MisplacedWomen?

Posts Tagged ‘visibility’

“MISPLACED WOMEN?” Participatory Art Project Archives, ongoing since 2009 @Art-Lab Berlin

In Berlin, News on September 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Tanja Ostojić is exhibiting photos, stories, videos, drawings, signs and performance scores from the “MISPLACED WOMEN?” participatory art project archives (ongoing since 2009) in the form of multimedia installation in the frame of Beautiful Trouble: Rethinking Art-ivism, Arrival City exhibition at the Art-Lab Berlin. Within this project Ostojić and project contributors of diverse backgrounds embody and enacts some of everyday life’s activities that thematise displacement, as it is known to transients, migrants, war and disaster refugees and to the itinerant artists travelling the world to earn their living.

Exhibition opening: 

Friday, September 14, at 7 pm.

Exhibition duration: 

September 14-30, 2018.

Art-Lab Berlin

Perleberger Straße 60 

10559 Berlin-Moabit

P1010202_XS

Tanja Ostojić: “MISPLACED WOMEN?” participatory art project archives (ongoing since 2009) installation view at Art Lab Berlin, September 2018. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

“MISPLACED WOMEN?” , Performance series ongoing since 2009 / Project’s Archive, mixed media installation includes:

2 Works on textile:

1) Tanja Ostojić / Marta Nitecka Barche: “Misplaced Women?” Banner 49,5 X 181,5 cm, 2016, Canvas, marker, embroidery.

2) Monika Janulevičiūtė: “Misplaced Women?” self made sign on textile 49,5 X 90 cm, used at the Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania, November 2016.

 

25 Photographs from the following performances:

3) Performance by Hyla Willis. Central train station Zagreb, Croatia, June, 25, 2009, during the PSi conference Zagreb. Photo: subRosa.

4) Delegated performance by Valentina Medda, during Performa festival. White Box, New York City. November 21, 2009, 5 pm, New York time.

5) Performance by Tanja Ostojić, November 21, 2009, 11 pm Berlin time (5pm New York time, simultaneously with Valentina Medda), at the Tegel airport Berlin, Germany. Photos: DNK.

6) “Misplace Women?” sign held by Wai Wai at the arrival section, Zürich International Airport, Switzerland, October 25, 2012. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.

7) ”Misplace Women?” sign held by Amy Bryzgel, on Aberdeen International Airport, Scotland, March 31, 2015. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.

8) “Misplaced Women? Marking the City.” Performance by Kwestan Jamal Bawan at Western Union, Bergen, Norway, November 2, 2011 at 12:55.pm. Organised by Stiftelsen 3,14. Photo: Mariel Lødum.

9) Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the Bergen International Airport. November 8, 2011. Production: Stiftelsen 3,14, Bergen, Norway. Photos: Jannicke Olsen.

10) Performance by Sigrid Pawelke, (during the “Missplaced Women?” workshop conducted by Tanja Ostojić). Shopping district, Aix-en-Provence, France, December 16, 2015. Photos: Tanja Ostojić.

11) Performance by Anaïs Clercx, at Préfecture d’Aix-en-Provence / Police headquarters, City of Aix-en-Provence, France, during the “Missplaced Women?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić. December 16, 2015. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.

12) Performance by Ashley McNaughton on Torry bridge, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, during the “Misplaced Woman?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić in Torry neighbourhood, organised as a part of the Aberdeen Festival of Politics 2016. March 10, 2016. Photo: Renée Slater.

13) Performances by Kirsty Russell and Marta Nitecka Barche in front of the public library in Torry, as a part of “Misplaced Woman?” workshop with Tanja Ostojić during the Aberdeen Festival of Politics 2016. March 10, 2016. Other participants: Amy Bryzgel, Caroline Gausden, Sarah Jackson, Karolina Kubik, Angela Margaret Main, Ashley McNaughton, Marta Nitecka Barche, Tanja Ostojić, Kirsty Russell, Francesco Sani, Renée Slater, Gabriel Tracy, Rowan Young and many other amassing people. Photo: Renée Slater.

14) Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the La Grand Escalier de la Gare du Saint Charles / railway station, Marseille, France 2013. Participants: Helen Averley, Alix Denambride, Robyn Hambrook, Tanja Ostojić, Kim Mc Cafferty, Jane Kay Park, Emma Edvige Ungaro and Patricia Verity. Production: Préavis de Désordre Urbain and Red Plexus, Marselle. Photos: Anne Carles.

