DIY 15: Project O – How do we DEAL and how do we do better/do US?

For the second year running SSW joined the collaborative network led by Live Art Development Agency (LADA) DIY; Professional development projects by artists for artists. DIY is an opportunity for artists working in Live Art across the UK to take part in unusual training and professional development projects conceived and run by artists for artists.

As a network we understand that the development of creative practices is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques, and past DIY projects have proved to be invaluable experiences for project leaders, participants and organisers alike. DIY supports exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic Live Art professional development projects that offer something new and are geared to the eclectic and often unusual needs of artists whose practices are grounded in challenging and unconventional approaches, forms and concepts.

Through DIY’s open call SSW worked with Project O in July 2018 to facilitate their project How do we DEAL and how do we do better/do US? 

Project O: How do we DEAL and how do we do better/do US?

‘A three day retreat where we will sauna and do metal work, being with our bodies and thinking together about how to move against established systems of power.’

“Untangling the knots in stomach pits formed trying to hold this so called ‘moment’ of increased mainstream coverage of sexual violence as part of a ‘re-invigorated’ feminism, up against the continual, relentless plurality of violent moments borne out of living in systematic antiblackness. We want to spend some time sweating together and untangling those knots so that they can extend into action through languaging the critical perspective those knots are articulating. Join us for 3 days at Scottish Sculpture to sauna, to process, to detox, to allow the rising heat and the breathing through it.

We are interested in the ways that other intense embodied experiences can support, transform, shift, disrupt patterns of thinking and feeling in order to energise and inspire new ideas for further action.

We are trying to notice, listen and find ways to speak about when, why and how certain artistic spaces and discourses aimed at fostering ‘togetherness’ encourage positions of over-exposure without protection, or cast roles of disruptors that disempower when the misnamed disruption then becomes a viable commodity for institutions who think that intersectionality is a tick box and not a tool for deconstructing systems…

What action can we take in internal and external (group) organising? When does critique mobilise towards change and enhanced abilities for perceiving structures, and when is it a tool for continued oppression? How do we survive our ambivalence and own complicities?

From a place of frankness, we want to embody and make space for energising and mobilising those responses that take up residence within our bodies when we feel we have no space – or language – to express.

We want to make a space that works with physical forms (sweat, dance, clay/iron) that acknowledges, holds and interrogates our internal experiences towards pushing critique and expanding artistic practice away from a culture of continual gaslighting.

What do we do from here? How do we do this together? What next? We invite applicants to propose ideas for activities, conversations and practices they would want to engage with in such a space. Nothing will be compulsory. We will have support from a general technician.”

Project O

Project O is a collaboration between Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small.

Project O make dances to dance themselves out of the desire for and expectation of an aesthetic assimilation that upholds a system of white supremacy that is at once subtle, blatant and all pervasive.

DIY Network 2018

DIYs this year are supported by: Artsadmin (London), ArtHouse (Jersey), BUZZCUT (Glasgow), Chapter (Cardiff), Colchester Arts Centre (Colchester), Dance4 (Nottingham), KARST (Plymouth), LADA (London), Live Art Bistro (Leeds), Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone), Freud Museum (London), Lancaster Arts (Lancaster), Marlborough Pub & Theatre (Brighton), National Theatre (London), National Theatre of Scotland (Scotland), Norwich Arts Centre (Norwich), ]performance s p a c e[ (Folkestone), Rich Mix (London), Scottish Sculpture Workshop (Aberdeenshire), Snape Maltings (Suffolk), Southbank Centre (London), Tate Early Years and Families (London), and Whitstable Biennale (in Ebbsfleet).


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