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Godfried Lone Taxidermist Donkor || Lone Godfried Taxidermist Donkor | Jan Jan Fabre Fabre | Ange Ange Ong Ong Summer of Love | Cevdet Erek | On Kawara | Grisha Bruskin


Image: Edmund Clark

Edmund Clark In Place of Hate 6 December 2017 - 11 March 2018

Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS ikon-gallery.org / 0121 248 0708 Tuesday - Sunday 11am-5pm, free entry Exhibition presented in partnership with HM Prison Grendon and the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust. Ikon Gallery Limited trading as Ikon. Registered charity no. 528892.


Godfried Donkor The First Day of the Yam Custom, 1817 22 August – 30 October 2017

Accra, Ghana gallery1957.com @gallery1957


Godfried Donkor, The First Day of the Yam Custom, 1817, 2017, installation at Gallery 1957, Ghana. Copyright the artist, and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra

– The Covers–

The birth of Venus (new series), Godfried Donkor, collage on paper, 2017 courtesy the artist. Godfried created this work for the cover of CCQ. We are very grateful. Thank you bruv!

Lone Taxidermist, 2017, Photo: Carlotta Cardana carlottacardana.com Retouching: Ric Bower

Editors: Emma Geliot and Ric Bower

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PAPER #40:

SARAH EYRE CUT / COPY / PASTE

7 OCTOBER - 11 NOVEMBER 2017

PRIVATE VIEW: THURSDAY 5 OCTOBER, 6-9PM

OPEN EVERY SATURDAY 11AM - 5PM UNIT 12, 14-20 MIRABEL STREET MANCHESTER M3 1PJ PAPER-GALLERY.CO.UK

PAPER


– Editorial– She Lied Before She Died Our late Mother Modernity bequeathed to us ‘the specialist’ before she died. And so, in the art world (because we like to keep up with all that is new and scientific) we enthusiastically posted specialists everywhere. We separated off the specialists who make the art from the specialists who write about it. Then, rather pleased with ourselves, we proposed a set of specialists to organise the art – and we named them curators – being careful to distinguish them from the gallerists, who sell the art, of course. Having made these clever distinctions, us kids found that our loins were throbbing, so we ran to the bedside of dear Mother. She was dying, and the stench from her unwashed bed linen almost made us gag. But we stood firmly to attention, and told her how clever we had been, about the many distinctions we had made, and about the warm glow it had given us. But Mother was not pleased! She berated us, saying that our categorisations were flaccid. She instructed us to go to Father’s study "this instant", and to take note of the many animal heads he had collected, whilst on safari in Africa. She told us to observe how they were arranged according to Order and according to Genus. She told us to gaze into his many cabinets and to see how each Phyla and Class of

creature had been dried, pinned, measured and labelled before it was hierarchised; how in their death the creatures had found immortality, and how they were ‘forever safe’ now they were under glass. So, we returned to our world properly chastened and we set to work furiously. We separated painting from sculpture, the expert from the layperson, fine art from applied art, theory from practice, and education from life. We ordered them all clearly, as we had been instructed: one; two; three. Mother is long dead now, although we still live with her putrefying body. And we kids are bigger; our balls have dropped and our periods have started; we are old and bold enough to call bullshit. So we call bullshit to being boxed into categories, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Because, as we became increasingly specialised in our treatment of art, so the thin places, those places where dialogue might once have been found, have all but disappeared. And since the specialist has no handle on the whole, how will we even ask the big questions, let alone answer them? Fagot Koroviev

Ci Defaid, 2008, Aneurin Jones, charcoal on paper

Aneurin Jones, the finest figurative draughtsman to come out of Wales since Frank Brangwyn, passed away as we were going to press. We salute you Chief; Pob Bendith.


—Inside— p14 Trifle: get inside and fuckin' eat it Natalie Sharp aka Lone Taxidermist and her Aresonists, inflatable vaginas, makeup, plastic sheet crowd-surfing... p22 1000000 Jonathan and Emily Watkins consider where they fit within the numbers of On Kawara's seminal work One Million Years p26 The First Day of the Yam Custom: 1817 Godfried Donkor's new show in Accra, Ghana, teases out the nuanced legacy of British Victorian explorer Thomas Edward Bowdich p34 Sleeping Pill Action Jan Fabre recreates a 1991 performance for CCQ, wandering the streets of Venice under the influence, with Fagot Koroviev in tow p44 If you keep going south you'll meet yourself Kudzanai-Violet Hwami paints her visions for a brighter future for Zimbabwe, an intricate weave of self, family, sexuality and hope p52 Summer of Love A conversation between artists and curator Katerina Gregos at a timely exhibition on the Greek island of Samos, considering that greatest feeling of all p62 Tea for two, two for tea Ange Ong's photography explores the magic of the 'Hong Kong Cafe', its colonial orgins and mimicry p70 ÇIN Between table-top drummings, Cevdet Erek talks about his sonic architectural construction at the Turkish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, tinnitus, and Michael Jackson p78 In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind offer CCQ the transcript from an extended visit, by their film's rebel leader protagonist, to the psychiarist p84 I don't believe in unbelief The Russian Pavilion in Venice this year is host to Grisha Bruskin's apolocolyptic installation Sea Change, a monumental comment on history, ideology and surveillance p92 stiwdio/lle studio/place Cardiff-based curatorial project LLE's focus on contemporary painters and their relationship with their studios leads them to the north's foremost art fair, The Manchester Contemporary p96 Q&A Will Rawls answers Emily Watkins' questions about a performance she has not seen, with the assumption that she in fact has


Y Lleuad a Gwên The Moon & A Smile 25.02.17 – 23.04.17

Artistiaid/Artists

Greta Alfaro / Anna Fox Astrid Kruse Jensen / Neeta Madahar & Melanie Rose / Sharon Morris Sophy Rickett / Helen Sear / Patricia Ziad

Helen Sear the company of trees, 2015 Sharon Morris The Moon is Shining on My Mother, 2016

Helen Sear ...the rest is smoke 23.09.17 – 19.11.17

Hefyd i’w weld / Also showing Gwobr Arlunydd Ifanc Syr Leslie Joseph 2017 / Sir Leslie Joseph Young Artist Award 2017

Bob Gelsthorpe as it waits, until it lasts 23.09.17 – 19.11.17 Oriel Gelf Glynn Vivian Heol Alexandra Oriel GelfSA1 Glynn Vivian Abertawe 5DZ Heol Alexandra Abertawe SA1 5DZ

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery glynnviviangallery.org Alexandra Road 01792 516900 Glynn Vivian Gallery glynnviviangallery.org Swansea SA1Art 5DZ Alexandra Road Swansea SA1 5DZ

01792 516900


HOLLY DAVEY THE CONVERSATION 11/11/2017 – 03/02/2018 LYDIA MEEHAN A TEMPLATE FOR APPLICATION

Open / Ar Agor: Wed — Sat / Mercher — Sadwrn 11.00—17.00 Closed / Ar Gau 20/12/2017— 06/01/2018 G39 Oxford Street / Stryd Rhydychen Cardiff / Caerdydd CF24 3DT +44(0)29 2047 3633 g39.org @g39cardiff


THE MANCHESTER CONTEMPORARY 27–29 OCTOBER 2017 MANCHESTER CENTRAL

FREE TICKETS ONLINE AT THEMANCHESTERCONTEMPORARY.CO.UK WITH CODE ‘PEARL’ For more information on the VIP Collector Programme email clare.tams@ themanchestercontemporary.co.uk

Exhibitors: 2 Queens Alumni Castlefield Gallery | Agency Castor Projects Copperfield Division of Labour Gallery North Goldtapped IMT Gallery Islington Mill Kristian Day Joanna Bryant & Julian Page Labrador LLE Love Unlimited Manchester School of Art PAPER Paradise Works Platform A Saul Hay Gallery Syson The Birley Studios The International 3 The RYDER Vane Venture Arts Presents VITRINE Workplace Foundation


‘Trifle: get inside and fuckin’ eat it!’ Natalie Sharp, aka Lone Taxidermist, is currently touring her new performance Trifle. At Supernormal festival in Oxfordshire earlier this summer, the queue to get in to see her stretched across the field. It’s a full-on experience: a collection of songs twisted into a club-style, head-pounding, visual, sonic, sensory intervention. The crowds have plastic sheeting pulled above them, as Sharp rolls and sprawls overhead; her performing playmates, Arseonists – dressed as inflatable vaginas – squirm between bewildered audience members. Lone Taxidermist speaks to Rhiannon Lowe, as she prepares for a new promotional photoshoot. Rhiannon Lowe: I’ve just ordered your new LP of the songs that form 'the kernel' – I think you've called it – of Trifle. How did the launch for it go? Lone Taxidermist: Thank you for buying it! Every time someone buys it I’m a bit like, 'are you sure you want to spend your hardearned money on me?' And I wouldn’t say I’m a modest person, I just get this pang of Catholic guilt because people are spending their money on it! The album launch was ridiculous! I decided I wanted to cover both floors in plastic and inflatables. It was just me and my poor mate Garry in there, trying to hang a hairdryer high up, because I’d made this enormous inflatable trifle that I wanted to expand out of the ceiling! I cried four times that day out of exhaustion and pain, but it was the best spectacle we’ve put on. I had my two mates acting as a sort of human sex carwash

on the entry door, dressed as inflatable Cindy Sherman-type figures, and I got my dream foetus Aja Ireland to play; plus Chloe Frieda, and Adrian Winter. And people came – quite a few, ha, including Jane Horrocks! There were a lot of women that dressed up in latex for the show which I was super-impressed by. The sound is so good in that place, [Red Gallery, London] that’s why I booked it. But I’m never ever going to promote, decorate, organise, and make music for a live show on that scale again. It’s too much! I think what made it really special were the Arseonists.


RL: I am guessing it’s a little different from the vinyl recording then… Would you perform the record 'as it is' ever? LT: I would never perform it as it is on the record, unless we did a gig in my bedroom; in the bed, under the sheets and everyone was really quiet. There are a lot of sounds that would get lost live. It’s just a different beast now. The record exists as a very tight, dense body of songs which have been pulled apart and put back together over many years. I suppose the record is kind of the seed or the egg of the live show experience. I think I wanted to present them differently – dismantled, repeated and sped up can be better in a dingy nightclub setting. RL: Some of the show is improvised, then? LT: The songs are pre-organised to a point. Some are in recorded Ableton session mode, but everything else is improvised. I think through touring with Jenny [Hval], I've learnt that if you let go of control and just let your artists/art do what it feels, it's so much more exciting. What happens off stage, in the audience with the Arseonists, is always bonkers and brilliant. I feel like we've created this gluttonous monster that can't be controlled. I now relish feeling out of control. It's a call and response game, or maybe it's a game of Twister. I like the idea of the audience being a series of sensors or nerve endings too! RL: So, you were doing make-up and stage dressing with Jenny Hval, for her recent tour. D’you work with others as well? LT: The last two years have been full collaboration with a lot of women who I'm hugely inspired by. Jenny, Elizabeth from Gazelle Twin, Serafina Steer – and lots of

other artist friends have become involved in what I am doing. The Trifle show probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for collaborators – that sounds dramatic but it's true. RL: Is Trifle the first full-tilt performance you've made? LT: I feel like everything we did previous to this was a sort of trailer. The previous shows have involved costumes, smoke and lasers, but nothing as fully… immersive (I dislike that word) as Trifle. For nearly two years I've been touring as one of the vocalists in Gazelle Twin Kingdom Come. The way she [Elizabeth Bernholz] works has really inspired me, because she alters the landscape of a show, and the vocalist’s role is to transform into this feral 'business-worker' character. The stage almost becomes a film-set. It made me think about how I can't just do a standard t-shirt, jeans and guitar set-up any more. It has to be a full assault of all the senses. RL: What is it like working on other people’s projects, rather than your own? Is it interesting for you restraining, taming yourself, even, when working for others as part of their practice? LT: Serafina [Steer] and I did a Greek tragedy TV opera called Medea, where I sung in a voice that is very different from my own. It was really, really difficult as I felt like I was losing my identity. I wasn't used to being told exactly how to sing, and I have no schooling in music; perhaps if I did, I wouldn't have taken everything so personally. Sefa was incredibly patient with me, and would give me strange little gifts like a glowing jelly ball and sparklers, because I was crying so much during our intense weeks of rehearsals. I made these hand-painted robes inspired by the Kibbo Kift Kindred, and sewed lots of gold jewellery into this massive wild boar rug, that I spray painted gold and wore over my body, with shining lasers through the eye holes. The best part is, we did the performance in Manchester Jewish Museum which is a synagogue. I still don't know how we got away with it. My parents came and Dad cried! Stuart Maconie wanted to play the entire show on Freak Zone, so you could say it was a success. And Sefa did teach me things about myself that I didn't know I could do. RL: How does Trifle work with different venues, have most of them been accommodating with the uproar you cause?


LT: We've played in some great spaces: galleries; disused warehouses; and alternative, experimental festivals like Supernormal – who've all been really up for it, which is important. But trying to install a sort of mobile, plastic art installation into a festival slot usually means we have to go on first. We played to a very bemused and hungover audience, at three in the afternoon, at Fat Out Festival in Islington Mill, Salford. They were too scared to come into the plastic space and stood outside it. We've now made the performance more inclusive by wrapping the outside of the space in 400 metres of cellophane, so the audience can't leave! Sometimes I don't tell the stage managers fully what is about to happen, because there's been a few occasions where they've felt concerned about the audio system getting covered in white, creamy liquids. We played this super-weird show at an art gallery in Barcelos, Portugal, organised by the total dudes who run Lovers and Lollipos music label. My understanding was that the theme was 'gender'; it was part of a college show that the students had to create. We asked these 17-year-old girls to dress up as vaginas. The audience seemed terrified.

Funnily enough the parents of the kids seemed to be more into it. The organisers told me afterwards that Barcelos will not have seen or heard anything like it before. RL: Does what you do venture into drag? LT: Of course! I love, love, love Ru Paul's Drag Race – and Leigh Bowery; Klaus Nomi; Greyson Perry all feature very heavily on my mood-board. But I think the costumes and characters in the show are becoming almost genderless; I like putting men in overgrown, transparent, plastic vaginas and telling them to become a sensual clit. There's this one genderless, chaotic character called Eddie Baggins, who features in the video and is becoming the face of, or the mascot, for Trifle. I want to make a load of merchandise with Eddie Baggins on it. RL: Are you not blending two polar genders? Or maybe generating movement between many aspects of gender? LT: I think slipping between genders – you can be both at the same time too. I tell the male Arseonists that their cocks are just overgrown vaginas. RL: There are elements of more traditional theatre too: a start and finish; narrative; thread, all that sort of thing... But it's presented to an audience who you are infiltrating, physically as well as sensorially – and in an expectant way – you're assuming their compliance, subjugation. It could get totally out of hand, if the audience were to turn...

