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Kane Stonestreet. Image by Henri T.
 

Live Art Club 

October 2022


POSTPONED: Wedesnday 28 September 2022, 7.30pm
>Audience RSVP
>Artists sign up


Update: Live Art Club is a platform available for artists to use as and when they need. In the ebb and flow of creative calendars, LAC isn’t widely needed this month. To protect our energies, and that of our audience, we have decided to postpone tonight’s event. We’ll be back with you on Thursday 3 November.

Taking the function of a studio as a site of artistic creation, Live Art Club expands  the idea of what a studio can be. Rather than imagining a studio as a private, enclosed space, Live Art Club proposes the studio as a place of gathering, where creative experiments take place in dialogue with peers and community:

Do you have part of a new idea, an experiment in working with an audience, a way of moving your body, a series of sounds you’re excited by, an unexpected activation of the space, an interruption of tradition, guttural words that want to explode out of you, a re-performance of a forgotten idea or anything else that might look/feel/taste like Live Art?

We want to see it! Share what you’ve been working on with us at our next event on September 28th.

>Info for artists about participating in Live Art Club

Live Art Club is a monthly open platform for performance art, taking place on the 1st of the month at VSSL. It is free to attend and free to participate in.

Audiences, please do RSVP to let us know you are coming.


Project  Info, Venue, Access
>Live Art Club  project info
>Location & access


Contact
LiveArtClubLdn@gmail.com
info@vssl-studio.org







zack mennell

(para)site

an exhibition of cultural sewage





(para)site began with a vision; I can't remember if it was waking or sleeping. There is a person, an alive, moving body swaddled in puffy white diapers. This person slowly approaches a body of water and walks in upright, never swimming. Being both viewer and nappy-being in this vision, I feel the weight of the diapers absorbing the environment. I feel my skin infringed upon by the water and its microscopic aberrations & pollutants. I feel the pressure around my ribcage and the silted ground under my feet. My nervous system begins bursting with adrenaline as the realisation sets in that I cannot swim well, if at all, let alone weighed down by 26 diapers. The vision ends as the water swallows my shoulders, meeting the submental space of my chin.

*      *      *

I received a letter in the post in a PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL envelope, headed by the NHS logo was a lengthy account of my mental illness, crises and all. The letter notified me of my new updated record, telling me that I have EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder), not Bipolar, for which I had been unsuccessfully medicated for over two years. No wonder it was so unsuccessful. I took a photo of this letter and sent it to the DWP (department for work and pensions). They said I was not ill enough. My GP (general practitioner) told me to stop working. The CMHT (community mental health team) said I was too ill to see them. The ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) department asked me to keep chasing them for an appointment while telling me that my diagnosis of ADHD makes it difficult for me to remember things like appointments. The DWP assessment centre said I made a hearteningly healthy amount of eye contact. My psychiatrist said I made too little eye contact and that I overshared. In the MHAU (mental health assessment unit), I pissed in the corner of my room and then complained about the smell, only to be told it was in my head.

IFLISWATIA (I Feel Like I Should Write All This In Acronyms).

Walking away from the entrance of St Thomas' A&E (accident & emergency), I take all these papers to the river. The river will make sense of them. The river will keep flowing. The river will take me with it. The river will wash my records clear. The river will take me downriver. The river will take me home.

Tangled within the residue of the city and the detritus of you, its people, I find myself downstream, but not yet at the chalky gorges and metal industrial estates of my childhood. Fishing myself from the water, I crawl up a wood corridor in the riverbank, ascending stairs to spite the undercurrents. Oozing liquids unknown, I drag myself through the town to a small space with a glass wall; here, I begin to unpack all that I am and have been and everything I have collected along the way.

Opening Hours

Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September,
12pm to 6pm

Live performance on Deptford Foreshore,
Watergate Street, SE8 3GG
Friday 23 Sept, 6.30 - 7.30, RSVP

>Location & access
>info@vssl-studio.org


Credits

para(site) has been commissioned as part of Tidechangers, a developmant programme for early career artists by The Thames Festival Trust and presented as part of Totally Thames 2022. The project has been supported by VSSL studio and Deptford X.