15) Performance by Tanja Ostojić, Göteborg city centre tram station, Sweden, September 4, 2015. Production: Live Action 10, Photo: Xiao Lu.

16) Marija Jevtić, Tanja Ostojić, Suncica 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. Participants: Nela Antonović, Gorana Bačevac, Tatjana Beljinac, Tamara Bijelić, Jelena Dinić, Irena Đukanović, Milica Janković, Marija Jevtić, Nadežda Kirćanski, Irena Mirković, Bojana Radenović, Sanja Solunac, Sunčica Šido. Photo: Lidija Antonović.

17) Performance by Tanja Ostojić on the Central bus station in Varaždin, Croatia, Jun 11, 2016. Production: Dani performansa, Varaždin, Croatia. Photo: Vedran Hunjek.

18) Perfromance by Rhea Ramjohn: “Which colonial comfort would you like to consume today?”, Misplaced Women? workshop, Tempelhoferfeld, Berlin, January 2018. Photo: Tanja Ostojić.

19) Performance by Tanja Ostojić: “Misplaced Women? and The Tourist Suitcase”, May 11, 2018, 30 min performance at Haupt Bahnhof/ main train station, Innsbruck. Art in Public Space Tyrol, Photo: Daniel Jarosch.

20) Perfromance by Tanja Ostojić: “Misplaced Women? and The Tourist Suitcase”, May 12, 2018, 60 min Performance by Tanja Ostojić at the Goldenes Dahl, Altstadt, Innsbruck. Art in Public Space Tyrol, Photo: Daniel Jarosch.

P1010204_XS

Tanja Ostojić: “MISPLACED WOMEN?” Participatory Artproject Archives (ongoing since 2009), installation view @ Art Lab Berlin, Sept. 2018. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

2 Performance Scores

21) Score #1: unpacking a bag of your own (by Tanja Ostojić), and

Score #2: Holding the Misplaced Women? Sign (by Tanja Ostojić)

4 Drawings:

22) Drawing by David Caines of the performance by Teresa Albor in Westfield Shopping Mall, in the frame of the “Misplaced Women?” performance art workshop by Tanja Ostojić in LADA, London, December 2016.

23) Drawing by David Caines of the performance by Dagmara Bilon, in Olympic Park, in the frame of the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić in LADA, London, December 2016.

24) Drawing by David Caines of the performance by Sophie Cero in the frame of Tanja Ostojić’s “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in LADA, London, December 2016.

25) Drawing by Tanja Ostojić on a prize tag used in the “Misplaced Women? and The Tourist Suitcase”, Performances Innsbruck, May 2018. Art in Public Space Tyrol.

 

10 Written Stories by:

26) Jasmina Tešanović, women without homeland, who lives and works on-line.

27) Mmakgosi Kgabi, Gaborone, Botswana

28) Tanja Ostojić, Berlin, Germany: Bergen Airport Story

29) Sigrid Pawelke’s Statment, Aix-en-Provence, France

30) Anaïs Clercx, Marseille, France

31) Marta Nitecka Barche, Aberdeen, Scotland: Marta’s Story on Trauma of imprisonment in the USA.

32) Helen Averley, Belfast, Northern Ireland

33) Bojana Videkanić, Toronto Canada: Holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign on the Toronto Airport and diving into her profoundly touching memories about her initiation into the life of a refugee escaping Sarajevo siege in 1992

34) Rhea Ramjohn; Berlin: Which colonial comfort would you like to consume today?

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

 

3 Videos:

36) “Misplaced Women?” Performance by Tanja Ostojić, 1-channel digital video, 28:16min, 2016. Video recording of the performance in Goteborg International Airport, Sweden. September 2, 2015. Live Action 10

37) Misplaced Women? performed by Tanja Ostojić, dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. October 16, 2016, in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario, 7a*11d, Toronto, Canada. Video clip.

38) Documentary video about the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić in London. 3:50 min long by Dr Elena Marchevska, produced by Live Art Development Agency, London, 2017. People talking in order of appearance: Tanja Ostojić, Nicholas Harris, Teresa Albor, Dagmara Bilon, Camila Canocchi, and voice over: Elena Marchevska.

Performance 1_11.5.2018 WEB-39

Tanja Ostojić: “Misplaced Women? and The Tourist Suitcase”, 2018, 30 min performance at Haupt Bahnhof/ main train station, Innsbruck. Art in Public Space Tyrol. Photo: Daniel Jarosch

_____________________________________________________________

I am pleased that our installation has been set up so well and I am grateful to all the project participants for all their generous contributions to the project!!! 

