In response to a commission from London Contemporary Music Festival to make a Bow Gamelan Ensemble based work, Anne Bean and Richard Wilson decided to take a backwards look, in a loose and visionary way, at the over thirty years since BGE started. To seed this strategy they called themselves W0B and the title of the work Nalemag, which is Bow and Gamelan backwards.
Reviews from their 2015 appearance at London Contemporary Music Festival:
The set-up for visual artists Richard Wilson’s and Anne Bean’s NALEMAG , an astonishing portrait of the Thames and its shipbuilding communities, is gigantic. Behind flickering bulbs, Bean and Wilson dance precisely between blow torches, oil drums, fog horns. Balloons scream a cluster as they rise one by one to the ceiling, panes of glass shatter under flame, firecrackers writhe on Ambika’s walls.
...this piece, along with Anne Bean’s and Richard Wilson’s highly gestural and brilliantly orchestrated piece, NALEMAG (2015), demonstrated that avant-garde tendencies do not always have to be overburdened with solemnity; art can be entertaining too...
Anne Bean and Richard Wilson are now known primarily as visual artists, but throughout the 1980s were two-thirds of the legendary Bow Gamelan Ensemble (along with Paul Burwell, who died in 2007). In a festival coup, Bean and Wilson have been persuaded to take their instruments (fashioned from retrieved industrial scrap) out of storage for a performance entitled NALEMAG (2015). A spooky séance for the ruined East London of thirty years ago, their set is lit by flashing sodium lights, flickering televisions, fistfuls of exploding bang snaps and the glow of the blowtorches they use to shatter sheets of glass (in the evening's second instance of real danger). The ghost is summoned through the eerie sounds of their gong sculptures and Bean's wailing vocals.