LT: I like that there's an element of danger – but you just have to trust in the audience that they are all going to look after each other – and us! We wear crash helmets, so at least I won't crack my skull. I should say that I suffer from chronic pain, and my arthritis has been getting worse very quickly this year; but when I perform I don't feel the pain as much because of the adrenaline. After Supernormal I was covered in bruises from the plastic hymen surf. RL: The wheelchair you were in the day after then, that was yours? LT: Yes, it's mine. I think people think it's me in a Dr Strangelove character after the show, but unfortunately it is real, and my body is degenerating. RL: Are your performances and body/facetransformation a bit of a 'fucktherightoff' to your arthritis? LT: Absolutely they are. I don’t want to be controlled or defined by illness. I don’t want to take ownership of it either. I have to stop myself saying ‘I have arthritis’, because I don’t want to be owned by it. My mam read one of the live reviews and saw that I’d been plastic crowd surfing, and immediately called me to see if I was OK. I think she, more than anyone, knows how much pain I’ve been in for so long. But it’s the furthest thing from my mind when I’m performing; the drug of what we do kicks in, and everything else is insignificant. RL: Can you say more about your work and background as a make-up artist? Is that what you trained in, then veered into music? LT: I started off as a face painter at events when I was 13; my mam and dad used to drag


me to every single carnival, festival, tractor fair, come rain or shine at the weekend. Apart from at university I never really stopped face painting, but about eight years ago it morphed into doing makeup, body painting, fake tattoos... I’ve worked in every line: film; TV; editorial; advertising. But the thing that gets me off the most is fusing music with makeup, which is why I spent the last four years turning my own face into album covers to celebrate Record Store Day. It all got a bit out of hand after the Huffington Post published it. I think I went viral! But yeah, I often approach musicians I greatly admire like Jane Weaver, Mary Epworth, Jenny Hval, and offer my services. RL: I'm interested in drag make-up: the blurring between theatre; mask; presentation; beauty; assumption; pretend; deferral; attention... LT: I think drag makeup is extremely beautiful – it’s technically some of the hardest makeup to pull off, and I really love to study people like Miss Fame. But I guess my approach is a bit more fast and hard; surreal and tongue-in-cheek. If you see the state of my face during a performance you would never imagine I’m a make-up artist. I don’t think it’s critical really. I just want it to look really bold and unsexy. I don’t really want to look like a man or a woman – I just want to be this unhinged, neon-yellow, clown-alien. RL: The field recordings between the songs in the show, what are they? LT: They were made for another project that I and Fiona Fletcher [one of the Arseonists] had been working on for nearly two years. I had been making lots of Foley for this soundtrack project to re-score an incredible animation made in the '70s. Unfortunately the person who made the animation decided after a year of us working on it that we couldn't use the film. Probs best not to disclose any names or throw anyone under any busses, but it resulted in me using a lot of the sounds for Trifle instead. RL: You’re based in London now mostly, but obviously you’ve been touring a lot recently. It sounds as though audiences have been very different at each place. It must be the people as much as the venue though – d’you miss your northern roots? LT: So, so, so much! I know one day I’ll go back there. I get a massive buzz when I arrive in Piccadilly Station in Manchester. I lived in Manchester for a long time, and I am very much of the opinion that the people make the city. We did a gig up in Sterling, Scotland recently, and the one thing that struck me was how much testosterone the men have up there. It was a major turn on, as I don’t really experience that in London. Not in a dickhead, hooligan way – more in a Viking, savage, feral way – like that big, ginger wildling in Game of Thrones—CCQ­

Lone Taxidermist were at Supernormal 4-6 August 2017, Braziers Park, Oxfordshire. They perform at The Future is Female, presented by From Now On, at Chapter, Cardiff on 7 October, and are currently on tour lonetaxidermist.bandcamp.com facebook.com/lonetaxidermist supernormalfestival.co.uk fromnowon.wales

All images: Lone Taxidermist, 2017, photos: Carlotta Cardana carlottacardana.com Except previous spread, left: Lone Taxidermist performing at Supernormal 2017, photo: Eleni Parousi eleniparousi.com


1000000 For the 57th Venice Biennale, Ikon Gallery presented a spoken-word installation of On Kawara's One Million Years. Pairs of volunteers (one man and one woman) were invited to read from the two sets of volumes produced by the artist, which list in chronological order, dates one million years into the future (from 1980) and one million years into the past (from 1969.) Exploring their relationship in accordance with Kawara's 'past' and 'future', Emily Watkins interviews her father, Jonathan Watkins – Director of Ikon.

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Jonathan Watkins: The first page of On Kawara’s One Million Years (Future) has 20 years of dates on it, going forwards consecutively in chronological order. Your birth date is on this first page. Emily Watkins: So where are we now, exactly? JW: We’re on page 2, two lines down. We’ve been together since the last line of page 1. EW: Where were you before me? JW: I had been in the Future for 12 years already. Before that I’d been in the Past for 12 years, because Kawara started (or rather finished) One Million Years (Past) in 1969. My life is split between the Past and the Future, with 12 years in between. EW: 1969 to 1981 perhaps was the 'present' … JW: Unfortunately, you missed it. Or rather, it missed you. EW: So, I’ve been alive for almost two and a half lines ... The average person has 7 or 8 lines – perhaps even 9, now – as life

Opposite: One Million Years: Past (page detail), 1970–71, On Kawara

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expectancy increases. A thousand years ago, one probably would have counted 3 or 4 lines as a good innings. JW: On Kawara dedicated his One Million Years (Past) to “All who have lived and died". We assume he meant human beings like us, Homo sapiens, who first appeared in Africa 200,000 years ago, but that encompasses only 2 volumes of dates. Our (recorded) history began about 5,500 years ago, just 11 pages of the Past. EW: Did he dedicate the Future to anyone? JW: To “The last one” …it strongly suggests that he thought humanity would be all over by 1,001,980! EW: And you say we’re only on page 2 of the Future, which starts in 2000. Within a year there was 9/11… JW: At the end of the last line you were limbering up for your A-levels. At some point on the previous line you became fascinated by dinosaurs. They roamed the earth for 150 million years… They were pre-Past. EW: One and a half lines ago we were marching against the invasion of Iraq. One line up, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. All of that is in our past,

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but in the Future nonetheless. What was it like, living in the Past? JW: In the last year of the Past, 1969, man walked on the moon. It was also – famously – the Summer of Love. There was such optimism, science, progress... I can see the logic for deciding that this year ought to mark the end of the ‘past’. It must have felt like we really were entering a new era – in fact, I remember it seeming that way, although I was only 11. I had been living for just more than one line! Almost two and a half lines (24 years) before that, On had lived through the trauma of atom bombs dropped on Japan. A lot can change very quickly. Then we miss the 1970s, a pivotal decade, and pick up the count again in 1981 with the beginning of the Future. Postmodernism was kicking in. It was supposed to be 'the end of history'. EW: It wasn’t, was it? JW: Well, it doesn’t feel like that now. Reports of the end of history were greatly exaggerated—CCQ­

On Kawara’s One Million Years (Reading) is supported by The Japan Foundation, David Zwirner, One Million Years Foundation, ARTiMBARC and Stephen & Sigrid Kirk. ikon-gallery.org

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The First Day of the Yam Custom: 1817 Over the course of a four-month-long residency at Gallery 1957, Accra, Godfried Donkor – a Ghanaian-born Londoner – playfully scrutinised the drawings and memories of the British Victorian explorer of the Ashanti region of Africa, Thomas Edward Bowdich. Donkor’s resulting presentation, The First Day of the Yam Custom: 1817, curated by Koyo Kouoh, repatriates and celebrates the reminiscences of Bowdich, in their many forms; quasi-mythological narratives that were to excert material influence on the region in the years that followed. Ric Bower spoke to Donkor in downtown Accra about his interest in history, and his complicated relationship with Bowdich.

Godfried Donkor: Growing up in Battersea, I had friends who were from all over: Jamaica, Trinidad, Ghana, you name it. I would ask my mum: ‘Why do we come from so many places?’ she would say: ‘I don’t bloody well know! Find out for yourself.’ So from about the age of 14, I was reading everything I could find about so-called ‘black history'. At school, I was getting the librarians to order in books I wanted to read, like the social critic James Baldwin and books on American slavery. I was actually stocking the school library with stuff I wanted to read. I would go into local bookshops; I would nick books, and then return them when I had read them. It dawned on me that I wanted to make work about slavery because there was no one putting together the history visually. We all know about the brutality and the transporting of peoples to the Caribbean, and the visuals to accompany these truths are unremitting in their graphic horror: chains, women being raped, floggings. But I had been reading about other kinds of experiences my ancestors had too. For instance, some of the plantation owners had parties and they would import orchestras from Europe to play Mozart in Kingston, Jamaica; in that moment you would still physically be a slave, but your mind would be exposed to new possibilities. Isn’t that amazing? Ric Bower: Yes, it is. So the visual histories you were coming across, and the histories you were reading, were being communicated as linear narratives. But you saw a way to re-present them as organic, multi-faceted and fluid?

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GD: Yes, that is what I do, I take histories and I mythologise them… RB: …And what does mythologising histories do to them exactly? GD: It imbues them with texture; in this case, the texture of Ghana and the texture of Jamestown, Accra in particular. RB: What is the difference between the narrative elements you have sculpted yourself, and then grafted in, and the histories you have derived directly from books? GD: Maybe there is no difference! RB: It seems that history is just another medium to you, a vehicle, like paint is for some artists. Can you tell me how you came to the realisation that it could be used in this way? GD: I became fascinated that histories are just made up; I realised I could create my own history, like I create a painting. RB: What should or could this realisation mean to someone living a precarious existence in a makeshift dwelling on the beach in Osu and Christiansburg? GD: People are very good at being imaginative, sometimes in the bluntness of our physical reality we have to fantasise to survive. RB: So it’s the power of the imaginary – as the artist Mikhail Karikis said to me recently. GD: Absolutely… RB: So when you went to St Martin's in the '80s, you were into P-Funk; was that evidence of collage in life as well as on paper? GD: Yes, I was into George Clinton, funkadelic. It had a lot to do with where I grew up in Battersea; I was just across the bridge from the Kings Road. In the '80s i-D magazine was starting out; Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood had just opened Boy − Paula Yates was working there on Saturdays − we would go in and try to chat her up. She was really sweet to us, she used to say: ‘You black boys are so cool!’ We were dressing as punks but we were listening to George Clinton and Cameo, not the Sex Pistols or The Exploited. We collaged ourselves into that scene on the Kings Road. RB: Art, life and experience, they seem to be inseparable…


GD: ...Of course they’re inseparable. Initially, when I went to St Martin's, it was to do fashion. My mum was a dressmaker; I used to design these outrageous clothes and she would stitch them together for me. I switched during my foundation to painting, but my collaging is a result of my fashion studies. My scrapbooks were full of cut outs from l’Uomo Vogue and i-D, interspersed with the odd drawing and a splash of colour. I was just doing them as studies until a curator came into my studio one day and said: ‘Oh my God! You got to show these!’ RB: What other epiphanies were there for you along the way? GD: My first day at art school, without a doubt. I left my house in Brixton, sat down on a tube and smoked a hefty spliff to prepare myself – you could smoke on the tube back then. I stepped out at Tottenham Court Road station, walked down Charing Cross Road and there was this guy fucking hunched over, with a needle in his arm, in the doorway to the art school. I had never seen someone jacking up heroin, and this was like 8.30 in the morning! It was then I realised that I was in a totally different world and it was way out of my comfort zone. On top of that there were only three black boys and two Indians in my year; most of the rest were from posh backgrounds. I was in a completely different world. Another epiphany was visiting the Caribbean for the first time with my Ghanaian passport. The immigration officer said: ‘Wow, you are from Ghana!’ I realised I was home from home; I was in a place where my ancestors had been. RB: Can you trace that lineage? GD: I haven’t done it but I am sure I could. I could see it in the faces, and people were coming up to me swearing that I was related to someone they knew, but I was the first African they had ever met! RB: Change of subject now; I came into your studio today and I smelled oil paint... GD: People think I work predominantly in collage, which isn’t true. I have always painted, it’s just that my collage has had more exposure in recent years. I’ve been able to develop my own way of painting, with acrylic ink and oil, quietly and in my own time. RB: That’s an interesting combination of materials, ink and oil.

GD: It facilitates a layering within the image... RB: ...And the layering of semi-transparent paint, glazing, is a process more closely associated with pre-20th century techniques of painting. It produces a patina, a complexity and depth to the surface of the work. GD: The patina comes from Ghana, from where we are sitting now in Jamestown, the walls, the skins and the roof tops. RB: Let's talk about Thomas Edward Bowdich. He was an officer in the British army, he was sent to explore, what is now Ghana. In what capacity do you think he valued the knowledge he gathered from his trip? GD: I spent a year studying at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). I desperately wanted to understand where Bowdich was coming from 200 years ago; he seemed to me to be speaking so honestly. The fascinating thing is that when we write something down, we have no way of knowing who is going to read it in the future, what the world will be like then, or what that future reader will be thinking... RB: ...And the paradigmatic plates that the worlds, as we know them are built on, have shifted more in the last 200 years than in the last 10,000. GD: Yes, the stuff we are putting out there now, which we think is cool and on it… Fuckin’ ‘ell. What will people be thinking of it in another 200 years? RB: So you got a sense that his enthusiasm was honestly motivated? He was genuinely seduced by what he saw? GD: Yes he was seduced, but you have to remember he was a British official, and they believed they were the better people, with the right to use their power to control and conquer what they came across. RB: So that there was a nasty edge to his enthusiasm? GD: Yes, but it also brought the opportunities of otherness to the people that were here then. An example of this is white lace – which was worn by both European men and women in the 18th century – it was a sign of privilege then, and it was very expensive. Now, in West Africa in the 21st century, it’s worn by men and women too, but it’s elaborate and

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First spread, left: FT Man, 2017, Godfried Donkor, ink and collage on paper, 70 x 120 cm, copyright the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra, photo: Nii Odzenma First spread, right: Ashanti War Captain III, 2017, Godfried Donkor, oil, acrylic, ink and gold leaf on paper, 152 x 230 cm, copyright the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra, photo: Nii Odzenma Second spread, left Anokye's Dance II, 2017, Godfried Donkor, ink, collage on paper, 70 x 120 cm, copyright the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra, photo: Nii Odzenma Third spread: The First Day of the Yam Custom 1817, 2017, Godfried Donkor, oil, acrylic, ink and gold leaf on board, copyright the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra, photo: Nii Odzenma Fourth spread: Work from: The First Day of the Yam Custom 1817, 2017, Godfried Donkor, oil, acrylic, ink and gold leaf on paper, copyright the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957, Accra, photo: Nii Odzenma


colourful, rather than being plain. The use of lace has been transferred, and then it has evolved in its new environment. RB: So there is perhaps more cultural reciprocation than the history books acknowledge? GD: Indeed. Modernism came out of Picasso’s interaction with African masks; in effect, modern art began in Africa. The link is even more apparent when looking at the development of popular music in the West: hip-hop came out of Afrobeat; the blues came from of Mali... Jazz, reggae, the list goes on. RB: Can we talk about the role of commerce in the establishment of these narratives? You famously use the Financial Times in the construction of your work, conflating quantitative with qualitative means of analysing the world you encounter. The

matter is further complicated by the fact that you are yourself working in the commercial art scene – a world that measures its successes and failures, for the most part, quantitatively. I can imagine the little pound signs flashing in Bowdich’s head as he was being shown Ashanti gold. GD: The Financial Times only deals with serious business. You don’t read about Kim Kardashian’s love life in the pink pages, you read about how much Kim Kardashian’s company is worth. And what fascinates me about that, is that the cultural history I’m exploring, is itself, based entirely on value, trade and finance. As an artist I’m in a privileged position – I can, in effect, print money. RB: You produce work and then you make an exchange. GD: Exactly.

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RB: So with the panoramic painting you have just completed, you were taking the small drawing that Bowdich had made from memory, and you have extrapolated it, reimagining it on a massive scale. In doing so you are, in effect, commodifying his idea. As the idea is commodified, it moves out of academia, and into the public sphere. GD: For me, it had to be panoramic and huge, because what Bowdich would have seen in Kumasi was life-size. I was also thinking about how best to popularise the event, and making it large was one way of doing that so it would stick in people’s minds. Before the paperback copy of Bowdich’s book was printed in 2016, the only way to have seen his drawing would have been in elite university libraries – and it was reference only of course. The vast majority of the 28-30 million people living in Ghana have never heard of Bowdich; they have no idea what an influence he was on their lives now.


RB: There is, by definition, more information in your large-scale interpretation of Bowdich’s drawing than in the original. But what information are you adding to it? GD: I was thinking about the environment I was in, Jamestown, I was looking at the people on the streets and adding them into my painting: their colours and tones; the colours of the walls and the taxis. One colour, with another different colour across the top of it creates a certain sheen… RB: …A complexity, like with alternative histories? GD: …And with the people. We take it for granted that black people are black, and white people are white, but we’re not; and we should know that. So let’s put that reductive analysis aside, and fully explore the complexity of our own skins.

RB: I hear you are a fan of Gericault… GD: Yes, I came across an engraving he did depicting a bare-knuckle fight between Tom Molineux – a black American man, an exslave who had been freed after the war of independence – and the then champion of all England, Tom Cribb. It was billed as the fight of the century; there was a traffic jam all day long from London Bridge, to where the fight was held, in a field in Richmond. Thackeray was there, the Prince of Wales – who was later to become George IV – came to watch. It went on for 55 rounds, and the black guy was beating Tom Cribb, until the crowd stormed the ring and attacked Molineux breaking his wrist. Black American slaves had been promised that if they fought for the British government in the War of Independence, they would be freed when it was over. Of course the British lost, but they kept their promise, so all the slaves that could get onto the British ships returning

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to Britain were freed. In the late 18th century there was a sizeable community of freed black slaves in London. The story continued, as many of them were subsequently deported to what became Sierra Leone and Liberia. Gericault stands alone for me because of this engraving of the fight. He wasn’t even in London when it occurred. He heard about it nine months later and he drew it from his imagination, he was creating a myth in the Greco-Roman style. Now, if you Google image search the fight, the Gericault drawing is the image you come across; it has become the official visual record of the event. In the same way Bowdich did not create his visual record from precisely what he saw, but from his own memories once he had returned to England, he too was generating a myth. RB: Why did you augment your painting of the drawing with the addition of passages of gold leaf?


