I’m excited to be speaking on a panel with Manish Harijan (artist) and Lady Kitt (artist, researcher and drag king) on 13th February as part of a two-day event about art careers at Sheffield Institute of Arts. The theme is “improfessionalism”, which feels fortuitously positioned alongside the “indisciplinarity” theme of the event at King’s College that I got to speak at last year.
While ‘professionalisation’ suggests the positive, necessary steps to becoming an artist, there are ‘improfessional’ practices that exist at an off-kilter relation to this imperative. Outside of the professional / unprofessional binary, what else do artists do, feel, or think as they build their portfolio, write their grants, or get on with these obvious tasks? And as both a direct or dissonant response to our art-making lives, what modalities of survival and thriving do we develop? How do we – or don’t we – maintain the balance, health, and motivation necessary to keep going as supposed art professionals?
I’m going to expand the talk I gave for the “indisciplinarity” event into something that delves even more into queer theories about time and life paths. There will probably be some Buddhist philosophy in there too, and I’m going to glance a little at the void by offering some thoughts on how to role-play as though there will be a future even though the world as we know it seems so fragile.
The whole two-day event schedule looks excellent, seems like the event will involve blending pragmatic questions with critical theory. Please check it out:
This weekend, Jennifer Booth will be facilitating a workshop for the Cis Penance project, as part of NEoN Festival. We did a similar workshop this summer in Sheffield – the goal is to work collaboratively with LGBTQ+ folks to create a piece of visual artwork reflecting queer life paths and our relationship to time. This version of the workshop is going to have an extra element, incorporating tech toys such as a line-following robot or electroconductive ink, to further play with representations of systems, glitches, and discontinuity. Please come join us if that interests you and you’re in town.
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:
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: email@example.com
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
Interactive Portraits has been selected for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Alternate Realities exhibition at the Site Gallery! Check out the other pieces in the show here: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/interactive
Mine isn’t the only piece portraying LGBT issues. My Mother’s Kitchen by Maeve Marsde and Tea Uglow is an interactive documentary based on interviews with eight LGBTQI+ people, that takes shape around domestic spaces. Through the Wardrobe by Rob Eagle is an augmented reality installation centering on clothes and gender expression. Another Dream by Tamara Shogaolu is a Virtual Reality piece about a lesbian couple from Egypt who have to figure out what to do in the wake of post-revolution attacks on the community.
I’m excited to see To Call a Horse a Deer in the nominations for Best Digital Experience – I played it at AMAZE and found it very distressing and compelling. It’s not AR, VR, MR, or whatever, it’s just a lo-fi text-based game that gets into your head and alters reality for a little while. It sort of hypnotised me into a conceptual sensation I haven’t felt before, except perhaps when I was catatonic with depression – though the content isn’t actually depressing or overwrought in any way. Putting that weird sensation in the context of a representation of state oppression is fascinating – I always associate fascism with the stirring up of popular passions, but this is portraying something else, a kind of enforced dissociation.