Open Music Archive, Everything I Have Is Yours

Year: 2019
Medium:  Single channel 4:3 HD video, installed with vinyl and shellac UK chart hit singles (1952-1962)
Duration: 30m43s, looped
Brief biography: Open Music Archive: Ben White & Eileen Simpson (both b. Manchester, 1977) Live & work in Manchester & London

Everything I Have Is Yours is an ambitious film and sound work by Eileen Simpson and Ben White (Open Music Archive) that looks back to the first decade of the UK pop charts (1952-62). Working with a group of older musicians – many of whom are the ‘original teenagers’ of the Greater Manchester music scene, now in their 70s and 80s – the film focuses on this diverse group as they re-engage with public-domain samples from the formative era of the ‘birth of pop’, and incorporate these timeless sounds into new musical creations.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society, University of Salford Art Collection and Castlefield Gallery. Presented by Contemporary Art Society, Mbili Foundation and the University of Salford.

The film premiered at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, from Thursday 4 July – Sunday 3 November 2019, complimented by a funded community engagement programme inspired by the film, entitled Together We Move.

Viewing this work:
We are pleased to present the full length film to view online, below. Make sure to turn your speakers/headphones on, and ensure the volume is turned up on both the player and your device. Click the arrows icon in the bottom right of the player to maximise the window in your browser – and hit play!

You can also download and keep copy of the film here, to enjoy any time you like.

About this work:

As with previous Open Music Archive projects, Everything I Have Is Yours brings people directly into the creative nucleus of the work. Recollecting a formative moment in their lives, the film project encourages a diverse range of musicians originally based in Greater Manchester and now in their 70s and 80s, to reconnect with the music of their youth and play together. Collective acts of live performance interact with digital technology to recall archive sounds from the musicians’ teenage pasts.

“Shot in a space that operates somewhere between a recording studio, live venue and practice room, the camera continuously tracks through the groups of musicians brought together for the project. This looping camera move mirrors looped samples worked around by the assembled players. The samples are from 1950s and 1960s shellac and vinyl chart hit records – each record, on playback, conjuring particular sonic qualities from the era. Crucially, copyright-expired elements of the original records are separated out, through an algorithmic process, to enable collective use.

Everything I Have Is Yours explores film as a generator for multi-part activity. From research stage to the development of bespoke software technology and sonic database, to the assembling of a community around the film – the film project attempts to capture the experimental space between rehearsal and performance, live and pre-recorded. The soundtrack provides the structure for each film. All elements generated, from the databases of audio samples to the films themselves, are offered back to the public domain with a copyleft share-alike license (cc by-sa 4.0) to encourage sharing and reuse – towards an archive of the future.

Referencing the history of sample culture, which saw musicians and producers routinely sample from commercial hit favourites from previous generations, the film creates an intergenerational call and response that traverses the private, personal and public.”

– Eileen Simpson and Ben White, Open Music Archive

About the artists:

Eileen Simpson and Ben White work across moving image, sound and software technologies to create collaborative projects that imagine archives as active spaces of collective action. Collaborating with individuals and groups, they produce work that explores alternative peer-to-peer and copyleft models, challenging default mechanisms for the authorship, ownership and distribution of art.

For their ongoing project Open Music Archive, the artists’ source, digitise and distribute out-of-copyright resources. Using tactics that are the archival equivalent of hacking and gleaning, they explore legal loopholes to find and distribute archive material from the edges of the public domain. The results are used as a site of social exchange and a vehicle for collaboration – a generator for new projects.

Through moving image, sound installation, live events and digital distribution, each project emerges from an investigation of
specific archival material and its performative potential.

