Booklist

I’m using this space as a place to list everything I am/plan to read for this residency.

In Praise of Paths by Torbjorn Ekelund (translated by Becky L. Crook)
published by Greystone Books, Canada 2020
EAN: 9781771644952

The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins (Kindle edition)
published by Heritage Hunter 2017

The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane
published by Penguin books 2013
EAN: 9780141030586

The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes
published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 2021
EAN: 9781526604729

Interview with artist …kruse

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?

Thank you for inviting me to take part! I always say that I am a neurodivergent visual artist and writer and kind of leave it at that. I tend to compartmentalise my life; over here is art, over there is everything else. I’m trying to bring things together into a more cohesive whole these days though, because that feels more honest. So a more accurate description would be, I am a neurodivergent visual artist, walker, knitter, writer, sewist, pagan, crone-in-becoming, small business owner, mother, disabled, white, cis female, human animal/cyborg. I draw, design, make, illustrate, write stories, write non fiction and spend a great deal of time in an imaginary post-climate-crisis future with a cyborg called AuTCRONE. I’m currently learning to play the recorder.

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?

I think this is a wonderful and important project and I am aware that I actually don’t do enough to make my own online presence more accessible. My neurodivergent brain really struggles with this, writing Alt Text is tortuous for instance (because my brain struggles to simplify things) but I want everyone to be included so I am looking forward to learning more about creating accessible content. I hope it will become second nature to do after spending time working on Vital Capacities site.

JW: What would you like to achieve through the residency? Is there a particular project you’ll be focusing on?

Yes, I’m going to be using this residency as an opportunity to research my interest in paths and tracks. Walking is a very complex thing for me and touches on many different areas of my life and practice. For instance, I have psoriatic arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disorder, which means that my body often hurts and walking can be painful, yet walking also helps ease my condition, helping my joints stay relatively flexible. I am invested in the idea of walking as medicine, though I don’t think it has to be done on two feet. Following a path, actually or metaphorically, especially a path that takes a person outside and into the world, feels like an inherently positive act. 

I find walking a very creative thing to do and I often record my walks using video, sound, photography, writing and drawing. I also use walking as an opportunity to test my ideas regarding clothing, hand work, relationship to materials, my relationship to capitalism and testing minimalism/essentialism. Walking connects me in a very direct way with my ancestors, with history, and is an invitation to become an animal among animals. 

Hmm, walking is a very complex subject for me! (laughs) I want to use this residency to  tighten the focus of my thoughts, using the notion of The Path to direct my making and thinking.

JW: How do you see the next few weeks unfolding? Where would you like it to take you?
One of the things I am looking forward to is the relationship with the other artists and curators involved in the residency. I’m excited to see what this cohort is working on and hope that some creative and interesting conversations will happen between us.
I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work ‘deep,’ to focus on my interest in paths and tracks. I don’t really know where I will end up, I’m just following the path as it unfolds, I don’t want to know where I will be at the end of this journey until I get there!

Interview with artist, Nadine Mckenzie

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?

I’m a dancer with a disability from South Africa. I have been working professionally for the past 14 years. I am also a teacher in inclusive dance and have received training from Alito Alessi. My interest for integrated work started after I saw an inclusive dance production when I was a student and this shifted how I see disability and dance. What stood out most was at some point during that performance I stopped seeing the wheelchair and I saw the artist, and in that moment I realised this is how I wish society could see persons who live with disabilities.

During this residency I wish to explore my relationship to my chair. What this means to me and how it has impacted my life. This is something that I’ve realised in my own journey; something that I, a lot of times, have not paid attention to. How much I rely on it, need it, and, at times, forget about it.

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 something very close to my heart. There is always room for growth and improvement. How I think this will be an opportunity to develop how I work. To start with I am very interested and feel very passionate about creating work that is accessible for persons with visual impairments. Although I do not have experience in how to go about creating this access I am open and ready to explore and look into this.

JW: What would you like to achieve through the residency? Is there a particular project you’ll be focusing on?

What I wish to achieve? I’d like to see this exploration come to life with a short video presentation. With this my hope is to shift how we see wheelchairs, or any assistive devices  and the fear attached to it, or that we as people have placed on it. To leave us with something to think and talk about and have more room for acceptance of the unknown.

JW: How do you see the next few weeks unfolding? Where would you like it to take you?

At this point, to be honest, I would like to learn as much as possible from everyone I meet and am excited to be in a creative space again. Find out how these ideas and conversations take shape and unfold in creation.

Intro

My name is Nadine Mckenzie and I am a dancer/ performing artist living with a disability from Cape Town South Africa. I have been working in the Inclusive dance field for the past 14 years. For the past 7 years I have been working with inclusive dance company Unmute Dance Theatre which I co-founded with 3 colleagues. What interests me is telling stories, lived experiences, finding creative ways to communicate these stories and bring awareness and open dialogue around various topics. Be it my own experiences /stories or that of people and my environment around me.

During this residency I would like to explore the relationship I have with my wheelchair, why?

For the past 29 years i have been using a wheelchair after being involved in a car accident. For many years I have gone through several phases of what my chair means to the world around me and how it is perceived, and the influence this has had on me as an individual. What my relationship to my wheelchair is and has meant over the years. How this has changed / shifted as I grew older and in particular in the different spaces and environment I’ve found myself in.

I have learnt through my environment and society that my chair is not seen as something positive, beautiful, empowering on the contrary quite the opposite. Although it has carried me for 29 years, given me mobility and freedom.

What I wish to explore? Beauty of my chair, the trust it has taught me. Strength, reliance. It is more than just a chair, it is part of me. Shift the misconception and negative connotation that is attached to it.

Please feel free to check in from time to time as I will be sharing my journey of this exploration with you through images, text and videos.

Hope you enjoy my sharing and I look forward to any questions and/ or exchange..

Nadine

Intro

Hello, I am …kruse, welcome to my studio. 

Let me introduce myself; I am a neurodivergent (non-typically brained) being. I consider myself to be a multitude rather than a singular entity. The three dots before my name stand in for the beings who help form ‘me,’ but whom I do not know – the microbes, fungi and yeasts, all living beings, who make up my physical self. When you read my name the three dots invite you to take a small inward pause, a minute moment of silence. It is my gift to you in this busy, noisy world.

I will use this Vital Capacities residency to explore my interest in paths and walking. I will be using video, photography, drawing and writing to try and understand a bit more about my love for tracks and trails. 

Three years ago, I was on a day walk through the Warwickshire countryside when I had a sudden vision of a female being, a cyborg, walking the same path but in the far future. That vision has never left me and has become a huge, multidisciplinary project, called The AuTCRONE Chronicle.

The AuTCRONE walks. She walks endlessly, for hundreds of years. What is it about walking, and particularly walking a given track or path, that fascinates me so? That is the research question I will be exploring here. 

Have you ever played the game Myst? In that game you ‘walk’ along twisting paths, in beautiful, deserted landscapes to strange buildings where you solve puzzles. To me, walking along in that game is the best bit! The landscapes and visuals in Myst are really beautiful and slightly otherworldly. I hope to create some Myst inspired visuals during this residency, maybe even play with a bit of animation.

I hope you enjoy hanging out in my studio here. Do you have any other walking games you think I should check out? Do you love to walk yourself? Is there some special path in the UK I should try and walk during my residency? I’d love to hear from you so please do leave comments, or get in touch with me via social media.

I will say goodbye with a blessing; Not all those who wander are lost, but if you are, may you be on a beautiful path and find a warm welcome at day’s end.          …kruse

Intro

Hi there,

My name is Rebekah Ubuntu. I am a multidisciplinary artist, musician and university lecturer. My practice explores speculative fiction through a range of disciplines, particularly, sound art, performance, the moving image and mixed reality.

PROJECTS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN

My work ‘Despair Hope and Healing: Three Movements for Climate Justice’ is available to experience in augmented reality app Unfolding Shrines which you can find here. 

My audio art project ‘Autism and the City: a Sonic Diary’ is due to launch on the BBC next month so I’ll post that here once it’s ready.

You are warmly welcomed to my studio. 

HOW I HOPE TO USE MY RESIDENCY

I’m hoping to use my residency to REFLECT.

I’ll be reflecting on my:

  1. work to date
  2. practice before and during the pandemic

WHY REFLECTION?

My life and creative practice have undergone some major pivots since 2020. My last in-person commission before the pandemic was at Tate Modern in December 2019. I performed my work ‘Despair, Hope and Healing: Three Movements for Climate Justice’ and gave a talk about this work, which featured an excerpt from an interview in the 90s with Black science fiction writer Octavia Butler discussing the speculative impacts of climate change in the 2020s. Now nearly two years into this decade, I am feeling a need to process.

Looking back, I can see that 2020 and the years preceding didn’t leave much room for respite. This residency provides an opportunity for me to reorient my time and energy towards self-reflection, self-nurturance and self-celebration.

I’ll be pausing to be with the themes in my work, particularly belonging, healing and queering as well as disability and climate justice. I’ll be sitting with the scores, texts, and projects that have been on my heart and giving them the time I’ve not had until now.

It feels good to be here, sharing space and reflecting for a month. Please feel welcome to look around my studio and get in touch using comments if you’d like.

Hope you enjoy your visit,

Rebekah

Intro

Greetings everyone!

My name is Siphenathi Mayekiso, welcome to my studio. I am a trained physical theatre performer/actor and an integrated dancer/choreographer. 

I regard myself as a storyteller and poetic mover. I draw my creative inspiration from different aspects of life, abstract images, philosophy, ideologies and history at large. I am fascinated by objects in space in relation to the body and the inclusivity of what is not part of the body to move as one while telling a story. As an artist I am at a place where I use my body as a catalyst in negotiating dialogues around inclusivity and body politics which circles the notion of being differently-able.

Being part of Vital Capacities residency is an extremely good opportunity for me to expand my knowledge in creating a virtual performance that seeks to be inclusive and accessible. There are a number of concepts/research that I wish to interrogate during the residency while weaving together the narrative using body in relation to objects. For instance, what does the phrase “being-in-the-closet” mean?

Please feel welcomed to look around my studio and the work I will be posting. Spoiler alert: It will be a collage of different images, audios and videos. 

Please leave a comment or questions for me in the comments section (below) for us to engage. 

I hope that you’ll enjoy your visit.

Siphenathi Mayrkiso

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
Continue reading “Care Work with Melissandre Varin”

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.

It’s coming home?

BTS of me and Hang Linton recording The Champs

A little BTS of the recording of the Champs cover we did a couple weeks ago. A treat to celebrate England getting to the finals tonight! Enjoy the game!

video description: Hang Linton sits in a home music studio with dark grey soundproofing foam on the white walls and white and yellow speakers in the background, wearing black headphones, a white tshirt and black twists in his hair. In the background is a wide but small window with cream curtains, it looks sunny outside. On the window sill there is a gold lucky waving cat. Hang sings with a twisted pained look on his face, sweating from the heat, the camera zooming into his face.

[2]

Black screen with white font subtitle at the bottom [sound of subtitles]
Screen capture of [sound of subtitles]
Black screen with white font subtitle at the bottom [music and sound fades]
Screen capture of [sound of subtitles]

These two images are the beginning and the end of the video work titled [sound of subtitles].

Fandom

Two people stood outside of a large footy stadium shot slightly from below so that the stadium looms over them like an ominous space ship. It's shadowy in front of a cloudy sky. The two people are brightly lit and gaze upwards, both visible from the waist up. The person on the left has a black bob haircut and they are wearing a green and red footy shirt. The person on the right has short brown hair and head band across their forehead and a blue footy shirt with white details. They both have their hands in their pockets, they look slightly pensive like they have seen something in the sky that is about fall down in front of them.
GAA MAAD Theatre Work by Aine O’Hara and Vickey Curtis

I recently discovered Aine O’Hara’s work online. Their theatre piece pictured above, GAA MAAD, is all about being a queer footy fan in Ireland and the rejection and abuse that comes with that.

I’m really interested in fandom, the way we attach ourselves to specific teams, players, fighters etc but I especially love the way crowds move and ripple and thrash about together. It was strange and surreal to see a mass of static cardboard cutouts or screens of fans at home during the pandemic, as well as the fake crowd noise.

A sea of footy fans, almost all of them have their arms raised up and almost all of them are wearing red and white footy outfits. Many have large England flags which are a white rectangle with a red cross which they have added their hometown names, their own names or their own slogans to such as 'Tommo', 'Bollocks' and 'Redhill', which they have hung off the edge of the stands.
England fans in Germany in 2006

I also like it when they do close ups on the telly of disappointed and sad fans when their team is losing, even better if they are really dressed up for the occasion with face paint, a comedy hat and a flag wrapped around them, decorating their downturned face.

Football fans in blue and yellow sat in the stands of the stadium. Central is someone in a full body blue and yellow morph suit with a flag wrapped around their neck with their head in the hands, all the fans around them look sad and fed up too/
Three football fans all dressed in orange with spiky orange, blue and white hats on with 'Holland' written on them, orange sunglasses on their heads and orange bracelets and lipsticks, leaning on a blue pole at the edge of the stand in the stadium looking sad and fed up.