MisplacedWomen?

Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Dagmara Bilon realised 3 performances on gentrification, home and identity in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by LADA London, December 13 & 14, 2016

In Homes, London, Performances, Railway-stations, Workshops on March 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm

In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by Live Arts Development Agency London, on December 13 & 14, 2016, Dagmara Bilon realised 3 performance interventions which she has called “embodied investigations into home and identity; a protest against becoming a silenced and isolated as wallpaper, dedicated to the ever-changing landscape of London in the mist of gentrification.” 

For my first intervention I chose to unpack my heavy back-pack on  a street corner in Hackney Wick near the neighborhood’s formerly longest occupied squat. I took of my heavy rucksack from my back and start to unpack. It’s full of various objects, accumulated over time: my childhood toys, my children’s toys, things I need for work, such as gaffe-tape, iPad, mobile phone, cigarettes, wire, lots of stones to ground me, so as not to fly away, a black fabric sphere that symbolised the veil of grief for the loss of my father, white pieces of fabric that I use to collect my menstrual blood, pens, pencils, a toy-snake. As I unpack my bag it feels never ending. Bits and pieces of glitter, receipts, notes… Lots and lots of junk, but to me – a trail of my existence. All the objects are bare on the wet concrete floor. While I see them, I feel uncertain of my survival, slightly embarrassed, like a public emptying of the bowels, spilling of my organs. I don’t dare to look into anyone’s eyes;I start to pack my bag as quickly as I possibly can, stuffing things back inside my dirty old rucksack. But there is always something more, always something else spilling out…

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My second performance featured a surreal procession of a displaced female body in a red suitcase, walking in black high heels and black velvet tight leggings over a Bridge in Olympic Park, that leads to London’s biggest shopping mall,Westfield Stratford. In the morning on that day, I took my large red suitcase from my room that contains all my dresses and props from previous London performances. This is when the performance started. I carried the suitcase from my room in South East London to Hackney,down the stairs, down the road, and on public transport. While walking I’m reminiscing of my immigrationat the age of three with my mother from Poland to Germany, with one and only suitcase filled with our possessions. In my associations of a single woman standing by a bus stop with a big red suitcase, symbolises vulnerability danger, but also power. The power to move on. As I travel I notice the eyes of people peeking and then quickly shifting back onto their daily newspaper or smart phone.

Then,  standing by a bridge together with the group of participants from the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop. I open my suitcase and hand my items one by one to individuals in the group. To me this is a most humane and kind experience. To have my items held by others. I take off my golden sandals and step inside my black high heel shoes and through the two holes I have cut in the red suitcase. I squeeze my body into the suitcase and ask a volunteer from the group to lock the suitcase and point me straight over the bridge. I’m inside now, locked in. I can’t see where I am going. My legs are wobbly. The core of my body contorted. I want to speak: “am I going into the right direction?” — but I  don’t have a voice ‘in there’, inside the suitcase. Spontaneously, a member of the group directs me how to walk forwards. I feel even more powerless, cut off and disorientated. I have no choice but to follow instructions and to focus on my feet, to stay on the ground and continue moving forward.

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For my third performance, I shared an intervention with three women from the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop at Hackney Wick Overground Station. I chose to locate myself on the other side of the platform. It was not ideal for documenting the action. I deliberately wanted to experience the gap between us and the feeling of loosing side of each other as trains move in and out of the platform.

The last time I saw my father was on the other side of a platform in 1985.

I place my red suitcase on the floor and slowly unpack all my dresses and props from previous London performances. Each of them with a story to tell, the dust of previous locations, the smell of sweat or dump, and leave a trace of these items around me that for a sort of island.

I’m standing in the middle of the island and at last pull out a huge Cunt Sculpture. I stand up on the bench “on my island” and hold up my Cunt up high. A train comes into the platform. People are going in and out. A man takes a picture from within the train. The doors are closing. The train moves out again.

I step off the bench, pack up my suitcase again and as I walk over to the other side of the platform to join the others, a mother with a baby looks at me beaming and asks if it was a vagina that I was holding up?

