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Ungentle, etc.

Performing and Visual Arts 

Exhibitions, Winter 2022-2023

British Espionage & Male Homosexuality: Ungentle 

 

Huw Lemmey in collaboration with Onyeka Igwe

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Courtesy of Studio Voltaire 

Studio Voltaire is a hidden oasis in  busy Clapham Common. Renovated in 2021, the space functions as both artist studios and a gallery along with a limited edition shop: House of Voltaire. 

 

As visitors navigate through the multifunctional space, the gallery presents a black curtain dividing work and outer reality. A gentle narrator’s  voice is heard through the walls. 

Ungentle is filmed entirely on 16mm and is on a continuous loop between 10am to 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday, at Studio Voltaire’s Gallery space. Watching the film, the audience experiences a sense of ‘spying’ on busy streets, calm countryside picturesques and historically significant places of the espionage. The protagonist directs the entire film from outside the camera lens, making the camera itself a pair of binoculars. As the narrator softly continues, one gets the sense of an intimate  conversation with someone about something not so secret. 

 

The film preserves a conversational sincerity throughout ,despite the critical themes it touches on such as: imperialism and sex. As described by the gallery, “It moves from St James’s Park, a historical cruising ground at the center of British power, to Beaulieu, a historic country house in Hampshire that served as a Special Operations Executive training school, and its surrounding countryside.”



More information can be found here.

  

Ungentle can be seen in Studio Voltaire until January 8th 2023. 

INSOMNIA  by LEAH CLEMENTS 

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Leah Clements new work INSOMNIA transports the viewer to 3 in the morning, no matter what time you visit the exhibition. Inspired by the artist’s own sleep paralysis and insomnia, South Kiosk hosts the artist’s first photographic solo exhibition. Curated by Marianna Lemos, visitors are placed in a setting with big  linen sheets and a bright blue carpet serving like a body of water underneath. Purple and green lights come through the photos, and doors from the photos open to hallways with an uncomfortable sensation of stuckness. Objects are thrown out of time, stuck in a  state between wakefulness and  sleep, moving but not going anywhere. Clement’s work is informed by this in-between state, where mind and body exist in a parallel world. Her world resembles reality, but simultaneously, space, time and the body are compromised. The photographs suggest  time that moves at an irregular pace, a space that appears disproportionate to its dimensions and a body stripped from its regular functions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is accompanied by a sound piece with image descriptions. The viewer is given gentle suggestions as to how to navigate the space. The installation is produced so as to be accessible. From the gallery brochure: “Leah Clements’ practice includes performance, installation, writing and film to develop a language of chronic illness and disability.”

 

The exhibition can be seen at South Kiosk until 29 January 2023. There is a public programme with talks, workshops and in-person live events.

 

More information here: https://southkiosk.com/Current

BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPORARIES 2022
 

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Lou Baker- Red is the colour of….. 2019-2021

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Nicole Sheppard- Entanglement Study 2021 

Bloomberg New Contemporaries’ yearly exhibition is now open for its second show in the UK at South London Gallery. Supporting early career artists who are currently enrolled or recently graduated from UK art schools, New Contemporaries has been championing emerging creative talent through annual exhibitions since 1949. 

 

After a two stage process, 47 artists have been selected by renowned artists such as James Richards, Veronica Ryan and Zadie Xa. A diverse group  are showing work in various mediums such as painting, print,  photography, moving image, sculpture, installations, digital media as well as performance. The works explore many different themes, deriving from both personal and collective experience. 

 

The exhibition is on until 12 March 2023.

 

More information is here: https://www.southlondongallery.org/exhibitions/new-contemporaries-2022/

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Ishwari Bhalerao and Leonie Rousham 

End to Continual Cycles of Exhaustion, 2019

Noga

Noga Shatz 

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Eating a peacock for breakfast and staying alive - Mono-print Ink on tissue paper

Painting, Print-making, Sculpture and everything in between 

I usually just start working in my studio, using what’s available in the space. I begin with drawing and painting, experimenting with materials; I like to create monotype prints in my studio, without using a presser. It results in making drumming sounds which I see as part of the process/rituals. The beauty of working inter or multi disciplinary is that the work informs you what medium best serves. I don’t decide in advance. 