For any necessary corrections, please write to me in person. I would be very grateful and pleased to correct and improve each information and credits further.– Tanja Ostojić

_______________________________________________________________

Artists included: 

Tanja Ostojić

Mohammed Badarne

Göksu Kunak

Rabih Mroué

About the exhibition:

The protest movements of over the last ten years have brought the importance of the body as a means of political articulation back into our attention. Thereby, the vulnerability and fragility of the protesting bodies have often become disturbingly clear. The exhibition presents works by artists who reflect on the significance of physical presence of the body in public space, on the possibilities (and limitations) of art as a space to negotiate the social and the political and the role of activism and protest in the contemporary world with its neo-liberal understanding of globalisation. It offers a new perspective on the articulation of the political in contemporary art and reflects on the possibilities of art to express dissenting voices. 

The exhibition Beautiful Trouble. Rethinking Art-ivism is organised in the frame of the Arrival City project, which seeks to investigate questions pertaining to artistic relocation and offer a forum for international and newly arrived artists in Berlin. The term “arrival city” was coined by the journalist and writer Doug Saunders in his book Arrival City (2011). Saunders described cities and areas which had been shaped by migration, processes of relocation and the stories of their inhabitants. Although he did not deny challenges, his conclusion was overall positive as he highlighted the vitality that the newcomers brought to their new homes. With this project we would like to take up this idea and reflect on the city as a form of “cultural laboratory” as a space of co-existence of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The project will take the form of four exhibitions and two panel discussions, organised throughout 2018.  Curated by Charlotte Bank and Salah Saouli

_____________________________________________

Venue:

Art-Lab Berlin

Perleberger Straße 60 

10559 Berlin-Moabit

Exhibition duration:  September 14-30, 2018.

Exhibition opening hours: Friday—Sunday, from 4-7pm

__________________________________________________

“Misplaced Women?” Project Blog

About the Project

 

 

Advertisements

Score #2: Holding the Misplaced Women? Sign

In Scores, Signs on May 10, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Tanja Ostojić: 

Misplaced Women? 

(ongoing since 2009)

delegated performance

Score #2:  Holding the Misplaced Women? Sign

Less then hour, no, or with preparation, one or more performers

Instruction: 

1. Select a migration specific place that resonates to you 

2. Make your own MISPLACED WOMEN? (or MISPLACED MAN?) Sign or a banner (on a cardboard, on a piece of paper, on some cloth. It can be a drawing or an embroidery or even a collage). 

3. Stand there and hold it for at least half-an-hour. 

4. Ask someone to take a photo of you standing there. 

5. You can do the same action at the variety of places and see how different it is being perceived at different times and locations. In such case you might draw a map of locations you performed at. 

Note: 

Reflect a pone how does it feel to hold the sign, how does it resonates with you, with your life experience, how the location you have chosen pulsates, and does it bring you closer to the people on the move, on the street, etc. Be open to talk to passing by people about the sign you are holding and the related issues and to what they have to say about it. 

 

IMG_1020

Misplaced Women sign Photo: Amy Bryzgel

14570688_10153745506620793_5932003242285657393_o

On October 12 2016, Bojana Videkanić holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign on the Pearson International Airport in Toronto and diving into her profoundly touching memories about her initiation into the life of a refugee escaping Sarajevo siege in 1992 and her and her family life as refuges in the UK, Croatia and Canada. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

 

Publishing:

Send a photo or a drawing of yourself holding the sing, the description about how did it go (your name, date, time, duration, location and what happened) and the related written reflections and overview of dialogues that might habe occurred. Please let us know if you would like that your contribution is published on the “Misplaced Women?” project blog.

  We would greatly appreciate your permission to publish it.

Score #1: unpacking a bag of your own

In Scores on March 15, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Tanja Ostojić:  MISPLACED WOMEN? (ongoing since 2009)

delegated performance

Score #1: unpacking a bag of your own

More or less then one hour, with or without preparation, one or  more performers, migration specific locations 

About:

Misplaced Women? is an art project that welcomes contributions by people from divers backgrounds that embody and enact some of everyday life activities that signify a displacement. Participants are invited to perform and reflect a pone different notions of traveling, identity, illegality, homelessness, security, privat space/ public space, and to share there experiences on the project blog.

Instruction: 

1. Select a migration specific place that resonates to you (public transportation, central bus station, airport, border, aria affected with gentrification..)

2. Get there and unpack a bag of your own (such as your own purse or back pack or a bag with empty plastic bags, or packaging from consumers articles..).

