somewhere, 2020

SEAS Commission for Brighton Festival

I was commissioned by SEAS to make a new work framed by the themes migration and displacement. Gil Mualem Doron, SEAS Director and I organised a lunch in January 2020 entitled a seat at the table for seven visual artists whose artistic practices have been influenced by the experience of ‘being from elsewhere’.

Gil invited me to create something that would catalyse the conversation during the meal. In response, I made place cards using envelopes I stencilled with the words: homeland, recipes, art, journeys, culture, identity and displacement, instead of the artists’ names. Each envelope contained a handwritten provocation. Midway through the lunch I asked each artist to open their envelope and speak for five minutes about what their word evoked for them.

I then took the recording of the artists’ replies and created seven texts using the process of free writing. Whilst listening to the recordings I selected one word from each monologue – cause (homeland); craving (recipes); urge (art); erasure (journeys); drops (culture); water (identity); and booklet (displacement) – using them as prompts to write spontaneously and within a self-imposed, 15-minute deadline.

The resulting piece entitled somewhere is a collection of one-minute, experimental films I made during the Covid-19 lockdown using my mobile phone. The films are overlaid with the voices of the artists reading my texts. What you witness is an unsettling disintegration of sorts as I slowly immerse the writing in water. somewhere is a testament to the stories told during a seat at the table and the troublesome, contingent and precarious nature of being from somewhere else. 

somewhere features as an online exhibition on the SEAS website during May 2020 to coincide with what would have been the month of the Brighton Festival