Thursday, 24 April 2008

memories, bodies & landscapes: “the gathering”

monday 10th march 2008

“the gathering”
discussion forum:

memories, bodies & internal landscapes
bernie grant arts centre,

3.30pm sunday 9th march 2008
How do female artists connect with and draw on their own memories in their work?
Featuring Peggy Shaw, Anna Furse, Akosua Bambara, Cassie Waller, Shirley Williams, Rosanna Raymond and Campbell.

Autobiography and personal memory runs through women’s storytelling.
“The Gathering” festival harbours weekend of strange revelations, physical protestations, secrets revealed and declarations bellowed, brings together an unprecedented line-up of distinctive voices in female music, live art, visual art, spoken word, film, fashion and literature for cross cultural exploration and mind body expansions.

Some of the world’s leading female artists come together to discuss and examine aspects of memory and the creative process of their work, from cutting edge film to physical performance.

Join in the discussion and consider “how female artists connect with and draw on their own memories in their work?” …

Peggy Shaw
independent New York performance artist, painter and poet

my notes/quotes:

“I work from impulse…”
“I have lumps in my body … if I squeeze them really hard maybe I’ll get a monologue…”
“I write for 10minutes without taking the pen off the paper … a technique for automatic writing: if stuck write ‘what I mean to say is …’ … keeps you honest …”
“after every show I try to have talkback – everyone can share the personal memories…”
“I work a lot with lies: try to lie and interesting truths come out…”

Anna Furse
award winning director and writer of over 50 text driven and devised works

classically trained dancer influenced by study with Peter Brook, Grotowski and in new dance forms has developed her own training methodology that creates theatre from the body outwards “Glass Body”(2005) – innovative infertility installation from a performance devised from her experience making her daughter through IVF developed with Imaging Dept, Assisted Contraception Unit and Hospital Arts at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and with scientific mentoring of Prof. Stuart Campbell at Create Health

my notes/quotes:

“our memories are in our bodies – that’s all we have…”

my notes about “Glass Body”:

... in the centre of the space a stainless steel hospital trolley, an open drawer showing a pair of child’s red shoes, a child’s red jacket, a string of pearls (all of which appear in the show), its surface covered in sculptured salt providing the ‘screen’ for the video of the performance: a performer (woman) and a voice Anna) – it's about seeing the you inside your body, about the birth of ‘our kid’ Nina – (universal name for girl apparently), about eggs, cells, x-rays, sonic sounds, whale sounds, submarine sounds. stacked on the bottom shelf of the trolley are petri dishes that audiences are invited to write messages onto – one reads “to all my lost babies”. a bank of computers showing a moving exhibit of these petri dishes and one with an ‘interactive toy’ that invites you to piece together a woman’s reproductive system by dragging and placing – i was completely hopeless. reminiscent of those cut-out dress-up dolls with the different clothes and accessories - i was better with these once. at each end a projection of a painting of an early medical examination ...

Akousa Bambara
visual orator©, designer, jeweller, enameller and ceramic artist
Akousa has developed and produced Dialogue Panels© also known as Wall Jewellery© and Dialogue Tags©

my notes/quotes:

“my work is about reclaiming – it’s about owning our [Afro-Caribbean] stories …”
“our story is constantly being interrupted by others’ assumptions …”
“I make in metal because I want the work to last … I want it to be dug up in 1,000 years and interpreted as an important part of the record …”
“I call myself a direct descendent of the kidnapped people of Africa – I call myself a dark power …”

Cassie Waller
video artist and photographer currently studying Interactive Media at Bernie Grant Arts Centre

“Found At Sea” uses archive media of her parents from 1976 to 1985: 16mm fottage of her father building a boat is integrated with taped conversation between her mother and father, the video reconstructs his obsessive journey to escape his life. Dedicated to and about my parents.
my notes/quotes:

“in the end it was exorcising … I’m not angry any more …”

Shirley Williams
influenced by textures

Shirley already possessed dressmaking skills from watching her seamstress grandma cut and make clothes without need of a pattern. Collage introduced her to the fundamentals and her garments now sell to celebs from her stall at Spitalfields market her exhibition is a series of recreated collaged books made from and out the memories the original books contain, including her own memories

my notes/quotes:

“the way I put things together is instinctive but the elements have been gathered over a long period of time … I collect things sporadically …”
“I like fragments … layers upon layers upon layers …”
“I try to recreate texture … manmade things that collide with nature …”
“I make scrapbooks and notebooks that hold a lot of my memories …"
“my work is reactionary … I like to work with something that already exists … like a collection of garments that I’ve got from charity shops that I’ve deconstructed and put together as a collage into a new garment …”

Rosanna Raymond
New Zealand born performance / installation / body adornment artist and writer currently living and working in London.

A ‘Tusitala’ (storyteller) at heart

my notes/quotes:

“I am a ‘afulcasi’ – a half-caste … part Maori and part Samoan…”
“I was brought up and influenced by my Samoan grandmother in oral histories and crafts..."

Barby Asante
London based multimedia producer and artist

whose work focuses on concepts such as identity and self-expression: how much do we define personal identity through comparison, competition and aspiration?
Much of her performance installations place the viewer at the centre of the artistic process through physical interactive experiences: in her show “wig therapy” she has an assistant book people in for an hour’s session trying out wigs and talking
my notes/quotes:

“I want to leave the audience feeling empowered not manipulated …”
“in Slovenia I felt belittled by their reactions and one inner voice said ‘you don’t have to take this shit’ and another inner voice said ‘you started this dialogue now you have to follow it through’ … I learned so much about how to work with what actually happens to make the conversation … what can I use now to make this conversation happen? …”

queer filmmaker
(no biog provided)
my notes/quotes:

“my film is about how my mother parented me and what was taken and rejected from how her mother brought her up …”
“some things are so ingrained you can’t let go of them …”
“how we move is African – they couldn’t beat that out of us …”

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