UK & South African artists join Vital Capacities for August

Artists and their work from far left image clockwise: Siphenati Mayekiso; Nadine Mckenzie; …kruse; Artist Rebekah Ubuntu (pictured), commissioned performance at Tate Britain, image courtesy of Tate London. Find Rebekah online @rebekahubuntu

For the fifth Vital Capacities‘ residency, we partner with Institute for Creative Arts (Cape Town) and Wysing Art Centre (Cambridge) to work with artists from both South Africa and the UK. From 2 August, artists Siphenati Mayekiso, Nadine Mckenzie, Rebekah Ubuntu and …kruse will join Vital Capacities, to undertake research and develop new work. Working with our partners, they will explore and exchange new ideas using their studio spaces, and create new commission works throughout the residency.

The artists for August 2021’s residency are:

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Seo Hye Lee interview with Lutte Collective

Seo Hye Lee, [Sound of Subtitles], 2021

Vital Capacities resident artist, Seo Hye Lee, was interviewed by lutte collective as their featured artist for August. Lee talks about her work as a deaf artist working with sound, and her time during the residency on Vital Capacities.

Read the interview here: https://luttecollective.com/

[Sound of Subtitles] by Seo Hye Lee (2021), commissioned with University of Salford Art Collection as part of Seo Hye Lee’s residency, can now be seen in the exhibition by clicking here.

Intertwined – exhibition of work by June 21 artists

Three images in a composite represent three artists' work. Top left: Seo Hye Lee's film Sound of Subtitles - a hand is inside a stone coloured round pot on a spinning wheel, the insides of the pot are shiny. A subtitle reads: sound of reminiscing. Bottom left: Linda Stupart's film Watershed 2.0 - green plants are growing in the foreground, they look like tall weeds. In the background a blurred image of a person in white, a curled claw with red nails is held ahead of the person. Right of the image: Laura Lulika's Body Building film - a sad android sits in a blue room on a blue block, women's heads grow out of the android's back, their body is made up of body massager tools, which are grey, black, purple and pink plastic. A glowing pink ball is held in the android's scalp massager hand.
Artworks from top left, clockwise: Seo Hye Lee, [Sound of Subtitles], 2021; Laura Lulika, Body Building, 2021; Linda Stupart, Watershed 2.0: Pandemic CYOA Cyberspace Edition 2021, 2021 – images courtesy of the artists.

Intertwined is our new exhibition on Vital Capacities, presenting new works by resident artists – Seo Hye Lee, Laura Lulika and Linda Stupart. The works have been commissioned in collaboration with our partners: Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), Phoenix and University of Salford Art Collection. Intertwined opens on 22 July. See the exhibition now by clicking here.

Care Work with Melissandre Varin

Thinking about the ways that we formed ideas about our bodies and who had influence, especially in relation to our identities, is always a headfuck. Doing this project has been a reminder of this so I wanted to try to include an action that felt more nourishing, gentle and caring than my other research.

I asked a new friend, Melissandre Varin, who I had met through an online performance workshop, if they would have a conversation with me about these body topics. I had attended Mel’s artist talk and I find the way that Mel speaks about bodies and their own personal experiences to be very candidly honest and at the same time generous and kind.

A white background with black braided hair of different thicknesses overlaid and layered over each other.
Image from Melissandre’s Installation Work
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Break Time… in resistance of professional hyperability

A meme of a huge muscly videogame monster from the videogame Diablo. The monster has rams horns on it's head and a bald round head with spiky slimy teeth and tusks coming out of the sides of it's open mouth. It's wearing some kind of tight leather wrestler style unitard and it#s holding a staff in it's right hand made of bones with a ram's head on top, in the left hand there is a scithe made of a horn and a metal chain wrapped around the arm. The monster's skin is covered in bulging muscles and veins, there are cuts across it's body with large metal staples in them. The skin is greyish yellow. There is a fiery glow around the monster and a silhouette of a creatur'es body barely visible hanging upsidedown on the top left. Overlaid is some white text with a red glow around it that says 'YES I TAKE MY VIDEO ART VERY SERIOUSLY... THAT'S WHY I POST IT ON...' Below that is the 'Vimeo' logo in blue and on the bottom left is a Vimeo Staff Pick logo which is a black circle with a white leaf wreath border and the text in the middle 'vimeo STAFF PICK', it has been edited so that it is distorted and wavy.
I’m a professional video artist and my favourite videogame is Diablo.

I have really enjoyed occupying this digital studio space and having a dedicated period of time working on a single project. The support from vital Capacities and Film London has been amazing and I am excited to develop all of my research and tests into something to present as part of the exhibition later this month.

I am battling my own internal ableist voices which are telling me that I could have done MORE, posted more, worked more.. I have been resisting the urge to be professionally hyperable.. (yuck). And in many ways I have failed because I am exhausted.

So now it’s breaktime! If anyone needs me I’ll be in a static caravan on the Yorkshire coast for the week and you can speak to my out-of-office autoresponse until then.

Why Throwing?

Scene from Sam Hanna's film "Village Potter"- the person who is wearing white shirt and white apron is throwing a round shape of pottery. There is description of what "Throwing" means - "A mass of clay soon becomes an object of beauty in the hands of a skilled craftsman" in simple white font located in centre of image. Behind the person, there is an image of a brown house with small white framed windows and pointed roof.
Scene from Village Potter produced by Sam Hanna 1946-1947

In this post, I’m going to explain why I am using visual of the ceramic throwing process and hands crafting. In the picture above, the definition of throwing is described as “A mass of clay soon becomes an object of beauty in the hands of a skilled craftsman”- this description resonates with my intention of turning the subtitle into something of beauty, and something that should always be included from an accessibility point of view. On a side note: the word “craftsman” should be changed to craftsperson or maker (unfortunately, some old film archives can reveal archaic gender stereotypes).

