MARK OF MY DEPARTURE

All work on my profile is orbiting this piece right here

All of my research, writing and creative work for this program is trying to understand and expand on this that tumbled out of me >>>>>

When sunspots and clouds look like nuclear missiles

Over the past couple of years I’ve been thinking a lot about how computers see the world – through machine vision technologies and various data analysis systems – and how this shapes our lives.

Facial recognition technologies used by police are found to falsely identify and criminalise people (cases of mistaken identity are as high as 93% and in another study were 81%). CV-sorting and hiring algorithms are given the power to select and choose job candidates (Amazon’s tool became biased against female candidates, and HireVue’s claimed to make predictions based on the candidate’s tone of voice and facial movements. But my favourite example is one that decided the ideal candidate would be called Jared and would play Lacrosse…)

There are algorithms that will automatically move you further down a medical waiting list, those that decide whether you have access to housing or a loan, and countless more examples.

The decisions that computers make are hugely consequential; they can’t be assumed to be accurate or infallible.

That’s why I was fascinated when I came across the 1983 story of Stanislav Petrov and how his questioning of what the computer claimed to see averted a nuclear missile strike capable of killing 50% of the US population. In this case, it was sunspots reflecting off high-altitude clouds that looked to the computer like an incoming missile attack. The system reported a high confidence reading that this was a definite attack, with no uncertainty.

The sun and clouds at the Autumn equinox became an act of war, in the eyes of the machine.

[Image attribution: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society]

Intro

The image is a predominantly black rectangle with a small round peephole view on the right hand side. Through the rounded hole which is slightly faded at the edges you can see a closed eye, an eyebrow, a nose and the top of a lip topped with a mustache. It's almost an image of the artist!

Hey, I’m Hamza welcome to my studio. I’m a self-taught multimedia artist and researcher. I’m an able-bodied male-conditioned, postcolonial person. My work is informed by continuous conversations with the people I love as much as any reading, listening and observing.

I’m using this residency to resume an investigation I started some time ago (before getting distracted by another project). Mark of My Departure (MOMD) is preoccupied with the South Asian diasporic experience. The centerpiece of the work is a 7 minute visual collage set to an original composition.

I will use the time afforded to me in the residency to continue the collection and tessellation of related postcolonial images and ideas. I am aiming to produce a supporting body of work so that the video is held within an expanded context.

When you step into my studio, you should smell my aunties homemade garam masala slowly infusing into fried onions on the stovetop. Poke around the work you find and if you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to leave them in the comments section.

Sending love,

Hamza

A Holy Place

Black and White Pyramid. Kofi is inscribed inside the pyramid.
@Pyramidkofi

I am Amaqhawekazi Emafini Malamlela(She/They), a Ghanaian-South African multidisciplinary Artist. Welcome to my shrine. As an artist, what influences my work is the deep sense of spirituality, identity and sexuality. 

Dance, Theatre, Performance Art, visual art and sound previously shaped the artwork I created. I am currently interested in exploring ideas of Space-Time and what it is to have a body and ritual as a process of creating sacred spaces. This residency is the opportunity to further experiment with film and how to translate sacred space onto digital platforms. 

This is a sacred space where I will reinvigorate my creative practice, taking a leap on new concepts and digging deeper with research. I will share with you Trumu Fetish, an artwork dedicated to bringing forth a Transgender deity. Trumu Fetish is a multidisciplinary artwork building a world of faithfulness. Visual art is key to the longevity of the belief and the castration of patriarchal symbols. Durational Performance Art: through the body summon the spirit of the deity. And through literature give rise to intimate comprehension.

Please, take a moment and join me as I unpack my creative process with you. You can expect video, text, images and weekly updates throughout this residency. You are welcome to leave comments and questions. Again, welcome to my shrine.

DBS STUDIO WELCOME

Hi my name is Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley. Welcome to my studio of tech goodness. I would definitely consider myself someone that is lost in the sea of tech often trying to discover how to use the mediums within technology to record the lives of people like me.

Interactive art is my thing, I like to make the audience have to work in order to get into the art. For the work to give something to them, they will have to give a part of themselves. So all things gaming to code to different ways of interaction seem to draw me into a web of ideas that often begin a project.

