Saturday, 7 November 2015
KULES Public View - What the residents say
After 4 weeks of research, work and test - the presentation element of KULES is here, as we open the doors of Olympus Engineering to the Public for a 2-day event showcasing the residency works alongside some very special performances!
Here are a few words from each artist on their works, plus something from our guest performers, The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ
In 1907 a 25 year old Sylvia Pankhurst left London, setting out on a journey throughout Northern England and Scotland to research the lives of working women and the conditions they faced in their daily experiences. The same year Sylvia arrived in Stoke-on-Trent, where she studied the women of The Potteries and drew the women of the pot banks at work. This installation retraces the encounters of her journey; reimagining these unknown women workers and taking the disused spaces of the former Spode pottery as a backdrop, recreates Sylvia's sketches of remarkable humanitarian journalism and history making.
This installation is the culmination of a tentative period researching local archives and delving into the public lives of pioneering and radical women who puncture Stoke-on-Trent's working class histories like stars in a jet black night sky. Each Stoke-on-Trent made Dudson dinner plate commemorates a woman who has played a role in shaping public futures within the Six Towns and beyond. A Saint, a Duchess, a Lord Mayor; politicians, potters and pop stars. Wonder Women celebrates these ordinary women living extraordinary lives and observes their legacies in relation to the legendary Potteries area.
Hands That Do Dishes
Hands That Do Dishes presents a series of collage works that consider the notion of 'double shift work' for women; women who work to earn money and have the responsibility for unpaid domestic labour. Juxtaposing images of ceramic works by Stoke-on-Trent born Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead, against vintage glamour photography shot within the most mundane and domestic of settings; the works evoke sentiments of domesticity and desire. Referencing 'Oral Histories of Women Pottery Workers at Work and at Home', the installation also draws on the history of segregation between the 'gentile' women of the decoration studio and the 'slovenly' women of the clay end of the pottery process; eluding to a disappearance of feminine identity through duplication and dichotomy [Sarsby, Jacqueline (1988) Misuses and Mouldrunners: Oral Histories of Women Pottery Workers at Work and at Home. Milton Keynes: Open University Press].
I am interested in how knowledge and authorship structure the way art is read. I look to question how we attribute meaning onto what is presented before us.
The works presented are rough sketches around language, memory, and the act of making. I am interested in how an endeavour for knowledge is affected by the wealth of information available to us, and how this comes to play out as a homogenised experience.
I was drawn to the theme of the residency, public as material, for how it can be used as a way to investigate the function of structured experience, and the potential of how an audience engages in dialogue to their surroundings.
"Entertaining" troupes—characterised by heavily embellished dresses, high kicks and precise, synchronised moves to pop music—have a long and under-recognised history in Stoke-on-Trent. Once integral to the street parades that were a key feature of the popular town carnival movement in the North of England, today’s troupes compete weekly in private sports halls and community centres across Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester; the performance is rarely seen in public.
My residency celebrates this vibrant, but frequently overlooked aspect of un-institutionalised British culture, via a relational process of research and collaboration within the troupe dancing community. In particular, my work contemplates the relationships between material practice and contemporary tradition-making; “entertaining” communicates a powerful, localised identity, via a distinctive and evolving aesthetic, fostered through ongoing material practices conducted by the troupes, such as making dresses, team-wear and accessories, and other commemorative items.
As a dialogical artist, my work is fundamentally influenced and shaped by members of the troupe dancing community who visited the KULES space and contributed and created items for display. In Make Your Own Entertainment, members of Eternity Entertainers, Lightwood Crystals, Wulstan Reyelles and Infinity dance troupes participated in a workshop to create giant rosettes inspired by the US tradition of “homecoming ‘mums” (short for “chrysanthemum”). These elaborate corsages, decorated with ribbons, soft toys and fairy lights, are made and worn by high school students during Homecoming season to show support for the home team. In this work, installed upstairs at KULES, the notion of consciously importing a tradition is explored; carnival performances such as troupe dancing are sometimes mistaken for the US-originated practice of cheerleading, although there is no evidence to support such a straightforward or one-sided exchange. Perhaps ‘mum-making could become an aspect of the entertaining troupes’ material culture in the future?
The culmination of this residency are performances by Eternity Entertainers and Lightwood Crystals (on Saturday and Sunday respectively). This represents a rare opportunity to witness this unique performance, while the post-industrial, subterranean setting of the KULES basement both reinforces and subverts this often hidden performance that prizes flawless execution and pristine uniform and appearance.
The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ
Core Cult operators will tap the molten flow of bitumen ( rich in sub cult myth and the eternal asphalt ‘graffiti’ stain ) deep within the sub terrrain of The Olympics Engineering Building. Join the Cult after their graveyard shift extracting deep ritual flows of Mozizizm >> the bringer of ‘Rubble Trauma’. >>Witness sub-atomic dark matter frequency mining through inter-pockets of primordial dimensional spaceways to form great express transits through underscores of bituminal particle frenzy stance (Precision sub-cult quantum engineering will ensure alternate sub dimensions are reached during ritual). The Collective Exo Mass rotates in a major libidinal grove chamber providing dust and hierarchical prostration in a ritualistic centrifugal stomp through the cavernous sub terraineous leak holes where dark liquid letters form.