“On creating a work, commissioned to enter the University of Salford Art Collection, we took the opportunity to explore the idea of making a digital work for collection that can also be distributed freely. In this way, all elements generated for our work Everything I Have Is Yours (from the film itself to the samples in the audio soundtrack), are offered back to the public domain with a copyleft, share-alike license to encourage sharing and reuse – towards an archive of the future. Working as Open Music Archive we are interested in shared access and publically shared things and work with tactics that value free circulation, open distribution and the commons. In a context of digital networks where material can be circulated at next to no cost the idea of the limited edition or focus on a unique artwork – structures developed through the logic, language and practice of private ownership become – for us – obsolete.”  

– Ben White & Eileen Simpson, Open Music Archive


Video: A ‘making of’ interview with the artists Ben White and Eileen Simpson. Part of FVU Frames.

Video clips: View selected excerpts from the full film

Publication: Texts from Steven Bode, Ellen Mara de Wachter, Paul Morley & Ellen O’Donoghue Oddy

Download: Visit vimeo to download the full film, to rewatch or remix

Download: download the source loops for the film to remix and reuse

Sound sources: a full list of out-of-copyright sound sources used in the project

Together We Move: a community engagement programme inspired by the film project – 

Film credits: Production team credits, including participants & special thanks

He Was a Wild One an associated exhibition of archive music photography from the University of Salford Art Collection & Open Eye Gallery – at the New Adelphi Art Gallery Sept 19 – Jan 2020

On collecting this work:

“We have a saying that we like to collect the “difficult to collect”. Whilst collections traditionally ascribe status or value from the limited edition or unique nature of works, we increasingly find that contemporary practitioners are making ambitious works that take multiple forms, formats and iterations – posing a number of challenges to being ‘collected’. We think it is important to collect, care for, and champion this type of work, and keep testing the boundaries of what contemporary and future collecting might be.

Everything I Have Is Yours joins a growing number of digital, performance and installation based works in the About the Digital strand of our Collection. An edition of the ‘original’ film will be permanently kept and preserved by the Collection – for redisplay in a large format, high quality museum installation format. However by also making both the raw materials and the final video both freely available – for anyone to download, reuse and remix – the work draws an important path between what we think of as ‘public’ collections and ‘public’ domain.

Like a number of other works in the Collection, Everything I Have Is Yours also sits within our From the North collecting strand. We are keen to promote and support artists who are originally from, or base their practice in, the North of England. Both Simpson and White are from Manchester, and this work – produced at local music facilities – also engages with and features residents from our communities in Greater Manchester and beyond. A wider engagement programme, developed alongside the artwork, saw older communities from Salford and Greater Manchester take part in a series of further creative activities – including performing as a band on Manchester International Festival’s ‘Festival Square 2019’ stage.

Most of our commissions are developed through partnerships, to maximise our ambition and impact. Working with our long-term partners Castlefield Gallery gave us the opportunity to collaborate with Film and Video Umbrella, and gain important financial support from Contemporary Art Society and Mbili Foundation”

– Stephanie Fletcher, Assistant Curator

Installation images
Everything I Have Is Yours premiered at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, July – November 2019. Images: Jules Lister

License & loan requests:
The work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.
This means that you can share, adapt and remix the material – as long as the original is appropriately credited, and that further uses are shared with the same license. See here for further information about this Creative Commons license.

Full HD version also available for loan to museums, galleries & education institutions. Please contact us for technical specifications & further information.

About the project:
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, the Contemporary Art Society, University of Salford Art Collection and Castlefield Gallery through ‘Equal Shares’ 2019

Presented by Contemporary Art Society, Mbili Foundation and the University of Salford.

Supported by: Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford Museum & Art Gallery.

Outreach & engagement programme supported by: Public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the National Lottery Community Fund, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Castlefield Gallery Commissioning Patrons, Jo and Allan Melzack.

Community partners: Age UK, Great Places Housing Group, Northwards Housing, Salford Community Leisure.

Funders: Film and Video Umbrella and Castlefield Gallery are funded by Arts Council England as National Portfolio Organisations. Castlefield Gallery is funded by Manchester City Council as a Cultural Partner.