Towards Common Ground brings together performance, documentaries, open-air lectures, talks and moving-image works in the public space of Clapham Common Bandstand. Catherine Long, Emma Leach, Enemies of Good Art, Freee, John Hutnyk, Joey Ryken, The Precarious Workers Brigade, Caroline Smith, Alice Tatge, Jordan McKenzie, Lucy Reynolds and Siân Robinson Davies, will take to the bandstand to scrutinize protests and the politicalisation of public space.
‘Towards Common Ground’ is curated by Amy McDonnell and Ying Tan.
Saturday 28th April
‘The Manifesto for a New Public’
Freee is a collective made up of three artists, Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan, who work together on slogans, billboards and publications that challenge. Freee occupies within public space with works that takes sides, speaks their mind and divides opinion.
‘The Manifesto for a New Public’ will see a ‘spoken choir’ formed of Freee and participants from a local organisation. Freee will read through a prepared manifesto, asking participants to join the political verse by only reading aloud statements and sentences they agree with.
‘Your Body is a Battleground’
Catherine Long is a feminist artist working in the moving image.
‘Your Body is a Battleground’ takes its name from Barbara Kruger’s political artwork made in 1989 in support of women’s rights and the abortion rights movement. Women’s bodies are currently under renewed attack through the Government’s attempts to overturn legislation allowing women control of their bodies.
Sunday 29th April
The Precarious Workers Brigade & Enemies of Good Art
Precarious Workers Brigade and Enemies of Good Art have teamed up to ask how do precarious workers – cultural workers, artists, mothers, undocumented migrant workers, temporary contract workers and many others who share the ever increasing conditions of precarity – go on strike?
Taking place in and around the Bandstand, we will be speaking, inviting others to share their experiences and thoughts on precarity, and looking for ideas on what it would mean to strike…
Precarious Workers Brigade are a UK-based growing group of precarious workers in culture and education. We call out in solidarity with all those struggling to make a living in this climate of instability and enforced austerity. We come together not to defend what was, but to demand, create and reclaim: EQUAL PAY, FREE EDUCATION, DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS and THE COMMONS.
Enemies of Good Art is a movement that originated in London in 2009. Our roots lie in the conflicts surrounding the combination of art practice and family commitments. We look for participation by parents and their children in public discussions and other art based events. We broadcast weekly on Resonance 104.4FM under our name and seek to make the art world a more inclusive space where artists are encouraged to include their children.
‘Super Silence Me’
Caroline Smith is a performer, writer and a Principal Lecturer in Performing Writing at the University of Greenwich. Participatory works include ‘Eating Secret’ (Tate Modern, Roundhouse) and ‘i look you in the eye’ (Clifford Chance, Royal Festival Hall).
Gorging on endless chatter? Exhausted by verbal etiquette? ‘Super Silence Me’ will be your chance to reclaim silence and collectively participate in Smith’s new performance work, before being eased back into the world of speech through a unique Whispering System.
Saturday 5th May
Emma Leach & Siân Robinson Davies
‘What Do We Want?’
Emma Leach is an artist based in London working in performance, writing and installation. Her works have a strong focus on narrative, using play and observation to adapt an original story. Siân Robinson Davies makes solo performance work with an interest in language, semiotic games, visual puns and the syntax of Sign language.
‘What Do We Want?’ is a small publication containing a collection of writings on protest in its differing forms, thinking about how its parameters are defined, how a unified voice emerges from a group of individuals and what it means when a protest is remembered for the wrong reasons. The text will be distributed around Clapham Common bandstand, inviting passersby to draw on their own experiences and incomplete memories of protest.
Prof John Hutnyk
Open Air Lecture on Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’
Prof John Hutnyk teaches Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
With careful attention to the political and educational intent of Marx’s writing, and looking closely at translation and its consequences, the big book ‘Das Kapital’ is a surprisingly accessible and still inspiring read. Relevant in different ways yet again, for new readers in new times, it is possible still to learn something from the old man with a beard.
Lucy Reynolds is a writer, artist and curator in artists’ moving image. She is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins and she presents talks and film programmes on artists’ film and video at arts venues across the UK.
‘Silo Walk’ is a silent moving image work that re-visits routes inhabited by female anti-nuclear protestors at Greenham Common’s American military airbase; since transformed into a nature walk around the site. ‘Silo Walk’ unwittingly suggests that this submerged history can be stirred again through the act of walking, re-treading lost ground as an aid to memory. The work will be preceded by a screening of the documentary ‘Carry Greenham Home’ with the support of Contemporary Films to further provoke a re-imagining of protest.
Sunday 6th May
‘A Reflection on the Idea of Free Labour in Art’
Alice Tatge is a performance artist, choreographer and contemporary dancer. Her choreographic and performative work juxtaposes pure dance and the emotional and physical content that it evokes with other forms of art. Her most recent performance work has revolved around her interest in the phenomenology of sense perception and the possibility of providing interactive/ close encounter experiences for audience members, both in theatrical and non-theatrical environments.
‘A Reflection on the Idea of Free Labour in Art’ has been commissioned as new choreography from Tatge. This live work is inspired by the physicality of strike, particularly the “moving picket line” technique employed by textile workers during the bread and roses strike. The work will see her responding to gatherings around the Clapham Common Bandstand in an attempt to raise new discussion on labour and cultural production. Using fabric to wind around and extend from the structure of the bandstand, the material will act as a limit and restriction of passerby movement activity in space but will also become an invitation of participation in a protest performance highlighting the epidemic of expected unpaid work in the current market.
5.00 to 7.00 pm, ongoing
Jordan McKenzie works in installation, performance, sculpture and drawing. His piece ‘Feral’ ridicules the moral panic surrounding ‘feral youth’ post The London Riots of last year. Five Hoodies on white chargers will be seen “hanging out” on the Clapham Common. Disconnected and disinterested by the events that are surrounding them, this gang exists on the periphery. Calling upon images of the Western genre, gang culture and the ‘outsider’, this performance reframes hoodies as nostalgic (and ultimately empty) emblems of freedom, dissent and opposition.
‘Chronotopic Invocation 1: Profane Articulations of the Autosarcophagic Orchestra (BZZHHHHJT!!!)’
Joey Ryken is an American artist based in London, working across performance, film, video, sound, installation, drawing, archival/retail display. ‘Chronotopic Invocation 1: Profane Articulations of the Autosarcophagic Orchestra (BZZHHHHJT!!!)’ is a new participatory performance. Ryken aims to disorientate packaged, political sloganeering through highly theatricalised populist performance within public space. The work attempts to propose new territories of the social.
With thanks to South London Art Map