Images:  (para)site: taking the piss, Live Art Club London. Photo by Queer Garden (Beliza Buzollo)

About the exhibition

(para)site: an exhibition of cultural sewage is zack mennell’s first installation at VSSL studio. The installation is a response to zack’s memories of growing up in a working-class community along the industrialised Thames in South Essex, and their experiences as a medicalised, societally infantilised disabled & neurodivergent queer person.

In zack’s performance and analogue photographic practices, they research class, disability and ecology, and their new works - video, photography, object and collage - will be shown alongside research materials and ephemera.

zack’s humorous works have been shaped by their psycho-geographic explorations of Deptford, especially the Foreshore, which provides direct access to the Thames and upon which much is washed up with the tides.  

Biography

Artistic expression is, for me, a way to make sense of the world and an attempt to contextualise who I am within it. In stepping into difficulty and pain through artmaking, I attempt to understand life through a different register to that of daily survival. I want my work to have an uncanny quality, that it might temporarily unsettle familiar places, making visible some of the strange aspects and tensions embedded there.

Zack Mennell is an emerging (unemployed) artist using writing, photography and performance to explore queerness and neurodiversity in relation to presence and visibility. Zack has been active as a performer, photographer and writer since 2015. They have collaborated frequently with performance artist Martin O’Brien, notably in Sanctuary Ring (SPILL Festival, 2016) and The Last Breath Society (ICA, 2021).

https://zackmennell.com








Image by Kane Stonestreet.
 

Live Art Club 

September 2022


Thursday 1 September 2022, 7.30pm
>Audience RSVP 
>Artists sign up


Taking the function of a studio as a site of artistic creation, Live Art Club expands  the idea of what a studio can be. Rather than imagining a studio as a private, enclosed space, Live Art Club proposes the studio as a place of gathering, where creative experiments take place in dialogue with peers and community:

Do you have part of a new idea, an experiment in working with an audience, a way of moving your body, a series of sounds you’re excited by, an unexpected activation of the space, an interruption of tradition, guttural words that want to explode out of you, a re-performance of a forgotten idea or anything else that might look/feel/taste like Live Art?

We want to see it! Share what you’ve been working on with us at our next event on September 1st.

>Info for artists about participating in Live Art Club

Live Art Club is a monthly open platform for performance art, taking place on the 1st of the month at VSSL. It is free to attend and free to participate in.

Audiences, please do RSVP to let us know you are coming.


Project  Info, Venue, Access
>Live Art Club  project info
>Location & access


Contact
LiveArtClubLdn@gmail.com
info@vssl-studio.org




Hollie Miller & Craig Scott. Animus, 2020. Image courtesy of the artists.



Hollie Miller
& Craig Scott


Thursday 18th August, 7.30pm
> RSVP 


As part of their residency at VSSL, Hollie Miller and Craig Scott will share work in progress of their new collaborative performance, inquiring into how wearable sensors can unify dance choreography and music composition. Using haptic feedback monitors and conductive cord they will explore the body as an electronic instrument through a self designed external circulatory system. Sound and movement initiation and manipulation become intertwined in a single organism unified via a technological umbilical cord.

> RSVP
>Location & access
>info@vssl-studio.org


about the artists

Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice and background in contemporary dance. Craig Scott is a composer and sound artist working with performers, robots and custom built digital and analogue hardware. Together they seek a sculptural dialogue between sound and movement to make highly visual and visceral performance that blurs the perceptual line between the organic and synthetic.

www.holliemiller.co.uk 
@hollie___miller

www.craigscottslobotomy.com
@craig_scotts_lobotomy









Gathering in a Time of Plague


VSSL studio programme

November 2020 - June 2021

Kimvi, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

VSSL was established  in a time of plague. In response to the conditions of pandemic, we intend that the studio remains a place where performance practices may continue to unfold, unmediated by the screen. Our work continues to foreground the power and immediacy of live performance.

Gathering in a Time of Plague was VSSL’s first public programme, and featured a series of developmental and performance  opportunities, which were programmed by invitation and open call.

→ PROGRAMME ARCHIVE

Artists

Kelvin Atmadibrata
Adriana Disman
Chinasa Vivian Ezugha
Jasper Llewellyn
E.M. Parry
Niya B
Shaun Caton
Jade Blackstock
Kimvi

Curators

Benjamin Sebastian
Joseph Morgan Schofield

The programme was funded by public funds from Arts Council England, and by VSSL studio and ]performance s p a c e[.

