6. Go Deep.

I am slowly, deeply and intentionally breathing into Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’

Turquoise Book cover entitled ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I have a lot to process and it feels important to: Go deep.

Hand of artist Rebekah Ubuntu holds open Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ on a page titled 'Go Deep'
Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’. Chapter title: ‘Go Deep’

“What would allow you to look at what is under your actions, and under that, and under that? ”

“And the ocean itself has so many depth lessons, when you think you’ve reached the bottom, there is sometimes still deeper to go…”

“Take a breath”

Extract from ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’, Chapter: ‘Go Deep.’

5. Be Vulnerable.

I am slowly, deeply and intentionally breathing into Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’

Turquoise Book cover entitled ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I have a lot to process and it feels important to: Be vulnerable.

Hand of artist Rebekah Ubuntu holds open Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ on a page titled 'Be Vulnerable'
Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’. Chapter title: ‘Be Vulnerable’

“I wonder what our sensitive edges have to teach us.”

“…our tendency to hurt people who have already been hurt in similar ways to us, and what it takes to actually lead on the issues that have impacted us the most.”

Extract from ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’, Chapter: ‘Be Vulnerable’

4. Listen.

I am slowly, deeply and intentionally breathing into Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’

Turquoise Book cover entitled ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I have a lot to process and it feels important to: Listen.

Hand of artist Rebekah Ubuntu holds open Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ on a page titled 'Listen'
Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’. Chapter title: ‘Listen’

“Listening is not only about the normative ability to hear, it is a transformative and revolutionary resource that requires quieting down and tuning in.”

“…opening a space to uplift the practice of listening even more than the practices of showing and proving and speaking up…”

Extract from ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’, Chapter: ‘Rest’

3. Resting.

I am slowly, deeply and intentionally breathing into Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’

Turquoise Book cover entitled ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I have a lot to process and it feels important to: Rest

Hand of artist Rebekah Ubuntu holds open Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ on a page titled 'Rest'
Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’. Chapter title: ‘Rest’

“I have heard people praised over and over again as “tireless,” right through their exhaustion and death. I myself have forgotten to eat.”

“…And we deserve space to reflect on what we made…”

Extract from ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’, Chapter: ‘Rest’

2. Permission. (Video + Text)

I am granting myself permission.

Video 1: my reflections unfold in realtime.

video 2: my reflections are voiced.

My reflections – full text – below

I am contemplating my blog posts on this platform.

I am wanting to grant myself PERMISSION to use this blog space for REFLECTION. 

In order to REFLECT I feel I need some SLOWING DOWN, RESTING, PAUSING time…to ALLOW my mind, heart, body etc. to RELAX, LET GO + BE. 

And to do that I need to grant myself PERMISSION…

  • I need to grant myself PERMISSION…
  • I need to grant myself PERMISSION…
  • I need to grant myself PERMISSION…

I hereby grant Rebekah Ubuntu, (aka me, myself and I), permission to…

  • SLOW DOWN, REST, PAUSE… 

I hereby grant Rebekah Ubuntu, (aka me, myself and I), permission to…

  • ALLOW  my mind, heart, body etc. to RELAX, LET GO + BE. 

I think a lot about how resting, reflecting and repose are all about permission.

I feel conflicted about work and rest. Like the two oppose each other and lead to a sense of dissatisfaction.

To reflect, requires repose, pause, slowing down.

Yet, the pace with which I have been enculturated, I’d say from the age of five or so, is so fast. It’s a constant busy-ness for the sake of busy-ness type feeling. And it has shaped the way I conceive of most, if not all things, including my own sense of intrinsic value.

The issue I am already confronting (for the sake of this residency) is:

I don’t know HOW to really REST if it isn’t about SLEEPING, NAPPING or RESTING to RECOVER from an illness or fatigue. I don’t feel a sense of embodied understanding around a NATURAL STATE of REST.

For example, I am always thinkingabout what’s next. What’s next for this blog, what’s next for this project or that, what’s next for my career, what’s next for my life…

I am choosing to free write – and record it as it’s happening. I guess I want to remove my tendencies towards PERFECTIONISM which I think is linked to this sense I have of NEEDING PERMISSION to REST.

Like I need PERMISSION to SLOW DOWN.

So recording myself write this, removes the self-censoring, self-editing, self-criticism and allows for an acceptance of what is.

Perhaps that’s what REST allows too…a sense of ACCEPTANCE.

I immediately feel inclined towards GRATITUDE also as an ANTIDOTE to the BUSY-NESS…

1. Residency Intention: Slowing Down.

To get me started in this residency space I am slowly, deeply and intentionally breathing into Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’

Turquoise Book cover entitled ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

I have a lot to process and it feels important to:

Slow Down

Hand of artist Rebekah Ubuntu holds open Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ on a page titled 'slow down'
Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’. Chapter title: ‘Slow Down’

What if we could release ourselves from an internalised time clock and remember that slow is efficient, slow is effective, slow is beautiful?

Extract from ‘Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals’ by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’, Chapter: ‘Slow Down’

“…slow is efficient, slow is effective, slow is beautiful…”

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

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.