3. Take every single idem out and turn it inside out. Take all out of your pockets. Turn your pockets inside out. Take your shoes off. Ones you unpacked all, search to see if you discover something.

4. For advanced and additionally motivated: You can do the same action at a variety of places and see how different it is being perceived at different times and locations. In such a case, draw a map of where you have performed.

Note: 

Reflect a pone how does it feel to do this in public. Do you feel exposed? How does it resonates with your life experience, and does it bring you closer to the people on the move, people on the street, etc.. Be open to talk to passing by people about what you actually do and why. Let this performance last for at least half-an-hour. If you have unpacked your things in a hectic way, after “a brake” and exchange, try to pack items back with appreciation and care. (Or the other way around, right?)

Attention:

Places that are generally understood as public spaces might appear not to be such. That means that with your performance you might challenge the notion of public space, and see where it is (not) possible to do your action. A security guy might push you one meter away from the entrance (in a shopping mall or what many train stations also became now a days, right?) Or policeman might ask you –What are you doing?. I could only advice you to get one person with you to try to talk the security out, so that you can finish your performance. You may also say that you are looking for an item of your own that you really need but you are not sure if you took it with you. (What ever that might be, right?) This is to avoid being kicked out, arrested or so.., as performing and filming is usually not allowed at most places.

Crediting and Publishing: 

It is very important to credit everyone properly. With the “Misplaced Women?” project we pay special attention to that. Please be sure to fully credit your action as:

_____your name:  a performance in response to the “MISPLACED WOMEN?” (ongoing since 2009), delegated performance by Tanja Ostojić, “Score 1”… — where every you share it or print it. And we will do the same with your contribution. Send a photo or a drawing of yourself performing, the description about how did it go (your name, date, time, duration, location(s) and notes about what happened). Please let us know if you would like that your contribution is published on the project blog: We would greatly appreciate your permission to do so.

 

IMG_3968

 Tanja Ostojic: Misplaced Women?
Performed by Tanja Ostojic at Bergen International Airport, 2011. Photo: Jannicke Olsen

Open Call for participants for the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop in the public space with Tanja Ostojić, in Innsbruck, May 11-13 2018, with a presentation in Die Bäckerei

In Innsbruck, News, Workshops on February 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm

This is the Open Call for participants of the Misplaced Women? 3-day-long performance art workshop in the public space with Tanja Ostojić, May 11-13 2018, with a public presentation in Die Bäckerei, Kulturbackstube, Innsbruck, Austria

Participants of all backgrounds, ages, genders and levels of experience that can commit to participate for the entire duration of the workshop are welcome, but we particularly encourage those who are interested in issues of migration, performance art, conditions related to the ones identifying as women, representations of gender and art in the public realm. Participants are invited and encouraged to share and exchange about experiences and issues of migration, displacement, exposure and privilege and to enact some of the Misplaced Women? performance scores. The workshop is free of charge, warm drinks and snacks will be provided, professional photo documentation of participants work will be provided as well, and due to limited numbers of places we ask you kindly to apply.

The deadline for applications is Monday, April 16 2018.

Timetable:

Workshop: Friday May 11: 10am—5pm & Saturday May 12, 2018: 10am—6pm.
Public presentation: Sunday May 13: 11am—1pm.

During the workshop we will all have an opportunity to perform in the public spaces, and outcomes will be presented to the public at the third day of the workshop at the Die Bäckerei, Kulturbackstube and included on the Misplaced Women? project website.

This project, including the workshop and group and individual performances in the public spaces, have been chosen for realisation in the frame of the Kunst im öffentlichen Raum des Landes Tirol, supported by the region of Tyrol. The press and media communication are done in collaboration with the Tiroler Künstlerschaft.

 

IMG_6396

“Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić at Info Park, Belgrade (2015). (Group intervention, including: Tanja Ostojić, Sunčica Šido, Nela Antonović) Photo: Lidija Antonović

Deutsche Übersetzung  

Please reed about the project and see more workshop and application relevant details below:

About the project:  

Misplaced Women? is an art project by Tanja Ostojić that consists of performances, performance series, workshops and delegated performances, ongoing since 2009, including contributions by international artists, students and people from divers backgrounds. Within this project we embody and enact some of everyday life’s activities that thematise displacement, as it is known to transients, migrants, war and disaster refugees and to the itinerant artists travelling the world to earn their living. Those performances deal with continuing themes of migration, and relations of power and vulnerability with regard to the mobile and in particular the female body, an aspect that figured prominently in numerous previous works of mine.