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GD: When I went to Russia I saw all these amazing icon paintings bedecked in gold leaf. I have been using gold leaf for a long time with my Madonnas and boxers since then; it has become part of my painterly vocabulary. So with my interpretation of the Bowdich panoramic drawing, painting using gold leaf was a natural progression. It’s important to remember as well that Bowdich would have seen the Ashanti King festooned in gold; the Europeans developed a taste for this region because of the abundance of gold here. This section of coast is known as the Gold Coast.

covered in fucking gold! They were proper bling, like Run DMC. The Ashanti King is saying ‘look at me, I’m the boy!’ RB: There is a sense of movement in how the Ashanti are depicted, particularly towards the edge of your painting. GD: When I am in Ghana, I watch the way people move when they cross the street; the way men and women walk down the road... RB: ...And you think Bowdich felt it too?

RB: Bowdich seemingly depicts the white Europeans presiding over the Ashanti Africans. I am guessing that white privilege has far from disappeared here 200 years on, in spite of 60 years of Ghanaian independence from Britain. How will your interpretation of Bowdich’s drawing contribute to the dialogue that connects power and race?

GD: Yes, I think so. My favourite bits to paint were the edges where the captains are dancing and creating a dust storm; and in the centre, where it’s like a Jamaican dance hall, or a hip-hop jam. This is what I see when I go to Shaka or a blues dance, a reggae dance, or to a hip-hop concert now. That’s how I see people behaving, and that’s what I think Bowdich saw too­—CCQ­

GD: You are too linear in your analysis, as you are Western and white, so I am Western and black. A lot of people who are Western and black will look at that picture and see something other than what you have seen, and the contemporary Ghanaian will see something else again. For I am also celebrating what Bowdich saw – the richness of the culture here 200 years ago. The Ashanti were completely free, they weren’t heading off as slaves in ships to the Caribbean, in fact they acted as the brokers; they were making money from the slave trade themselves. They were sitting down on equal terms with the English folk. Look, they were

The First Day of the Yam Custom: 1817, Godfried Donkor, is showing at Gallery 1957 Accra until 30 October 2017 gallery1957.com

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Sleeping Pill Action (V) Jan Fabre 3.9.1991 Amsterdam Duration ±3 hours Last night carried out performance in the streets of the Dutch capital. Took two Rohypnols (sleeping pills) and continued to walk around until I fell asleep. (Els D. Was my shadow and minder. Lorem I almost fell into a canal twice. Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet And was aggressive to police whodolor thought Lorem ipsum sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam nibh. varius facilisis I was drunk onNunc something else. eros. Sed erat. In in velit quis arcu ornare laoreet. Curabitur adipiscing luctus massa. Integer ut purus ac augue commodo It seems that Els saved me from a couple commodo. Nunc nec mi eu justo tempor consectetuer. of dicey situations. She was also able to push me into a taxi and get me back safely to my hotel room.) I don’t remember anything, not even the vaguest memory.

Sleeping Pill Action, Venice

Amsterdam, 3 September 1991

Jan Fabre 13.5.2017 Salute, Venice Duration ±1 hour Whilst Jan Fabre was in Venice for the opening of his exhibition Glass and Bone Sculptures 1977–2017, (a Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale), he was invited by Fagot Koroviev to recreate his 1991 performance Sleeping Pill Action (V). Between midnight and 1am Fabre took Lormetazepam sleeping pills, and then strolled around Santa Maria della Salute; as the pills took hold of him, he collaborated with Koroviev in the production of five formal portraits. Over the following pages the portraits are presented alongside excerpts from Jan Fabre, Journal de Nuit (1978–1984), in which Fabre documents his own chronic insomnia.

Venice, 13 May 2017 p37 Five Stones Game, Nevin Aladag, 2009-12 38 Fine Art Photograph Prints, dimensions variable Copyright Nevin Aladag. Courtesy of the artist and Rampa, Istanbul Installation view, YARAT Contemporary Art Centre, Baku Photo: Rauf Askyarov, Courtesy YARAT

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I am numbed by sleeping pills but I’m still writing in this notebook. Perhaps I’m writing to disappear to dream to live to exist and to rediscover tenderness because I have become an insensitive bastard. Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 29 March 1978

My body hurts all over from not sleeping. I am standing before a deep ravine. Jan Fabre, Arles, 14 July 1978

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This morning I again woke up fully dressed in my bath. The water was ice-cold. The last thing I remember was that I was drawing and that I had taken sleeping pills again, which supposedly had no effect. Which is why I carried on drawing. Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 12 September 1978

Every night I work until it’s light. I can’t sleep anyway. I fantasise too much. Now I’m a spider that can write and draw and wants to change the world. I, the spider, can crawl up walls and walk across ceilings upside down. Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 12 March 1979

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I am imprisoned in my torment of trying to sleep. The more I try, the less I succeed in sleeping. Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 3 May 1979

My greatest enemy has defeated me in the last few days. How can I make a friend of my greatest enemy? Tell him that I don’t like sleeping, so perhaps he will let me sleep? Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 15 December 1980

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Please let me relax. Give me an injection. I’m ready to sleep for a long, long time. I’m tired by life. I’m imprisoned by the law of escalation. Jan Fabre, New York, 18 March 1982

The poet Benjamin Peret is imprisoned in one of my daydreams because again I can’t sleep. Instinct and intuition keep me awake. Unconscious knowledge, the knowledge of the myth, is also playing a strange game with me. Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 19 September 1982

Jan Fabre: Glass and Bone Sculptures 1977 – 2017 is showing at l'Abbazia di San Gregorio, Venice, as a Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale, until 26 Nov 2017 angelos.be labiennale.org The description of Sleeping Pill Action (V), Jan Fabre, 3.9.1991 on the opening spread is taken from Celant, G. And J. Fabre. Stigmata, Actions & Performances 1976-2013. Milan: Skira Editore, 2014 Quotations from this spread and the previous three spreads are taken from: Fabre, J. Journal de nuit (1978–1984), Paris: L’Arche, 2012

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If you keep going south you’ll meet yourself Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s first major solo exhibition has just opened at Tyburn Gallery, London. It is a show of large and medium-sized new paintings, exploring the individual within with community, nature versus nurture, sexuality, and family. Hwami forges narratives that weave between the fictive and factual, dipping in and out of cultural, historical and sociological references. They delve into and echo her past, offering a glimpse of a brighter future for her birthplace, Zimbabwe. Whilst preparing for her show – painting in the wiles of countryside Norfolk – Hwami spoke to Rhiannon Lowe.

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Rhiannon Lowe: I was reading about the music that you've been listening to – about a shift from punk to Afro punk, Fela Kuti... What’ve you got on at the moment, what are you looking for and hunting out? Kudzanai-Violet Hwami: I was listening to an old playlist on SoundCloud the other week and after it ended a radio documentary called Zim-Heavy came on. It was talking about the heavy rock scene that took place in black townships in the 1970s – pre-Zimbabwe’s independence – particularly looking at Well’s Fargo. Since then I’ve been listening to a lot of ZamRock and ZimHeavy; bands such as Eye Q, Stars of Liberty, The Witch, and Gypsy Caravan amongst many others. It’s bloody brilliant! I really like the folkloric, funky afrobeat sound they integrated with punk rock. I’m still jamming to the classics though – some Yaphet Kotto and Bad Brains. RL: Is music very much part of your research for painting? Does it embody times that you want to pick at, choose from, respect, make part of your work? KVH: Yes and no. I tend to listen to music for the enjoyment of it. I never look at it as research. It can be influential, that’s for sure, but I try to steer away from breaking it all down to simply research for work. It’s similar to when I watch films or read books… Most of that stuff is done for its own sake, and sometimes they have nothing to do with what I end up creating. I kind of enjoy surprising myself after a painting is complete, and realising that another piece of art has been referenced. I’m also weary of the word ‘research’ because I never know what to do with the research after I have done it. It’s one of those things I dreaded in university… I never knew where to begin. RL: What's in the upcoming Tyburn show, are you making new paintings? KVH: The imagery I’ve been making changed three or four months ago. I had to narrow my ideas down. The title of the Tyburn show was decided before I came up with the imagery, but I knew I wanted to make work that spoke about Zimbabwe’s past, sexuality, and my new-found fascination with Carl Jung and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I’ve been reading The Gulag Archipelago on-and-off since last Christmas – I'm still on chapter 5. I can’t really say why I’m reading it, but someone said

it’s a great book if I want to understand how evil begins. Anyway, the imagery I was using was a mash of ideas; in the end I narrowed it down to the focus on family. I have made new paintings, all on canvas, all reflecting on the saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ The title of the show If You Keep Going South You’ll Meet Yourself is a play with words; and really what I am trying to say is, ‘I am because you are, that I only exist because they were’. I’m reflecting on the philosophy of Unhu, a contrast to my belief in Individualism. RL: Can you explain a little more about use of imagery? I think you've said that the figures in your work aren't known to you, as you don't want to get others involved. KVH: I see the figures as individuals and try not to portray a stereotype. Each painting has its own story. In the past I was working with figures that were unknown to me… but for this show I have used photographs from my family archive. I’ve noticed though, when I use these that I am hesitant to create a fictional narrative. I was outside my comfort zone, forcing myself to confront the past. RL: But you're not trying merely to add to the endless reams of pop imagery that exists – by that I mean your mix of appropriation and splicing together of contemporary, cultural elements; the colour too; text, symbolism, repeated imagery, immediate daily life. There's power and commentary in your work – doesn't it become, by its nature, very personal? KVH: At the end of the day the work is personal, and I’m attempting to stretch the meaning behind all my paintings. But I always keep in mind that I’m working in stages. Right now, I am playing around with subject and themes – not forcing anything. If the painting demands seriousness, I’ll allow it. If it demands fun and silliness, I welcome that too. I see colour as a virtue and vice. I wonder, if I had used a different pallet and less bright colours, would the work still be considered as 'pop'? Nevertheless, I understand where you are coming from. I think due to the early influences – from Kaws to Takashi Murakami, and perhaps a bit of Yue Minjun – the previous work did have a 'pop' quality to them. But like Yue Minjun, the work also has an underlying seriousness to it. I mean, if you take a look at a painting I made titled Sisi Themba’s post surgery, Harare General Hospital, 2050,

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I’ve depicted a transwoman lying on what looks like a couch, proudly posing in her new skin. In that I’m commenting on today’s cultural phenomenon but also what might be possible for Zimbabwean transgender people in the future. RL: Is there a wishful futuristic element to the work – a cultural future that you look to? One imbued with societal/political change and edge? A Zimbabwean future in particular? KVH: Oh yes! It’s the dwindling down to: ‘What should influence the future? Who should influence? And which cultures should we bring to the table to nip at?’ That makes me nervous when I think about it. I believe I’d be barking up the wrong tree if I attempt to even act out the kind of changes I want to see – I’m not built for it. The best way I can tell an idealised, futuristic Zimbabwe is to create imagery. If someone approves, then they’ll act it out. I would’ve done my job. RL: There’s hope in a lot of the images. KVH: There are things that I wish would become a thing in the near future: LGBT rights for instance; better standard of living; better roads so kids can skate. All simple things, you know? I’d like to paint a Zimbabwe after all those have been granted really. It’s a utopian view point that I’m aware isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but we can still aim for it. RL: Is there hope for trans people in Zimbabwe? I don't know enough, sorry. The UK's position always seems a little wary – precarious, even now – and the US, well, who knows... We're lucky I guess, but there are edges of culture and society that trans people particularly will be forever encouraged, if not forced, to tread, it seems. KVH: There’s always hope! There are individuals trying to decriminalise LGBT rights in Zimbabwe. I’m not in Zimbabwe and I can’t begin to explain what it currently is like being there, but I think we can agree and say that in the UK it’s much easier to live your life. I feel foolish to complain about anything. I think I’m privileged to be here and talking to you now freely about these things. RL: Can you say a little more about your examination of Unhu? And did you mean earlier you're more of an individualresponsible-minded person?


RL: Going back to your practice. D'you work the paintings out direct onto the canvas? KVH: I have been using collage as a form for preparing the paintings. This is how all paintings have started in the past year and I find it’s a really good way to plan a painting. I can play with different variations, colours and composition. Once I’m content with the image, it is then transferred to canvas. Depending on how I feel about the final image, I sometimes deviate from the collage – allowing spontaneous mark-making. The paintings are usually large scale but I am attempting to do smaller works. I’m noticing that some paintings need to retain an intimacy, and the right thing to do for them is to go small. RL: Would you ever show the collages, or is painting where the work is – where it has to be? What is the painting part of the work that makes it fall into place?

KVH: I have been really into self-actualisation for almost two years now, and in theory it focuses a lot on personal responsibility – to do what you can with the circumstances given to you by life, and to do what’s truthfully right for you – aiming for a life purpose that’s carefully designed by the individual. That appeals to me. And I believe that everyone’s individual life purpose will always be for the betterment of humanity as a whole. But the individual should have the choice and freedom to make life however they want it. I’m sounding a lot like those selfhelp gurus here, forgive me, but it all makes sense to me; knowing I have some power to craft my life, y’know?

Unhu on the other hand is a philosophy that stands for the community. It’s the community that decides what’s right for the individual and you should act in accordance to what community values. That’s my understanding anyway. I’m torn between the two because one is nurtured philosophy and the other is more nature. I’m figuring out how to navigate both. RL: Have you still got family in Zimbabwe? KVH: Yes, but we are all scattered. Borders divide my family; I have family in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Canada, US, Kenya, Estonia, the UK – like most Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

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KVH: I’ll show the collages someday, but only collages that fail to be paintings. I’m terrified of liking the collage pieces more than the final painting. Painting is where it’s at though. I wasn’t raised on a farm, but I used to visit my grandma around December time in Gutu [Masvingo Province, southern Zimbabwe], and she grew crops and reared cattle. Because of the labour involved in working on a farm, I've grown to believe in blood, sweat and tears. Collage doesn’t give me the feeling, that sense of having worked hard. Scale is another – texture too… A collage, especially digital collage, is flat and will always be flat, even after printing. Paint changes that, and I get to choose what part of the painting should be flat, and what part needs impasto. Painting allows me to hold these awkward qualities together. Most of the time the collages translate well, but other times I have to change some things as I work. I kinda like that… Changing everything because the canvas demands it. RL: So the scale and painting, they enable you to feel that you're in the work physically? Is that part of trying to understand the process of paint and painting, rather than working out what painting as a subject is? KVH: Yes, that’s exactly it! It’s going back to how to paint, how to mix pigments, all those physical moments. The subject happens while I work on the collage. That’s where composition and imagery is built. The canvas is where this thing, whatever image it may be,


comes to life in a way. That’s what I’m trying to do anyway. RL: As far as your practice goes is painting the best means to put over what you want to say? KVH: I’m not sure. I’m still figuring it all out. This great guy I’ve come to call a friend, Alan Fitzpatrick, said to me that painting is one of the few means to enter another realm, and not understand what it is we are looking at. He was comparing painting to how I feel when I listen to [ jazz saxophonist] Pharaoh Sanders – that feeling of not knowing what on earth you’re listening to, or where the sound can lead you (I find Sanders terrifying, by the

way). But yes, I agree with Alan in that respect; painting is the best way to enter that other side of… the unknown. I can’t think of any other medium that can allow that to happen as quickly as I work. But... there’s a high chance I’ll begin to work on stone sculptures (in the near future) – a medium many Shona people value as an art practice in Zimbabwe. RL: D'you work with the canvas flat or upright? Are they built up over time, and d'you go back to work, or rework older pieces? KVH: Always upright. That’s how I was taught to paint. I don’t have that many old works in the studio with me, so I don’t really do that. I

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don’t like to dwell on a painting, so even if I did have that many works, I’d leave them be, I think. I don't know if that's a good thing. It's like leaving your children to rot and die, haha. RL: The painters and artists you mentioned – Kaws, Takashi Murakami, Yue Minjun – are they early influences? Who’ve you been looking at more recently? KVH: It sounds weird to hear you saying ‘early influences’, because I’ve just begun. I always shift and change. I’m really trying to grasp what painting is about as I go along. Not the subject, but the actual material. Recently I’ve grown fond of Fiona Rae’s paintings. She


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First spread: Family portrait, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami acrylic and oil on canvas 2 panels: 220 x 128 x 3 cm, 220 x 170 x 3cm. Total: 220 x 298 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery Second spread: Left: Young lady with enamel mug (portrait of Chioniso), 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami oil and graphite on canvas 70 x 50 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery Right: Sekuru Koni, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami acrylic and oil on canvas 60 x 60 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery Third spread: Left: Sam in mother’s factory, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami silkscreen, acrylic and oil on canvas 120 x 180 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery Right: Sisi neMwana, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami Silkscreen, oil and oil stick on canvas 150 x 150 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery

Fourth spread: Left: Chafamba Chasvava, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami oil stick, acrylic and oil on canvas 2 panels: 180 x 180 x 3cm, 90 x 180 x 3cm. Total: 270 x 180 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery Right: Mbizo station, 2017, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami Silkscreen, acrylic, oil and oil stick on canvas 180 x 180 x 3cm Copyright the artist, courtesy Tyburn Gallery

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paints in a language I’m trying to understand. Larry Rivers is another. When I look at paintings at the moment, I’m looking at process and technical narrative. Robert Rauschenberg is an artist whose work has recently shifted my painting technically. He was at the Tate a few months ago and I went to see his work by chance – that same day I came back to the studio, made a few collages, about 13, that now hang on the studio wall. I plan to paint them someday, but they were springboards to what has now become my solo show. RL: Is painting a political process for you? Perhaps that’s a non-question. Your work seems to skirt in and out, round the personal/ private and then makes a dash for the very public... Does that make sense? KVH: Haha, well, what do you think? I feel once your skin is black, or if you’re a woman, painting becomes political whether we like it or not. I’m not particularly a fan of that concept. I don’t know if I can escape it; or if I should. RL: Have you been involved much with LGBT politics, rights, visibility, process – here or elsewhere, if not in Zimbabwe?

