Edgware Road, London 10–11 Apr 2010 Free

Two days of music played by a 1970s revival band assembled by Hiwa K. Performances took place in cafés along the Edgware Road and were followed by a discussion about the 1970s in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Al Shishawi, 51–53 Edgware Road, London W2 2HZ

Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming is a 1970s revival band and neo-liberalism study group, assembled by Kurdish artist and musician Hiwa K whose interests lie in different modes of informal knowledge. The band plays 1970s popular music songs from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, England, Bangladesh, Poland, the Netherlands, and Lebanon and performances of the songs are alternated with associative presentations of archival material related to personal stories and appearances of neo-liberal policies.

The Chicago Boys consist of those who do not necessarily have musical experience but develop it together. From different professional and cultural backgrounds, they gather and dedicate a period of about two months to learn how to perform, while grappling with the questions of free market economy in weekly study group sessions that took place at Hiwa K’s artist residence on Church Street, NW8. Since the band and study group formed in 2010 as part of the Edgware Road Project, it has changed and grown, traveling with Hiwa K to Wyspa Institute of Art on the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland, Casco in the Netherlands and many other cities around the world.

The name Chicago Boys refers to a group of young Chilean economists who, after having studied with economist and ‘grandmaster’ of free-market economic theory Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, drove a neo-liberal economic policy in Chile under the dictatorial regime of Pinochet in the 1970s. Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming traces back the possible ‘affairs’ (as Hiwa K puts it) between this first implementation of liberal economics and a number of parallel events happening at the time, such as the oil crisis and the US threat to attack Saudi Arabia. These developments are reflected upon through the lens of cultural dynamics, particularly those in the popular music genre.

Chicago Boys, While We Were Singing, They Were Dreaming is an ongoing, collective and transnational project that attempts to practice an alternative model for exploring the globalisation process and its impact on our daily culture.

Band members and presenters include:
Bland Mehdi, Cihat Arink, Abbas Nokhasteh, Nabil Ahmed, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Janna Graham, Helene Kazan, Amal Khalaf, Noura Sanatian, Rich Hall, Shimon Sakakibara, Nicolas Vass, Sedar Amin, Peshrew Hamid, Tara Jaf ; Anne Hoffmann, Raid Alexander, Anton Kats, Hiwa K; Elvin Flamingo, Emilia Laskowska, Wojtek Chmielewski, Jacek Jewula, Natalia Grzymala, Tomek Baranowski, Rafal Stempczynski, Czeslaw Szultk and Nick Linnell; Juan Pablo Macias; Israel Encina and Carol Melo; Alexandra Indaco and Gabriel, Ali Authman, Juan K, Lona Rauf, Martijn Haan, Sander Linders, Nada Chourbaji, Taf Hassam, Alexandros Papamarkou, Giles Bailey, Chris Lee, Seungyong Moon, Constanca Saraiva, Yolande van der Heide and Binna Choi

Hiwa K was in residence from 6 February–15 April 2010

Hiwa K is a visual artist and musician, born in Iraq and living in Germany. In a series of residencies with the Edgware Road Project in 2010, Hiwa K worked with local musicians and researchers on the Edgware Road exploring histories of neoliberalism focussing on histories and songs from the 1970s in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

Hiwa K’s residency was in collaboration with
The Showroom
Edgware Road Project

Artists work with residents, shop-owners and students in this distinct London neighbourhood.


Omni Colour

Westminster Arts

Edgware Road is in collaboration with:

Ashkal Alwan: The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Beirut Townhouse Gallery, Cairo


Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

View archive