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Text written by: Dagmara Bilon

Edited by Tanja Ostojić and Danyel Ferreri

Photos by the “Misplaced Women?” workshop participants London

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Dagmara Bilon (b.1981) is a London based Polish/German Performance Artist, Co-Founder of The Purple Ladies Performance Collective, Artist Mentor on The Talking Gender Project and Project Manager of The MotherHouse. Since graduating in 2003 from Trinity Laban with a degree in Dance Theater she has worked as a performer for companies such as Punchdrunk, Psychological Art Circus, The Bones Theater, Marissa Carnesky, Ear Cinema and Lundahl&Seitl. Simultaneously she created and produced her own independent performance projects including staged works, sight specific interventions and one to one performances. More recently she focused on developing performance actions that challenge the notions of motherhood and identity and exhibited work alongside The Desperate Art Wives. She has also conducted various community arts led projects engaging young people in the discourse of gender, sexuality and identity. www.dagmarabilon.com

Alice Tuppen-Corps unpacked her suitcase on December 14 2016 and created the “Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home” Performance in Hackney Wick London

In Homes, London, Performances, Workshops on March 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Alice Tuppen-Corps unpacked her suitcase on December 14 2016 and created the Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home Performance in Hackney Wick London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop lead by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by LADA.

Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home, Solo Performance for Film (Private). White Post Lane. 5.30am – 6.30am and Solo Performance for Film (Live Audience) LADA 14th December 2016.

Alice’s research investigates how specific forms of encounter with individual stories and personal objects can act as enabling agents, transforming the emotional, psychological and creative experience of worlds. In this piece, ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home’, the artist took possessions from her own home to include: a portrait of herself aged four years old, an Eiffel Tower gifted to her in Paris by a lover, her broken wedding ring, two lion hats, a whip, a box of matches and a spikey golden hedgehog.

Foremost a filmmaker, (as well as and significantly here a divorcee), Alice experienced the first day of the workshop with Tanja as a ‘watcher’. She absorbed the performances of others whilst waiting for the moment it felt right for her to perform. That moment came in the early hours of the following morning, inspired by the place she encountered as her ‘home for the night’, an artist’s squat in the East End of London.

‘Alice walked in. She was welcomed, perturbed even, by a new world of waiting objects: a guillotine, two dressmaker’s dummies, broken pots, old papers, a crumpled bed. Placing her suitcase on the floor she took off her hat, coat, shoes and she dressed the two dressmaker’s dummies that confronted her. Arranging her portrait amongst the other pictures on the wall she laid out her own vessels, four little dishes and a Van Gogh teddy bear. Alice infiltrated the space through the slow positioning of her objects. She embodied the space as she integrated her objects with those of the absent ‘host’, in this way she re-storyed herself into a new place of belonging. Alice made the squat her home. The two dummies became her ‘animated’ roommates. She re-worked these characters as symbolic of others she had, lost, left, displaced by her leaving her own home and former relationships. Seeing the characters before her, changed and enlivened by her interventions, she saw others and herself more clearly. As the dummies spoke back to with such autobiographical agency, Alice accessed and activated memories that allowed her to reposition herself. She became placed.

Alice Tuppen-Corps Live Performance with Portrait (6)

Alice Tuppen-Corps: Live Performance with Portrait, Photo: Shannon Mulvey

Alice Tuppen-Corps Live Performance with Hat (7)

Alice Tuppen-Corps: Live Performance with Hat

Alice documented the process and re-performed the ‘unpacking’ of the suitcase to a live audience at LADA that evening and in dialogue with onscreen photographs of the objects when in-situ at the squat. In the live, audiences were dressed by Alice and given offerings from the case to ‘care for’, one audience member said that ‘she felt a transformative wave flow over her, issuing out from the performer, touching the audience and drawing them into the co-generation of a [third space], simultaneously journeying inward to self, outward towards performer and across to the screen’.

Video: Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home

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Alice Tuppen-Corps is a practice-based Ph.D. Researcher and Digital Performance Lecturer at De Montfort University. She was trained at Goldsmiths College and The Slade School of Fine Art with a background in Broadcast and Media Production, Higher Education and Arts Psychotherapy.  She is a Ph.D. practice-based researcher and artist based in the East Midlands.