KVH: No. I’ve tried but learnt I’m not built for it. I know close people in my life who are very involved with LGBT politics directly and I have great respect for and appreciate the work that they do. My way of protest is to live an honest life to the best of my ability, and make paintings that I hope will increase visibly of some sort. RL: How is your work received here in the UK as opposed to in Zimbabwe? Does that matter? KVH: I think it matters more how it's received in Zimbabwe. I was in a group show in Harare earlier this year, but not being there, it’s difficult to tell how the public responded. I’m much more interested in how other painters/ artists in Zimbabwe view the work… Engaging more in conversations with them on painting would be good. RL: There's mention in other interviews about a graphic novel, a post-Mugabe one, is that something you're still planning? KVH: I haven’t thought about that in a long while. I’m surprised you have picked up on it – I had placed that in the back of mind. The idea does however sneak up on me when I’m

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contemplating quitting painting – you know when you are just having a bad day in the studio and you start daydreaming about other possibilities if the current project fails. On a serious note, it is something I’m thinking about doing in the future for sure. Initially I wanted to create a lesbian romance that had a political element to it... I was younger when the idea came to me – so the theme reflected my mind-set at the time. I’d like to think I can come up with a something else... Having said all that, I’ll admit, I’m a terrible writer and I think it might be worthwhile to pursue that project with another person. I’ve never collaborated on a serious level so that’d be an adventure I’d welcome—CCQ­

Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, If You Keep Going South You’ll Meet Yourself is on at Tyburn Gallery until 15 November, 2017 tyburngallery.com hwaaaamistudio.tumblr.com


Summer of Love It’s 50 years since the socio-political phenomenon, that was the Summer of Love, bloomed in San Francisco. In acknowledgment of this fact, the Schwarz Foundation and curator Katerina Gregos organised a group show, called Summer of Love, on the Greek island of Samos. On the evening of the exhibition’s opening Fagot Koroviev engaged Gregos, and five of the participating artists, in a discussion which centred on the writings of American philosopher Michael Hardt and his understanding of the term 'love'.

Fagot Koroviev: What do you mean by the word love? To the priest the ideal of love might be agape, and to the pornographer, love might be eros. Is it not true that the word love has become so diluted, in common parlance, as to be rendered completely powerless?

at all; because, she would say, if you have an unquestioning love of the party, you have created fascism – she was specifically thinking about Nazi Germany of course. Michael Hardt too talks about how, in the context of power, the very concept of love has been corrupted.

Johan Grimonprez; (Belgian multimedia artist, filmmaker, and curator): There is already a troubled relationship between the word love and the word power. Why do you insist on entangling them further? To the philosopher Hannah Arendt, it is troubling to marry love and power, or love and politics,

Fagot Koroviev: So you draw a distinction between the true form of love, as you perceive it, and the fleeting shadows it casts in our everyday experience? Johan Grimonprez: It’s trickier than that. Love is often reduced to generic ideas, whereas

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politics is alway specific and complex. The soldier, returning from Afghanistan, who is filmed embracing his loved ones live on CNN, to promote the war on the homefront, is a quite different context from that of a Pakistani girl who is seen mourning her grandmother, killed in a US drone attack. They are both, in essence, expressions of love; it is the specifics of their political contexts that distinguishes them. Katerina Gregos; (Greek curator, writer and lecturer based in Brussels): It’s impossible for the word to become powerless. Love is a


feeling that is shared by the majority of human beings. The real questions are what do they love and also whether love itself is valued in our broader society. Perhaps it has just lost its currency, in that we have chosen to value reason, exchange and technology over love; so it has become marginalised in the public domain. Michael Hardt wants to bring it back as an idea not just in the interpersonal, and for the family, but for society as a whole. Mikhail Karikis; (Greek/British artist based in London and Lisbon): Michael Hardt talks about corrupted love too – fundamentalism being an example of that – ‘love of the same is a love which can lead to the extermination of the other.’ The fact that in the last few years, we have been experiencing a resurgence in mainstream ‘politics of hate’ means, by definition, love as a concept is very relevant in the public realm. Marge Monko; (Estonian multidisciplinary artist): Love is an experience and can (potentially) have a transformative power. Even if unreciprocated, it can help us towards understanding the complexity of life, and other human beings. In 2016, I curated a show in Tallinn Art Hall called Every Letter is a Love Letter, in reference to Chris Kraus’ book I love Dick. Through the experience of being rejected, Kraus finds her own voice and ’writes herself into the world', so to speak. Fagot Koroviev: What was love then, in the context 1967 San Francisco? Katerina Gregos: There was a certain näivete, I believe. It never really moved beyond a collective awareness into direct action, so it stayed in the domain of ‘the symbolic’ because of a lack of organisation. The people that participated in the movement originated from very different backgrounds: there were some who were political activists, and some who were content to hug trees and smoke dope. But the foundations were laid for what was to come in 1968. The notion I am specifically interested in exploring, with this exhibition, is what Michael Hardt refers to as 'the commons'. And what happened in the summer of '67 was in fact a manifestation of a collective idea of ‘commonality.’ Johan Grimonprez: For the politically oppressed in 1967, it was not only the Summer of Love but also a ‘summer of war’, (think of Vietnam). And 50 years later, when we think of Syria, the situation is not dissimilar. The flipside of the Summer of Love is the refugee crisis we are currently experiencing,

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which the island of Samos, of course, is very much involved in. The elephant in the room is the military-industrial complex fuelling these conflicts; (I look at this in detail in my film Shadow World (2016)). But referring specifically to the idea of ‘the common(s)’, there is privatisation on the one side, and on the other, a new vision of what we share as a world community; it is this more generous vision that is lagging behind somewhat. The worst example of this general process of privatisation, is the privatisation of war; and with it the privatisation of our political imagination, which has been bankrupted by the corporate kleptocracy. (How come Washington has a ratio of three defence lobbyists to every one member of Congress?) Supposedly ‘common’ tax funds are poured

into the defence industry; should they not instead be used to build the world that we all share, instead of further fuelling conflicts? We need to define a new participatory politics and in so doing to explore seriously what ‘the commons’ has to offer. Fagot Koroviev: So we are enjoying a beer and quiet chat on the idyllic Greek island of Samos, which is separated from the coast of Turkey by just over a kilometre of crystal-clear water. Where we sit is, in effect, the pinch point for the largest refugee crisis since WWII. According to The Guardian, over 160,000 migrants – 80% of whom are Syrian – have entered Greece by crossing the water from Turkey, so far this year. And in the same amount of time, 2,300 of those migrants have

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died making the crossing. What relevance does love have in this situation? Katerina Gregos: When the refugee crisis began, the Greek population reacted in a way that surprised us all. Even though our own economy, our welfare systems, our health care and education systems were in tatters, a large proportion of the population banded together to help the refugees. And despite being a small place, which one might expect to be naturally suspicious and closed in its thinking, on Samos and other Greek islands, Europe witnessed a radical embracing of difference. There was a woman, right here on the island, who was cooking 4500 meals a day for the refugees. Indeed, the solidarity networks on these islands that


are, as you say, very much on the front line, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. If that was not a manifestation of love, as Michael Hardt describes it, I don’t know what is. Fagot Koroviev: So is there a spiritual dimension to this love? From the islanders' point of view in particular, does it not come directly out of the Orthodox Christian tradition? Katerina Gregos: No, it comes out of a general sense of empathy and identification; and out of a particularly traumatic episode of recent Greek history: the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22. As a result of this, 1.5 million Greeks, who were living in Turkey (largely in Asia Minor), were forcibly displaced to Greece ending up as refugees themselves; they landed on the same islands where Syrians are landing today. People still remember the ‘Asia Minor Catastrophe’, and have elderly relatives who experienced it. So, Greeks are no strangers to the status of being refugees; In addition to this, Greece itself is very much a diasporic nation. Fagot Koroviev: So why do we do this art stuff then? What power, if any, does the realm of the aesthetic possess? Johan Grimonprez: You talk a lot about power… First spread, left and current spread, left: Night Soil – Economy of Love, 2015, Melanie Bonajo, HD Video, colour, sound, 32’ 47”, courtesy the artist and AKINCI, Amsterdam First spread, right: Lucy in the Sky (detail), 2017, Marge Monko, photo, wall paper, pigment prints, custom cut acrylic glass, dimensions variable, courtesy of the artist Current spread, right: Summer of War, 2017, Marko Mäetamm, acrylic on paper, 80 x 80cm, courtesy of the artist Third spread, left: Shadow World, (film still), 2016, Johan Grimonprez, original source: Kiss-o-Drome Third spread, right: Shadow World, (film still), 2016, Johan Grimonprez, original source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Fourth spread, left top: Lessespian Mutants (detail), 2017, Uriel Orlow, wallpaper, dimensions variable, courtesy the artist Fourth spread, left bottom and right: The Bitterlake Chronicles, 2011, Uriel Orlow, archival pigment print, dimensions variable, courtesy the artist Fifth spread, left: Children of Unquiet, 2013-14, Mikhail Karikis, video still, courtesy the artist

Fagot Koroviev: ...I do, I do, you’re right… Katerina Gregos: Agency is a better word... Uriel Orlow; (multi-disciplinary artist working in London and Zurich): And you’re using the word aesthetic too, but art is to do with representation. The agency carried by art comes from difference of representation (and the representation of difference). For we are constantly at the mercy of representations that are normative; and we perpetuate master narratives, in the realm of history and of politics. At a time when narratives are increasingly homogenised through the media – social or otherwise – it is especially important to nurture alternative ways of seeing. Johan Grimonprez: The artist Marta Benavides, whom we interviewed in Shadow World, was one of the few women involved in the peace talks that lead to political solutions to the armed conflict in El Salvador in the 1980s; she was working in refugee camps there at the time. Benavides


was subsequently forced into exile, but now works as a peace worker in her home country again (El Salvador is still one of the most dangerous places on earth). She places community-building at the centre of her own creative practice by transforming conflict areas into garden communities. She describes her gardening “... as companheirismo (communion), to grow gifts to bring to the global table talk with my sisters”; and so she creates ‘practical commons’, that are shared by conflicting parties. “Peace is not built; peace is something within us,” she claims. “What we need to build are the processes to manifest it.” Fagot Koroviev: So Marko, if what has been suggested is true, this exhibition, on the tiny island of Samos, is initiating dialogues that are of critical significance to society, as a whole. But you chose to communicate through the medium of painting – a vehicle that is more intensely personal than it is ecumenical, in its capacity to communicate. How can this mode of presentation be an appropriate vehicle for such a dialogue? Marko Mäetamm; (Estonian multi-media artist): As artists, we build our own bespoke

channels of communication, and some of those might be intensely personal. Sometimes ‘off the shelf’ visual language is simply not up to the job. We are all individual people, that is how we approach any issue that we face. To me there is nothing more important than the personal. If I claim to see from someone else’s perspective, then I am talking bollocks. Fagot Koroviev: But you are not just being personal, you are being absurd. How can anything of universal significance be expressed through that which is comic? Marko Mäetamm: I am not intentionally being comic; I am simply expressing that which I observe to be true. The more direct and straightforward an approach to a subject is, the more absurd it becomes by definition! Katerina Gregos: We are brought back to the question: ‘what does art do?’ It cannot change the world, but it can change the way we think about the world, and perhaps therefore inform our choices. We are living in a time when knowledge is becoming increasingly privatised and politics is becoming increasingly polarised. Master narratives are

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being posited as the only truth, whilst other stories, other narratives, subjectivities and perspectives are suppressed. But every time I work with an artist, a new world opens up to me. What I thought was a given is challenged and I am obliged to think differently. Mikhail Karikis: One of the narratives we receive from mainstream media is that we have reached a dead end, and yet we now expect politicians to come up with new solutions to the predicament we find ourselves in. This is precisely why art is important. It nourishes and develops the realm of the imaginary. All politicians should study art, at least for a time. More than ever, now is the time when we need alternative visions for the future. Johan Grimonprez: That is true, every time I make a work I change personally. Fagot Koroviev: Katerina writes in her catalogue essay: “Hardt advocates love ‘as a proliferation of differences, not the destruction of differences. Not merging into unity, but a constructing of constellations among differences…’” To conflate this statement then with all the extraordinary


claims we have just heard made for art, we can safely conclude the world’s problems will harmlessly dissipate in a marijuana haze, if we spend less time doing practical stuff, and more time making art. Johan Grimonprez: Your question, (is it even a question?) infers an overly simplistic reading of both love and of art. One of Laurent Berlant’s critiques of Hardt’s ‘politics of love’ is that the intimate space must still be preserved, because it is a space in which there is the possibility of something vulnerable occurring, and this should be protected from the larger political context. To her, love dances between the revolutionary and the ordinary. Love can also be destructive; the situation therefore is in no way as straightforward as you imply. Fagot Koroviev: So you are saying grace, forgiveness and redemption are necessary components of love? Johan Grimonprez: It is tricky to talk about things in those general terms when the relation to the other is always historical and precise. Maybe a political concept of love asks too little or too much to ground a political theory. There is the danger of being caught in an idealised vision that does not do justice to its complexities and contradictions. The Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish notes: “I write about love

to expose the conditions that don’t allow him to write about love.” Uriel Orlow: Johan, love suggests a move away from ontology towards ethics – it’s not about what is but how we relate to what is. Art too is about relating to the world; we don’t make art for ourselves after all. The quote from Hardt demonstrates this, in that we are taken beyond asking: ‘what are you?’ and ‘what am I?’ to the relationship that is formed between us. It’s almost doing away with ontology entirely. Johan Grimonprez: Agreed, I don’t think we are necessarily saying different things. To quote Marta Benavides again, “...instead of telling stories, [we must] create conditions [so] that we can be the story. A new way of storytelling creates a new way of being; [a way] of being together that has the power to overcome the stories of ‘havingness’ and [of] greed.” It’s the practice of ‘commoning’, the verb, the action rather than the noun ‘common’. It’s the difference between ‘havingness’ and ‘beingness.’ ‘Beingness’ is not static, or a separate ‘thereness.’ It’s not a thing detached from ‘what is’ and ‘what we are', it’s intrinsically inclusive, and hence forces the asking of ethical questions. It’s the move from a ‘havingness’ economy, as part of the privatisation of the world, towards ‘beingness’ as part of a community. Next to Michael Hardt we also

