The Deptford X Festival is on at venues across South London, opening September 22 and running to October 1.
The theme of the 10-day program is titled ‘Platform,’ featuring five emerging artists who this year include Evan Ifekoya, Project O, Sam Austen, Sisters From Another Mister and Tom Ireland. Nominated by a panel of artists, curators and writers, each participant will produce new work for an outdoor installation at sites around the English capital’s district of Deptford. There will also be a special project by D.A.T.A. (Deptford Anarchist Tapestry Association), where they will confront displacement and dislocation through the famous Deptford symbol of the anchor.
London-based curator Anne Duffau introduces us to her platform A- – -Z as well as StudioRCA Riverlight. Working on the programme for this coming year, the series will be looking at the notion of the ‘other’, bodies and public spaces, cybernetic/women and technology, exploring the possible changes to questioning and rethinking our future as well as our past.
Or be divided,
By those who see you as prey.
Or be destroyed.”
― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower, 1993
I have been running an exploratory curatorial platform named A- – -Z for the past five years. One of the main aims is to push boundaries in what an exhibition could be, as well as what curating means – (I sometimes prefer the word cultural producer). Playing on language and words, A- – -Z is a morphic entity, it infiltrates unusual spheres, a bit like a virus. Flexible in its format, it offers a platform for practitioners to trigger experiments – looking at what’s happening in art, speculative design, music, ecology and more.
This first event set the tone for an interest in sci-fi and fiction in order to address current issues. A- – -Z disseminates works through printed matter to create alternative distribution streams, using formats such as postcards, B—Beyond with Jon Rafman or a calendar Days of the Nones with 12 artists including Emma Hart, Markus Water, Alix Marie, Tai Shani and Doggerland, or a newspaper with the fashion designer Dinu Bodiciu and Kabukimono.
For the past year, A- – -Z has been based in Nine Elms in a space called StudioRCA Riverlight, at the bottom of apartment towers close to Vauxhall. Exhibitions, discussions, and performances including DJ-ing, large-format video projections and dance have been taking place throughout. From May 2016 to September 2017, A- – -Z presented the Dusk Exhibition Series with Ifekoya, Daniel Shanken, Rehana Zaman, Chooc Ly Tan, Heather McCalden, Imran Perretta, Johann Arens, Karolina Lebek and Susannah Stark. The invited artists showed newly commissioned videos and installations for a month each, to be experienced from outside the gallery space – fully visible only during the dark hours, and shown for the first time in London. A performance and/or talk introduced the project and focused on themes including transgender, sci-fi and the post-human.
Another series I’m working on is an ongoing curatorial collaboration with the artist Tai Shani called Dark Water. So far we made two large-scale events at CGP Gallery/Dilston Grove named ‘Dark Water’ and ‘Dark Water: The Dead of Night’ – these were designed to present evenings of performances and screenings around Sci-Fi, gender, the contemporary gothic and extending our ongoing research into the notions of amorphous body through technology and inner space.
A- – -Z has made a special selection for AQNB of what it’s been currently listening to and interested in – a mood board of the instant / picks of the present:
Victoria Sin is doing something unique and they explain their aims so poetically and clearly that this video should be played on public transports and in pubs: “The labour of femininity isn’t only the performance, it’s perseverance in the face of our ascribed and inscribed precarity. It’s the struggle to be respected and have our agencies recognized. When I decide to take up space it is often seen as rude to those who are used to be making myself small.”
This talk with Angela Davis and Judith Butler on inequality moderated by Ramona Naddaff is very current and urgent – it also shows how much work is to be done in terms of including people with impairments and disabilities to public events.
The works brought together explore language and words to unpick “the legacies of imperial scientific fundamentalism” and the violence of naming/claiming bodies. Through its power, symbolism and obscurity, the exhibition looks at the way the “Word is itself a stand-in for divinity; the unsayable equates to the sublime.”
The opening night will include live performances by vocalist Elaine Mitchener and artists Claire Potter and Gordon Hall.
The project will look at “black British cultural production, unspoken coded languages and the history of black personae in popular culture” and will be multi-directional in its approach, bringing together DJs, cultural theorists and artists to “uncover a set of international common threads that exist in black communities, made visible through the Internet and its powerful ability to find links within the black diaspora.”
There will be five new video works presented, as well as a live research hub among music and other events that visitors are encouraged to drop in and engage with. Keep an eye out for the following events taking place during the residency:
The Kind of Flossy group exhibition is on at London’s Assembly Point, opening November 3 and running to December 10.