She is principally investigating ‘Digital Performance and the Feminine: Transformational Encounters’. In her artistic practice she filmically re-stages individual stories within augmented, networked and tactile environments in order to generate new qualities of reflective space that empower transformation, contemplation and connection. Bracha Ettinger’s concept of ‘Carriance’ is theoretically foreground, allowing ‘the other’ to be ‘within me [him/her] charged’. Alice adopts Ettinger’s concept of ‘Thinking (M) otherwise’ (2006) and performatively facilitates her participants to co-create within matrixial spaces of technological, sculptural, filmic and relational aesthetics. Like a ‘Mobius Strip’, her artworks reciprocally and affectively touch back and within such artistic carriance structures, a hopeful and restorative dance is activated in self and other regardless of sexual or gender identification. www.alicetuppencorps.com

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Text: Alice Tuppen-Corps

Video: Shannon Mulvey
Photographs: Alice Tuppen–Corps, Shannon Mulvey

Email: alicecharlotte(AT)myself.com

Misplaced Women? Performance Workshop in LADA London

In London, Workshops on March 7, 2017 at 6:39 pm

LADA was delighted to host a London iteration of Misplaced Women? in December 2016. The Misplaced Women? workshop by Tanja Ostojić took place as part of a LADA residency being undertaken by the artist and researcher Elena Marchevska exploring Live Art practices and methodologies on working with issues of displacement. Tanja Ostojić ’s practice and the ideas at the heart of the Misplaced Women? project are so central to Elena’s thinking, and so vital to current issues, that it was a wonderful and timely opportunity to be able to invite Tanja to London.

Participants for the workshop were selected by an open call for proposals, and we were thrilled with the level of interest in the workshop from such a wide range of artists, activists and thinkers. Over two days the sixteen participants created a new community, and, following excursions into the badlands of East London, inspired a gathering of interested parties with presentations of the works they had each created in such a short space of time.

It was an honour and a privilege to work with Tanja Ostojić and to host Misplaced Women? in London.   

Lois Keidan, LADA

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Tanja Ostojić:

I am grateful that I had great opportunity to lead two days long intensive performance art workshop hosted by Live Art Development Agency London, on invitation by Dr Elena Marchevska who also organised and facilitated our program including the final presentation.

Misplaced Women? Performance Workshop is one of important formats under the umbrella of the  “Misplaced Women?” Project (ongoing since 2009) that I have developed in the past several years.  Many participants of diverse nationalities, professions, genders, age and backgrounds have went though it so far Europe wide. Workshops are made in small and mid size groups with four to sixteen participants. Workshops have been hosted by high schools, universities, art schools, (performance)art spaces and festivals. My role within it is to initiate sensibility, dialogues and thinking about issues of displacement, migration, public space, security, exposure, gentrification, sensitivity to the issues of gender in the context of migration, between others; to initiate people to try out performative acts in the public space, and further more to give them space, support and encouragement to realise performances. And as well to facilitate them to participate in group public presentations of their workshop activities and to produce afterwords written reflexions or further interventions related to it, that some of them I edit and publish on the project´s on-line blog. Occasionally processes of healing related to deep personal, legislative or family traumas are occurring as well. Some of workshop participants produce as well at later stage works or writings that have been inspired by creative processes in this workshop.

The London iteration of the Workshop was of high quality thanks to the good organisation and pre scouting of the neighbourhood and high motivation and quality of the participants selected via open call.

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Tanja Ostojić. Photo: Danyel Ferarri

I´ve also done one small performance intervention myself, to “brake the ice” at the beginning of the outdoor part of the workshop, at 1pm on December 13, 2016 in the closest vicinity of LADA. My intention was to memorise the 3 years long fruitful existence and one year time of displacement of the ]performance s p a c e [  due to the gentrification processes raging in Hackney Wick. Along with physical changes of the neighbourhood came increased rents and the inevitable loss of arts spaces, including the important venue ]performance s p a c e [, which moved to Folkestone following complaints from residents of newly built condominium complexes.  

And so in front of the entrance of what used to be the important performance art venue I was thinking of how many amassing performances have been realised there in three years of its existence, while emptying all the contents of my hand bag and my pockets, turning every single item inside out.. At the end of this cycle, standing in socks without coat on a cardboard on a wet London December day, in front of the former location of the ]performance s p a c e [, I read a poem from a book that I purchased a day before while scouting the Westwood Shopping Mall in Stratford Station. It was a powerful poem from Adrienne Rich´s book “The Dream of a Common Language”. Then came the cycle in reverse and I turned back and packed one by one all my stuff…

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The following workshop participants developed their works in the frame of the “Misplaced Women?” London Workshop. I would like to invite you to please check out participants contributions in text, photos and videos, that I edited and published on the project blog:

Elena Marchevska holding the Misplaced Women? sign on Heathrow Airport 

Danyel Ferrari´s Article in ArtSlant

Teresa Albor´s performance interventions

Camilla Canocchi 

Shannon Mulvey 

Cherry Truluck

Seila Fernandez Arconada

Alice Tuppen

Hilary Williams 

Dagmara Bilon

Jasmine Lee

Nicholas Harris

Sara Zaltash

Sophie Cero

Miki Zea

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Lois Keidan is a co-founder and the Director of the Live Art Development Agency. She was Director of Live Arts at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London from 1992 to 1997 where she devised a year round programme of new performance and initiated numerous new ventures for established and emerging artists. Prior to the ICA, she was responsible for national policy and provision for Performance Art and interdisciplinary practices at the Arts Council of Great Britain. She contributes articles on performance to a range of journals and publications and gives talks and presentations on performance at festivals, colleges, venues and conferences in Britain and internationally. She sits on a number of Boards and Advisory Panels, including Artsadmin (London) and Performa (New York).     ______________________

Learn more about the Misplaced Women? project and the artist Tanja Ostojić

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Seila Fernández Arconada created her Sketches of Distance on December 14 2016 by river Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop

In Bergen, London, Workshops on March 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Seila Fernández Arconada created her Sketches of Distance on December 14, 2016 by river Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by LADA.

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An sketch of distance I (51.544613 -0.022445) Durational performance 45 minutes       

An sketch of distance II  (51.542082, -0.020953) Durational performance 15 minutes

Those two performances were developed in response to the Misplaced Women? workshop led by Berlin based artist Tanja Ostojić. Both actions were presented as spontaneous performances in the public space in two “in between spaces”, a pedestrian bridge and the river Lee bank, both located between Hackney and the new developed Olympic Stadium Park area of Stratford London.

The workshop and this location became context of my actions. Asked to work with my belongings to “interrogate some of the realities of displacement such as travelling, identity, illegality, security, and the private/public”, I began to think of what my personal possessions are and what they mean to me as a migrant, as a woman, as an artist, etc.

In the last years, travelling became part of my working methodology that I consider and work with at many levels including environmental foot print, political and social borders. Belongings, both personal and professional, became a companion mostly connected to functionality. However, as time goes by there are some special items that hold memories and stories that I told in this performance.

The first item that I took out of my backpack was a compass. When this present was given to me in China 10 year ago, I was told: “Carry this compass with you and you will be able to find your home”. Since then I have been carrying this compass with me. The stories told connected to all those items are resonating experiences to the places where they come from; including a scarf given to me in Spain more than 15 years ago, a pair of handmade earrings I never wore that hold the story of an encounter in Medellín (Colombia), a booklet with drawings made with children in Peru, a T-Shirt bought in the central market of La Paz (Bolivia) that contains a conversation with the seller, among others.

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I placed all the items, one by one, around the compass to locate them in space, drawing a map out of stories while representing distance. 1.217km away from where I come from, about 2 days and 9 hours duration (Google Maps walking+ferry suggestion)

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Distance (Oxford Dictionary)   noun, BrE /ˈdɪstəns/

  • the amount of space between two places or things
  • being far away in space or in time
  • a point that is a particular amount of space away from something else
  • a difference or lack of a connection between two things
  • a situation in which there is a lack of friendly feelings or of a close relationship between two people or groups of people.

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Seila Fernández Arconada is an independent artist—researcher based in Bristol, UK. She is currently a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow (Ireland) with the project Moving while doing, nomadic artistic perceptions in socio-environmental transitory times. She is a collaborator at the “Art, Research and Feminism” research group (Spain). Recently selected by Gasworks London to join the residency “Migration, Identity and Belonging” (Mauritius). Seila has delivered numerous cross-disciplinary workshops and interventions including Communities Development in Post-Crisis Regions (Ukraine) and exhibited internationally, recently in Imagined Landscapes (RWA, UK), In Between Storage (Latvia) and ENCLAVE Land Art (Spain). Her work focuses in exploring artistic methodology, its boundaries and new social approaches.    www.seilafernandezarconada.net

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The text was written by Seila Fernández Arconada

The photographs were taken by Sophie Cullinan

Shannon Mulvey unpacked her bag on December 14 2016 by the oak tree on the River Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London..

In London, Stories, Workshops on February 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Shannon Mulvey unpacked her bag on December 14, 2016 by the oak tree on the River Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Tanja Ostojić, hosted by LADA.