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interviewed cognitive scientist Raymond Tallis for the film Shadow World, to expand on the question: why can’t we tickle ourselves? He explained that tickling is about surprise and about feeling the unpredictability of other people, and the sense of their otherness. Only the other can tickle you. So when tickling oneself there cannot be this element of surprise, this profound sense of the otherness of other people. It is an ontological realisation of the other: ‘you tickle, therefore I am.’ Tallis alluded to the fact that Descartes’ cogito argument is not actually the whole story. What is this 'I' contained in 'I think, therefore I am?' This standalone 'I' is deprived of its social context, Tallis reasons. The mind is not isolated, but shared and communal. We tend to think of human consciousness as something trapped inside our heads, but consciousness – as with language, and as demonstrated through empathy – is profoundly relational. Awareness of ourselves only emerges in a social context. The mind is not a ‘thing,’ but rather is ‘being'; it is a relationship. If one were really to do Descartes’ insight justice, Tallis reasons, we could translate it as, “we dialogue, therefore we are.” Or in other words: “you are, therefore I am.” Katerina Gregos: What Hardt is saying is particularly relevant now, in our contemporary urban environments, as we increasingly find ourselves co-existing with ‘the Other;’ the


different; and the ‘foreign.’ Our societies in the past were much more homogenised. His political idea of love is, in fact, about learning to live together in difference. Fagot Koroviev: The philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, does he figure in all this? Uriel Orlow: Yes, of course; he is the one who proposed this shift from ontology to ethics, and acknowledged that ‘the other’ cannot be assimilated, and we have to live with that. Love is the embracing of this absolute difference. Fagot Koroviev: Johan, in your work Every Day Words Disappear, (2016) you have conflated an interview you conducted with Michael Hardt, with excerpts from Jean Luc Godard’s 1965 film Alphaville. What is achieved by placing these narratives alongside each other? Johan Grimonprez: Alphaville is science fiction, set in the Paris suburbs in the '60s. The film posits a state in which concepts and language relating to love and affection are banned under the penalty of death. The protagonist is a secret agent, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) who, upon infiltrating the city, falls in love with Natacha von Braun (Anna Karina.) In the film, Karina attempts to say, "I love you", but she does not possess the language or the concepts to do so. I was

considering that there might be an analogy with our experience now, in that we live in a world that our taxes – that should be used to contribute to the world we share – are stolen from us and spent on weapons. Our experience of the world is so heavily privatised, that even our imaginations are not our own, and so we no longer even possess the language to define a shared world or to talk about community. It was particularly relevant, I thought, that the authoritarian computer that runs the place Alphaville in the film, is finally defeated by a poet. Fagot Koroviev: Marge, in the work you have created specifically for this show, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (The More I Make Love, the More I Want To Make Revolution) (2017), you present a constructed collage, in which an aspirational image of liberated hipsters is overlaid with a graphic, relating the years in which the contraceptive pill has been legalised in various countries. Can you expand on this idea of the pill being a sociopolitical thermometer in the West? And what is the relationship between aspiration and contraception? Marge Monko: The background image of hipsters, as you put it, is a cigarette ad from Playboy magazine. There are many connections between sex, female empowerment, and cigarettes, that I wanted to draw attention to. I am interested in these

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kinds of advertising images because they create desire; they are a fantasy space. On the other hand, the graphic timeline shows us how dependent the reproductive rights – and therefore also our desires – are on socio-political circumstances.

claim; I found it intriguing. So, to start with, I spent three months in Egypt trying to find out more about the Six Day War (from when the stamp originated) and the ships and the crews caught up in it. I ended up talking to locals who remembered it first hand, because I couldn’t find any official information about the ships in the history books; there wa lots on the Six Day War in 1967, but the ships themselves were not even a footnote. The research became increasingly granular as other questions arose, specifically about the Suez Canal – that it is illegal to photograph it or film it, for instance. The canal should not exist as an image; but as an artist, images are all I have. Eventually, by going through lists from the shipping companies, I managed to track down some of the sailors, and once I had contacted them directly it all became more focused. I started to gather material to create an archive, which then I made use of as an artist, to construct the work out of. I did not want just to produce some kind of documentation of the event and reinsert it somehow into the official narrative from which it was originally omitted. What was interesting to me, was that, because the subject was excluded from history, it was up for grabs; I could do what I wanted with it. So I just presented fragments in such a way as to leave room for the viewer to put things together for themselves. Interestingly, there were ships there from both sides of the so-

Fagot Koroviev: Contraception is a matter of survival for women in the developing world; is this something your work's concerned with? Marge Monko: Absolutely! And as we’ve seen, reproductive rights have to be fought for over and over again, also in the Western countries. Unfortunately, we can’t take it for granted. Fagot Koroviev: Uriel, can you talk us through your extensive research for your presentation The Short and the Long of it (2010-2017)? It concerns the fate of the 14 cargo ships caught in the Suez Canal, for almost eight years, after the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967. There seems to be a sense that the mutual crisis these crews faced resulted in their entrenched ideological differences dissolving. Uriel Orlow: I first became hooked on an image of an unusual postage stamp I came across. This stamp claimed sovereignty for a region called the Bitter Lake on the Suez Canal – which it clearly could not

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called Iron Curtain; the Six Day War itself was, in some ways, a proxy for the Cold War, with the US backing Israel and the USSR backing the Arab states. The ships became ‘fate communities’, communities where people, who otherwise may have nothing in common, except the situation at hand, are forced together by circumstance. The same phenomenon occurs in school classrooms. The situation undermines the idea of what Benedict Anderson terms as ‘imagined communities’ where we create a sense of belonging through national symbols

and histories. The people on the ships had in common that they had to figure out how to live, how to pass time together; and it is that necessity that prevailed over ideological difference inferred. What was particularly interesting was how creativity came out of that situation too: they made postage stamps, they organised their own Olympic Games between the ships in '68, and they built sailing boats to hold regattas. Fagot Koroviev: So what is wrong with having a historical master narrative? Don’t

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communities need to agree on the stories that bind them together? Uriel Orlow: Well whose master narrative is it that we should settle on do you think? Who decides what is included and excluded from the final narrative and what happens to the narratives that are subsequently marginalised and forgotten? As Walter Benjamin said in his Theses on the Philosophy of History, it is always the narrative of the victor that prevails; so we don’t have the stories of those who lost, or of those living on the ground, living


out the minutiae of history. What’s interesting to me, about the Bitter Lake narrative, is that although it might seem irrelevant in the master narrative of the Six Day War, it reveals so much about it. Katerina Gregos: History is usually written with a capital ‘H’. Master narratives are decisive, hegemonic and based on exclusion; they are often constructed directly out of conflict, imperialism and colonialism. Groups that are implicated in these processes often have a sense of shared trauma which is suppressed; it is never allowed to surface. One example is when Turkey invaded and occupied the Northern part of Cyprus in 1974, leading to the island being divided, in a very artificial way, with Greek Cypriots on one side and Turkish Cypriots on the other – though they had been living together for years. What was lost in the mêlée of nationalistic rhetoric that followed was an outlet through which the collective trauma, from both sides of the divided island, could be shared. Fagot Koroviev: Mikhail, you have generated a socially engaged space within the exhibition, somewhere where visitors can talk, read from the library you have started and to listen to music from 1967. However pertinent such activities might be, for the few that are able to visit this remote cultural outpost, the necessarily modest scale of the installation means that any outcome can surely only be symbolic. How can socially engaged activities, like this one, be implemented on a broader scale? Mikhail Karikis: My dear Fagot, creating projects within broader communities is what I do, and have been doing, for a long time! In fact, the subject of love came up in a project I started in 2012 called Children of Unquiet; I responded to Hardt and Negri’s chapter on love with a film, and then Hardt formed a response to my film with words. This project came out of the shared trauma of a group of children experiencing the fallout from mass unemployment in their community. Firstly I felt ashamed that it was my generation that was leaving the children with this legacy; and so my sincere question was what I could give back to them through my practice. Discovering Hardt and Negri’s approach to love in their book Common Wealth was first of all empowering to me, and therefore I felt it was important to pass that alternative narrative on to them; it is a

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model for economics that is not based on the maximisation of private profit – the system that had so devastated the society in which they live – but offered a different solution, an alternative to the economic fundamentalism that we constantly hear preached. Fagot Koroviev: Uriel, you have created a mural/wall paper for the Samos show which pictures the ‘Lessepsian migration’ of marine species up the Suez Canal to the warmer, more saline waters of the Mediterranean. Can you talk a little bit about the significance of this migration of marine species? Uriel Orlow: The language that is used to describe this process of migration is quite anthropomorphic; we talk about an influx of foreign species in the Eastern Mediterranean, taking over the habitat of the locals. (It sounds familiar, does it not?) I wanted to counter that with a bio-political alternative, in which the different species fall in love and mate to create new species. Katerina Gregos: Can we conclude by going back to your opening question? Has the word love lost its agency? Srećko Horvat, in his book The Radicality of Love says we need to rehabilitate the idea of love, not only in the public domain but in the domain of the intellectual. Some of the motivation for putting on this exhibition is that I find there is a lack of intelligent, non-saccharine discourse on the subject. We need to do away with this strange prejudice; what sets apart the critically engaged intellectuals like Vijay Prashad and Michael Hardt, who we see speaking in Johan’s film Shadow World, is that they demonstrate emotional intelligence; they speak from the heart about love, but in an intellectually astute manner. We lack this kind of intellectual discourse about love. Johan Grimonprez: As Arthur Rimbaud notes in A Season in Hell: “L’amour est à réinventer,” – “love has to be reinvented.”—CCQ­

Summer of Love, curated by Katerina Gregos, is showing at Art Space Pythagorion, Samos until 15 October 2017, and includes artists: Melanie Bonajo, Johan Grimonprez, International Institute of Social History, Tomomi Itakura, Marko Mäetamm, Mikhail Karikis, Nicolas Kozakis & Raoul Vaneigem, Uriel Orlow and Marge Monko. schwarzfoundation.com


Tea for two, two for tea This series came out of my memory and an interest in the arbitrariness of signs and symbols one uses to identity with ‘home.’ These ‘Hong Kong Cafes’ in China Town, New York, mimic the original ones but only serve as simulations. The ones they mimic are magical places to me, and Hong Kong citizens, as a daily reminder of the city’s colonial past, evoked through the dishes and through the cafes’ unique decor and common objects on the table tops. As Hong Kong enters the third decade of its transition from a British colony to a new Chinese city since the 1997 Transfer of Sovereignty, its unique culture, including these cafes, is disappearing at a quickly accelerating rate. In New York the menus look familiar, the drinks taste identical. Yet the brands of food products at the counter, the decorative motifs on the plates, and the choice of plastic-ware are always slightly off from the originals. I built my models with this aftertaste and with my conflicted feelings of home. This series attempts to speak to a symptom of the generation of international residents and the Hong Kong diaspora who have the dual capability of being at home overseas, and yet of belonging to another place distant in time and space, which we seek through the power of cultural replication. Ange Ong Summer, 2016 (Edited)

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“Yin Yeung” [noun] drink name 1 A mixture of coffee and tea, originated in Hong Kong. According to traditional Chinese medicine, coffee and tea are “hot” and “cold” in nature, respectively. A mixing of both therefore yields the best combination for a beverage. 2 It is made of a mixture of three parts of coffee and seven parts of Hong Kong-style milk tea. 3 The name, which refers to mandarin ducks, is a symbol of conjugal love in Chinese culture, as the birds usually appear in pairs and the male and female look very different. This same connotation of a “pair” of two unlike items is used to name this drink.

There are various sets available throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Popular sets include: 1 Nutritious Set It comes with milk and other nutritional foods. 2 Constant Set Provided all day long, hence the name. It usually consists of a main course, omelette, a wheat food dish white bread with butter and a drink. The wheat food dish always comes with different choices such as spiced pork cubes, salted vegetables with sliced pork or luncheon meat, etc. 3 Fast Set Immediately served, usually rice with sausages, ham, and fried eggs with gravy. 4 Special Set Chef’s (or Boss’) recommendation. * There is an additional $2 charge for cold drinks for all sets.

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Horlicks Canton. “ho-lap-hak” [noun] brand name or drink name 1 A malted milk hot drink developed in the United Kingdom. It was claimed that malted drinks can help to stave off hunger overnight and can lead to sounder sleep. 2 In Hong Kong, Horlicks is known better as a cafe drink than as a sleeping aid. It can be served hot or cold, and is usually sweetened with sugar. It is made with warm milk, and ice is added to it if a cold drink is desired. 3 In India, Horlicks came with the end of World War II when Indian soldiers of British Indian Army brought it back with them as a dietary supplement. Punjab, Bengal and Madras provinces became early adopters of Horlicks and many well-to-do Indians took to drinking Horlicks as a family drink in early 1940s and 1950s. It became a sort of status symbol in upper middle class Indians and rich classes. In 2010, Horlicks accounted for 85% of the $340 million (USD) revenue of GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical company who owns Horlicks, in India. Horlicks is currently the most widely consumed packaged beverage in India, after bottled water.

Ovaltine Canton. “or-wa-tin” [noun] brand name or drink name 1 Developed in Berne, Switzerland, where it is known by its original name, Ovomaltine (from ovum, Latin for “egg,” and malt, which were originally the main ingredients). 2 Ovomaltine was exported to Britain in 1909; a misspelling of the name on the trademark registration application led to the name being shortened to Ovaltine in English-speaking markets. 3 In an Ovaltine advertisement in a Swiss medical journal in 1909, it was claimed that the drink could “solve food problem in eases of typhoid, diphtheria, pneumonia, or post-operative cases.” 4 In an Ovaltine advertisement in Hong Kong newspapers in the 1950s, Ovaltine claimed it could “nourish the brain”, “increase efficiency and happiness at work”, and “can double the sweetness of dreams after drinking a cup before bed”. 5 In Hong Kong, Ovaltine, like Horlicks, is a cafe drink served hot or cold. In Hong Kong cafes, the drink is served without sugar, to be sweetened to taste by the consumer. The drink has gotten so popular that it is later sold in packs in shops and supermarkets.

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The Cantonese name of the cafes, “cha-chaan teng”, literally “tea restaurant”, serves to distinguish them from Western restaurants which provide water to customers instead of tea. The cafes usually provide a usually weaker tea called “clear tea” to customers as soon as they are seated. The “tea” in the name refers to this inexpensive black tea, which differs from the traditional Chinese tea served in traditional dim sum restaurants and teahouses. “0T” [in combination] informal acronym 1 Stands for lemon tea. ‘0’ reads as ling, which is phonetically similar to lemon, “ning". ‘T’ stands for “tea”. “Tea go” Canton. “cha zau” [in combination] cafe lingo 1 Means that you want condensed milk instead of normal milk in your Hong Kong style milk tea. 2 The ‘Carnation’ brand of condensed milk is often used.

Text reproduced with kind permission of the artist. This is an edited version of the full text that appears in Hong Kong Cafe, by Ange Ong. All images: Ange Ong, 2016. Copyright the artist. Ange Ong was at Elysium Gallery, Swansea as part of the ESPY photography award 18 August - 9 September 2017 Ong was was recently awarded the Juror’s Choice Award in Deception at Filter Space, Chicago, on until 21 October ange-ong.com elysiumgallery.com filterfestival.com/filter-space

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ÇIN Cevdet Erek’s installation ÇIN, created for the Turkish Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, combines materially engaged spatial design and structural engineering, with a richly layered soundscape. While in Venice, Erek enthusiastically discusses with Ric Bower, his love for music, his band Nekropsi and the various challenges inherent in his processes of creation. Ric Bower: What stuff were you into in school then?

RB: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll?

Cevdet Erek: Metal in its broadest form [drums with fingers on edge of table] – Sepultura’s early album Beneath the Remains: its energy, oh my God! Speed and thrash; death; grind! Before that though, my first tape was Michael Jackson’s Thriller – so that was another kind of energy… One of the best 4/4s [finger drums Beat It on table] – a fine example of non-ornamented drum playing… Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson; they were something together. So, these kind of energies all add to each other…

CE: Not really. I think we were hard workers… and then off to examinations in the morning at the university. It’s four years normally at architecture school, but I took a break for Nekropsi. The final project before graduating, I had to take it three times. I was totally… well I was a little bit lost (like most of us are some point I suppose). RB: No one gets a smooth ride. CE: No, no one at all...

RB: But you went to architecture college! RB: The installation, here in Venice, looks like a life-size maquette for a dystopian, urban environment. There is no graffiti, no people, no cars… just tonnes of freshly constructed plywood structure. The space is very full, in fact.

CE: Not then, not then – we are talking bands in high school… architecture at university was later! We formed a band and I was the drummer. There was no music education at home then, I wanted a guitar but it was not possible, so I said, ‘OK, let’s buy two sticks.’ Then I was into album covers, and logos, and T-shirts, and posters... At that time it was mainly drawing rather than collage, probably because we had an amazing culture of comics in Turkey. I got to show you… how many band logos have I made? At least a hundred for our band Nekropsi alone; a new logo for each concert! It was good because we were never commercialised; we were proper losers.

CE: If you just leave a space empty, whatever you subsequently put in will make an impact. It’s so easy! One loudspeaker and kbam! But this was not what we wanted to do right here, right now. RB: Did you generate the sounds for your installation when you got to Venice? Is it a process of gradual collection?

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CE: I didn’t want to stay in my house, or in the studio in Istanbul to make sounds for Venice. I collected stuff along the way, but everything was done during the installation period – over the six weeks I have been here.

people onto the platform at the same time. I said, ‘No way, no queues to get in at this pavilion.’ So we started to work out how to distribute the weight equally. We talked to Signor Magris, who originally renovated the building – he is a structural engineer – and he worked it out according to our architectural design. That is why there are so many wooden 'V's in the design and it seems over-engineered.