 

I have an idea of what I want to explore beforehand. Then I see what arises in the studio. My research is studio based. The work in the studio generates the research itself. From that process, images or experimentation with materials takes place, which I later explore in depth on my computer. I trace and explore the origins, cultural heritage, popular uses of these images, and how they are linked to me. And then I try things out from a more informed perspective. I then experiment further to see what medium is best for that particular work.

 

It’s a process, and I keep myself open for surprises. Plans are often fragile, dynamic. 

I mainly work with printing and painting, but sometimes I think the work needs sound too. I’m also a musician. And sometimes, instead of painting on the walls or canvas, the piece can be a sculpture or an installation. I like to keep those two worlds separate. Sometimes they link naturally, but I don’t set out to do that. My paintings have a lot of rhythms and sounds, a kind of relationship to music without sound.

 

I’m interested in pieces that are distorted. Distortion is a key word for me in both music and visual art. This translates to studio work using materials which go against one another, manipulating material in an unconventional way. For example: my work “ Handkerchief”xx is a monoprint made of tissue paper. The paper is fragile yet I am sculpting with it. That goes against the nature of the material. This is an example of how I use --and abuse --the materials. 

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Modern and classic female position, 2019- Monotype print on tissue paper 

Foreign subject, 2019 - Monoprint ink on paper

Both painting and printing have a long tradition behind them. Painting has a wealth of contemporary examples, but contemporary printmaking as a practice is not very common. There are amazing printmakers, but it is still seen as an edition-based discipline. I try to move away from assumptions like that by printing large scale monoprints in-house. They are basically in a contemporary setting instead of in a print studio environment. 

 

There is something about printmaking that has an element of surprise. For instance, in a monotype, print is a mirrored image. I like to work on a big scale, going against the way prints are traditionally made. So I don’t use the press. I am the press. I drum on the monoprints for the paint to transfer. I like experimenting with the monotype print-making because it's very fast, unstable, and unpredictable. It’s kind of a pirate way of working.

I like to work in this way because it resonates with who I am as an artist and with the contemporary world we inhabit. The uncertainty allows me to produce image after image, whereas painting can take months. It’s a different pace. My work ‘Foreign Subject’xx is from a 2019 exhibition. All are monotype prints, and all were done by the process I described. I was interested in peacocks and their relation to the female figure. Peacocks originated in India, and were brought into the UK to serve as moving decoration.

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"High society would look at them and say, ‘how beautiful.’ I asked myself why I was interested in peacocks? I felt a connection around the immigration and integration process, specifically having to do with the UK. The work started from that."

Foreign Subject detail

My last solo exhibition, ‘Wobble’,xx, was a year ago. All small paintings can originate as part of a larger painting re-edited. I was interested in fragmentation of images and how these can create new narratives. Just now I am retracing narratives of female figures from the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. My focus is on how to paint these female figures from a female gaze, not from the gaze of famous male painters.  

 

In my paintings the female figure is quite different. The head might be cut off or the figure might not have legs. I will research these women to bring out her stories, not his stories. My research is quite wide at the moment, but it will narrow down to  figures of those centuries who were persecuted during witch hunt trials. 

 

Fragmentation of the human figure has a big presence in contemporary painting. For me it’s about the defragmentation of my own self image. It’s also about creating new narratives and new ways to portray women's stories. 

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Wobble, 2021- Acrylic on canvas

It links back to the fragmented narratives based on my personal experience of being a female artist, of how I experience imagery and distortion. It also relates to reality as I see it. We are never in one place. We are never a whole image. We are part of an environment that’s fragmented. We live in multi-layered realities, in several places at the same time. 

