Interview in Our Favourite Places

Our Favourite Places is a site that reviews cultural stuff in Sheffield, and is an incredibly helpful resource that comprehensively covers all kinds of venues, events, and local businesses. This week they have published a lovely little profile of my work:

https://ourfaveplaces.co.uk/meet-the-locals/zoyander-street/

Speaking of interviews, but going in the other direction, where I’m the one asking questions: I’m keen to get more trans interviewees lined up for the next two weeks at Site Gallery. Give me a shout if you’re interested: zoyander@gmail.com

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SHEFFIELD call for interviews for transgender interactive documentary

In one week, I’ll be part of a show at Site Gallery in Sheffield with other artists on the Freelands programme. The show will run until the end of the month, and while I’m there, I hope to carry out interviews with local transgender people, for a forthcoming project with a working title of “Cis Penance”. I’m very keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in being interviewed – please check out the details below!

Project information

Overview

“Cis Penance” aims to use videogame-like installations to draw attention to issues affecting transgender people in the UK, with a particular focus on how institutional and social structures alter our relationship to time and our life paths, through lengthy waiting processes. Interviews with 60 transgender people from around the UK will be represented as interactive text, projected onto a long, embroidered e-textile portraying people waiting in a queue. Kind of a queer cybertwee Bayeux tapestry. Anyone interested in being interviewed is welcome to contact me: zoyander@gmail.com

Background

This project builds on my previous work, “Interactive portraits: trans people in Japan 2018“, which has toured exhibitions and festivals, including Docfest, Now Play This, and the Rainbow Arcade exhibition at the Schwules Museum in Berlin. Whereas that project featured 12 interviews carried out in Japan, this new project aims to incorporate 60 interviews carried out in different locations in the UK.

Participant information

The format I use makes anonymity very easy to achieve, as I do not use interview audio in the final piece and I do not record video footage. Interviewees’ physical appearances will not be portrayed in the installation piece, instead represented by one of 60 abstract embroidered figures. Interviewees can choose to use their real name, an existing pseudonym that they might use online, or a randomly-assigned pseudonym. My interview method focuses on allowing participants to set the agenda, to reflect the kinds of topics that actually come out in conversations between trans people, rather than directing the conversation to serve cisgender curiosity.

Interview information

Interviews will last about 45 minutes. The Sheffield interviews will be carried out in a comfy part of the Site Gallery show, which will be made a bit secluded using some curtains. They will be recorded as audio only, and transcribed into text extracts for the interactive work. Audio recordings will not be used in the final installation piece, but interviewees can opt in to allowing the audio to be used in accompanying multimedia materials. The recordings might be archived in a museum or library collection at some point, to preserve them for the historical record.

Interviewees are welcome to participate without talking about their transition. I use an open-ended format that gives the interviewee autonomy over the topics of discussion, but questions I might ask to help things along could include:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • What brings you satisfaction in life?
  • What aspects of your life would you like to be different?
  • What challenges do you face in making this happen?
  • How have things changed for you in the past few years?

Dates and contact

I hope to interview around 15 transgender people in Sheffield, ideally before August 25th. There is also time available after October 28th until the end of the year. Anyone interested in being interviewed can contact me using zoyander@gmail.com.

Arts Council Project Grant for “Empty Carriage: An Interactive Self-Portrait”

coach pram.jpg
Coach-built pram in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

I’ve been awarded an Arts Council Project Grant to turn a vintage coach-built pram into a games console. I’m making a game for it that uses my interactive portraits approach to portray myself. Whereas my other interactive portraits are based on interviews, this one is based instead on a guided inquiry to see through the illusion of self.

Using multiple-choice dialogue options, players will ask the mini-me a series of questions that prompt an examination of every aspect of consciousness, turning over every phenomenological stone to try and find any sign that there is really a “me”. If I can make it work, the interface is probably going to use some interactive textiles, so that the player chooses questions by stroking a blanket. I’m also going to try to build it using a mini-projector, so that the whole thing feels soft and tactile.

I’ll be displaying this at the Platform exhibition at Site Gallery in August, and I’m hoping to take the pram out for a couple of walks this summer as well. This week I’m going on a bit of an adventure to a remote village in North Yorkshire to buy a pram from the 1930s that actually looks a lot like the one from Rosemary’s Baby.

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Site Gallery platform exhibition

BELFAST call for interviews for transgender interactive documentary

I’m going to Belfast between 24th June and 11th July to spend some time at the PS2 art space. While I’m there, I hope to carry out interviews with local transgender people, for a forthcoming project with a working title of “Cis Penance”. I’m very keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in being interviewed – please check out the details below!