RB: Do you reference from architecture in the same way you do from music? CE: Yes. With architecture, I’m coming from the study of particular schools – modern, traditional Ottoman, Byzantine, Greek, Balkanic, Japanese etc.

RB: It must be interesting for you as an architect, to see all these bonkers National Pavilion buildings in the Giardini. CE: That’s why I designed this structure; it's my version of a Pavilion.

RB: There’s a strong sense of your involvement with your chosen materials of construction; to the point that, the ramps and the steps seem deliberately over-engineered.

RB: But you can walk right under it, right through the space without realising it. The facade is a wooden tunnel. It’s like, ‘Here we are. You’re through. You’re gone. Where is it? What was it?’ There’s a ‘fuck you’ in there somewhere.

CE: The spatial foundation of this project is a platform placed over a passage, which is reached with steps… then of course you have to have the ramps for people in wheelchairs.

CE: Maybe, but construction… we gotta talk construction! The sculptural qualities of this work emerged organically, by continuously making decisions about material concerns, and the limitations imposed on us by the circumstances – which is super, super-normal for architecture, because architecture is really just lots of regulations, millions of regulations in fact. Music has regulations too, but nobody’s gonna die if I make a mistake in music.

RB: And the ramps bring with them their own aesthetic. CE: Yes; I wanted to imitate the Venetian bridge ramps, and I even wanted to borrow one, but because of the safety regulations we had to have stronger ones. RB: Are the slopes regulation?

RB: There’s something very humble about that, which is massively counter-cultural to most of what goes on in the Biennale, and in the art world in general.

CE: Hold on... you are running too fast! I’m going to finish telling you about the specifics of the construction first. 500 kilograms per square metre is the limit for the floor. We were told that we could only let ten

CE: Forget them. I had a taste of being road crew for bands; years of

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First spread: CAD drawings for ÇIN, 2017, Cevdet Erek, Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennale, courtesy the artist All images from this spread on: ÇIN, 2017, Cevdet Erek, Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennale, installation view, courtesy the artist; photos: RMphotostudio


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working in the sound studio, and at the same time, serving other artists. After architecture, I studied a Masters in Sound Design, and then started working as a research assistant; so I spent days in the studio making mics and cables for all kinds of musicians and pop stars. These were all good chances to observe artists and art in general.

RB: When you talk about your work there’s a strong sense of your inhabiting it, you’re feeling for it. You’re tapping [drums table] and you’re drawing as you talk. CE: I rely on a combination of all of these things and hopefully in good synchronisation – in good balance. But the work cannot only be executed by feeling alone. It is necessary to organise the best conditions for the feeling to manifest. That’s what the road crew does – they have logic on their side – they know electricity and sound, and they know the gear to control those things.

RB: An amazing education. CE: It was a good training for character. For some artists, people around them don't exist, other than those higher than them on the ladder, of course.

RB: And you can see the road crew’s activities in your work: the cables, the computers...

RB: Have you heard the aphorism: ‘you should be nice to people when you’re on the way up, because they are the same people you meet on your way back down’?

CE: That’s also architectural thinking, from Brutalism to Modernism or whatever – good Modernism that is – not ‘reductionism’ as a style of minimalism. Brutalist architecture is not only the pornographic displaying of masculine concrete structures. They minimize the Brutalists to just like expressions of [growls] ‘arggghh,’ but no... So we have the cables to mics running outside the structure. Of course ‘hiding’ is a decision, but then ‘not hiding’ is a decision too. I hide many things as well. But in this case why hide what we are using and pretend like we’re using super-hardcore technology. Ableton, this Berlin company, is amazing in how it's totally changing the popular music software landscape; and the progression of software is affecting aesthetics as well. So I’m just using this super-available software to build a 35 channel soundscape, using just these typical sound cards that everybody uses; sure, the loudspeakers are a bit different in that they are highly directional.

CE: … Wait, wait, can we go back to construction and materials please? I’ve been looking at these iron tube staircases for ages – just like the stadiums, in Istanbul – and I’ve especially started seeing them since working on this presentation. I’m not simulating a stadium, but improvising, to have the feeling of being blocked in as you walk into a space, and then the amazing feeling of release; it’s just like in music. So yeah, these are cognitive choices, but mostly lots and lots of improvisation. RB: So, to finish on materials: you mentioned you were going to do metal, but you chose wood instead, was that because it has a different feel? CE: No, we just didn't go for the stuff that would take four weeks to turn up, i.e. metal; we went for the stuff that would turn up in three days, and would allow us to remain within budget.

RB: What is it like to have tinnitus? I gather you had it really badly. I’ve never had it and I should have had it, as I spent half my teenage years at concerts with my head in the bass bin.

RB: The things that really struck me, reading about the project before coming to Venice were: firstly – you don’t have a curator; secondly – it seemed you didn’t really know what you were going to do until you turned up. Given the magnitude of the context that’s really brave. I thought, for you as a musician that might be quite normal, but I can just imagine the commissioners freaking out.

CE: You’ve never had it in the morning or something? [drums on table] RB: No, I’ve never had it. CE: The first time I had tinnitus, it was unbearable. The reason was the drumming and stage noise of course, but also I had a middle ear

CE: I tell them not to worry.

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infection, and to heal it they said I should avoid noise; but I didn’t. It sometimes happened the morning after a concert; maybe that should have been a warning to me [laughs]. So the first time it was very depressing because you are just so fearful that: ‘Oh my God, am I going to go to a forest, or a beach, or a silent place, and am I going to have this sound always?’ Even though traces stayed, most of the pain and noise went away. Eventually you just get used to that, in the way us humans seem to. I met these old professors of medicine in the university, they said, ‘hey man, don’t do it, blah blah blah, you’re going to be deaf by 40 if you keep on drumming.' But then a few years later I went to another, more open-minded doctor, who was based in Sweden. I described the problem, he began by asking me: ‘what kind of music do you play?’ Wow, an ear doctor asking a young person what kind of music they liked to play... And he told me I had just one problem – I am quite sensitive to sound. Plus it appeared that my father had the same kind of tinnitus after reaching a certain age, so perhaps it’s not even from the noise at all, maybe it’s down to my genes. ‘Just don’t exacerbate it,’ he

told me, ‘don’t rehearse drums for more than eight hours per day!’ Well I thought that was ok, because I never rehearsed that long anyway! RB: What else did you do to deal with it? CE: Various things over the years: I found a band from the American hardcore/grindcore scene called Tinnitus, and I interviewed them for an online art magazine. I asked them if they actually had tinnitus, and what they thought about noise music. And I read about American soldiers with ear problems, who had come back from Iraq. Then I looked at the noise-making devices that are available for people who are suffering from tinnitus. It was cathartic to talk about it all. But then suddenly, six weeks ago, whilst preparing for this show, I had a massive relapse. During a flight I had incredible pain, and some bleeding in my ears. I had continuous tinnitus more or less. It was really extreme – I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this show. Perhaps that is in part why did I called the show ÇIN – the sound of glass being struck, and the tinnnn of tinnitus? But then I asked myself: ‘why do we take

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all our wounds so seriously?’ We are all full of them after all. Lots of people would have tinnitus because of a bomb explosion, or some other serious trauma – not just through our noisy art form. If we can talk about our experiences though – through art, or otherwise – that helps us connect and work through them

the obvious ones: sight and sound… The experience of being inside something for instance – inside the structure – the smell of all those tonnes of plywood at close quarters.

RB: Dionysian or Apollonian, where do your allegiances lie?

RB: And the sound is, as you say, ornamentation.

CE: Dionysian is so easy, man, just one loudspeaker in a space [drums] and you are away. Slow, monumental Arabic dance beat [drums]... who wouldn’t dance to that? I know how to do Dionysian… But in the realm of art, that’s not my main emphasis.

CE: In this work, yes. But what the ornamentation contains, could be the subject of another entire conversation—CCQ­.

CE: I think that’s all part of it being essentially an architectural work.

ÇIN, Cevdet Erek, is in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennale until 26 November, 2017

RB: Your work is quite deliberate in many ways.

pavilionofturkey17.iksv.org cevdeterek.com cevdeterek.bandcamp.com

CE: Deliberate sure, but not without feeling. RB: There are so many different modes of experience other than

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In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain (extended consultation) In a piece originally commissioned for Ibraaz, the rebel leader from Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind's 2016 film In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain, has an extended consultation with her psychiatrist. They speak about the role of myth and fiction for history and nation building. The selfproclaimed 'narrative terrorist' explains her archaeological efforts to counter the narrative advantage of the rulers, carry out a historical intervention, and reclaim her own people’s vanishing lands. RESISTANCE LEADER Sometimes I dream of porcelain falling from the sky, like ceramic rain. At first it’s only a few pieces, falling slowly like autumn leaves. I’m in it, silently enjoying it. But then the volume increases, and soon it’s a porcelain monsoon, like a biblical plague. PSYCHIATRIST What do you think that means? RESISTANCE LEADER I don’t think it means anything. It’s just an image. PSYCHIATRIST You mentioned a desire to be buried as part of your own fiction. RESISTANCE LEADER I often picture myself draped in cloth on my deathbed, my feverish body making imprints in the fabric, becoming my civilisation’s Shroud of Turin. We just haven’t perfected the method to manipulate carbon dating yet, so my bones will betray the fiction.


PSYCHIATRIST Tell me about your fiction. RESISTANCE LEADER As so many other regional fictions, this one poses as fact. I am depositing artefacts for future archaeologists to excavate, establishing facts in the ground, de facto creating a nation. PSYCHIATRIST And you are doing this to prove that myth and fiction have a constitutive effect on history and political reality. RESISTANCE LEADER This isn’t an academic exercise. It’s a historical intervention. Fact was always a malleable notion in this place. What starts out as farfetched poetry soon enough presents itself as fact. PSYCHATRIST You call yourself a narrative terrorist. But before turning to archaeology, you used to work with archives and documentary. RESISTANCE LEADER I still do. Only the premise has changed. I used to see archive and documentary as


shortcuts to a truth-based counter-measure to the versions of history written by our rulers. Now I don't. Truth is beside the point. Legitimacy is not a rational concept, it’s emotional, psychological. PSYCHIATRIST You’re dismissing scientific methodology as irrelevant. RESISTANCE LEADER For all practical purposes, yes. This region has been held captive by myth and fiction for millennia, the convenient narrative of one intruder always followed by that of another. It’s all about implementation and sedimentation. Myth hides best out in the open. Its repetition is its camouflage. RESISTANCE LEADER History is by default revisionist. Archival photos don't depict history, history is the story we tell about these photos, and this story was never immune to fiction, religion, folklore or myths. PSYCHIATRIST But isn’t your radical brand of historical revisionism simply polemical? RESISTANCE LEADER Whatever you do with archival resources of the past, be it photographic, written or archaeological, you are already intervening. My project simply accepts this narrative intervention and embellishes that aspect.

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It’s not about getting history right, but about making it useful. It’s by no means just a game. PSYCHIATRIST By reshaping the past, you reshape the future. RESISTANCE LEADER Even for our rulers, authority over the present was only ever an ambition because it grants control of the past. With a favourable and uninterrupted past comes historical entitlement, and that will deliver your utopia on a silver plate. PSYCHIATRIST Your little sister died young. RESISTANCE LEADER Once you pass a certain point, death is no longer about the single life lost. It’s not even personal. It’s what we are as a whole that qualifies us as targets. PSYCHIATRIST Surely you don’t think of your sister’s death in such abstract terms. RESISTANCE LEADER Time’s ability to distort often ends up conflating shared and personal memories. In my memory, the image of my sister and me together has been replaced by a famous archival photo of two girls in folkloric dresses. Everyone here knows this photo. Yet my mind has annexed these girls as if to remind me

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that the distinction between the personal and the public has long since been erased. PSYCHIATRIST Who are these girls, do you know? RESISTANCE LEADER I don’t know their history, but always felt a kinship with them. They seem marred by an imminent threat. A premonition. As if their piercing eyes are seeing what the rest of us only came to experience 100 years later. PSYCHIATRIST And what is that? RESISTANCE LEADER Perpetual disappearance, the vanishing of everything around us. PSYCHIATRIST The apocalypse? RESISTANCE LEADER Something like that. From their vantage point, these girls could have seen it coming. For us, the apocalypse already came and went. Utopia and dystopia are the same shade of grey. PSYCHIATRIST You’re trying to communicate with the future, but it’s impossible, isn’t it? If your pleas aren’t heard now, and the future is anything like the present, the future won’t listen either. And if the future is already different, what you are asking of it won’t make any sense. RESISTANCE LEADER Myth not only creates fact, it also generates identification. Given time, there will be millions of us, and the archaeological evidence will support our historical narrative. PSYCHIATRIST Do you ever think you might not just be hoping to alter the past, but also to reconnect with it? With your sister? RESISTANCE LEADER I keep chasing her, but she’s always a step ahead. Sometimes it’s the two of us I’m chasing. PSYCHIATRIST As if you are both dead? RESISTANCE LEADER I’m not sure it needs to make sense like that. All images: In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain, 2016, film still, Larissa Sansour/Søren Lind

In The Future, They Ate from the Finest Porcelain is currently on show at Chapter, Cardiff, 14 October 2017 – 14 January 2018 chapter.org

Except: second spread, left hand page: In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain, production stills, photographer: Lenka Rayn H


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I Don’t Believe in Unbelief Grisha Bruskin’s apocalyptic presentation Scene Change, which forms part of a group show entitled Theatrum Orbis, was commissioned and curated by Semyon Mikhailovsky for the Russian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. The artist, who is a veteran of the socio-political excesses of the latter half of the 20th century, spoke to Ric Bower as the exhibition opened. As WWII was ending in Moscow, and Stalin was returning to the business of crushing the Russian citizenry (like Cronus devouring his own children), Grisha Bruskin was born. By the time he began his undergraduate studies at the Moscow Textile Institute in 1963, Nikita Khrushchev had been First Secretary of the Communist Party for nine years, the Cold War was at its iciest, and the Cuban Missile Crisis had very nearly precipitated a nuclear Armageddon. Through the '70s when Perestroika was just a pipe dream, Bruskin’s exhibitions were repeatedly banned by the Soviet authorities in Russia. So this is a man who brings considerable life experience to the expansive multimedia installation he has created for the 2017 Venice Biennale. The presentation takes up the three main rooms of the Russian Pavilion in the Giardini, and its obsessive execution seemingly reveals a creator who has little regard for how his apocalyptic vision might be received. His muse for this body of work is Italian Renaissance philosopher, Giulio “Delminio” Camillo’s Theatre of Memory (Teatro della Memoria), an all-encompassing system of understanding that is strangely prescient of the Internet. In Bruskin’s mind, Camillo’s vision is solidified into a collection of tumorous totems, which are both bleached of colour and removed from time. These monstrous incarnations metastasise through the sterile spaces as an incessantly reproducing panoply of symbols. In the second part of the exhibition we are invited to meditate before rows of these sprouting altars; and, as we do, the room darkens, before a procession of platonic shadows, constellations moulded from madness, dance across the walls before us. They seemingly materialise from the force of our own contemplation alone, evidence perhaps of our unremitting commitment to self-destruction. I began by asking Bruskin how he came to be interested in Camillo’s Theatre of Memory. Grisha Bruskin: The idea of theTheatre of Memory (Teatro della Memoria) intrigued me for years; Camillo was a huge personality at the time of the Renaissance. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of the actual theatre he was commissioned to make for the French monarchy, but there are eyewitness testimonies. Giuseppe Barbieri, a professor at Ca’ Foscari University, visited my studio in Moscow. I mentioned to him that I was fascinated by this Camillo’s theatre; it turned out that he is an acknowledged expert on the subject (something I had been unaware of). He described it to me in detail, and made a drawing for me, explaining how he understands Camillo’s system to have worked. The drawing became the foundation of my work. This was the beginning of Scene Change. Ric Bower: Did the Theatre of Memory have a spiritual or a mystical dimension? Was the Kabbalah, that ancient Jewish wisdom, part of it? GB: That too was included. Renaissance philosophers such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino knew Hebrew. Giulio Camillo’s concept of the work was based on the Kabbalistic doctrine, and he matched Christian doctrines to those of Kabbalah, to create what is now known as Christian Kabbalah. The Theatre of Memory included the spiritual realm: it was both an antique computer, and also a theatre for one man. That one man, who was privileged to access the theatre, would receive knowledge about everything. RB: Is epistemology ─ establishing how we know what we know, the vehicles by which we access knowledge ─ important to you as an artist?