 

For example, there will be a message on my phone, and my mind will be somewhere else. Our lifestyles are fragmented. It’s not just that there isn’t only one environment. We’ve moved far away from any organic experience. My work is a reflection of my personal feelings and my surroundings. 

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Wrapped In DATA, Wobble, 2021- Acrylic on canvas
Photo by Peter Mallet 

My work is constantly changing. I like to be in dialogue with the work I’ve done in the past. The further away I get from some of my past work, the more clearly I can see links to what I’ve done. One major change was moving from painting with oil to a completely water-based practice. I find it less heavy, and therefore the weight of painting tradition is less burdensome. Water-based paints dry more quickly so they provide a faster working rhythm. 

During my MA degree at Slade School of Fine Art-UCL, I was exploring printmaking, and I shifted into a more water based approach. I also like the ability to mix and match, and to move between ink, watercolour, and acrylic. This is part of the  experimentation aspect of my work.

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Noga Shatz will be exhibiting her first UK solo show at One Paved Court Gallery this spring. 
Private View 17.5  Save the date! 6pm-8pm

The show will run between 17.5- 5.6
Noga will hold several talks and workshops in the gallery space
 

Artist website https://www.nogashatz.com/

Email: nogashatz@yahoo.com

Instagram: @noga_shatz_ 

Facebook: Noga Shatz

Twitter: @noga_shatz

jeremy

Photography &
Resilience 

Jeremy Alvarez 

I was born in a very small city, more like a town, in the Southern Philippines. I grew up on a farm and later moved to the capital, Manila. I work at a digital bank, handling their app. I actually do not know how I got this job three years ago. My degree is in Behavioural Sciences, which focuses on social systems. I’m looking for more creative opportunities, but everything offered me so far leads to yet another bank.

I started doing photography when I was in a very small high school in Manila. There were photography classes offered, and you were required to take them. The first semester was about basics, and we did a lot of shots on jeepneys. Jeepneys are basically vehicles left over from World War II. They are a cultural symbol in the Philippines, open air vans like a bus or truck, painted in all kinds of colours and symbols. 

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I didn't really get into photography until 2015. I went to the States for a month to see friends. We drove down Highway One in Northern California. It’s along the coast. At one point we stopped at a cliff looking directly into the Pacific Ocean. Everything was in Northern California colours--deep browns and dark greens. Watching the waves crashing to the shore, I realised: ‘I need a camera’. Back home, I immediately bought myself a cheap Pentax. My godfather, a professional photographer for years, took me under his wings for a while. I learnt more about photography from him than I had in my classes.

 

When I am hired to do a ‘photoshoot’, I use my digital camera because it’s practical. Film photography, though, forces me to be in the moment. As an anxious person, I value this quality. Most of my shots are candid, taken on walks with friends. My personal projects are on film. With analogue photography, you don't see the results right away, so it adds preciousness to the viewing. When you print out the photos, it means more than it does with digital photography. 

 

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Overall, the reason I like photography has less to do with the image and more to do with the story of the image. It’s why I like photographing people. As human beings, we’re drawn to one another's stories. I’d rather shoot a portrait of someone I know because their story is familiar, and I can empathise with what they’re feeling. Merging images with writing, putting a face to the words, is what I enjoy. Writing and photography work well together. Lately I’ve been playing around with personal projects that combine the two. I do portraits of people who have helped me through very dark periods of my life, explaining through words what they mean to me  and showing their faces in the photographs. 

 

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From Jeremy's article Barangay Riverside:

 

A lot of natural disasters happen in the Philippines. There’s a glorified idea of Filipino resilience, how we smile in the face of danger and tragedy. A lot of Western coverage portrays us this way. This quality of resilience is co-opted by politicians, both local and international, as a way of formulating a narrative which insists we are strong. Therefore, nothing has to be done.

