Separating the Wheat from the Chaff # 1

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Allyship, empathy, divination, and other forms of collaboration

I am into collaboration. I am into anti-individualism. I'm into collectivity and I understand what this can give me.

I am also conditioned within our culture - a culture obsessed with the creation of celebrity, the individual, the lone, brilliant artist, the genius, a hierarchy of worth. So I’m also continually working with and against my own ego's desire for recognition.

This series of posts was written by me with crit and editing suggestions by UB co-founder and collaborator on most things: Anna Smith.

It is a collaboration. As is everything. We are not separate. We are porous and constantly affected and affecting.


Blog # 1: Allyship and interconnectivity

Recently the singer, composer and sound artist Marialuisa Carpuso, invited me to collaborate as part of her anti-patriarchal sound art practice, developed whilst in residence at The Bauhaus University, DE. The image above shows Marialuisa, created by Alisia Cruciani.

Our collaboration took three forms:
First, as remote online video conversations; me in lockdown London, planning, plotting, and dreaming of brighter days. Marialuisa, moving through bouts of culture shock and inspiration as a southern Italian in residency in the Weimar Republic, Germany. I love working in this way, Thinking with other artists and feeding into their process.  it suits my skills and commitment to space holding and collaboration as central to what I do.

Second was me as a guest in an evening panel presentation alongside two other artist/activists: Tita Tummillo and Marianna Fumai (all zooming in from different places in Europe). We’d all been invited because Marialuisa identified our practices as sharing something of her anti-patriarchal aspirations. I appreciated the provocation to frame my practice within this context. It allowed me to think new thoughts. You can watch a recording of the event here, my presentation and Q&A come in at around 104 minutes.

Third, I was a guest artist, recording on one of Marialuisa's experimental radio compositions. she asked me to translate (from Portuguese to English) and read the words of a woman expressing an early personal experience of sexual violation. The person whose words I translated was ecologist/social art & community practitioner Carolina Borghi. It was a strange and, I felt, effective act of allyship: a man speaking first person about a woman's experience of abuse. I appreciated the invitation.

Marialuisa’s work is overtly, if sometimes abstractly, about the dismantling of the patriarchy.

She invited me because she considers my participatory social art practice surrounding fermentation, spell making, slowness, and alternative future projection, as being overtly anti-patriarchal. I have never presented the work within this framing. And whilst I am brutally aware of the cynical appropriation of every buzzword that trends, I also recognize the importance of naming those things you resist and those things you aim to ally with. So I’m happy for her to name these associations and to have been invited on this journey.

You can listen to the outcome of her three-month residency at the Radio Art Residency Weimar mix cloud, where you'll find a series of powerful sound art experiments titled Rubedo. Her final composition (the one i feature in) can be heard here

This post is in support of collaboration, allyship, and seeking interconnectivity as resistance to individualism.

Next Post #2 >>>

Background image by Sam Campbell

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