Hilary Williams´s performance interventions in Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by LADA

In London, Workshops on December 16, 2017 at 12:28 am

Hilary Williams created several performance interventions on December 13th and 14th of 2016 in Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by Live Art Development Agency, London.

Tuesday 13th December 2016, Performance in locality of LADA, Unit 7, Queens Yard, White Post Lane, London E9 5EN UK.

Wednesday 14th December 2016, Performance in Olympic Park.



As a self directed solo performance/live artist I had previously made work around homelessness and refugee issues in Dublin and the frustration of watching the Syria conflict from news reports. I made a work entitled Cumulator which involved being “homeless” in a tent locally in Dublin, from mountains, to parks to shore line, 9 sites in one day with 9 hours writing live in the hour of each site.

(This work was made in tandem with live work being done at the same time by other artists in Belfast and elsewhere, the idea coming from James King with Support from B, Beyond Northern Ireland Performance Art Group, realized in December 2016 with 12 artists working live for 12 hours.)

This time I set off across the Irish sea in order to take part in the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Berlin based artist Tanja Ostojić, hosted by Live Art Development Agency London, with vague plans in my head. I knew we were to bring a case, where we would empty the contents and not much else was I really aware of. I had a fairly heavy rucksack and with a bit of arthritis, I prefer to keep my loads light when travelling. So, after the initial workshop introduction we all set off “on the hoof,” as it were, to explore the possible sites and do some interventions.


Hilary Williams performance interventions on December 14th of 2016 in the Olympic Park, London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić

Various people chose sites and did interesting work in unloading and reloading, dressing and undressing, displaying, revealing and sharing, items, memories, short physical snapshots of themselves, their lives, others lives, others stories, all done live in differently moving ways. I was captivated by all of the works. Some were long and durational, others brief; done publicly, the whole scape of live action comes into focus.

I find myself watching not only the performance but also, other events nearby, two swans alighting to land on the river Lee, three people walking by not even glancing at a woman emptying out her bag’s contents. London is that huge cosmopolitan jungle that I find, as a Dubliner, both awesome and massive; I feel like an ant.

So the moment came, I chose a site, mainly as it had a seat, in the middle of a small lane junction, made of concrete with a bike stood up nearby a railing, a small triangle of space. I tend to work with a plan of sorts but instinct and reactions to my own action come into play. So, if I get into a tangle I give myself boundaries where I must try to resolve physical constraints; succeed or fail, I must go through that self made boundary.

I had wrapped my head in white opaque material so was unable to see, but knew where everything was. I wrapped some black and yellow boundary tape around the seat and around myself. I hoped to move a bit further but got caught by a knot so with it around my shoulders I pushed the force of my self towards the road. I knew it was risky but also knew that it was where I had to go so eventually I could feel the tape stretch. I thought it would snap suddenly and I was literally going to be hurled onto the street, so I lowered myself and when it did go, I did not land out on the road;  somehow it was not the tape that broke but, I had shifted the actual concrete seat a bit off its plinth. So ended my first performance. I think we moved swiftly on so no one could see the damage I had done to the street furniture.

The next day we walked to Olympic Park; I choose a children’s playground and a bench. I thought about the previous performance and felt I needed to present a different feel: a softer use of body and space and maybe some improvisations too.

There was a circular wooden stage nearby which I simply ran around 7 times and did some shoulder stands, a mischievous warm up/showing off. Then, I got up on a bench and waved the cloth around; with a slight breeze, it obliged. I then moved the tape around some tree like structures and also around the audience and finished by tying myself around with the last end of the tape, so concluded that performance.

I was not sure if it was good or bad but when I saw the photos after it pleased me to no end. I must have instinctively imitated the sculpture behind by Anish Kapoor, a form with winding shapes, spiralling.

Throughout the two days I was interested in the many conversations and discussions around Misplaced Women? Coming from another time and cultures I would, myself have had those issues: inequality of salary, loss of earnings, no maternity leave, etc.; but all are in my past now, so at this stage I am maybe freer than most artists –  by fact that I am totally in control of what I do.When one is amongst 15 or so individuals all from different cultures, experiences, etc., you can’t but benefit. I found those that had actually volunteered in refugee camps, giving of themselves to help others by just been there, using circus skills, mime and befriending children who need a friend as much as food and shelter, commendable. There was a level of academic speak from some that although I struggle with is a good learning curve for yours truly. So I believe it all helps.


This reflexions have been written, on invitation by Tanja Ostojić, by Hilary Williams, on December 19th 2016.  Edited by: Tanja Ostojić and Danyel Ferreri

Photos: Misplaced Women? performance workshop participants


Hilary Williams performance interventions on December 14th of 2016 in the Olympic Park, London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić


Hilary Williams performance interventions on December 14th of 2016 in the Olympic Park, London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić



Hilary Williams (b.1945 in Dublin) was Physical education teacher from 1967–2000. She received BA and MA in Fine Arts at IADT Dublin in 2005 and 2007. Last ten years she is self taught performance artist who works live and performance to camera. www.mutantspace.com  Diary of an Irish Performance artist.


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