 

Bad things are going to keep on happening to a lot of people, their lost lives reduced to numbers on a screen. But these are real people. With every disaster, every one of these people’s lives is harder than ever. If we keep using resilience as an excuse, there will be even more hurt. Resilience is not an excuse not to act, either locally, nationally or internationally. 

 

My photographs show who these people are and what their houses look like. In some of the images, you will see smiling faces. But we cannot rely on that. We do not need to be cheerful in the face of destructive circumstances. We need bad things not to happen. For a lot of people, words are just words. But the moment you look at photos, suddenly you see people. Their houses are real. The children who run on the streets are vital, breathing beings with lives to be lived. 

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When Photography Serves Film 

Gülce Tulçalı is a London-based visual artist whose practice includes moving image, photography, and performance art. She visualises women and authority relationships from a citizen-government point of view. Emphasis is put on technologies and nature. Gülce uses a variety of methods from digital processes to darkroom printing. She writes and edits her own films. Recent shows includes with fists, it kicks, it bites at Webber Gallery, and Hang Ten at ArtLacuna.

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Gulce
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The variety of media I use gives me the gaps I need to breathe. Often the work calls for the medium it wants to be in. I just try to generate a set of skills that can succeed in them when the time comes. Recently I have realised the photographs I take serve as a storyboarding/planning phase of the movies I shoot. It took me a while but it made me very happy to finally discover this pattern. I visualise a moving image in my mind. Because the way I shoot is experimental, taking the photographs of the sequence makes the path from inspiration to reality a step closer. I have only done one installation in public. It was accompanied by a piece of writing. I would like to do more if the context is right. I am still forming/learning as an artist; I am trying to enjoy without fear what other mediums have to offer my practice. The process does not work all the time, but I am determined to keep my options open with moving image being a constant.

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Representation of women is a tricky subject, and the obsession with getting it right has made me pause for a long time in my art practice. After the first wave of work on the subject, what I created was so charged, it was difficult to imagine another way. My approach towards my own work had to change. I decided to accept that I am never going to get it right. My aim is authenticity. I often keep things abstract to run from stereotypes. One way of dealing with conventional visuals is to leave the image empty, an absent segment like negative space in the darkroom. Now I believe it is time to go deeper and more structured and quit assuming the issues I am dealing with are obvious. The themes I address are not yet part of mainstream conversations.

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Emel
          "Many of my female students said, 'I want to be a photographer and travel the world just like you.' When you see this spark in girls’ eyes, as they realize another life is possible when they cast off the limiting side of customs of where they live, you feel your mission is completed."

How long have you been a Londoner? Where are you from, where do you live right now? 


 

      I’ve been living in East London for three and a half years. I moved from Turkey with my partner because we felt more and more constrained in Turkey. I’ve always found London an inspiring, soul-nurturing city. At the moment, I’m searching for what I can do instead of photography. I’m trying to be nurtured from multiple channels at the same time. We’ve been vegan for the last six years, and I’m heavily invested in this journey. I  just finished vegan chef training. I keep thinking that what will save us is giving up harmful habits. Therefore, I’m leading a life focused on food at the moment. I’m not going onto the streets with signs protesting animal consumption. But I’m trying to help end this and other things by being involved with what we eat.


 

How did you come to be conscious of what you eat and its impact? 

 

      In Turkey, adults teach children to befriend animals. Then all of a sudden, children see animals being slaughtered right in front of them during the Feast of Sacrifice. Of course, the adults do not realise the trauma they’re causing. After witnessing animal slaughter when I was four years old, I stopped eating meat. My twin brother has not reacted in the same way and is not troubled. I have been researching the ways women are more prone to understand and grieve wounded beings, whereas most men seem to have no problem adjusting to killing animals to eat. There are more vegan women than vegan men. As a four year old, I vividly remember being the “problematic” child, forced to eat white meat, running away from the bone broth smell. 