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GB: Yes, of course. As an artist I am always thinking about the world in which I find myself. The ancient art of memory is interesting too; it used geographical places as a repository for allegories. In my project Scene Change I also create ‘geographical places’ and place my own allegories within them. My work is a game with the art of memory; the same game Hermann Hesse called The Glass Bead Game. RB: Why is it important to make this work now? GB: Our psychology is changing because of fear: fear of terrorism; fear of being watched in the street; fear of being followed online. Sophisticated technology has been created, especially, to observe the world in which we live. Strangely, we used to get angry when our phone calls were bugged, by the KGB for instance in the former Soviet Union. We were angry when we were searched in the street; now we are happy when we are scanned in airports, or watched in the streets, because it seems to offer some kind of guarantee of our safety. RB: Walking into the exhibition space is like stepping out of time; the motifs you present us are drawn from across millennia. GB: Yes, one of my favourite contemporary philosophers is the Italian, Giorgio Agamben; he asks the question ‘What is contemporary?’ I agree with him when he concludes that to be contemporary, you should ─ paradoxically ─ not be contemporary. If you are contemporary then you are immersed in your circumstance, and are unable to see it for what it is. War remains fundamentally unchanged over time, but the decoration that embellishes it is constantly changing, hence the multitude of symbols in this exhibition. For me it is important, within the context of this project, that there should be no contemporary position, so I have freely mixed current positions with positions that are historical. Time is blinking in this work; the idea of improvement is nullified, there is no development from bad to good, or from a society that is pretechnological to an era that is technological; progress is paralysed, development has collapsed. It is important to understand that mankind has always looked backwards; Plato thought that Egyptian art was much more sophisticated than the Greek art of his time. The Romans, of course, took Greek art as their example. In the Renaissance, thinkers and artists were mining Roman, Greek and Egyptian knowledge. They felt that truth was to be found in the past, and the further back the source of revelation, the more integrity it intrinsically possessed. RB: So, they were tracking the river upstream to try and find the source. The further upstream they travelled the purer it flowed. GB: Yes, in the time of Cosimo de Medici, scholars like Marsilio Ficino were constantly searching for ancient manuscripts; Ficino was translating them for Cosimo de Medici. Medici asked Ficino to put aside the works of Plato (including The Republic and The Symposium) and to translate the manuscripts of Hermes Trismegistus (which he later called Pimander) because he was afraid to die before finding out the truths that were inscribed in his work. They believed that Trismegistus was the first religious prophet of Ancient Egypt, and it was to him that God whispered the truth. The love of Europeans for that which is old – for antiquity, for something that is destroyed, the cult of ruins – relates to this understanding of authentic truth necessarily being old. RB: Your work seems anti-modern, in that it throws doubt on the idea that the future will be better than the past. If this is so, then what are the broader implications of this position? GB: I believe that, for centuries, certainly for as long as the enlightenment project has been in progress, we have been trying to kill God. This was in fact, as I see it, the primary agenda of modernity; to kill God and then to conquer nature. The


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All four spreads: Scene Change, 2016-2017, Grisha Bruskin, courtesy the artist and the Russian Pavilion


difficulty now, of course, is that when we are not happy with the result of our actions, we no longer have anyone to complain to!

are figures in the installation that manifest this. I animated and projected the shadows of the terrorists in the second room of the presentation. In some ways, the projections are reminiscent of Dadaist imagery; absurdism still has agency as a mode of communication and a description of the world. I created the video to be in some way reminiscent of Plato’s cave, with its dancing shadows, communicating to us as a form of magnified reality.

RB: Scene Change manifests as a number of distinct works within the space of the pavilion, but each work seems to be made of the same stuff, both in terms of materials and semiotics. Each work is drawn from the same ‘parts bin’, so to speak. GB: The Pavilion is like an alchemist’s vessel; the mood of the space itself, and the mood of those who interact with the space will influence what comes out of that vessel. The many figures in the crowd scene in the first room echo the stance of the Borghese Gladiator. The raised arm was a greeting in Roman times; the Futurists in the time of Duce used it as a greeting; and of course it became the greeting of the National Socialist Party in Germany. I was interested in the idea of the crowd being an ocean, but I also have the idea of the crowd being an insect. It was common in the 19th century, and at the beginning of the 20th century, in Russian culture, to think of the crowd in these terms ─ as an animal ─ and you will see echoes of this throughout the exhibition. I am interested in Jean Baudrillard’s perception of the crowd. He described it as an amorphous mass which is terrorised by the mass media, terrorised by terrorists, and terrorised by power.

RB: When I first saw it, I wondered if the video was in some way inspired by Jewish eschatological and apocalyptic literature, like the end of the book of Daniel – given your background in Judaism that is.

RB: Some of the figures are quite scary in themselves mind, I saw a few suicide vests...

GB: I had not thought of it in those terms; that is, I had not thought of it in those terms yet! At the beginning of the 20th century there was a great interest in recording paranormal phenomena, photographing ectoplasm. Mikhail Larionov, along with his wife, Natalia Goncharova, were the driving forces behind the Rayonist movement. Larionov’s style was influenced by images of paranormal activities, depictions of rays emanating out from a body, and on the research around the subject that was fashionable at the time. As an artist I am fascinated by the idea of the human form emanating non-material material. The Futurists were interested in showing motion through repetition; this is something I have done too. For me the history of mankind is like a river, producing all these images as it flows along.

GB: The fear of terrorism is a contemporary phenomenon and there

RB: Can I ask you about the relationship between the crowd gesturing in

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a single direction, and the eagle-headed motif of power presiding over them. The former seems unaware of the latter.

it, the responsibility of the artist is to analyse contemporary experience, and to do so without distortion, so people can see more clearly the world around them. Art helps us live, and so it has a responsibility. It helps us focus on that which is in the shadows.

GB: Where there is a crowd, there is power, even if the crowd is unconscious of it. The work is about the relationship that exists between them, between citizen and government. The two-headed eagle is a very ancient symbol of power. It was old even in Mesopotamian times. There were many nations that declared themselves as empires ─ including my own country, Russia ─ that have it built into their insignia. While I was creating that particular sculpture, I was thinking of Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis; Lang does not specifically use that motif, of course, but the spirit of that relationship between people and power is there.

RB: Aside from being an artist, what was it like then coming to the West in 1988 as a citizen? GB: At the time, to come from the Soviet Union to the West was like visiting Mars. I came to Chicago as part of an exchange in which three Russian artists came to the US, and three American artists went to Moscow. It was made possible because of Gorbachev and Perestroika. I came off the back of the first Sotheby’s auction in Russia. I was completely exhausted; it was late June, the heat was brutal, 45 degrees maybe, and with very high humidity too. I thought I could speak a little English, but in Chicago, I understood nobody at all. Two guys met me at the airport, one of them was my future gallerist in Chicago, a nice man; and the other guy was the president of a prestigious, international art fair at the time. He invited me to make a poster for a big event; but all was not what it seemed, there was much fighting between them. The president of the art fair told me that there were KGB agents looking for me, (and that American intelligence services were after me as well!) He also told me that he was the only one who could save me from them and I should go with him immediately! My first thought was to run back to the airport and to fly straight back to Moscow.

RB: You were an artist in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s when Glasnost and Perestroika were just pipe dreams. It was a political and social environment which we, perhaps, cannot fully understand in the West. What was it like being an artist then? Was there a sense of camaraderie amongst your fellow non-conformist artists, those who were not painting in the state approved, Social Realist style? How did you personally deal with the ever-present power of the state? Did you exhibit much? GB: There were almost no exhibitions. There was official, statesanctioned art, and then there was everything else. I believed Social Realist art was not art, it was just propaganda used by the authorities to deceive the people, to brainwash them; I hated Stalinist skyscrapers in particular then. As far as I could see they were made to push us down, to crush our spirits. Now I see things somewhat differently, I find them beautiful; I cannot imagine Moscow without them. And in terms of Social Realist painting, the best examples reveal something about life in our country at that time, if you can read the codes, that is. Now, when this art is no longer an overt instrument of propaganda, is no longer dangerous, I see things somewhat differently.

RB: What is your relationship with your Jewish roots? GB: I was born into a big Jewish family, but my parents were not believers. They were children of modernity. In Russia there was a fairly strong anti-Semitic prejudice when I was growing up. Looking back, I had a typical Russian Jewish experience but, at the time, I had no idea that I was Jewish, or even what being Jewish meant. When the people in the school yard teased me, I complained to my mother that they were calling me Jewish – having no idea at the time that I was. I was shocked when she told me I was Jewish! I did not want to be different as a kid, I wanted to be the same as everyone else. She told me that this was no problem, that the Jews were great people, and many geniuses were in fact Jewish: Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, David Oistrakh, to mention but a few. When I went back to the yard I explained to the kids who were teasing me that to be Jewish is in fact a very good thing and mentioned the names my mother had given me, and to reinforce the point, I added Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky to the list. As I grew up it became important for me to understand what it meant to be Jewish, and to get to grips with why so many people seemed to hate them. I began to read books and research; my first forays into art practice were expressions of this research. I then took it further by deciding to view the world around me through ‘Talmudic glasses’, so to speak.

RB: In 1978, ten years before you came to the West, Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave his famous Harvard Address in which he indicted, as he put it, "...modern Western civilization’s dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense." Do you, or did you, share Solzhenitsyn’s indictment of the West and the values it seemingly unquestioningly accepts? GB: I cannot help to agree that this is a problem of the time which we call modernity. Nevertheless, different people in the West and in Russia have different needs and requests. I am against rigid ideologies. In this sense, I am postmodern. In my opinion there cannot be one truth. The person who thinks he knows the truth is dangerous. I am against the dictatorship of views. I never tire of repeating that, 'the truth of the apple tree does not scorn that of the cedar'.

RB: Which parts of you connect with that narrative: your head? Your heart? Your spirit? Or all three? Do you believe?

RB: For a long time in the West, we have seen art practice as a pursuit to be undertaken by, and also for, the individual. In your mind does the artist have a social or corporate responsibility?

GB: All three. At first the interest was intellectual and existential. I am not a practicing Jew, but then I don’t believe in unbelief either—CCQ The Russian Pavilion is at la Biennale di Venezia, until 26 November 2017 ruspavilion.com

GB: Before I answer that I must emphasise that I hated the Communist Party when I lived in Russia back then. They propagated illusions, it was in essence a criminal regime, they killed millions of their own people. What can be positive about that? Nothing! Social Realism is like a distorting mirror; but those untruths reveal many truths. As I understand

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stiwdio/lle studio/place This October LLE, a curatorial project based in Cardiff, are taking their exhibition, 'stiwdio/lle studio/place', which is currently on show at BayArt Gallery, Cardiff, to The Manchester Contemporary art fair. The show includes the work of eight painters who all explore the idea of the studio as a place that quickens both internal thought and external imagining. The work of four of the participating artists is shown here, accompanied by a contemplative text by painter Toby Ursell.

So, it is unusual to try to write about a painting without actually seeing it in the flesh. However we have mobile and Instagram (perhaps even a trend for painting being made for the screen), so why not? The simple answer to this question is: what about surface, scale, the physical presence of a painting? Whilst I would not argue that this is unimportant, I will say it is possible to attempt an understanding. Francis Bacon made perhaps his most famous series of works based on Velasquez's Pope Innocent X without ever seeing the original. He visited Rome, just not the Galleria Doria Pamphilj where it hangs. We are supposed to be discussing 'studio' though, and Andrew Cranston's painting Brie on the Knee –

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so what do we see? An interior with a view. It is a studio with pots of brushes; an easel with a painting on it; a second painting facing the wall; a heater that doesn't appear to be plugged in; what we can assume is an (the?) artist, sitting in a chair, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, three tortoises. Pets? Props for another painting? The freestanding heater looks fairly modern; the sky is purple, it is late. Is this the artist alone at night creating 'magic' (his pot of paint seems to glow), or does he have company? Well of course he does if we count the tortoises, but his painting is a portrait, and unless he is using a great deal of artistic licence it is not a 'selfie'. Let's assume he is alone (bar the tortoises), after all if there is a sitter we cannot see them.

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And let's discuss him, or is it a her, or even a 'thing'; there is certainly something Cat In The Hat-like about that hairstyle. Contemplating a finished work? About to add some lemon yellow? Troll-like, the artist sits creating late at night, tortoises for company. Tortoises are slow. It's their schtick. Painting is slow. You can do it quickly, but to paint, to be in the studio day after day late into the night, is a long process. Shut away. Alone. But there is an outside. You don't leave the world at the studio door, but I have to say, in this case, the outside doesn't look very inviting. Who is the portrait on the easel? I can only assume it is Andrew Cranston. The Cat In The Hat-thing is him. An outsider. Inside. In a cool green on a background sienna, Cranston gives us a dream-like studio. It looks nice in there. I would love to go round and visit his tortoises.

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First spread Left: Blue R Train, 2017 AglaĂŠ Bassens oil on canvas, 36 x 46cm

stiwdio/lle: LLE at BayArt is on until 20 October 2017 The Manchester Contemporary takes place at Manchester Central Convention Complex, 27 – 29 October 2017 llegallery.com themanchestercontemporary.co.uk bayart.org.uk

Right: The Painter Bites into a Lemon to Counterbalance the Brilliance of the South Facing Light, 2015 Iwan Lewis oil and wax on canvas, 160 x 136cm Second spread Left: Study for Receptions, 2017 Anna Freeman Bentley Oil on paper, 26 x 40cm Photo: Anna Arca Right: Thinking inside the box, 2012 Andrew Cranston oil on canvas, 212.5 x 137.5cm


Q&A Will Rawls performed Q&A at Block Universe Festival in May earlier this year, in which an audience agreed to ask questions about a performance they had not seen. Emily Watkins gets her own version of what happened. First though, Rawls sets out the rules of exchange. Rule #1: We will have a Q&A about a performance.

Rule #5: Other things might happen.

Rule #2: We will all assume that you, the public, have seen this performance.

Rule #6: I will set a timer and I cannot tell you how long I am setting it for.

Rule #3: You can ask me any and every question you wish about the performance you have seen.

Rule #7: When the timer goes off, the Q&A is over.

Rule #4: I will do my best to answer your questions. Emily Watkins: Hi Will. Thanks so much for agreeing to sit with me this afternoon.

was the unconscious point of departure for the various walks in the first place. There’s a contemporary French-Algerian fairy tale in there that I’m fond of. It’s about breaking a curse and freeing the voice. Anyway, as an unintended collection of narratives, I think they could be quite beautiful in a publication together. That’s something I’d like to organise, in the future.

Will Rawls: Sure thing. EW: So I’m going to ask some questions, about a performance... WR: You show me mine and I’ll show you yours.

EW: You speak French? EW: Sorry? WR: Yep, my governess taught me. Anyway, it’s a fable really. About striving, and searching, and inheritance and lineage. Like a lot of fairy stories, myths, I guess. We always go back to stories like that, and I guess there’s something widely recognisable and deeply human in each of them.

WR: That’s the name of the performance you saw, isn’t it? EW: Ah, absolutely. Yes, that’s right. WR: And you can ask me anything you want about it. I promise I’ll do my best to answer.

EW: What might that be?

EW: Great. So let’s begin at the beginning. I came to see your show –

WR: Looking? Looking, I think. In the stories people find what they’re looking for, but that’s not the end. Sometimes it turns out they find the wrong thing, or the thing they found won’t help them. We’re never done looking. I guess that is the bottom line. But in a sense, it’s about conscious looking as a form of blindness.

WR: In February this year. EW: And what’s it about? WR: Well, that’s a huge question. It’s been years in the making. The central narrative is an adaptation of several short stories, that all take the activity of walking as their pivotal theme. On the surface, the work is about people who find themselves mid-step, in an unfamiliar place — right high up at the top of a mountain, in the forest outside a city, in a wealthy white neighbourhood, on the edges of a public protest, or even suddenly signing up for a ceramics workshop. Somehow each character must retrieve something that’s been lost, which

EW: And that’s what the performance was about? WR: Yes and no. Both, quite explicitly, I suppose. Among the several works I made from the stories, there’s the theatre piece whose opening has that song, Boom Boom Ain’t It Great To Be Crazy; and then there’s the subplot of the out-of-work comedian who wants to be a tarot card reader, but can’t take it seriously enough, and keeps laughing while doing readings for other people. What she represents underpins

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the thread of the whole piece, because the drama itself is a kind of cosmic joke cum sub-subplot, in that the comedian never quite understands it. It’s very Candide in a sense. People say it also has connotations of the Drunken Master movie with Jackie Chan. EW: Well. Yes, of course. But the protagonists weren’t… they weren’t searching? At least, not for that breathalyser that was mentioned. WR: No, not for the breathalyser. They’re searching for each other, searching – quite literally – for a kiosk in Brooklyn. EW: But the question remains – why blue? WR: Well. The significance of blue cannot be overestimated. Maggie Nelson makes an interesting intervention into the history of blue with her book Bluets, which reads as a melancholic, white feminist meditation on the queerness of blue – which I so deeply associate with black American music. And the book is so much about perception, and the intelligibility of how blue functions as a symbol: a feeling; a memory; a sensation of alienation; and also like a kind of dispossessed lover. So why blue? Dispossession and intimacy with unreachable blackness. That’s at least one way I see it. EW: There are a lot of layers to what you do, and what you make. Like sediment? Maybe more like a cake. WR: There are. Although I try not to think of my practice as baking. But baking involves a mix of chemistry and guesswork, which are things I am proposing about choreography. On one level, of course, I’m a body. A lot of effort goes into exercising control over perception of this body in choreography. Your perception, for example. Or the public’s perception. EW: And you feel in control of that perception? WR: No. Ultimately, I think, I lose that power of influence. Or that it’s an illusion to think that you can fully control perception in the first place. There’s something like a third party in perception — whatever conditions arrive with each person into the room. And then there’s whatever is already somehow structurally built into the performance situation – something between artist and public, or author and reader – like a kind of architecture, which is like having an interloper in the mix.


