In seeking ways to stay connected during this time of physical distance, we've turned towards our Collective Intimacy live programme from last autumn that Elvira Dyangani Ose and I curated with artist Theaster Gates. This project hosted over 60 interdisciplinary interventions by artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public, who were all invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness in the spirit of creating a transcultural community.
To frame the idea of singularity within a context of collaboration, this second Fortnightly Highlight meditates upon the moments of collective effort in which individuality and intimacy can offer other ways to create community and connection. Here, we share the power of the voice in supporting multiplicity – of sound in creating resonance. It's another chance to listen, watch and read – a moment to be embraced and feel heard.
Assistant Curator and Communications & Development Manager, The Showroom
Collective Intimacy: Virtual Updates
Whilst our space is still physically closed, we're bringing new documentation and archive materials to you virtually. Enjoy the below features from home, which elaborate upon the Collective Intimacy live programme – a collaboration between Prada, The Vinyl Factory, The Store X and The Showroom. This project took place in October – November 2019 at The Showroom and our satellite space at 180 The Strand within the Black Image Corporation installation by Theaster Gates.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY
Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf: Sospiro
Artist & Producer Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf presented Sospiro, a participatory performance on breathing, vocalisation and meditation with violinist Blaize Henry and sopranos Julia Daramy-Williams & Jacqueline Yu. Sospiro, (Italian for 'sigh') references the permeating and golden light of a sunrise, and the power of the breath.
Listen to the recording from this special event to experience a three act participatory performance including an introduction / mood setting improvised piece, one-to-one breathing and vocalisation session, and invitation to form a human microphone / harmonic work. Sospiro alludes to solidarity, harmony, inner light and the voice as a form of protection and communal bonding.
Bumi Thomas: Border Native
Border Native included an evening of live music and conversation celebrating music as a catalyst for integration, advocacy and social change in collaboration with Amnesty International. This event was a part Bumi's series hosting immersive evenings of live music and interdisciplinary discussions about immigration with special guests – including Max Andre Rademacher on Ngoni and Ayo Odia (YUNG Afrika Pioneers) on Sax, as well as George Shire and Elvira Dyangani Ose in conversation.
Through her two songs Mother Tongue and Echo, Bumi explores the complexities that she and others face as they experience the immigration process, highlighting evolving identities, cultural liminality and transformation.
Phoebe Boswell: Mothering Memory and The Lighthouse 2
Phoebe Boswell created two new unique performances for Collective Intimacy – one presented collectively with a group of invited women, the other staged intimately with just herself and her mother. Mothering Memory departed from her 2014 piece The Matter of Memory about her parents' memories of Kenya. In a site-specific live re-telling at The Showroom, Phoebe ignited her mother's original transcript in a harmonic act of re-receiving messages from the past with a new reflection on intergenerational memory, Black womanhood, emancipation passages, and what exists between.
The Lighthouse was the second iteration of a live soundscape of women collectively reading from existing texts, alongside a screening of Phoebe's Ythlaf (2018) at 180 The Strand. This performance was a continuation of ideas from her exhibition The Space Between Things at Autograph, London (2019), serving as an emotive interrogation of trauma, healing and the poetics of endurance. The Lighthouse includes a growing amorphous group of Phoebe's peers: Alexandria Smith, Amahra Spence, Bolanle Tajudeen, Buitumelo Mushekwa, Bumi Thomas, Cindy Sissokho, Claudette Johnson, Jade Jackman, Jade Monserrat, Katherine Finerty, Leanne Ingram, Liv Wynter, Pamela Jikiemi, Marion Osieyo, Natalie Nzeyimana, Rasheeda Nalumoso, Ritika Biswas, Rianna Jade Parker, Ruth Sutoyé, Zaahida Nabagereka, Zoé Whitley and more.
FROM THE LIBRARY ARCHIVE
Women on Aeroplanes: Inflight Magazine #4
Following on from the last newsletter, you can now read the most recent issue of the Women on Aeroplanes Inflight Magazine, edited by Annett Busch and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet from the international curatorial team of the wider project. This series of publications travels along the route of the unfolding global project. Experimenting with the format of an in-flight magazine, each issue becomes a light container for research-in-progress; at times a flying museum built upon each iteration of the project and connecting to the next. The issues continue to travel, wherever they are taken by participants and visitors.
At The Showroom, the Women on Aeroplanes exhibition (2018) was curated by Emily Pethick and Elvira Dyangani Ose with The Otolith Collective. The exhibition included new commissions by artists Lungiswa Gqunta, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, and observed the largely unrecognised role of women in struggles for liberation, their participation in transatlantic networks, and their key voices in revolutionary socio-political movements that helped to achieve post-colonial nation-states in Africa.
ArtQuest: The WFH Residency
Our partner organisation ArtQuest have launched The WFH residency – a £1000 award to support artists who have had work cancelled as a result of the current pandemic. This will particularly support projects that take a co-operative or communal approach and connect people while social distancing. The next deadline is 10am on Wednesday 6 May.
In addition, the team at ArtQuest have compiled a list of resources, support networks and artist-led projects responding to the pandemic.
If you have been following the programme please fill out our digital audiences survey here