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Happiness of making your own fermented vegan cheese 

There are so many aspects to your personality: you are a photographer and founder of a darkroom for refugee children. Now you are working as an assistant in a kitchen. You’re a mother and a migrant from Turkey to the UK. What ideals keep you going?

 

  Oh wow, now I understand why I’m tired! I studied journalism and photography in university. We had photography classes, even a darkroom in my high school. My dream was to be a war correspondent, but I became scared of this dream when I saw that  journalists were dying. But when I saw their photos, I always felt, “I should have been there.” I’ve always been idealistic. Where did this come from? I do not really know.  My family is from the Black Sea region. I don't know why, but I have always felt closer to Kurdish people. I left Istanbul where I was settled, became a travel photographer and moved to Mardin where I fell in love with Can and decided to stay there. 

 

  With an Istanbul mentality, you would not choose to live in Mardin. You would not want to visit. It’s a border zone, too far away from Istanbul. It’s seen as dangerous, even though people are ignorant about life there. Throughout my life, I’ve wanted to be on the side of the disadvantaged and hurt. When I married and decided to stay in Mardin, I made friends with women who were married just like me but did not have the same freedom. Many women could not go shopping; they had to ask their husbands for clothing. Our neighbor's daughter ran away from her family because of this. I wanted to be the voice of these women, to communicate their reality to others. The "others" were those in the western part of Turkey. Sirkhane Darkroom started from this same desire. The darkroom was a place for Syrian children to take photos about their experiences.  The drive to share what I learn is what keeps me going, a search to answer the question, "what difference can I make to another person?" My mind keeps making connections, like a spider web, and  how  I can show this to others drives me. 

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Dappa Drop – vegan food enterprises photographed by Emel

A girl selling fresh chickpeas in Mardin

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Emel's co-authored new book on "50 ideas on Veganism"

Fermenti – another vegan female-led small business photographed by Emel

  Without realizing it, you find nourishment from many channels. Even though I still doubt whether I made the right decision to have a child in this troubled world, I learn so much from my son. Meanwhile, my views on motherhood and the way I see my own mother have completely changed. I look at women who are mothers and trying to survive, women whose lives are lived differently from mine, who work slavishly their whole lives. What keeps me going is these women, the women who cannot go to the shopping centre alone, the young woman forced to leave her house, the Kurdish women who need to escape to the mountains. These are the women who keep me going, who are forever in my mind. The most inspiring feeling for me in Mardin was being an example for the local girls. It’s the custom for teenage girls to be married, burdened by house maintenance and raising kids at a young age. When they see a female like me working independently, they respond in amazement. They see it’s possible for them too. They saw me as a role model, saying “I want to be  like her.” Many of my female students said, “I want to be a photographer and travel the world just like you.” When you see this spark in girls’ eyes, as they realize another life is possible when they cast off the customs of where they live, you feel your mission is completed. Through the workshops in and around the darkroom, we witnessed young women unwilling to accept a life defined largely by the pressures of life as a traditional housekeeper and wife.


 

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Sirkhane's first exhibition poster in Arabic 

When Emel used to bring darkroom home 

What are the difficulties you face, both in Turkey and in the UK? 

 

  When I first came to London, I was twenty-four. I had given up a dream photo editor job on a leading magazine in Istanbul/Bebek. I used to commute with a Vespa, and my dad used to tell me, "please Emel, cover your hair." Because I was a woman driving a motorbike, I got cornered by other drivers, assaulted on the road. I used my middle finger quite often during those times. I wanted to move into a loft, alone. Despite being modern, my family was not supportive as I was not married. When I arrived here, I felt liberated. I was tired of the values and societal dynamics exhausting women. Now as a woman who is also a mother, I value so much here. I feel taken care of. The fact that you can walk everywhere with a baby around London is significant for me. When people see my son Aki with me, they offer their seats. That’s important to me. Whilst I feel more valued in London as a woman, I struggle as a migrant. No matter what you do, you begin from behind. This is a fact, but I still think this could be more intense in other cities which are less multicultural.