Project information

Overview

“Cis Penance” aims to use videogame-like installations to draw attention to issues affecting transgender people in the UK, with a particular focus on how institutional and social structures alter our relationship to time and our life paths, through lengthy waiting processes. Interviews with 60 transgender people from around the UK will be represented as interactive text, projected onto a long, embroidered e-textile portraying people waiting in a queue. Kind of a queer cybertwee Bayeux tapestry. Anyone interested in being interviewed is welcome to contact me: zoyander@gmail.com

Background

This project builds on my previous work, “Interactive portraits: trans people in Japan 2018“, which has toured exhibitions and festivals, including Docfest, Now Play This, and the Rainbow Arcade exhibition at the Schwules Museum in Berlin. Whereas that project featured 12 interviews carried out in Japan, this new project aims to incorporate 60 interviews carried out in different locations in the UK.

Participant information

The format I use makes anonymity very easy to achieve, as I do not use interview audio in the final piece and I do not record video footage. Interviewees’ physical appearances will not be portrayed in the installation piece, instead represented by one of 60 abstract embroidered figures. Interviewees can choose to use their real name, an existing pseudonym that they might use online, or a randomly-assigned pseudonym. My interview method focuses on allowing participants to set the agenda, to reflect the kinds of topics that actually come out in conversations between trans people, rather than directing the conversation to serve cisgender curiosity.

Interview information

Interviews will last about 45 minutes. The Belfast interviews will be carried out in the Paragon Studios space. They will be recorded as audio only, and transcribed into text extracts for the interactive work. Audio recordings will not be used in the final installation piece, but interviewees can opt in to allowing the audio to be used in accompanying multimedia materials. The recordings might be archived in a museum or library collection at some point, to preserve them for the historical record.

Interviewees are welcome to participate without talking about their transition. I use an open-ended format that gives the interviewee autonomy over the topics of discussion, but questions I might ask to help things along could include:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • What brings you satisfaction in life?
  • What aspects of your life would you like to be different?
  • What challenges do you face in making this happen?
  • How have things changed for you in the past few years?

Dates and contact

I hope to interview around 15 transgender people while I am in Belfast between 24th June and 11th July. Anyone interested in being interviewed can contact me using zoyander@gmail.com.

Mid docfest update

Docfest is about halfway done,
and it’s been so lovely so far.
The Interactive Portrait Cushions
are hung right of the entrance to
the exhibition space, and I’ve had
great conversations with people about the unique pleasures and challenges of handmade computers.

I just finished a panel discussion with IP Yuk Yiu about his piece, to Call a Horse a Deer, comparing our approaches to simple interface design for conceptually complex works.

On Tuesday I will be on a
panel with Georgie Pinn in the
context of a series of discussions
about ecological and environmental
issues. I’m very excited that this
provides the opportunity to talk
about how computer media and
empathy discourse relate to bigger
global issues such as resource extraction, and waste flows to the global south.

Critaoke

I’m going to embarrass myself this Saturday by performing a Karaoke version of Sara Ahmed’s “Feminist Killjoys” to the tune of Chiquitita (I haven’t called it Critiquita, but gosh that seems like a missed opportunity now). Details below.

Description

Join us as we mark the closing of Re-collections with Crit-a-Oke – a free cabaret event featuring live performances, projections and karaoke.

Crit-a-Oke feels like a late night party lecture. Squashing art criticism, theory and academic texts into a karaoke blender and sipping on the thinky musical smoothie that drips from the other side.

Think Donna Summer and the S.C.U.M. Manifesto.

Ask, “Does your Mother Know” about John Berger?

Get thoughtful and dancey all at once as Sheffield’s artists and thinkers perform their favourite arty texts as you’ve never heard them, to the songs that you (probably) know.

Specially created visuals projected during the performances will reference Site’s lifespan from 1979 to the present, with contributions from Society of Explorers.

Performing on the night:

  • Tsarzi
  • Sarah Christie
  • Matthew Cull
  • Oriana Franceschi
  • Caitlin Merrett King & Josef Shanley Jackson
  • Miriam Miller
  • Zoyander Street
  • Lucy Vann

Kollective Coffee and Kitchen will be open late serving refreshments.

Crit-a-Oke is brought to you by Tžužjj – a curatorial project between Louis Palliser-Ames and James Harper.

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/598394327325506/

Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/crit-a-oke-closing-party-tickets-60570695581