Jamie Wyld (Vital Capacities’ director): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?
Thanks for inviting me. I am a sick and disabled artist, researcher and community cultural worker. My practice challenges the preconceptions of what it is to be sick and disabled. It acts as a reminder that sick and disabled bodies are actively political even in states of what might look like physical inactivity to someone who is able. In reality, ‘resting’ isn’t really rest if you don’t have a choice.
I tend to enjoy unpicking the complicated and conflicting feelings we have about our bodies, especially in relation to the popular culture we consume. I believe that the experience of having a body is often way more nuanced and complex than the neat and compartmentalised ideas that are presented in the media or deemed socially acceptable to reveal publicly.
This project is going to chart my own complicated relationship with hyperable bodies. The experience of feeling simultaneously jarred and fascinated by bodies that are pushed to their limits; how I may have adopted and rejected some of their performative characteristics and why.
I mostly use video, performance, sound, writing and memes to express myself and that’s what I will be doing during the residency. I am excited to have a space to share my research, influences and thought processes while creating new work.
JW: One of the aims of Vital Capacities is to create an accessible site (so more people can use it) – how do you think this will be an opportunity to develop your way of working?
Accessibility has always been important in my work, and I see it as a constant and never-ending process of learning, reflecting, researching and relearning. We are incredibly lucky to have so many amazing resources available to learn from, made by people who experience access barriers.
I am very interested in experimenting with playful and creative ways to give a sense and feeling of the work when using alt-text and audio descriptions for example. Rather than offering a literal description only, I want to make the accessibility an integrated part of the work and not just an additional element.
JW: What would you like to achieve through the residency? Is there a particular project you’ll be focusing on?
For the past year I have been really focused on preparing myself for parenthood, as well as working with the collective, Sickness Affinity Group. I am really looking forward to returning to my own personal practice after this period of giving my energy to other important things in my life. It feels like the right time for me to think about my work again and to find out what direction it will take. The unknowing is intimidating but also really exciting.
I have gently titled this project, ‘Body Builder’, in reference to my deceased Dad who was a body builder. I anticipate that it is going to reveal a lot of my own internalised ableism and the ableism I consume in popular culture and media. I hope that even though it might be scary to explore this difficult topic, that it will be a nourishing and somehow enjoyable process that I will learn from.
JW: How do you see the next few weeks unfolding? Where would you like it to take you?
I have a lot of research and references that are whirling around my brain and I am happy that they will have a place to virtually live so that I can begin to figure out how they all link and what they mean in relation to each other.
I have a couple of ideas for sound works that I want to make with my partner and collaborator, Hang Linton. I’m also designing a costume with fashion designer, Max Allen, who is an old school friend. I love working with other people and sharing different perspectives.
I am going to try a few playful experiments and see where it goes…