Curated by C.R.E.A.M., the show features work by London-based artists Evan Ifekoya, Adam Saad, and Zadie Xa,and looks at the use of visibility as a mode of resistance. Exploring the space of both spectacle as well as refusal, the exhibition “seeks to meditate upon questions of lived politics in the context of exploitation, appropriation and erasure within visual culture.”
C.R.E.A.M. is a curatorial initiative organised by Taylor Le Melle and Imran Perrettabringing artists, writers and community organizers together to problematize tokenism and explore possibilities beyond the institution.
The fourth edition of Art Licks Weekendis on across London, running September 30 to October 2.
Happening at various locations around London and free to all, the three day art and culture festival will be host to a number of artist-run projects, young galleries and curatorial collectives that are at an early stage of their career. Bringing together contributions from emerging artists, the festival aims to celebrate the “grassroots projects [that contribute] to the cultural life of London.”
The Swarming the Castle screening programme is taking place at London’s Floating Cinema in Mile End Park, opening September 23 and running to September 25.
The weekend will be packed full of screenings, workshops and festivities that celebrate contemporary feminism “from Riot Grrrls to punk hijabs, feminist zines to Bollywood subversions.” The opening night will kick off with DJs from ResisDance, a female, trans and non-binary collective who raise money for radical groups by performing, and a screening of work by Evan Ifekoya, as well as Born in Flames by the American filmmaker Lizzie Borden.
Over the course of the weekend, mocktails and cocktails will be available at the Herbal Barge with a line up of screenings to continue, as well as booked workshops ranging in topics from self-care to zine-making, coding and a Does Masculinity Matter discussion.
Chooc Ly Tan is presenting a new video installation ‘Disobey to the Dance of Time’ at London’s StudioRCA Riverlight, opening September 14 and running to November 1.
The London-based, French-born artist and DJ’s video work features an Akira Phase music visualizer moving to a 148 bpm-trance track, Terbium Energy Catalyst by Goch, “a 3D representation of Africa hovering in space-time, and the artist dancing to a hidden track coming from deep space”.
The installation —that carries on Tan’s practice which seeks to understand and subvert the logic of the world through its systems and tools in an effort to realise alternative realities— opens with an evening of performance at Battersea Barge next to Studio RCA. Live acts include Alexis Milne, back to back DJ set by Tan’s Spacer Woman project and Evan Ifekoya, who also features as part of the Dusk programme with ‘Okun Song‘ in May, along with Rehana Zaman, Daniel Shanken and Benjamin Orlow.
With the accelerated pace of commodification and consumption of marginal identities (and spaces) globally, comes the question of, and tension between complicity and resistance in political art and social critique. Discourse is developing beyond ideas of visibility and representation to notions of assimilation into existing cultural paradigms, which is why AQNB was in Los Angeles to present the ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ screening and reading at Club Pro LAon July 17 to interrogate the politics of identity within commercial or institutional spheres.
It’s part of an ongoing series of screening, reading, performance and discussion events lead by editor Jean Kay and organised in collaboration with video production partners Video in Common, and follows similar events already held in London and Berlin –two key cultural centres in the art editorial platform’s network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ and ‘At the Backend’, together these earlier programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building and identity formation.
Meanwhile, ‘Accessing Economies’ carries on that conversation into the consequences of structural affiliations as both inspiring and influencing critical art practice, and creating new markets. Maria Gorodeckaya, for example, inverts the gaze through the lens of female sexual desire in ‘do it for me’, while Vika Kirchenbauer‘s queer subjects confront the high art voyeur with ‘YOU ARE BORING!’: “I mean, who wouldn’t want to fuck a work of conceptual art?”
Evan Ifekoya talks marginality as a lived position for AQNB/ViC editorial video commission ‘Genuine. Original. Authentic.’ and Sarah Boulton‘s poetry, read by Ulijona Odišarija, passively lingers in the margins, outside of valuation, by dealing with what the artist describes as “what you don’t need to say, and not saying it”. Imran Perretta‘s ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ explores the privilege of apprehension and self-analysis for a work in progress video, while Ann Hirsch and Cristine Brachepresent two videos that concisely and consciously apply for access to systems of power and control, only to complicate and disrupt them when awarded it.
Below is the full programme of video, audio and stills of the works presented in their running order:
Maria Gorodeckaya: ‘do it for me’ (2016) [5:11]
Moscow-born, London-based artist Maria Gorodeckaya explores the nature of women’s objectification,
reclaiming the gaze through the lens of the camera and re-directing it onto the male body. Inverting sexual power dynamics, Gorodeckaya’s work expands into poetry, sculpture and installation, building on her interests in desire and its suppression by religious, economic and institutional means.
