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responding to those readings

‘Responding to those readings’ is a collaborative research project by Saira Edwards, Olivia Jones, and Emma Helen Reid. Common ground within our work includes the absence and presence of women’s bodies. We wanted to question some of the readings our work has had, which we thought were reductive and binary because of stereotypical gazes. We had a group discussion with Annie Crabtree, Niamh Forbes, and Hannah Moitt. We came up with, and shared, suggestions and strategies for how we can deal with readings of our work we find problematic; to be able to assert ourselves and contextualise our own work. What are our individual or collective responsibilities and aims? What could we (individually or collectively) dismiss?



RE: Tutorial For those of us who don’t exist in the “neutral” position of the white cis hetero male making work …. In your email you describe being shocked by my work when you saw it at the tutorial, you tell me that you now realise you “rattled on to cover your confusion”. Then you suggest that your original comments were not particularly relevant, as if you are trying to apologise for this, but you don’t. I wonder what the purpose of your email actually is? It’s interesting that you took this moment and directed the conversation about what something is or what it means. Who gets to talk about what? You said you found it compelling and that it stayed with you uncomfortably, but I wonder if that’s just because of the reading you constructed (that’s grim, but?) It has become apparent that there was some kind of titillating moment in how you were responding to me and my work. Why is it that when you see a woman’s body in the work, their legs walking, you have made up a narrative where they are a potential victim? Do we construct meanings based on assumptions of identities? What does it mean for you to further give me an unsolicited reading of my work? The language you have used in your email is potentially triggering. What is it that makes you willing to use this language at me so casually?

I can recognise now that your reading of the work was sexualised and oppressive, suggesting an immediate projection of meaning based on your own desires. Maybe you want to think about that. By the way, the name you addressed me by is my middle not my first. Olivia Emma Saira






References from discussion group: Interview: ‘Living a Feminist Life with Sara Ahmed’ on Novara Media http://novaramedia.com/2017/05/24/living-a-feminist-life/ Article: ‘Identity-Quality’ Oct 30 2016 from The White Pube http://www.thewhitepube.co.uk/identity-quality Interview: The Guardian ‘Karla Black at Venice’ June 2011 https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jun/01/karla-blackat-venice-biennale Interview: Juliana Cerqueira Leite, ‘One of today’s most exciting new sculptors on pushing her body through clay’ http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/15523/1/julianacerqueira-leite


IMAGE CREDITS: p 4 - 5, Saira Edwards, video still from Real Techniques, 2017 p 6 - 7, Saira Edwards, video still from Real Techniques, 2017 p 12 - 13, Olivia Jones, Seaweed, 2017 p 14, everyone’s notes from discussion group p 16 - 17, Saira Edwards, video still from Real Techniques, 2017 p 19, Olivia Jones, documentation of Seaweed, 2017 p 20 - 21, Olivia Jones, video still from Yoke, (peat) 2015 p 22 & 23, Emma Helen Reid, video stills from gusset, 2017 p 24, Emma Helen Reid, documentation photo gusset, 2017

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Responding to those readings  

Responding to those readings  

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