My practice began on seeing a poster of a woman called Mary Jones, in which she was labeled the “MAN MONSTER”. This violence in the archiving of someone we would now call Trans motivated me to use my practice as a means of Archiving those in my community that are here in the present.

So if you’re interested to see the tech nerd palace i am building please have a look around here.

Tongues

If I told you that my name should be spelt Istabraq but that at the borders of this country, those deciding the status of my family using a language which struggles to identify it, didn’t have patience enough to actually say.my.name…

Would you believe me?

Estabrak. It’s official. I mean, English tongues can say it.

Iss-tub-bruq is how it’s pronounced. And A rough silk only found in heaven is it’s meaning.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

Dreaming Tomorrow

Sometimes I dream of ancient worlds where fruit and bombs have never mixed. Where family, love and freedom co-exist.

Where blurred lines of nourishment and destruction do not need to exist.

Where culture no longer negates safety. Sometimes, I dream of this.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

A self portrait with fruit. 
This image is an underwater image. 
The view is under the surface where you can see the reflection of the skin of the water as well as underneath its surface. 
There is a light skinned hand holding a full red and light brown pomegranate. The hand and pomegranate are fully submerged into the water, cut off by the skin of the water just below where the land meets the wrist. 
The body of water holds borders of coppers, oranges, yellows, and blues.
The reflective skin at the top sees rippled yet mirrored images of the body underneath it.

Image info:

Estabrak // Ummi (meaning My Mother in Arabic) 2021/22 // Archival print under Acrylic Glass, mounted on Aluminum Dibond // Edition of 3

ABOUT: Another offering I’d like to share is of one of my most recent underwater images. It’s a self portrait, and one which was taken in a time of deep isolation and a work which also translates into other works I am currently exploring.

I’ve so much to say about pomegranates, their heritage and the importance of them in West Asia. The significance of it’s name and the body in which it expresses. There’s so much beauty and passion in this fruit, yet so much destruction attached to it.

For years I’ve noticed it’s presence in West Asian arts, yet it’s only been in isolation with internal conversations where I’ve found my relationship to it develop from one of a human eating fruit into a life lesson in history, language, colonisation and love.

Pomegranates have origins all over West and South West Asia, although it can specifically be traced back to Iran. Iran has huge significance to me as it was the place I was born, in exile after my family were forced to flee Iraq.

I’m going to go in more detail about the significance of pomegranates in a separate post which you can find in the research section of my studio, but for now I hope this offering can plant a seed of thought for you as much as it has for me.

The photograph and text were shared earliar this year via the Emeargeast exhibition ‘Dreaming Tomorrow’. And the image Ummi belongs to a current and ongoing multidisciplinary project called Letters To Ummi (Ummi meaning My Mother in Arabic). It is the first image in this series.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

mixed media collage artwork of multiple figures, objects and symbols interacting in a visual poetry.

Often before starting a piece I’ll do a rough sketch with notes of ideas for it. Looking through these rough sketches I felt the end piece always lost some sincere venerableness that the early sketches had, as if I was uninhibited  knowing no one would ever see these rough takes. I wondered what a balance between the sincere sketches and polished final artwork would look like. Which is where the sketchy erratic almost unfinished feel to the piece came from. This piece is like a visual diary, a live stream of my thoughts at the time, even going as far as including the tools I used to create the piece, as if this was a blank canvas I was projecting my thoughts on to. While creating this piece I felt off balance, thinking back to regrets of the past, or worrying about the future instead of being balanced in the present moment. being a self employed artist comes with many pros and cons which I explored in this piece. The main type of commission I work on are album artworks for musicians, these artworks need to be the perfect square to fit the size of the album cover, I started to feel boxed in my this same type of canvas with fears of repeating myself, using up my creativity on others work, losing love for what I do, but needing to make money. Even with my personal artworks, I wondered if I was creating as a distraction so I didn’t have to stop, be still and just think. I felt I was in a never ending cycle with all these different versions of myself (the freelancer, the artist, past and future) all colliding in an anxiety filled mess. despite this piece being personal, I felt drawing myself would instantly make the piece about one thing. me. But I wanted anyone to be able to project themselves onto these figures, which is why I often leave faces quite abstract to detach any one identity.  Identity was another thing I was thinking a lot about, and how being a POC growing up in England is a kind of psychological obstacle everyone has to go through. Growing up being taught to love and respect a culture that doesn’t do the same back, and how it can create inner conflict from early ages. Despite going to some fairly dark and painful places with this piece, It still has a fun childish energy about it. Often when I’m working I feel I’m doing a balancing act between my inner child who’s the artist and my inner adult who’s the editor that cuts the fat and gives the piece more intention. So I think this childish optimistic feel comes from me naturally not taking myself too seriously, wanting to create art to be fun, enjoyed and give the viewer the feeling of being a child looking at something with curious wide eyes. Despite art being tired up with all these different aspects of my life like my work, passion, self worth, identity. Creating this piece reminded me to just enjoy/embrace the process and have fun with it. 

Welcomes & Reflections

If you’ve landed here, I guess we may have something in common.. I too am curious to see what will come of this time and space spent with VITAL CAPACITIES.

Over the past couple years, so much has happened, is happening and about to bloom. For me and my practice, it’s been a phenomenally complex, difficult yet generous time of experimentation, of silence and of deeply personal work.

For anyone that knows me or of my practice, you’ll know that I’m intensely connected to understanding the ever evolving complexities of our human conditions. How it relates to our individual selves, to each other and in turn – to our environments.

Oh and I love water.

As I try to navigate the nuances of the vulnerability needed in my current line of work, the conflicting complexities of what to share and what to keep, I’d like to welcome those into this space with a small offering I wrote last year. One which carries the weight of so many other seeds planted across the diversity of my multi-sensory works and explorations.

A type writer font prints the following text:

Dear reader,
If I picked up the book of you, what chapter would it read?
How would the words land from your pages onto my tongue?
What sounds will glide through these ears and what stimulations left on this body?

If I had to draw you, what relics of past life would we see on your outlines?
They say we are mosaics of all that's been around us - every pixel of ourselves borrowed. 

So may I borrow you?
In hope our landscapes meet in common space that both our hearts can dance to.

You see I speak to you from a place of the broken hearted.
A cracked love affair with life, I am still untangling the common structures built on quick sand around us.

I want to converse with you about language, about love, expectations and being. Yet I know all these states are based on nothing but bias meanings. 

We've been here before but my memory of you is vague yet I know you exist here with me, in this system... 

Systems.
I've been thinking about systems. 
How each system just makes more systems..
How the first system we have each ever faced is our families systems.
Fractals of service, love, hate, expectations, customs, traditions and... in/justice. 

What othering lurks in the crevices of your ancestry?
Does it sparkle with repressed homophobia like mine?
Maybe your racism speaks clearly...

Tell me, do you speak of Palestine?
About those of us whom the world has left behind?

I wonder of the structures you yourself have helped build, and of those you have dismantled... What have you dismantled?

Agency...
You.
Have.
Agency.

Integrity.
It is never too late for integrity. 

Let's meet outside, where our endless motions meet emotions searching for a life we're still destined to find.

إستبرق/Estabrak
2021
A dark black landscape image is present. In the bottom right hand side of the image is a flame burning from a semi curled wax hand. We can faintly see the tips of some names and some fingers. It is evident the wax is melting. 

This hand belongs to my ancestors.

The above text and image Dear Reader are from a series of works I have been exploring during & since lockdown called A Passing Place. This work was published in 0ct 2021 through Future Venture’s Radical Arts Handbook, Issue 03 – Radical Futures.

Thank you for spending some time here.

Studio Intro

Hello! My name is Aileen Ye, welcome to my studio. I’m an interdisciplinary artist, meaning I dabble with different mediums such as filmmaking, decolonial research, visual art, and social activism. I’ve always been fascinated with unravelling power dynamics and the concept of ‘diasporas’ by exploring the meanings of reimagined / ‘imported’ heritage, practices, and culture. This also links to my research practice where I examine wider social infrastructures and ideologies that proliferate discriminatory practices.

This residency is exciting as this gives me space to combine research, philosophy, and art into one format. An idea I’ve been wanting to explore is confronting the human fascination of archiving and digital death (or ‘immortality’). Maybe it’s paradoxical that this will remain within its own ‘digital archive’, but I’m not aiming to provide an absolute answer. Through a decolonial framework, I’ll look at how technology controls and negotiates the ‘display’ of one’s death (as we are merely curating that ‘archive’), and how this power affects traditional practices and emotions. Perhaps this is also a way of confronting a topic I’ve always been afraid of.

Please feel welcome to look around my studio, at the work I’ve posted up – there are images, videos and text. You are welcome to leave a comment or questions for me in the comments section.

Hope you enjoy your visit 🙂

Aileen

INTRO

Thank you for entering my studio! My name is Saverio, I am an artist, and I hope you feel welcome here.

Untitled Queen described the accessibility features of the Untitled (World) show as “cool and sexy.” Those words echoed many ideas I was building while thinking of art as an inclusive practice. I am looking at accessibility features as a creative material to produce artworks and artistic experiences. I cannot follow speeches without captions, and I was used to frustrating myself with my language barriers; now, I feel those events are boring and mostly annoying.

I want to work to make cool and sexy art. I am approaching the idea of multi-sensorial artistic experiences, offering more than one access point. Traditional categories in art often refer to the sensory information they offer; I am blending several media to create shared experiences that hopefully will not feel exclusive.

I spent most of the last two years working with collective projects, and this residency will allow me to return to my practice. I am dissecting a common ableist stereotype: able-bodied folks often believe that disabled-bodied folks must have developed some hyper-sensing to compensate and be equally productive in a capitalistic society. What if my hearing loss became a hyper-sight? Or a hyper-smell? What are my superpowers? And yours?

Please leave your comments and questions around,
I will be happy to connect with you!

Hugs,
Saverio

Studio Intro

Illustration of Ellis drawing as a child. Mixed media artwork with elements of photography, pencil and digital drawing.
Artist- Ellis Lewis-Dragstra

Hi I’m Ellis Lewis-Dragstra, full time freelance illustration artist. The main commission work I get is creating album artworks for various musicians. Despite not always being aware of it, In my work I am interested in exploring the relations between art forms. Especially music, having synaesthesia music has always also felt like a visual artform to me, and possible a bigger influence on my work then actual visual artforms. I am entirety self-taught and feel this has led me to pick up a lot of “bad” drawing habits which have developed into my own style. 
In my own personal work, I try and embrace the freedom of not having any brief and create something over a few weeks/months that means a lot to me. Examples of past projects have been influenced by themes of Family, Nature, Dreams and the process of creating itself. No matter the theme I like to find connections between things that people don’t usually consider but can relate to. Being an artist that works by hand with mediums like watercolour/paint but also digital illustration on photoshop, I notice there is sometimes a hierarchy of paintings being put above digital art. I try and fight this notion of “high” and “low” art by mixing both together in my work. Therefore my influences can come from everything from the artist Bosch to the old Looney Tunes cartoons and everything in between. With this range of influences, I have always felt creating art was a balancing act between my inner child (the artist) and my adult side (the editor), who cuts out what’s unnecessary giving an artwork more direction and intention. This process can be a visual conversation or argument. What I love about art, that I try and embrace in my own work is that it has as many meanings as there are people looking at it. Please feel free to look around my studio where my creative process will be updated stage by stage resulting in a new piece of work. Thank you! 

Welcome to my studio

A photographed portrait in cold tones, with white background in the distance. The image is square and shows violet's face and shoulders. It shows a white non-binary person, with shoulder-length hair that is bleached blond at the very front, and the rest of the hair is natural ashy blond. violet has blue eyes and rather small facial features. The expression on their face is neutral, they are looking away from the camera, into the distance. They are wearing an oversized suit jacket that is grey and has thin white stripes, underneath it they are wearing a white shirt opened up, you can see silver jewellery like a small hoop earring and a silver necklace.
Portrait of violet.