London-based artist Evan Ifekoya discusses their ongoing music video series, questioning the notion of cultural or personal authenticity and what it means to be entertaining. Also working with collage, knitting and drawing, Ifekoya talks about deconstructing pervasive gender binaries, expressing the banality and importance of physical ‘making’.
Vika Kirchenbauer: ‘YOU ARE BORING!’ (2015) [13:44], ‘COOL FOR YOU – GIVEN YOUR CONVENIENT ABSENCE’ (2016) [2:25]
Berlin-based artist Vika Kirchenbauer looks at the transference of (certain) bodies and politics from subcultural to high art spaces and the new dynamics that emerge. In complicating ideas of performance and shifting the spectator’s perspective back on themselves, Kirchenbauer questions how power and self-understanding is renegotiated within an institutional framework.
Sarah Boulton: Poetry read by Ulijona Odišarija [2:59 min]
London-based artist and poet Sarah Boulton presents moments of inclusivity, engaging and implicating its audience directly or with distance, or both. Friend and fellow artist Ulijona Odišarija reads as a single clear voice without embellishment, expressing a certain creative ambience around perceptions and consciousness in relation to objects that refuse signification and thus capital value.
Imran Perretta: ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ (2016) [5:00 min]
London-based artist Imran Perretta explores the liminal space between socially and culturally constructed spaces, as well as the role of the body within that. Inscribed as they are with external assumptions, prejudices and, above all, concerns, Perretta’s film is an interrogation of white-washed narratives of privilege and their ideologies of self-actualisation, described in an aqnb review of his performance work as, “the over analyzed body in stark contrast to the under analyzed body”.
Ann Hirsch: ‘Here For You (Or my Brief Love Affair with Frank Maresca)’ (2011) [14:06]
LA-based artist Ann Hirsch interrogates (networked) media and its false assumptions of personal freedom. Placing herself in the externally constructed environment of a reality TV programme and its culture of constant surveillance, Hirsch surrenders to the mechanism of production, where she and 14 other contestants vie for the affections of ‘Frank the Bachelor’ on camera with no control on how they’re viewed, edited or represented.
Cristine Brache:, ‘Sequence 02 1’ (2016) [15:56 min], ‘finally people are reading about me’ [00:14 min] (2016)
Toronto-based artist and poet Cristine Brache shows marginal women’s bodies and their reproduction as objects in circulation. In complicating and questioning economic, political and sexual power relations as both oppressed and empowered, Brache’s at times fetishistic work expresses a tension between aspiring for access and visibility, and the means by which one achieves it.
The London-based artist’s new commission is the second in the Dusk Exhibition Series at the Royal College of Art (RCA)-run “test-bed and exhibition space”, which shows work that becomes fully visible in the dark hours, to be experienced from outside the gallery.
Ifekoya’s piece explores “identification across mixed realities”, inspired by artist Lubaina Himid, music from British band Eurythmics and the Yoruba myth of the Olokun. This follows Dusk#1, which was shown at the RCA Dyson Gallery in January, a video installation by Zina Saro-Wiwa curated by Zoe Whitley.
The series is one concerned with “trans-gender, Science Fiction and Post-Human” ideas, that in turn builds on the RCA’s ‘Rise Up & Envision*‘ 2015 lectures. Works by Daniel Shanken and Rehana Zaman are to follow in the coming months
There are two solo shows coming up at London’s ICA, Flattened Metal in association with K11 Art Foundation by Guan Xiao and Fact & Trouble by Martine Syms, opening April 19 and running to June 19.
Both exhibitions explore identity construction and how it is seen and understood.
Beijing-based Xiao has made a new installation comprising of six large printed screens that also feature speakers playing audio and will weave together “primitive and high tech elements” of found clips online with references to the past.
Syms’ Fact & Trouble is an exhibition that examines the space between lived experience and its representation. On show will be the LA-based artist’s ongoing “long incomplete poem”, ‘Lessons’, a group of 30-second videos which deal with ideas of inheritance, signifiers, articulation and tradition.
Syms will also present ‘Misdirected Kiss’, a performative lecture that tells a story about language, movement, and performance as observed in black female entertainers on April 22. On May 5 artist Evan Ifekoya —who featured in aqnb x Video in Common editorial video ‘Visible Edges‘ —will give a performative tour of Fact & Trouble. Ifekoya works with intimate forms of knowledge production and the possibilities of an erotic and poetic occupation using film and writing.
See theFB event page for links of both shows and the surrounding events.**
The discussion will surround their new film commission, ‘Finding Fanon Part Two’, a work that explores post-humanity in and via the digital realm of Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto V’s in-game video editor.