EW: Sure. So then there’s a self-reflexivity in your practice? WR: Yes. Or maybe magic. I try to attend to the invisible forces in the room. It leaves the work in a flexible, open-ended place. EW: Are you referring there to the element of – what looked like – improvisation? WR: In a sense, yes. I think I get fixated on how to be loose about intelligibility. There’s got to be room to breathe, and to spend time processing – to sink into the experience of that processing. EW: And why is that? WR: Because, I suppose, unintelligibility is a frequent experience of the world for me, and I try to foreground that over certainty. There are so many directives we are constantly receiving to quickly make sense of the world; including the people moving through it, around us. I’ve been trying to slow down that process in some way. EW: Well, I guess the audience hopes you arrive at something intelligible at some point, as, you know, the person who’s conceived of the piece. WR: Are you sure? EW: Sorry? WR: Well, I’m just not sure that people appreciate having everything worked out. Jonathan Burrows writes something about how the audience wants to experience something new and unexpected, but also to recognise it when it happens. It’s an impossible chemistry, but that doesn’t work unless there is that catalyst of discovery for an audience. EW: I think people like the idea of sitting down and watching someone else’s ideas play out, especially if they have faith in them. WR: I agree. But there’s a difference between how clear my ideas are, and how I hope to construct an experience of them. I end up tugging at the general experience of 'looking,' and processing what is being looked at. EW: If you remove the looking/looked at structure, what defines performance at all? WR: Dialogue – of any kind.


EW: Right. So that element is key to your practice, then? That idea of a dialogue?

EW: Yep. I was going to ask about that. You’re anticipating my questions.

WR: Yes, a rangy dialogue. Like a stray cat. Or a blurry cat.

WR: And is this a question about the mural painting?

EW: I hope our cat is a little clearer! And how did you begin performing that way? Has it always been about blurring the boundaries?

EW: Yes. WR: Do you want the long or short answer?

WR: I’ve always had trouble perceiving the boundaries between things: dancer and choreographer; author and material; friends and lovers. For example, in You show me mine, I’ll show you yours – at least the version you saw – when the adult performers are standing on the shoulders of the teenagers, I can feel that the audience is uncomfortable with this inversion of the hierarchy of weight and age. There is a moment of processing the logic of how this flip has happened, which is what I’m after.

EW: The long answer. WR: Under our current U.S. president, president number 45, there are a few new labour laws in the U.S, which let you actually hire young kids for strenuous physical labour under the guise of art in exchange for health insurance. It’s all a part of the current administration’s infrastructural renewal plan for the U.S. These teenagers participate in physically demanding, extracurricular activities, in preparation for moving straight into the labour market to rebuild highways and public parks. It’s an echo of what happened after the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt helped to create the WPA [Works Progress Administration]. At the time, in the 1930s, some of the projects involved giant mural painting, inspired in part by the murals of Diego Rivera, in San Francisco, Detroit and New York City, and that’s what I’m drawing on.

EW: Sure. WR: Were you uncomfortable? EW: Well. I suppose I was probably… worried about the kids. WR: They’re very strong. They trained for eight months. It’s all about weight distribution. And core strength. And the reversal of generational support. Like, these kids are younger than millennials and they are supporting elders from the Baby Boomer generation. Metaphorically they’re supporting all the political and environmental fallout from the 20th century. These kids are the next, next artists in a sense. We should probably start calling them the biennial generation.

EW: Sure. WR: It felt important to point out how crucial the Mexican mural movement was to reconsidering the literal surface, and public face of the U.S. at the time — especially nowadays when there’s been so much talk of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. That’s the thinking behind the set-up you encountered, when you – the public – walk in on the kids working on a replication of a mural, specifically Man at the Crossroads designed by Diego Rivera. In that particular moment of You show me mine… I mean to, in your words, blur the boundaries between the economics and the aesthetics of citizen labour. Those are your words, right? The mural painting starts about 3 hours before the public is let in, so they get a doubled sense of time: the ‘labour time’ preceding the performance and the actual 20 minute spectacle of seeing these kids working. I guess this kind of conscriptive violence is inescapable for an artist who works with other people’s bodies.

EW: Ha! Yes. Let’s start holding those every 25 years, instead of every other year. WR: Great idea. The sum of a generation’s collective activity. I am an early millennial or something. And I perceive this intense pressure to perform one’s generation exclusively. Which is also a great way to ignore the wisdom we could inherit. EW: How many kids are we talking about? 30? WR: There were three. They trained for two or three days a week with a circus arts expert. Her name is Lakeisha Lakshmi La Fontaine. She’s a bio-mechanics scientist with a gymnastics background. She’s lovely, but she was tough with them, you know? And that emotional angle is part of the training too, because the kids needed to be prepared for the psychological burden of that weight, as well as the physical. In some cases they’re supporting their grandparents. I’m glad the audience is uncomfortable, because it’s an ugly-beautiful kind of weight that they’re bearing. It’s also a good thing that it’s only a twenty-minute performance.

EW: Is violence part of your vision? WR: It’s part of all of our collective vision. We just get used to it. Then media activists do things like raise a widespread, public critique of police brutality against people of colour, by singling out the sheer horror of very specific deaths – naming names like Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. It is utterly essential to hold the police accountable for their actions, but in doing so, the images of police violence must be reiterated, re-represented, and re-circulated. It’s exhausting and necessary. On a different, more intimate scale, I’m interested in pointing out the certain, subtle violences of performance labour, while also risking getting tangled up in the danger of reproducing these myself. So, yes, violence is a part of my figurative vision, or language. The teenagers are artists and labourers. It seemed like a really direct way of pointing out art and performance as labour, which is not a way we’re used to thinking about those concepts. Intergenerational knowledge as labour, too, arising through body-to-body connections – hence the carrying of elders. And when you watch the mural unfold, and the final ribbon cutting at the end, you participate in an artificial civic event through watching. So you’re part of the piece, too.

EW: So the pain in the children’s faces was acted? Or real? WR: Both. A 35 kilo kid can’t withstand 65 kilos of an adult without some pain. So that’s real. EW: And it sounds like a lot of paperwork. I expect you had to convince their parents? Get them out of school? What was the contract like? WR: More complex than can be described here but, yeah, lots of hoops to jump through. More interesting was the set-up with the kids painting the back wall of the space, with these elders on their backs.

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EW: I’m part of the piece?

replicating the atmosphere and light conditions of the arctic — but this made it impossible for most cameras to function. There’s probably a way, but I didn’t want to get stuck on it especially because, as I say, we didn’t particularly want the press there in the first place.

WR: Sure. EW: It sounds like – I mean, it looked like a pretty high-budget kind of affair. Is that right? WR: Well, lately I’ve been able to scale things up. ______ Gallery has been mainly responsible for that. I can finally say this in a public forum since the Guardian ran a piece on it already, but ______ started bidding semi-privately to represent those painting studies I did of the mural for the show. Other galleries got involved, and the revenue has helped a lot with realising You show me mine. It’s hard to anticipate, before you actually start assembling something, where the costs come in. Like the space shuttle, into that landmarked church hall!

EW: No, I understand. WR: I can send you some sketches of the work though. EW: Maybe you can conjure it up for our readers? What they missed? WR: Well, the temperature conditions put a lot of things off-limits, obviously. But restrictions can be really generative. And then the dogs – we did manage a few minutes of a full dog choir, sopranos, altos, which was actually drawing on my father’s experiences with police dogs under Jim Crow. The noise they made was haunting. The nice thing about dogs, visually speaking, is that the pitch of their bark correlates pretty directly with the size of the animal. So it was quite special, to have little Chihuahuas on the top row, and the huge St. Bernards and German shepherds on the bottom rows, mirroring their pitches in their placements.

EW: Yes, the space shuttle. I was… surprised to see a giant NASA shuttle in a church. How did you get it in? WR: We took the roof off. EW: Really. WR: We took the roof off of the church, tile by tile because we had to keep each one, numbered – 2041 of them! – to put them back just as we found them, and then there were the rafters, which we hadn’t even thought of, and we covered them from the view from the inside, so then we took the shuttle apart...

EW: Yeah, it was incredible. Like I say, it’s a shame there’s no record – it would be nice to be able to link people somewhere, for reference. I guess we can record it by talking about it, here? What did you take away from it?

EW: Right.

WR: It was moving for me.

WR: And winched pieces in from above, between the rafters. And then partially assembled it. And, of course, temporarily replaced the stained-glass windows with scenes from the writing of Octavia Butler and Sun Ra.

EW: Tell me about that. WR: Well, I mentioned that the idea for the choir in the first place came from hearing my father talk about these German Shepherds under Jim Crow. He’d talk about the way they move. They were trained to do profoundly violent things to people. He’d talk about getting off the school bus and these, these huge animals just lurching off their leads at him. Just being present, sharing space with something trained to rip you to shreds. It’s a daily experience that so many people go through, on a real or figurative level. I wasn’t around in that era, obviously, but my work has been about identifying where this cultural shredder lurks now, and how to develop strategies to point it out; it’s an interloper. Given that certain parts of the U.S. may be under martial law by the end of the year I am not sure how far we’ve come.

EW: Can you – I mean, just for reference – have you got any images? WR: We didn’t allow cameras in after the first ten minutes, mainly because we’re committed to the ephemerality of the audience’s experience and the forgetability of my art. Ha. Well, you know what I mean. EW: I do. WR: But also because the photo equipment wouldn’t have withstood the conditions. As I’m sure you remember, we had the audience wear protective gear because of the temperature required to maintain the bioluminescent light fixtures – we were really excited about

EW: No... WR: For better or for worse, we soak up

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everything the world tells us about ourselves, and we use it. Even if that’s just to say, “fuck that”. EW: Interesting what you say about martial law, when I think of the moment the helicopter landed on the roof – of that church – and only five people could get in. Lucky that I answered all the entrance riddles correctly, or we might never have met! I earnt my place in that helicopter, and that’s where I saw you for the first time. Do you remember? You might not, your eyes were closed and you were singing. What were you singing? WR: I was singing a remix of Baltimore, by Nina Simone. EW: That’s right. I had to sing it myself, after all, in the queue before any of the work started. That pre-show mirroring – between performer and audience – was a stroke of genius on your part. What was it about, for you? WR: Thanks. I wanted to emulate the sort of arbitrary, dog-eat-dog atmosphere all around us, off-gasses from late-stage capitalism, leaching into our fantasies about the future. Even our dreams of space travel and sciencefiction are burning up in the capitalosphere. Hopefully we’ll escape to another planet, or underground. Which one is it? EW: A question for the ages. WR: Yes, but time is up—CCQ­

Will Rawls was performing at Block Universe, 29 May – 4 June 2017 willrawls.com blockuniverse.co.uk

Dog choir drawing by Will Rawls, 2017, copyright the artist


As a Tiger in the Jungle

The Golden Dragon

Theatr Bryn Terfel

Nos Fercher, 18 Hydref, 7.30pm £15 - oedolyn, £12 - dros 60 £5 – myfyrwyr a dan 18

Theatr Bryn Terfel

Dydd Sul, 8 Hydref, 2pm £10/£8 gostyngiadau

Sunday October 18, 7.30pm £15 - adults, £12 - over 60, £5 – students and under 18

Sunday October 8, 2pm

PARADE

£10/£8 concessions

Ardal berfformio tu allan i Pontio a Theatr Bryn Terfel

Theatr Bryn Terfel

Nos Wener, 10 Tachwedd 7.30pm Nos Sadwrn, 11 Tachwedd 7.30pm £15/£7.50 i fyfyrwyr a dan 18 Pontio Outdoor Performance Area and Theatr Bryn Terfel

Nos Sadwrn, 28 Hydref 7.30pm Saturday, 28 October 7.30pm Dydd Sul, 29 Hydref 3pm Sunday, 29 October, 3pm £14.50/£12.50 gostyngiadau

£14.50/£12.50 concessions

Flown

Theatr Bryn Terfel £15/£10

Dydd Mawrth, 14 Tachwedd 7.30pm Dydd Mercher, 15 Tachwedd 2pm/7.30pm Dydd Iau, 16 Tachwedd. 7.30pm £16 / £14 dros 60 / £10 dan 18 oed a myfyrwyr

Tuesday November 14, 7.30pm Wednesday November 15, 2pm/7.30pm Thursday November 16, 7.30pm £16 / £14 over 60 / £10 under 18 and students

Friday November 10, 7.30pm Saturday November 11, 7.30pm £15/£7.50 for students and under 18

DakhaBrakha Theatr Bryn Terfel

Nos Wener 1 Rhagfyr, 8pm | Friday December 1, 8pm £15/£13 gostyngiadau concessions


Swyddfa Ewrop Greadigol y Deyrnas Unedig Cymru

EWROP GREADIGOL

Cyllid a chyfleoedd i’r sectorau diwylliannol, creadigol a chlyweledol

CREATIVE EUROPE

Funding and opportunities for the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors www.creativeeuropeuk.eu #creativeeurope @CEDUK_Culture

Volcano Theatre – One Land Many Faces. Prosiect cydweithredol rhwng Volcano Theatre (Cymru) | La Transplanisphère (France) | Institut Français (France) | Bildung und Integration (Germany) | Maison de la Création (Belgium) | Ortzai Teatro (Spain) | Sin Arts (Hungary). Ffotograffiaeth gan Arthur Navellou. Prosiect cyd-weithredol wedi ei ariannu gan raglen Diwylliant yr UE 2007-2014. www.volcanotheatre.co.uk

Volcano Theatre – One Land Many Faces. A co-production between Volcano Theatre (Wales, UK) | La Transplanisphère (France) | Institut Français (France) | Bildung und Integration (Germany) | Maison de la Création (Belgium) | Ortzai Teatro (Spain) | Sin Arts (Hungary). Photography by Arthur Navellou. Cooperation Project supported by the EU Culture Programme 2007-2014. www.volcanotheatre.co.uk


ARCADE CARDIFF

check our our second space Three Doors Up, also in Queens Arcade_ Ewch i weld ein ail ofod Three Doors Up, hefyd yn Queens Arcade

Fadic Rock, Standpoint Futures, AJ Stockwell, 2017

Gwenael Bodet: 04/10/17 - 21/10/17 AJ Stockwell: 08/11/17 - 25/11/17 Andrew Bolton: 29/11/17 - 16/12/17 Matt Cook: 20/12/17 - 06/1/18 Mandy Lane: 10/1/18 - 27/1/18 Wednesday - Saturday_Dydd Mercher - Dydd Sadwrn: 12.30-17.30 Queens Arcade, Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 2BY

For further details on projects_ Am fwy o fanylion am brosiectau: arcadecardiff.co.uk facebook: Arcadecardiff @Arcadecardiff facebook: ThreeDoorsUpCardiff @ThreeDoorsUpCardiff


east bristol contemporary

more info and mailing list sign up eastbristolcontemporary.com

admission free

autumn programme 2017


p Drink chea . . ic s u m e v ten to li . Leave to go home is L . k n u r d >> Arrive with friends. Dance heeky donner on t beers. Cha be, catch the bus. C eason. Get home. Miss the tu k? Why not, ‘tis the s ctible? c u the way ba e it all off as tax ded Sleep. Writ

CHRISTMAS STAFF PARTY 16 DECEMBER 7PM - LATE

Office workers get to act inappropriately in front of their boss, cop off in the stationery cupboard and photocopy their arse. It’s about time self-employed creative sector workers got some of the action! All funds raised will go towards the Sluice 2018 programme. A non-profit artist-run initiative, Sluice works with artist-run galleries and projects by creating platforms including a Biennial, an Expo, the Sluice Magazine, Gallery, Residency, Screenings and Talks.

11 Bohemia Place Hackney Central, E8 1DU Entry £5 >> bit.ly/sluicexmas


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