About the workshop leader: 

Tanja Ostojić (*1972) is a renowned Berlin based, Yugoslavian born performance and interdisciplinary artist whose artworks engage with feminism and migration politics. She includes herself as a character in performances and uses diverse media in her artistic researches, thereby examining social configurations and relations of power. She works predominantly from the migrant woman’s perspective, from within specific social contexts. The approaches of her work are defined by political positioning and the integration of recipients. Since 1994 she presented her work in numerous exhibitions, festivals and venues around the world. She has given talks, lectures, seminars and workshops at academic conferences and at art universities around Europe and in the Americas.

About the workshop:

The “Misplaced Women?” project involves the unpacking of a suitcase, a plastic bag, a handbag or a similar object in a public sphere, whereby these objects come to stand for a displacement, as theme that is common in everyday experiences of transients, migrants, homeless, war and disaster refugees. The workshop aims to familiarise the participants with the topics and to stimulate discussion and interventions in the variety of public spaces.

The first part of the workshop includes getting together, informing and communicating, whereby the participants shall exchange with each other about individual experiences and the aims of the project.

During the second part, the participants are encouraged and supported to enact live performances and interventions in the streets and parks of Innsbruck. Public performances will be documented by a professional photographer.

The outcomes of the workshop will be presented to the public at the third day in Die Bäckerei, Kulturbackstube in Innsbruck. All participants of the workshop are invited to take active part in this presentation and the following discussion.

The documentation, notes and reflections from the workshop will be gathered, edited and published on the Misplaced Women? project website. 

 

Dates of the workshop:

Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 11-13, 2018.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 19 2018.

Who can apply: 

Students and participants of all backgrounds and genders that can commit to participate for the entire duration of the workshop are welcome. No particular language skills are required. We welcome people with any kind of “disabilities” and the ones who do not speak English or Deutsch. Please specify any special requirements in your application.

The event is free of charge, but due to limited numbers we ask interested people to apply. Please send an email to tanjaostojicart (AT) gmail.com with the subject Misplaced Women?  Innsbruck and write one short motivational and biographical paragraph. You are welcome to add a link to your personal home page if you have one and your contact information.

Additional links:

Misplaced Women? project

Tanja Ostojić, books

Die Bäckerei, Kulturbackstube, Dreiheiligenstraße 21a, Innsbruck, Austria

misplaced_women_drawings2

Drawing by David Caines of the performance by Dagmara Bilon in the frame of the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojic in LADA, London (2016)

The Displaced & Privilege: A Study Room Guide on Live Art in the Age of Hostility by Dr Elena Marchevska on Misplaced Women? + Errata Sheet

In London, Reviews, Workshops on January 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Within this study guide that we warmly recommend you may between others reed about the brother context in which the “Misplaced Women?” Workshop by Tanja Ostojic has been produced, reflected a pone, distributed and publicised. With the “Misplaced Women?” project we pay special attention to credit everyone properly as far as possible. In that light I am pleased to share with you an Errata Sheet to The Displaced & Privilege: A Study Room Guide on Live Art in the Age of Hostility by Dr Elena Marchevska published by Live Arts Development Agency, LADA, London, in 2017, that may be download for free under this link.

_______________________

This is the ERRATA SHEET to the The Displaced & Privilege: A Study Room Guide on Live Art in the Age of Hostility by Elena Marchevska published by LADA, London (2017):

1) The drawings on the front and back cover and inside the guide by David Caines, have been mostly inspired by performances from Dagmara Bilon, Teresa Albor, Sophie Cero and Elena Marchevska developed in the frame of the ‘Misplaced Women?’ workshop led by Tanja Ostojić.

2) On page 1:

5. ‘Misplaced Women?’ workshop by Tanja Ostojić: documentation and participant’s responses

3) On page 3:

2. ‘Misplaced Women?’ Reflective Section, where you can find documentation of the workshop by Tanja Ostojić that I hosted with LADA in December 2016.

As part of the ‘Misplaced Women?’ workshops Tanja Ostojić encourages all participants to reflect in written form about their experience with the workshop, performances they developed and on the topic of the project, and she is publishing those voices regularly on the project blog. For this Study Guide, I selected from there and republished four responses to illustrate the outcomes of the workshop that she led.