Hi, my name is violet/a marchenkova, and welcome to my studio. I am an artist filmmaker, writer, arts worker and community organiser with Devil’s Dyke Network. For the longest time, I’ve been a student of spaces and environments, learning how to create moments of communality, connection and the life-affirming energies of the erotic. It’s almost like I needed to create those spaces that strive for acceptance and a radical kind of inclusivity to affirm the place and possibility of my personal creative work.

Sometimes I think that this queered intimacy is the only medium I’m truly interested in. Otherwise, I’m obsessed with many other things: diaristic practices, dance music, embodied dance practices, mental health, Disability Justice, queer TV content, bisexual culture, why my zoom sangha makes me feel so good, rethinking autism, and more.

I’m going to use this residency as a moment to finally sit down and review various film footage and written pieces I’ve collected over the years, to see if a new film emerges. I’m going to use this time to play and connect with people as much as possible, maybe record some conversations, see people, be seen.

You can watch the last diary film I made in 2019 here. It is called jet lag. These diary films are me but also not me. Parts of me that exist or existed, questions and insecurities I purged (or maybe, reintegrated).

Please feel free to leave me comments on the posts, I’m looking forward to chatting with you. I hope we can connect, even briefly, over these very silly and very serious things.

Lots of love,

v

INTRO

Portrait of the artist, Andrew Luk

Hello,

I am Andrew Luk and welcome to my virtual studio. I am a sculptor and installation artist from Hong Kong who was trained as a painter, but has never painted since. I am mainly fascinated with history and how certain civilization-building mythologies and ideologies unknowingly transpire and are unwittingly express themselves, which has lead me into some very diverse territories of research. Often this means working with ideas surrounding preservation and entropy as well as working with the false binary between natural and the man-made.

During my time here I will be working on “Leave Your Body”, a virtual residency that takes place in the computer game Minecraft, with the Hong Kong based organization, Videotage. I expect this will be challenging as it involves learning about an entirely new reality with its own integrated aesthetic, parameters and limitations. Not only do I plan to update my know-how of video games and world building, but I plan to undertake a project that will explore my recent research about the subterranean as well as infrastructure and processes related to Hong Kong’s relationship with geology and resource extraction.

Please feel free to have a look around and please do not be shy; make yourself known. Comments and questions are encouraged.

Thank you very much for stopping in,
Andrew

Introduction

My creative process is participatory, collaborative, and inclusive with a focus on disability, neurodiversity or history. It is also multidisciplinary, with materials and approach informed by the theme of the project. I have an interest in using digital technology creatively and finding new tools to create art. I am neurodivergent and due to my dexterity, I am always looking for new innovative ways to create art that is accessible to me and others. A big part of my creative practice is finding accessible tools to collaborate with others to create art that doesn’t seem like you are creating art. I have an MA in Inclusive Arts Practice from the University of Brighton and have a background working in museums with young people. I was awarded a place on the Shaw Trust ‘Power 100’ 2018 list of the most influential and inspirational disabled people in Britain. 

A photograph of me, Jess at my University of Brighton MA end of year show. I am standing next to my final piece of work called 'Neurodiversity Museum'. The exhibition walls are painted cream and on the walls are 3 glass cyanotypes and 4 paper cyanotypes. I am leaning against a plinth which is the same colour as the wall and covered in felt tip pens. On top of the plinth is a polystyrene head. The polystyrene head symbolises Percy F. the first person to be diagnosed as dyslexic.

Intro

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In consequat, mauris sit amet consequat semper, nunc lacus molestie justo, sed iaculis ligula enim ut lorem. Nullam blandit justo est, dictum porta nisi dapibus vitae. Donec vulputate placerat mi a vehicula. Donec quis augue orci. Cras sapien est, maximus vel dui vitae, mollis facilisis ligula. Curabitur iaculis a neque at tempor. Ut sed nibh nec diam vestibulum cursus. Sed justo eros, ullamcorper vitae augue ut, fermentum consectetur libero. Nam dapibus ipsum vitae euismod condimentum. Donec elementum eleifend ex, sit amet bibendum felis ultrices sed. Nulla ornare tempus ante, vitae viverra magna ornare et. Morbi aliquet tellus arcu, quis egestas tellus sodales a. Suspendisse euismod venenatis justo, eu lobortis sapien fermentum eget.

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