Craft videos are fascinating as they frequently show pairs of hands making objects from a shapeless form into something beautiful. For me, this formation presents a parallel between the idea of digitally shaping words into the language of subtitles, exploring its poetic nature. I’d like to thank Will McTaggart from North West Film Archive for the recommendation of the beautiful craft films by Sam Hanna—to view these, this website has a compilation of Hanna’s craft films- the link is here.

As we are reaching the end of June residency, I would like to focus on making a visual connection between videos of hands throwing, crafting, intertitles, and open captions using re-written subtitle language.

Forgot Me P.E Kit

I’ve been working on a costume with fashion designer, Max Allen, who is a school friend that I’ve known for yonks (since we were teens). The idea was to create something that combined the joke shop fancy dress muscle suits with the saggy and misshapen elements that mascot costumes have, as well as playing with sports kits. (See Research space for inspo images).

A split-screen image of two headless torso mannequins adorned with fleshy mesh-like skin. The left mannequin has the same perspective as a changing room mirror and bulging muscles made of fabric. The right mannequin is posing for its birthday snap beneath a striped red and white banner that says "bugger off" in all caps. Multicoloured tassels hang from the centre of the banner and the mannequin is wearing a red bib that has a neon orange football with hard sports written above.
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Future of Live Captioning

Remember when the Google glass came out years ago and ended up being not so popular? At the time, I wasn’t aware that the product had been designed to include the function of Live Captioning; while researching this I found this video of the product being used in a quiet setting.

Youtube Video of two people testing Google Glass’s function of Live Captioning. Closed Captions are available on this video.

There are many great resources you can use to transcribe speech to text on apps/browsers online. These resources work by either turning on the live transcribing function or uploading prerecorded audio files – a few I have used in the past are Webcaptioner, Google Transcribe App, Descript. (Each mentioned names are all hyper-linked which will lead you to its own websites)

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Oddy-Body

Someone wearing an unofficial teletubbies costume of the character Po, who is a large round red alien looking type creature with big ears and a circular antennae coming out the top of it's head and a blue square on it's tummy. They are standing at the bottom of a set of stairs in a white hallway. The costume is saggy and mishapen and the face is slightly menacing with wide eyes and a smile. The image has been edited to accentuate the sagginess with a slight swirling all over the costume. White text with a black background in two arches says 'feelin more oddy-body than body-ody'
Po from the Tellytubbies

A long-term enthusiasm of mine is mascot costumes. I have a collection of images on my laptop and phone of my favourites. I especially like Tweety for reasons I will explain in a later post.

Two costumes hung on stands, one is of Sylvester the cat and the other is Tweety Bird. Sylvester is a black cat with white feet, hands, stomach and cheeks. Tweety is yellow all over with an orange beak and big black eyelashes. They are hung in a small fabric cubicle, the fabric is cream coloured. They look creepy and awkward with no human bodies inside them to fill them out. At the top of the image is some white text with a black background which says 'when you both feel more oddy-body than body-ody'
Sylvester and Tweety Bird from Looney Tunes
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Watershed (the work so far)

This video (click above ^^) documents the first part of my walk down the River Cole, as well as a lot of anxieties present in the first lockdown in 2020 in the UK. I made the video for So Remember the Liquid Ground , an exhibition curated by Benjamin Darby, Yoojin Kang, Akis Kokkinos, Angelina Li, Lenette Lua and Louise Nason as part of the MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme Graduate Projects 2020, Royal College of Art in partnership with Gasworks.

Aubree Penny – a friend and also curator – commissioned me to perform Some Men Have Mistaken Me for Death in a sex workers graveyard in London, AND commissioned the film version of After the Ice, the Deluge for An Alarming Specificity at Haverford College in the USA. London

Aubree wrote an audio transcription of Watershed, which you can read here: https://vitalcapacities.com/3108/

And a visual description, which you can read here: https://vitalcapacities.com/3110/

Interview with resident artist Laura Lulika

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.

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Artists from across UK join Vital Capacities as artists-in-residence for June 21

Three images in a composite – top left image: a black rectangular lightbox with a white screen has the word what with a question mark written 3 times on it, black pipes leave the box on the left and right sides. Top right image: a white heart shaped balloon has the words stay sick written in the middle. Bottom left image: a collage of green leaves, white daisies with yellow centres, and stripes of yellow and red streak across the image.
Artworks from top left, clockwise: Seo Hye Lee, What Did You Say?, 2017 (audio-visual installation); Laura Lulika, An Ode to Marge (or how i taught myself to speak again by watching the real housewives), 2018 (installation photo); Linda Stupart, Watershed, 2020 (video still) – images courtesy of the artists.

For June 2021’s Vital Capacities’ residency, we are collaborating with Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN)Phoenix and University of Salford Art Collection. Working with three artists from across the UK, Seo Hye LeeLaura Lulika and Linda Stupart.

Across June, artists will be researching and developing new work, with work commissioned in collaboration with our partners. Artists will be experimenting with ideas, developing new projects, and sharing work with audiences. The artists are:

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