For a full version of the responses and the reflection on the London iteration of the ‘Misplaced Women?’ project, please see the originally published material that has been edited by Tanja Ostojić and Danyel Ferrari:  https://misplacedwomen.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/misplaced-women-performance-workshop-in-lada-london/

4) On page 9:

For more information on Ostojić’s work please see her books:

Strategies of Success, ed. Tanja Ostojić, La Box Bourges and SKC Belgrade (2004), and

Integration Impossible?: The Politics of Migration in the Artwork of Tanja Ostojić, eds. Marina Gržinić and Tanja Ostojić, argobooks, Berlin (2009)

5) On page 65:

Note: These reflective articles were originally edited and published by Tanja Ostojić and Danyel Ferrari in January 2017, for ‘Misplaced Women?’ blog section dedicated to London’s workshop. You can see all the entries on the following link: https://misplacedwomen.wordpress.com/category/london/

______________________________

The end of the Errata Sheet.

_______________________________

misplaced_women_drawings5

Drawing by David Caines of the performance by Teresa Albor in the frame of the “Misplaced Women?” performance art workshop by Tanja Ostojić in LADA, London, December 2016.

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…

web_0

web_1

web_3______________________________

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.

web_6

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

______________________________

 

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?

web_last

_______________________________________

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

_______________________________________

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

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*

___________________________

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 participating artists, activists and writers selected via open call, most of whom have been already working with issues of migration and / or have been experienced performance artists themselves. So we had very dynamic and inspiring exchange between ourselves.

______________________

Tanja_Ostojic

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…

______________________

The following artists, activists and researchers developed their new works or performed some of the “Misplaced Women?” scores 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 (partly in collaboration with Danyel Ferrari) and published on the project blog:

Elena Marchevska holding the Misplaced Women? sign on Heathrow Airport 

Danyel Ferrari´s Article published 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

______________________

Please see this 3:50 min long video about the “Misplaced Women?” performance workshop by Tanja Ostojić, in London, that has been made by Elena Marchevska and produced by LADA.

Note: Artists and activists talking in order of appearance: Tanja Ostojić, Nicholas Harris, Teresa Albor, Dagmara Bilon, Camila Canocchi and (voice over) Elena Marchevska.

__________________________________________

The Displaced & Privilege: A Study Room Guide on Live Art in the Age of Hostility by Dr Elena Marchevska published by LADA, in 2017, can be download for free under this link. 

Note: And please reed the related Errata Sheet to it.

__________________________________________

 

 

__________________________________________

 

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

__________________________________________

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).

______________________________________________

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 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.

@SeilaFA photo1web.jpg

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.

@SeilaFA photo2web

@SeilaFA photo3web

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)

SeilaFA photo4web
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.

——————————————-

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

——————————————-

The text was written by Seila Fernández Arconada

The photographs were taken by Sophie Cullinan

Bojana Videkanić holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign on the Toronto Airport and diving into her profoundly touching memories about her initiation into the life of a refugee escaping Sarajevo siege in 1992

In Airports, Borders, Signs, Stories, Toronto on February 16, 2017 at 6:20 pm

On October 12 2016. Bojana Videkanić was holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign on the Pearson International Airport in Toronto and was diving into her profoundly touching memories about her initiation into the life of a refugee escaping Sarajevo siege in 1992 and her and her family life as refuges in the UK, Croatia and Canada. She wrote about it:

Missing Women: Some Thoughts As to Why I Became Missing While Waiting for Tanja Ostojić

By Bojana Videkanić October 2016-February 2017.

Last year I invited Tanja Ostojić to present her work at the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival in Toronto. As one of the members of the Toronto Performance Art Collective, I have been wanting to invite Tanja to come to our festival for some time. She generously accepted and came in October 2016. In our conversations and planning prior to her arrival, Tanja asked me to help her by doing a specific action when she landed in Toronto. She asked me to create a sign and hold it while waiting for her at the Pearson International Airport. She told me that the sign should read: “Misplaced Women” which is also the title of Tanja’s piece that she was going to perform on October 16 at a tram stop downtown Toronto at the corner of McCaul and Dundas streets. Tanja gave me a choice to, if I wanted to, put a question mark at the end of the statement. I was happy to do the action and I made the sign, deciding to put a question mark at the end. My choice to do so was guided by the fact that Pearson is a large and busy place and I suspected that the sign will be noticed if I keep it ambiguous. I, however, was not considering the impact Tanja’s work would have on me.