Can we say making your recipes from scratch demonstrates your will to maintain an interspecies harmony? Your food choices are a way of addressing grief around the climate? 

 

   Absolutely. My drive to be vegan peaked after I started breastfeeding. Not eating meat is important, but milk cannot be left unaddressed. I gave birth in London at a breastfeeding-friendly hospital. Nurses and midwives came around to assist me with the feeding. Somehow, I managed to breastfeed Aki for two years. Despite my son's needs, my memories are painful. I remember the electric breast pump, resulting in pain, irritation, and cystitis. I considered that I had to do this one time, but the cows have to do it all their lives for us to have milk. It doesn’t sit right with me. I understand this being misunderstood. However, if we want to end interspecies suffering, lifestyle changes must happen. There cannot be fundamental change without stopping milk consumption.


You are the founder of Sirkhane Darkroom. How do you feel about something you started from zero receiving international recognition? 

 

   I want people who support it to go visit if they can, to be inspired. It’s my dream to found a plant-based culinary school as a community kitchen in Mardin, with people from all cultural backgrounds. It would be like Made in Hackney is here. Everybody will cook together, share the experience and learn to live together eventually. 

 

  That was the aim of the Sirkhane Darkroom. The children had been exposed to countless biased stories about people from other backgrounds. This changed through the children’s photos. Children from Syrian, Turkish, and Kurdish backgrounds exposed their families to each other through the photographs they took. These are the kinds of projects we should offer in areas where there is a lot of forced immigration. Projects of cohesion are not supported because of the excuse of limited resources. There were so many children who did not know the function of the camera they were holding, what this box was about. Now they tell me they can never look at the world the same way after seeing it through the lens, without thinking about making "a good photograph”.

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Photos taken by Sirkhane students  

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Sirkhane Darkroom is now continued by Serbest Salih. You can purchase Sirkhane's photobook "i saw the air fly" published by Mack Books here.

Features, Summer 2021

Fizzy Sherbet Summer
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Emerging Voices is pleased to present further voices from Fizzy Sherbet Podcast and Plays: Carving the space for Womxn Writers.

Our March issue features a video of the co-founders, Lily McLeish and Tamara von Werthern, along with the
other members of the collective.

 

See this here.

Here’s a further introduction to three of the team, along with the works they’ve directed and/or written.

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Bio:
Sandra Theresa Buch works in theatre education as a dramaturg, workshop leader and lecturer. She trained
as a director and dramaturg at RADA and Copenhagen University. Since 2016, she has been head of the BA
in Play Writing Program at the Danish National School of Performing Arts. She is currently a member of The
Reumert Prize committee, the prestigious annual awards ceremony which recognizes excellence in theatre achievement in Denmark.  
 
Director of Lemons:
Lemons by Tamara von Werthern is a beautiful and disturbing memory piece – a poetic essay about
unrequited love. Reading it, I remember feeling a sense of recognition. It was exactly how I felt about Brexit.
The piece embodies opposites like love and loathing, engagement and alienation, revenge and (perhaps)
acceptance. It’s full of inspiring images and landscapes. Above all, it has a serene, honest and authentic feel
to its structure and language. I asked Tamara to perform the piece herself, rather than having an actor do so.
Keeping it simple, I went with a spoken word concept, supporting her words and story with atmospheric
soundscapes and a recurring, brutal sound event to move and disturb the listener. The brutality of Brexit is
expressed through and against Tamara's soft voice and personal story.

Sandra Theresa Buch - Director & Dramaturg

Lemons

Excerpt of 'Lemons' – listen to the full play here.

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Bio:

Anna Girvan is a theatre director from Newcastle Upon Tyne, now based in London. She is Associate Director for Tom Stoppard’s Olivier Award winning latest play Leopoldstadt. Anna will be directing a new adaptation of The Invisible Man by Philip Correia for Northern Stage in Newcastle in January 2022. Past experiences range
from devising adult pantomimes to being a Creative Fellow at the RSC. Presently, Anna is working with a stand-up comedian directing their upcoming piece for the Camden Fringe in August.