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Shannon Mulvey unpacked her bag on December 14, 2016 by the oak tree on the River Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Tanja Ostojic

While discussing the experiences and issues of displacement of our workshop collective, I began to remember a story that my mother had told me of my grandparents’ assimilation into British culture and their experience of xenophobia. My grandparents on both sides immigrated from Ireland at the age of 16. Reflecting upon my 16 year old self, I could not have even conceived leaving home never mind immigrating. Yet all of my grandparents left their small villages in rural south west Ireland to seek a better life across the water in the UK. Shortly after arriving in the UK they were welcomed by signage clearly stating “no blacks, no Irish, no dogs” on nearly every tenement building and work place. With opportunities lacking, it was desperate times but my grandmother managed to find a small room in which she and her husband could stay. The only rule was no children. Hiding her pregnant stomach, Eileen accepted the room and continued to keep her now heavily pregnant stomach under wraps. A few months later, my uncle Michael was born. However, Michael was fully deaf and suffered from colic which caused him to scream loudly with the pain of the infection.

Trying desperately to protect her livelihood and save her family from being thrown out onto the streets of London mid-winter, Eileen tried desperately to calm her distressed child.

It was no time before the land lady; who was also Irish but had immigrated years before, found out about the child and threw the family out onto the streets.

Although Eileen and Paddy felt abandoned and alone in a new country, they knew they could always rely on the help of one thing- the generosity of the Irish community who had immigrated alongside them and become kind hearted friends throughout the process. A friend they had met on the boat over offered them a place to stay and soon they began to settle back into London life.

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Shannon Mulvey unpacked her bag on December 14, 2016 by the oak tree on the River Lee at the border of Hackney Wick and Stratford London, in the frame of “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space lead by Tanja Ostojic

It saddens me that this story was reminded to me by the shared stories of xenophobia and mistreatment of immigrants discussed within our “Misplaced Women?” workshop. It is documented that the recent rise of racist attacks occurring within the UK took place immediately following the UK’s Brexit vote determining the country’s’ decision to leave the EU. I think it is a vital point in history in which to take action and challenge this racist rhetoric that is being promoted and to take pride in our mission as artists to make work that recognises and resists racist prejudice.

As a theatre maker, it was a truly enriching experience to be able to work collaboratively with such talented artists and to be inspired and informed by their vast and varied processes and modes of thinking and creating; which is a pedagogy I have not encountered thus far in my training as a performer. It was absolutely wonderful working with Tanja Ostojić.

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Shannon Mulvey has been trained on the American Theatre Arts course at Rose Bruford drama school. Whilst studying she spent an exchange semester in Chicago where she worked professionally with the avant-garde, experimental theatre company Trapdoor Theatre. After graduating in June 2016 and receiving a first class degree, she founded the theatre company Sisters of Eden, a feminist performance collective that makes work that challenges patriarchal, hetero-normative ideologies and celebrates the female form.

Check them out on:

Twitter &Instagram: @Sistersof3den

Facebook: Sisters of Eden

Misplaced Women?/ Misplaced Nature? by Camilla Canocchi in the Westfield Shopping Mall Stratford London, December 14 2016.

In London, Performances, Shopping Center, Workshops on February 12, 2017 at 5:12 pm

In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by Live Arts Development Agency London, Camilla Canocchi realised on December 14 2016, a very charming 10 minutes long performance on displacement of nature in the context of gentrification, in the Westfield Shopping Mall, Stratford London. She wrote about it the following:

Misplaced Women?… Misplaced Nature?

I unpacked my backpack at the base of a tree, planted in a flowerbed with fake plants on the top floor of the Westfield shopping mall in Stratford. Among my belongings were five bird whistles I have been working with recently and decided to play them, one by one, while looking at the tree, allowing pauses to hear a reply, which, as I expected, never came.

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Camilla Canocchi performing “Misplaced Women?… Misplaced Nature?” with bird whistles in the Westfield Shopping Mall, Stratford London, December 14 2016. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

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Camilla Canocchi performing “Misplaced Women?… Misplaced Nature?” with bird whistles in the Westfield Shopping Mall, Stratford London, December 14 2016. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

 

Call and response: it’s a game we play everyday, trying to communicate with each other, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Being in a foreign country, speaking a different language, trying to connect with people around us – this is something we have all experienced at some point in our lives. When communication fails, it’s easy to feel misplaced, isolated, lonely. Some, like migrants and homeless people, experience this much more often than others.