The day came and I arrived 30 or so minutes earlier in order to keep the action a bit longer, to give it some time to play out. While standing there at the international arrivals gate, I had some time to think about the action I was performing (standing in the middle of the great airport hall with an ambiguous sign in my hands) and what its ramifications might be. There were a couple of important thoughts I had that came about as a result. First, throughout my action I realized that I was initiating Tanja’s performance, as it became obvious that my interactions with the accidental audiences were a catalyst for a discussion around borders, policing of bodies, and (in)visible violence of that. In short, I realized that Tanja’s performance has begun as people gawked at me. Secondly, I realized the echoes of Tanja’s work in our ‘local’ Canadian context with the missing and murdered indigenous women, and the impact it had in the light of Syrian crisis and the inability of the world actors to see the refugees as human beings. What I did not expect was my own physical reaction to the sign and the moment as I became missing in it.

14570688_10153745506620793_5932003242285657393_o

On October 12 2016, Bojana Videkanić holding the “Misplaced Women?” sign on the Pearson International Airport in Toronto and diving into her profoundly touching memories about her initiation into the life of a refugee escaping Sarajevo siege in 1992 and her and her family life as refuges in the UK, Croatia and Canada. Photo: Tanja Ostojić

It became obvious at that moment that the sign “Missing Women” was not about some other missing women (although of course it is about many thousands if not millions of them) but that it was also about my own experiences of borders and violence. It brought me back some 20+ years back to 1992, and my 15-year-old self, a confused, frightened child who, in a matter of few weeks between April 6 and April 20 1992, became a refugee. At the time I did not know what that meant, but I learned quickly. When my hometown of Sarajevo came under siege and the first grenades fell, my desperate, naïve parents wanted to save me, to protect me, so they found a way to put me on one of the last planes leaving the city to go to Belgrade and then on to London, England. I will never forget the scene of desperation at the Sarajevo Airport as hundreds and hundreds of people gathered to try to get their small children, parents and other family onto Kikash military plains. Pleading with important-looking military officers, with their long lists of people’s names, to let them through––crying, begging, consoling, desperate. Through some miracle my parents managed to get me on one of those lists and on one of the planes. They gave me a few of our family photos (so that I wound not forget them and where I come from), my mom lovingly packed my sinus medication and some clothes, and told me that I will be back at the end of the summer when the war will be over, and with my English much improved. And so I went, with my grey, Yugoslav child passport (which in fact was no longer valid as we were living through the breakup of the country), 500 deutsche marks, my photos, and a book. As Kikash plane lifted off (in fact this was my very first time being on the plane) I sat on the floor of its enormous belly with a couple of hundred other people not really knowing where I was going and what will happen to me when I get there. I was all alone, a child who never travelled without her parents, going to some unknown future.

Three days later I was on a plane ride to London, England with another boy, a son of my parents’ friends. The two of us were going to his aunt who accepted to take me in for the short period until I was to return home to Sarajevo. As the airplane approached Heathrow airport I became very anxious and scared. We landed and I was immediately detained by the UK customs and immigration. I was held in an interrogation room for six hours. I had to take all my clothes out of my bag, they took my family photos and asked me about each person in the photo and where they were, they asked me about my sinus medication, about how much clothes I had, and why I was travelling, do I know what is happening to my country? They even asked me about Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” the one book that I managed to take out of my parents’ library as I was leaving (the book I cannot bring myself to read again). It is hard to describe that feeling of being helpless, of being at the mercy of people in uniform, and especially being that way as a child. Like a caged animal my heart pounded, I was shaking, and I cried. I cried as all those things that the immigration officers looked through were really the last things that I could say were mine, these were the last remnants of my childhood, of my family life, and of my country, even those darn sinus pills… My entire life on display, my entire life in one suitcase, now an object of conversation for immigration officers, and evidence of my status.

Finally, I was let through, they decided that my friend’s aunt who waited for us was credible. This was my initiation into the life of a refugee. From that moment on, I moved with my suitcase from family to family, twice in London (during the 2 month stay there), and some ten times later on when I lived as a refugee in Croatia. At one point while still in London, I was supposed to be moved for the third time with an unknown woman, but when that did not work out the people with whom I was staying decided that I should be given over to the Child Services (as having a 15-year old in the house was too much for them). I couch-surfed most of the time, slept in peoples’ baby rooms next to their kids’ cribs, in their master bedrooms on the floor, in spare rooms, living rooms, all kinds of rooms. I learned to hold my pee in so that I would not have to be in the bathroom when owners of the house were in the house. I learned to take fast showers, I learned to eat when no one was looking (usually late at night). I learned how to walk without making a sound, how to use a hand towel, soap, shampoo, or kitchen utensils so that they would look like no one has used them. I learned to be sparing with creams, food, cookies so that it would not look like someone has eaten them. I learned to be invisible, how not to be noticed by police, by men, by security. I learned how to pack my bag quickly so that I can move out fast. I learned that refugees are not welcomed, that we are perceived as a burden, not just to the state and all its mechanisms, but often to extended families, friends, and even do-gooders who think that they can take in refugees into their home but cannot deal with someone actually living with them, taking their space.

