MisplacedWomen?

Posts Tagged ‘Dagmara Bilon’

Teresa Albor’s and Dagmara Bilon’s continuous collaboration

In London, Performances on February 6, 2019 at 10:48 pm

Teresa Albor and Dagmara Bilon both took part in “Misplaced Women?” Workshop by Tanja Ostojić, 13-14 December 2016, hosted by LADA at their studio/office in Hackney. Teresa brought objects left behind by people in the process of migrating from Syria and Afghanistan to Europe from a collection she has been working with via a project called “The Things We Leave Behind.”  During the workshop Teresa experimented with calling out the names of people who have made this journey. Dagmara focussed on her own migration history and work she had made in the past using a suitcase as a prop as well as other objects from her earlier performances. They got to know each other in this inspiring workshop and started a collaboration soon after.

Teresa Albor and Dagmara Bilon: “Solidarity not charity”, at The Purple Ladies, Peckham, 2017. Photography: Lais Pontes
Dagmara Bilon: “Solidarity not charity”, at The Purple Ladies, Peckham, 2017. Photography: Lais Pontes

Peckham: Dagmara invited Teresa to join her making work for the “Solidarity not charity” event, hosted by The Purple Ladies, held 17 March 2017 at MARKET, to benefit refugees. This time Dagmara had replaced the suitcase with a large “migrant” bag made from woven plastic and added women’s heels adorned with the British Union Jack. Teresa had made a sound piece of names to play in the background.  Although the two were meant to perform separately, they chose to perform in the same space.  Teresa handed people objects or set them next to a candle in the space while Dagmara navigated the space from within the bag wearing the heels. 


Pimlico: Teresa was asked to make work for a public market —Tachbrook Market in Westminster — through the Rufus Stone project, during refugee week (17 June 2017).  She invited Dagmara to perform with her.  Because this was a public space, the two took care to engage the public, via a handout or through conversation.  Teresa placed objects on a pedestal, the soundtrack of names was played and Dagmara attempted to make her way across a thoroughfare to the stall. 

Dagmara Bilon, performing during refugee week 2017, Pimlico. Photography: Rachel Cherry
Teresa Albor performing during refugee week 2017, Pimlico. Photography: Rachel Cherry
 Dagmara Bilon, performing during refugee week 2017, Pimlico. Photography: Rachel Cherry


Richmond: Teresa invited Dagmara to perform at an exhibition of “The things we leave behind” at the One Paved Square Gallery in Richmond 24 Jan – 3 Feb, 2018.  The performance was 24 January, 2018.  Teresa used a torch instead of candles and used boundary tape to mark off sections of the space. Dagmara incorporated getting undressed, into the bag, movement and emerging from the bag into the performance.  Once again the soundtrack of names was played. 

Dagmara Bilon, performing at “The things we leave behind”, One Paved Square Gallery, Richmond, 2018. Photography: Sisi Burn
Dagmara Bilon performing at “The things we leave behind”, One Paved Square Gallery, Richmond, 2018. Photography: Sisi Burn
Teresa Albor performing at “The things we leave behind”, One Paved Square Gallery, Richmond, 2018. Photography: Sisi Burn

Bethnal Green: Dagmara invited Teresa to take part in a full day workshop as part of her involvement with the “I am not a village” project residency at Guest Projects in Bethnal Green.  The two experimenting with various ideas, including incorporating elements of Tanja Ostojić ’s “Naked Life” (2004-2016) performance series into their performance.  A week later, on 28 April, 2018 they performed a version of “Naked Life” — foregoing all of their previous props and gestures.   This time they entered the space, stood on a pedestal, dressed in layers of clothing.  They took turns reciting short stories of people who have been forced to move—a woman living in London dealing with domestic abuse; a woman moving from Sudan to a camp in Uganda; and so on.  With each story they removed a layer of clothing.  Once they were both naked and vulnerable, in solidarity with those whose stories they had recited, they dressed in their own clothes and told their own stories of relative privilege and security.  

Dagmara Bilon and Teresa Albor, performing at Bethnal Green, 2018, Photography: Camilla Canocchi
Dagmara Bilon and Teresa Albor, performing at Bethnal Green, 2018, Photography: Camilla Canocchi
Dagmara Bilon and Teresa Albor, performing at Bethnal Green, 2018, Photography: Camilla Canocchi

 Text by: Teresa Albor

Editied and published by Tanja Ostojic

Photography: Lais Pontes, Sisi Burn, Rachel Cherry, Camilla Canocchi

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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.

Dagmara Bilon is a London based Polish/German freelance Performance Artist, director and teacher, working nationally and internationally. Her multi-disciplinary practice orbits around embodied investigation and making the unconscious conscious. Central for her practice are dialog and collaboration, with self, others, materials and sites. She is passionate about art that inspires change. Over the last decade she has produced a diverse body of work which belongs to the borderlining realms of experimental performance and installation, as well as community based  projects.

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Some of the earlier blog posts for London:

The following artists, activists and researchers developed their new works or performed some of the “Misplaced Women?” scores in the frame of the Tanja Ostojic’s “Misplaced Women?” London Workshop. I would like to invite you to please check out Participants Contributions in text, photos and videos, that I edited partly in collaboration with Danyel Ferrari and published on the project blog:

Tanja Ostojic

Elena Marchevska

Danyel Ferrari´s Article published in ArtSlant

Teresa Albor

Dagmara Bilon

Camilla Canocchi 

Shannon Mulvey 

Cherry Truluck

Seila Fernandez Arconada

Alice Tuppen

Hilary Williams 

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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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Dagmara Bilon performing “Misplaced Women?” in the Olympic Park, London, in frame of Tanja Ostojic´s workshop (December 2016)

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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 featured in this post taken by the “Misplaced Women?” workshop participants, London, and Aleksandar Utjesinovic

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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

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