And then there’s nature. The area of Stratford and its surroundings – where we have toured with Tanja Ostojić and the workshop participants – that has undergone a process of complete gentrification in recent years, mostly as a result of the Olympic Games held there in 2012. The enormous shopping centre, next to the Olympic Stadium with its artificial environment, was built there for this reason. Where is the nature that once belonged there? Where are its inhabitants? Gentrification misplaces people, and nature too.

 

Camilla Canocchi is a writer and performance artist based in London

Photos: Tanja Ostojić

Teresa Albor´s performances, The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick and Westfield Shopping Mall, Stratford London, December 13 and 14, 2016. in the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” in LADA

In Borders, London, Performances, Shopping Center, Stories, Workshops on February 12, 2017 at 3:31 pm

In the frame of Tanja Ostojić´s “Misplaced Women?” workshop hosted by Live Arts Development Agency London and Elena Marchevska, Teresa Albor realised a series of two very strong performances on displacement:

December 13, 2016, The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick, 2-4pm

December 14, 2016, Westfield Shopping Mall, near Olympic Park, Stratford, 1:45-2pm

On December 16, 2016 she wrote the following related statement:

Packing up the large objects this morning, the bright orange life jacket (child size), the beaded scarf, the soft black little girl’s jacket.  The smell— part smoke, part sweat, musty, human.  Then the small objects—into the orange envelopes and then the zip lock bag, the bits and pieces of jewelry, including the fragile, fragile necklace, all tangled up, hopelessly tangled up.

I imagine,the women who are preparing to be evacuated from Aleppo this morning.  They are packing up what little they can bring.  Little girls (perhaps oblivious), teenage girls (dreaming of a future?), mothers (thinking of their children’s needs).

Clio looks good in red so I have bought her a red dress.  Libby wants a particular book for her medical studies.  I put the red dress in a black box and tie a red ribbon around it.  I wrap the book in silver paper.

Someone else, once carefully packed the things I brought to Hackney Wick. All these objects once belonged to others, who took risks, who are hopefully somewhere where they feel safe, where they can dream, love, argue, fall out of love, make plans for the holidays.

The mall is busy.  People are trying to find things to give to others.  To make them smile, to show somehow—as impossible as it might be—how much they love them.

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Please see Teresa Albor´s video of her performance in front of The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick, London

The necklace is hopelessly tangled.  I spend a good hour trying to ease the knots out.  First I try to soften the snarl, gently easing the tiny chain into a loose little heap.  Then I try to find the ends and see how long a length of chain is possible.  But this makes the knot in the middle grow tighter and tighter.  My fingers are numb from the cold, with little dents where I have been holding the chain.  It seems maddeningly simple.  I picture the untangled chain.  I picture it hanging around the neck of a woman.  She is smiling.

Tosha needs someone to babysit.  It’s not easy being a single mother.  She says it’s hard for her, now that she has a son, to watch the news, to see woman and children, the bombardment, their desperate flight.

I feel vulnerable sitting on the cement paving stone outside the Omega watch store.  Someone else has the power.  A man with a vest that says “security”.  Calling out names: Amena, Yana, Ola, Liliane, Nour, Kamar, Lamma Dayoub, Qamar, Haya, Zeinah, Aya, Nooda, Ranim, Reem, Asil. Please be safe.  What is the worst that can happen to me?  What is the best thing that can happen to you?

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Teresa Albor performing in Westfield Shopping Mall, London, (December 14, 2016. 1:45-2pm) Photo: Tanja Ostojić

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Teresa Albor performing in Westfield Shopping Mall, London, (December 14, 2016. 1:45-2pm) Photo: Tanja Ostojić

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Footnote: Clio, Libby and Tosha are Teresa´s daughters.

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Things I learned in the workshop:

The advantages of being our own audience: Working together, watching each other, making work for each other to see, acting as a magnet in public spaces to draw others in, acting as a protective shield when there’s some question about our “right” to make work in public.  Being open to each other.  Allowing everyone to be at a different point in his or her process. Observing each other and learning from each other.

Explaining to security: The art of just describing what is actually happening. “I am looking for something.”  “She is wrapping a present.”  The power (see above) of being able to focus on an action whilst someone else does the explaining.

Gut feeling + props:  The need to allow your gut feeling to direct you, to give you ideas.  To have the props but then let the action evolve.  But to still be able to edit one’s self, and question one’s ideas, and not to incorporate every single idea.  I have so many ideas.

Also, I wanted to say how much this workshop meant to me. This was a new way for me to work with these objects– the second piece, a way to put myself into the work, to make myself a bit vulnerable. It has given me plenty to think about. Once again, thanks to Tanja Ostojic for her warmth, patience, openness– for making us all feel so safe, and so encouraged as artists.

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Teresa Albor is London based performance and visual artist interested in how different groups of people negotiate the world. Her work is research-based and often involves broad collaboration. It can involve video/moving image, performance, installation, publication, community-based workshops, and forms of artist-led curation.

www.TeresaAlbor.com

www.TheThingsWeLeaveBehind.co.uk

www.Paradox-of-Order.com

www.Rufus-Stone.org

Photos: Tanja Ostojic

Video: Teresa Albor

Cherry Truluck, Misplaced Women workshop LADA London, December 13/14 2016.

In London, Performances, Workshops on February 12, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Misplaced Women? Workshop by Tanja Ostojić, 13th—14th December 2016 at LADA London

I have moved house all my life – I’ve lost track of how many homes I’ve lived in but it’s more than 30 – mostly in the UK, but also Germany and Belgium – so I was really drawn to the idea of returning to London (which I left 2 years ago) to be part of the ‘Misplaced Women?’ workshop. And then, in a lovely moment of coincidence that felt like more than that, Tanja decided to open the workshop with a performance in front of the warehouse that used to home ]performance s p a c e[ who – like me, have also escaped London for Folkestone in Kent.

I took in the other performances with interest – the vulnerability that emptying your bag in public created for some was in stark contrast to the way others used the opportunity as a platform to tell a particular story or explore an idea.  I was extremely conscious of our collective role as a mobile audience throughout and began to consider how our behaviour as  audience members focused our attention away from our surroundings – even in a busy shopping mall or the rather eerie Olympic park.  As we assembled and reassembled for each performance, I kept thinking about the ‘everyday’ nature of the root performance – the simple act of emptying and re-packing your bag.  It is the kind of thing that could almost go unnoticed in a crowd…. So I began, slowly, hesitantly (because to be honest I am terrified of the idea of performing) and completely unannounced, to remove each unremarkable object from my bag and arrange them carefully on the bench beside me.  Occasionally I looked around at the other participants, but no-one registered what I was doing as a performance, which suited me just fine.  I repeated the performance four times in total that day – each iteration slightly more exaggerated than the last and capturing the final one on camera whilst everyone ate lunch around me.  I catalogued the items in my bag – nothing had been placed there specially for the workshop but I instinctively wove together a story from the random selection of objects which suddenly seemed to have real personal resonance – as if they had been on a journey with me (further than Folkestone Central to Stratford…).

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Please see  Cherry Truluck´video-performance

Cherry Truluck is one half of live art and performance design collaboration, Lucky Bert.

Photo & video: Cherry Truluck

Elena Marchevska holding the “Misplaced Women?” Sign at Heathrow Airport London, December 12, 2016.

In Airports, London, Signs, Stories on February 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Hospitality in times of displacement

It is a cold, grey December morning and I am on my way to pick up Tanja Ostojić from Heathrow airport. I am traveling on the Piccadilly line, half empty carriage, thinking about London and me. It wasn’t love at first sight, that is for sure. The first time I visited London was in 2005, just one week before 7/7, to do a performance as part of the exhibition Insomnia, an exhibition about experience of refugees and displaced individuals. It was a hot July week, the streets were filthy. Everywhere was incredibly busy and I felt that the city was a bit too much for me… I left relieved to be off to tour a show in rural France for three months and didn’t really think about coming back.

However, here I am, 12 years later, in London, again looking at displacement, at stories of migration and misplacement. This is a very critical and important moment for the UK, Europe and the world. Six months have passed since the Brexit vote, Trump has been elected as president of the USA and the world is a very hostile, inhospitable place for people on the move. Heathrow is flashy, clean, perfect, a haven for shoppers and travellers. I feel profoundly misplaced, leaning on the metal rail between taxi drivers and company chauffeurs, holding a handmade sign saying ‘Misplaced Women?’. Not a personal name on my sign, not a company logo, just a question. Do I wait for someone to come, or do I wait for my situation to be resolved?

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Elena Marchevska holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign at Heathrow Airport London, December 12, 2016. Photo: Tanja Ostojc

When I was developing the concept for my residency with Live Art Development Agency, my thoughts were constantly with the people in flux, those who were crossing or waiting at borders for days, sometimes months. Vivid memories of my childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia emerged. I remembered my school friends who were refugees from Sarajevo; my work in refugee camps during the Kosovo crisis; the lines for bread and milk; cars left without petrol in the middle of the road. More than 20 years has passed, but my body clearly remembers the fear, and at the same time the braveness, the openness to share, to give, to be there for one another. Many people opened their homes to refugees and family displaced due to war, despite being impoverished and affected by the war themselves.

It is important to discuss displacement along hospitality. Derrida introduces hospitality as a radical concept that offers alternative ways to treat others. His central argument is based on the ‘aporia of hospitality’, which, according to Derrida, has two main elements: one of owning and being empowered by that ownership, and another of giving ownership away and being vulnerable. I thought that it would be an important part of my research and creative journey to host an artist, someone with a similar history to myself, and to open a creative dialogue about hospitality and displacement. Tanja Ostojic’s project ‘Misplaced Women?’ was a natural choice.

The project works with the Derrida’s aporia. Tanja hosts a safe space that allows her workshop participants to open up and share their experiences. It also requires that they present their ideas immediately, by performing them in a public space. This brings us back to Derrida’s discussion of the etymology of the term ‘hospitality’, which is related to hostility, since the root hospes is allied to the root hostis, which interestingly means both ‘stranger’ and ‘enemy’. Thus, hospitality, as in hostilis (stranger/enemy) + potes (having power), originally meant the power that the host has over the stranger/enemy. And indeed we see the hospitality of Western European societies being defined by imposing power over the ‘strangers’, defining them by impossible standards, borders are re-erected, walls are rebuild, communities are ostracised.

According to Irina Arishtarkova, hospitality is a radical relation, especially when compared with tolerance: it provides a framework to account for the treatment of others with limitless attention and expectation, and it entails an active gesture of welcoming, greeting, sheltering, and in many cases, nourishing. Tanja Ostojić operates within this framework, opening a hospitable space during her performance workshops.  Participants are welcomed and guided, acknowledged and their ideas are nourished. Anecdotes are shared, objects are transformed, pictures are circulated. During the two days of the workshop, I felt that we tapped into each other’s experiences of displacement and loss. Hospitality became performative, it was about slow decision making, about the labour of hosting others, and the handling of unexpected outcomes. There was a willingness to contain and to produce space for the Other out of one’s own flesh and blood, we all walked together by the canal, performers and audience at the same time. The days melted into one long discussion about what displacement means today. For me, the small acts of hope and care that each participant made created a ripple strong enough to go beyond the current climate of hostility.

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Bibliography:

ARISTARKHOVA, I. (2012). Hospitality of the matrix: philosophy, biomedicine, and culture. New York, Columbia University Press.

DERRIDA, J., & DUFOURMANTELLE, A. (2000). Of hospitality. Stanford, Calif, Stanford University Press.

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Elana Marchevska is London Based Artist and educator of Macedonian origin.

http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/open-call-for-participants-for-misplaced-women-workshop

http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/whats-on/misplaced-women/

Open Call for participants for Misplaced Women? performance workshop with Tanja Ostojić in London UK, December 13-14, 2016 hosted by Live Art Development Agency

In London, News, Workshops on October 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm

This Open Call for participants of Misplaced Women? performance workshop with Tanja Ostojić in London UK, December 13-14, 2016 hosted by Live Art Development Agency:

Participants of all backgrounds and levels of experience are welcome, but we particularly encourage those who are interested in issues of migration, representations of gender and art in the public realm.

The workshop is free and tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. We are able to contribute to travel costs for participants who are based outside London. The deadline for applications is Friday 4 November.

Outcomes will be presented to the public at the end of the second day of the workshop at the Live Art Development Agency and included on the Misplaced Women? project website.

Please reed about the project and see more application relevant details at the following link:

http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/open-call-for-participants-for-misplaced-women-workshop

Good luck and looking forward to collaborate with you in London!

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Marija Jevtić, Tanja Ostojić, Sunčica Šido and Nela Antonović performing Misplaced Women? inside the Info Park, Central Bus station Belgrade, Serbia, as one of the group performances in public spaces in Belgrade, conducted on October 29, 2015, during Misplaced Woman? workshop with Tanja Ostojić, thematising solidarity with the refuges on the Balkan route. Organised as a part of the From Diaspora to Diversity, Remont, Belgrade, Serbia. Photo: Lidija Antonović.

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