Director of …blackbird hour:

...blackbird hour is one play from a trilogy by babirye bukilwa. A painfully honest, multi-layered and poetic journey, it follows a woman dealing with mental health issues. babirye has created a complex character, one who is black, female and queer. Profoundly unique in one sense, this creation also mirrors the universality of countless mental health struggles. babirye’s stylistic boldness and fearless writing drew me in from the start. I’m compelled to dive into stories and lives far different from my own, ones which frighten me with the realization of how ignorant I am. blackbird overwhelmed and moved me.

Director of Jellyfish Blooms:
Jellyfish Blooms is a monologue from the perspective of a jellyfish. Inspired by the book, Art of Living on a Damaged Planet, Marie Bjørn originally wrote this piece for stage where it has been performed in Denmark by a trio of actors. In our podcast, it is one voice reaching out from the depths of the ocean. The voice is an ignored, forgotten, feared and misunderstood ‘monster’. It has come to remind us it has been around for a lot
longer than us humans and knows a thing or two. I loved the absurdity, dark comedy and intelligence of this piece. The voice is one of revolution, optimism and defiance but also nostalgia, play and wonderment. Working with a Danish playwright and Danish actor was a dream come true .

Anna Girvan - Director

Blackbird Hour
Jellyfish Blooms

Excerpt of '...blackbird hour' – listen to the full play here.

Excerpt of 'Jellyfish Blooms' – listen to the full play here.

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Bio:
Josephine Starte is an award-winning writer performer working in theatre and film. She’s particularly interested in tragicomedy, poetry, psychoanalysis, and the space between fiction and documentary. Josephine co-directs the critically acclaimed theatre company Live Beasts (called "a reason to be cheerful" by Tim Crouch), and co-founded GUM Improv, nominated for Best Group at the Phoenix Comedy Awards.
A member of BFI Network and BAFTA Crew, she was an invited Drama Fellow for the Alpine Fellowship at
their Venice Symposium. Her past work has been called "very cool" by show-runner Joey Soloway and
"beautiful, hilarious and painful at once" by poet John Burnside.

Writer of Hornet:

Set in a gallery, Hornet takes us into the mind of a pregnant young woman as she recalls a relationship with an older artist. It may have been coercive, and equally, may have been a passionate love story.
Partially inspired by a true story, I wrote it as an exploration of how a relationship is archived and held in the body, and the slipperiness of language surrounding love and abuse.

Josephine Starte -
Writer; Performer;
Co-Host of the Fizzy Sherbet Podcast

Hornet

Excerpt of 'Hornet' – listen to the full play here.

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Tom Medwell
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I was born and mostly raised in London – 41 years now – with a little bit of Germany in the
story. I currently live in North London’s Haringey, where I’ve been most of my life.
My stepfather was a photographer, and I used to assist him when I was a teenager. My
first career was actually as a writer. I worked for a few newspapers and did freelance
work. I still write, but I started photography when I was about 26. I was given an
analogue camera, a Minolta, which I still have and which still works. I discovered that
everything I tried to express in writing came so much easier in photography. When I
was developing films, they emerged right out of my head, and I became addicted to

that.


In Summer 2019, I worked on a number of series. I took a lot of photographs, in
different stages, with very small changes in between, and displayed them as darkroom
prints. Then I had a moment when I knew I wanted to compress them all into one
image. That’s when I started working with multiple exposures where a small action
takes place in every exposure . I thought about how time can become a material thing
and how human perception of time is not something we learn; it’s a natural way of
existence. But to make ourselves aware of time is a project in itself. That’s what I try to
do with my work.

I always shoot analogue for my artwork because the relationship between camera and time is integral and much stronger with analogue photography. There’s a direct link to the passage of time, whether it’s light hitting the camera or shutter speed or the time it takes to process a negative.


I’ve been making darkroom prints only recently – just two years. In the past, when I was only photographing for work, I made fun of film photographers. I saw them as people buying into this expensive Instagram filter, being retro-cool. I didn’t try to get into analogue processes until I tried to master it. That involved hours and days and evenings in the darkroom: learning the skill of analogue photography again. Skill is essential to fluency, and fluency is crucial to being clear.

 

A strongly developed technical approach is central in exploring the relationship between time and analogue. Darkroom work is very meditative. It’s not something to be rushed. Making one print can take a day, a week, or a month to get right. A concentration of time goes into this object: the photograph. It brings “weight” to the work, manifesting time as a physical thing.

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"So much time in our hands.

Hours spent watching the sun trace slow points of arc across the flock wallpaper,

shadows thrown by the plants standing guard by the window.

The sounds of the high-street drifting by, scooters and sirens, gulls and crows.

Time becomes this solid thing, a weight, a pressure.

Something to be held in two hands and put into place: and so we build."

Apocalypse literally means "unveiling or uncovering". I may sound old now and I know I
am not, but for the last 10-15 years time has been speeding up. Lockdown was like a
hand brake. Everything had to pause, to stop. Everybody stayed home, and the reality
of time manifested in daily lives. Weeks and days passed without anything happening,
dislocating time. I was interested in finding clues to this frozenness, especially in the
first lockdown right before Easter. It’s weird to be documenting something historically
important. At the moment, you’re not aware of being at a turning point. When I realized

the significance of the time I was inhabiting, I sought to document the world at standstill. Something personal for me was universal.

Another lockdown work, Manifold Series, has several meanings. In physics, it means
dimension. For me, it was manifesting sites of trauma from my personal history, creating
time-based sculptures which represent my traumas and my memories. In the primary
school shots, I was seeking to occupy the space with memories that exist in and out
of time, the relationship between space and memory. Memory doesn’t rest in a fixed
position and is never precise. Most of our memories are a series of time past,
compressed into one moment. I am trying to make things that signify that time/memory
relationship.

A lot of my work has to do with personal history. When you extract the trauma, you separate it from yourself, quarantining it. I took a lot of photos in different parts of the school. There was a room with perfect light in it, and a chair right at the corner. It reminded me of sitting on the chair and looking up to the teacher while she spoke.
 

When I was at school, I was unhappy and felt hidden in the corner, fading away. I wanted to build a structure to represent that. In these pieces, the point of view looks down on the sculpture. I sought to spread in and out of time and space, capturing how I felt as a child. It was an attempt to rehabilitate myself. In modeling moments of trauma, you can accept yourself in the space. It’s a healing process.

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Joel Katz 

Filmmaker 

  • The #1 Bus Chronicles

  • ​White: A Memoir in Color

  • Strange Fruit





 

Joel Katz is an American filmmaker and educator whose chosen genres are documentary and memoir/essay. His best-known film Strange Fruit, about the history of the anti-lynching protest song made famous by Billie Holiday, is in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Since 1996 Joel has been a Professor in the Media Arts Department of New Jersey City University

 

We’re pleased to introduce Joel via a video conversation recorded in April, 2021. In addition, we’re presenting six clips to introduce his three films: Strange Fruit (2002); White: A Memoir in Color (2011) and The #1 Bus Chronicles (2020).

To view any and all of Joel's films, you can get an access password by emailing editors@emergingvoices.co.uk. We'll send it to you.

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Joel Katz interview: Origins

Joel Katz interview: Film Summaries

The #1 Bus Chronicles Trailer

Joel Katz interview: My Father's Story

Joel Katz interview: Whiteness: An Acquired Status

Joel Katz

Joel Katz - My Father's Story 

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White: A Memoir in Color. Trailer 1

Joel Katz interview: The Adoption Process

White: A Memoir in Color. Trailer 2