtrack by Dead Rat Orchestra

For over 700 years there was a site of execution at Tyburn in London. Here those who fell foul of political, religious and judicial reforms enacted by the state were executed for public entertainment and instruction.


A study of those executed at Tyburn charts a history of the UK, illustrating the twists and turns of monarchical and political whimsy, church and state, and the

birth of capitalism.

At our current moment of enforced austerity and social reform, Tyburnia explores the parallels between contemporary and historical notions of crime in relation to business and property, the spectacular nature of punishment, and the state's use of the body as a site for political control.


The Film

Shooting on 8mm and 16mm film, James Holcombe gained access to numerous artifacts associated with the Tyburn; reliquaries housing the remains of catholic martyrs, body parts preserved by surgeons, the bell that tolled on the eve of executions, and the eventual resting

place of the gallows themselves.

Tyburnia  is both visually and thematically engrossing, demonstrating how, despite the gallows having long since vanished, we still stand in the shadow of it's punitive ideology.


The Sound Track

Performing together for over a decade the Dead Rat Orchestra have grown a name for creating jubilant performances of forgotten archival materials, and Tyburnia has provided an opportunity to breath life back into some very rare songs. Heralded for their gritty, rough hewn interpretations and dextrous multi-instrumentalism, the DRO have created a sound track that features songs that were composed by or for those condemned to 'dance the Tyburn jig', bringing a new understanding to the broadside ballads that have become a staple of folk



Summer 2015

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