With thanks to Ash McNaughton.




Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

Studio Residencies

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

Our studio community was  joined by artists Kelvin Atmadibrata and Adriana Disman, who undertook seven month studio residencies at VSSL, supported by Arts Council England and ]performance s p a c e[.



As an expansion of my post-graduate investigation of the performing masculine body, I was introduced to the language of queer abstraction and minimalist erotica that I have since been experimenting and developing within my illustration of the mecha and transhumanist fantasy. The past months of lockdown and consequential shift towards the digital have also evoked queries upon my personal pace as I struggled to keep up with both the pandemic and the online, both that have more than ever, evolved with such robust momentums. I plan to utilize the studio space, peer and mentoring support with VSSL to reflect on these observations and refocus my productive engine with the ultimate aim of progressing my current artistic inquiries.
-Kelvin Atmadibrata

VSSL interviewed Kelvin about his practice, the relationship between fantasy, the erotic, drawing and performance, and the importance of studio culture.

→ read Kelvin’s interview


Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.
Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.


The love of my life is performance art. In the current context in which we are not able to witness the work of others, my own practice has shrivelled. It has no physical or mental space. It needs the nourishment and accountability to more creatures, to discover how it is now and what serves it. Through the support of this residency, I intent to cultivate a nourishing studio culture that mobilises potential exchange between artists to re-energise my commitment to my own practice. I am not looking for a simple physical space from which to transplant an already known practice, I’m looking for sparring partners who will challenge and push me with love and become part of the space that will form the practice. I dream that in this way, I might find some delicious edges from which to push off and kick out into a new ocean. Performance is vast.
-Adriana Disman




Kelvin and Adriana presented works made during the residency at the exhibition launch for PSX: a decade of performance art in the UK.


Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.


Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.



Performance Programme

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

The Gathering in a Time of Plague programme featured seven live performance works by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, Jasper Llewellyn, EM Parry, Niya B, Shaun Caton, Kimvi and Jade Blackstock. unfolding in and around VSSL in the spring and early summer.

Niya B, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.


Gathering in a Time of Plague compilation video. Videography and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Berad




Tongues, Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, VSSL studio, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.



Tongues


Chinasa Vivian Ezugha 

Saturday 17th April, 2021

Imagine a new space, a space of possibilities- vocality and movement. The mouth is the new theatre. RE-imagining space and the placement of the body in space, this performance will use the tongue as the point of entry into a new performative space. ( I may need to speak with you to expand )

Tongues is a one-to-one performance by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, with each encounter lasting around 5 minutes.

Chinasa Vivian Ezugha is a Nigerian-born artist living and working in Hampshire. Her work looks at the transition of Black women and their identity within culture from colonised subjects to emancipated figures. Vivian works predominantly in performance, using the medium to decontextualise and reconstruct what it means to be alive in this present time andtoprotest for a worldwhere we are all allowed to dream. She is the founder of Live Art in Wymondham, a one-day site-specific series of events that aimed to bring emerging artists working in live art to rural Norfolk.

Her work has been presented in venues across Europe, America and the UK, including In Between Time Festival (Bristol, 2017),SPILL Festival (Ipswich, 2018) and Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival (Chicago, 2015). She is the winner of the New Art Exchange Open Main Prize (2019), and a recipient of the Santander Universities Post Covid-19 Performance Making Enterprise Award (2020).

vcezugha.wixsite.com/work-in-progress


Jasper Llewellyn

Saturday 8th May 2021

Working  to the tidal rhythm of the  Thames, Jasper Llewellyn’s work began on the shore of the river, before continuing at VSSL.

The work for VSSL contributes to a larger body of action-based interventions that Llewellyn has undertaken on the Thames foreshore in Deptford since mid-2020, most of which have been conducted without an audience. This ongoing series of actions are  embodied attempts to attune to the diverse array of affective and nonhuman entities that comprise the assemblage that we term ‘the Thames’, reimagining our relationship to the river as a whole in the process.

Jasper Llewellyn is an artist working with actions, sounds and words. His ongoing PHD research project involves the deployment of various embodied artistic strategies in order to take an expanded view of improvisation, treating it both as a methodology for living and art-making. He makes music with the project ‘caroline’ and has had writing published in Frieze magazine.

www.jasperllewellyn.co.uk/


Jasper Llewellyn, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.





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