I, however, also met some amazing people on the way, selfless, caring people like my mom’s friend who took me and my family in with her son for four months. Or like a doctor from the Doctors Without Borders who I met on the street and in our conversation I told him that my parents are doctors in Sarajevo and that I was not sure if they are dead or alive as all the phone lines were down and I did not speak to them in two months. He told me that he will find my parents as he was going back to Sarajevo and deliver my letter. And he did! (that was how my parents found out I was ok and alive).

Finally, I also learned that my parents were broken by the war, the strong, independent people I knew before April 1992 were now broken physically, mentally, and professionally. When both my parents came out of the besieged Sarajevo (my mom at the end of 1992, and my dad at the end of 1994) and when we lived as refugees in Croatia awaiting papers to immigrate to Canada or Australia, I saw my parents waiting in line for food donations, for refugee status, clothes, aid, they were lost and defeated, depressed. My dad has severe PTSD which was never dealt with. The defeat only continued when we came to Canada, when my parents had difficulty learning English, not being able to find a job, being too old to go to school (early-to mid 50s) but too young to retire, struggling; my father going to a local Food Bank getting food, working on construction site as a construction worker, my mom working with developmentally disabled adults and being attacked and bitten. Yes, standing there at the arrivals gate at Pearson Airport became an embodied performance of myself missing and my parents missing. I was that 15-year old kid again, trying to find myself.

Finally, another important thought I had at that moment of waiting for Tanja, as I had some confused looks from passersby, was that people could recognize the signs, they could recognize the ambiguity of what Tanja was stating. Several people stopped and asked what the sign was about. One man came around as asked where are these misplaced women? He was confused… I replied that it was a part of Tanja Ostojić’s art work relating it to refugees and migrant women, but also used the opportunity to address a more pressing Canadian context of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and the current inquiry into this tragedy (https://www.nwac.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/

Fact_Sheet_Missing_and_Murdered_Aboriginal_Women_and_Girls.pdf). A female security guard came to me asking about the sign, she approached and said, ”You know you will get a lot of people asking about the sign,” “they will think you might have some answers for them…” Then she said, “you know, I am misplaced too…” These interactions with the security, passersby, people who wait for family and friends, and being at the airport, opened up a whole other conversation about invisibility of violence, of invisibility and visibility of women who are marginalized, who are placed at the mercy of governmental mechanisms, police, immigration, child welfare, welfare and unemployment services, ministry of Indigenous affairs, lawyers, immigration courts. It became clear then that this performance was placing an ethical and moral obligation on the passersby as it directly asked them to confront the question/statement on the sign I made for Tanja.

I write this as the Syrian refugees are fleeing their country just like I did 20+ years ago. I write this as Trump has barred people from entering US, I write this as frozen refugee claimants are crossing the US/Canada border at -40˚C, I write this as an official Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is just taking place 40+ years in, I write this as hundreds of unaccompanied minor children are prevented from entering UK (as the government stopped its program to help them,) I write this as women and children are still going missing––no questions asked… Tanja Ostojic’s performance which asks that question is therefore more important then ever. Standing in the crowd with a sign “Missing Women?” at this moment becomes an ethical and moral confrontation, one that troubles the age of invisibility. And at a time of alternative truths, the truth of those who are marginalized truth is the one that matters, and only one that cannot be erased in the swamp we call the Internet.

________________________________________________

Bojana Videkanić is an artist, art historian and curator. Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who came to Canada as a refugee. Videkanić now lives in Canada where she teaches at the University of Waterloo and is a member of the curatorial board of the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival.  7a*11d festival, now in its 20th year, is one of the oldest and largest performance art festivals in Canada. The 7a*11d collective gathers over 20 international and national artists for each of its biannual festivals that takes place in the fall in Toronto: http://7a-11d.ca/  #7a11d2016

Please see as well:

https://misplacedwomen.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/misplaced-women-performed-by-tanja-ostojic-dedicated-to-the-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-in-canada-sunday-october-16-in-front-of-the-art-gallery-of-ontario-7a11d-2016-toronto-can/

https://misplacedwomen.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/misplaced-women-sign-on-pearson-international-airport-in-toronto/

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.

shannon_small1

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.

shannon1

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.

_______________________________

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

%d bloggers like this: