How to carry a drawing device?

Diagram sketch
Rough sketches exploring how to carry a drawing device
Another rough sketch exploring how to carry a drawing device

I did some rough sketches this morning to help me figure out how I might carry a drawing device. In the past, I’ve carried the devices hidden in a rucksack, or held in front of me and I also put devices inside paper shopping bags that other people could carry.

I think how you carry something affects your relationship with/to the thing. I usually have a rucksack on my back, so carrying a drawing device that way feels commonplace. Carrying anything in my rucksack is an ordinary everyday thing.
Holding the device in my hands changes how I think of it. Firstly the device is visible to others so the drawing it is making is a public drawing. Inside the rucksack it is a secret thing. Holding the device with two hands alters my balance as I am walking, alters my gait. The drawing is the drawing of my walk and a drawing of how I am holding the device.

What if I attached the device to my arm, or my leg? How would that feel? Would it alter the way the drawing looks from say, putting it in a rucksack?

Carrying the device like a handbag or shopping bag seems somehow neglectful, again a sort of commonplace, everyday thing.

Carrying the device cradled in my arms feels very different. Again, it would alter my gait, but it would also feel, I think, reverent.

Wearing the devices strapped to my body might make me feel very embarressed unless I disguised it in some way. I nearly always wear a dress when I am walking, so I could possibly hide it it I wanted to. Do I want to?

Defining the path – 01

Dictionary definitions for ‘path:’
1. a way or track laid down for walking or made by continual treading.
2. the course or direction in which a person or thing is moving.
3. a course of action or way of achieving a specified result.

For this residency I am particularly interested in the first definition, though I have a feeling that the other two definitions are going to be relevant too.

My personal definition (and there are no doubt many holes in my reasoning) is that a path is a line through a landscape along which a person or group of people can travel, generally on foot or in wheelchairs.
Once a vehicle is used, a cycle or car for instance, I think a path becomes a road. However, a track can be a path and it may be used by vehicles or pedestrians.
Then there are ‘ways’ which can also be tracks and may fall into the definition of a road. Ways are generally ancient and are used by foot traffic as well as horse drawn vehicles, for instance bridleways.. (I really like the term ‘way’ to describe a path. Both path and way have multiple meanings, and those meanings include the spiritual and esoteric).

Here I must acknowledge that how I think and write about paths, tracks and ways is totally defined by my ethnic and cultural heritage and the country in which I have lived for most of my life. I’m white British, a mix of Irish, English and a smattering of Scottish and Scandinavian. I grew up in the countryside and do not feel comfortable in urban environments, though I do currently live in a suburb of Birmingham.
My relationship to paths and ways comes from walking or living in the Cotswolds, Wales, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the West and East coast of Britain. I’m not a wild path walker, I’m a traveller of farmland and gentle hills. I’m a hobbit in all the ways that matter.

I vehemently dislike the suburbs, despite my current living situation. I get no joy walking the endless pavements around my home patch. For me, for some reason I’m struggling to define, a pavement is not a path. I mean technically, it is, but it doesn’t feel like a path. Why is that?
There is something about the feeling of containment that a path has, that a pavement doesn’t have. A pavement is an edge, a border. A pavement is a designated space alongside a road built for motor vehicles. It is conceded to pedestrians and can be taken from them at any moment, despite laws meant to protect us. Pavements might be cut by access routes and driveways, blocked by delivery vehicles and cars, used by speedy cyclists as well as those on foot or in chairs. Pavements are contested, disrespected spaces, sometimes aggressively so.

Thinking about pavements and how problematical using them can be, I realise that the paths I walk in the city or suburb are imaginary paths. I regularly follow certain routes around my home, to the shops, to a favourite park, to the bus stop or train station. These routes can be along pavements, down alleyways, across parkland, over roads. There is no physical path on the ground that I am following when I walk these routes, but there is a path inside my head. It’s more like the route marked out on a paper map where it is the pencil line that becomes the path, that makes a path across the symbolic space, where a physical path may not exist.

In conclusion and for the purposes of the work I am exploring during this residency, my definitions of a path are:
1. a path is for people, not motor vehicles.
2. a path is a line through a landscape and this line can be a physical or a conceptual path created by following a route on the ground.
3. path is not a pavement, but a conceptual path may include the use of a pavement

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…”

Dirt path

It’s not a straight path,
tarmacked and hot under sun,
it’s a dirt path,
meandering
under the oaks.

The path is
freckled with shadows,
as I am freckled.
It’s a redhead’s path,
one for
forest beings,
those who
value
concealment.

It’s a path for
being quiet on.
For walking,
softly,
with silent
footsteps.
Neatly,
along the brown, bare earth.

Dirt Path (audio version)

Curious nostalgia

It’s strange to be a visitor in a city you used to call home.
There are places; shops, cafes, buildings, whole streets that I once felt affection for, my university, my favourite cafe, the library and bookshop where I worked, all places that made this city feel like home for a while.
Walking through here today has been very odd. It’s not home any more and the old affections seem to have morphed into something closer to… curiosity? It’s hard to identify the emotion, but I feel an unexpected emotional distance from places that once evoked strong feelings.

The paths however are a different story. This city is a very busy tourist destination, and as a local I walked through it on the hunt, seeking out the quietest streets, dodging through the crowds, avoiding the tourist traps.
I, a being who is almost pathological in my desire to avoid humans, mentally mapped a whole network of quiet paths, roads, streets, snickleways and alleys to get myself through the city by the least busy, least crowded routes. I rarely took the shortest way to my destination, if a longer route was human free, or relatively so.
I can’t recall those routes just by thinking of them, I have a terrible mental memory, but coming here and re-walking them, some 13 years later, I discover that my body memory is superb. My body knows where to go, which turn to take. Even as my mind struggles to recall what is down that alley, around that corner. My body knows.

Weirdly, I feel as if the paths know me too. Buildings, attractions, shops, those things are mere curiosities now, and they care nothing for me, but the routes, the paths I walk again here, they feel welcoming, embracing.
‘Walk there, cross this road here, come down this alley, yes take that corner,’ I feel welcomed back to the old paths, welcomed into this place, this landscape…

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:

Continue reading “UK & South African artists join Vital Capacities for August”

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.

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

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
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.

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.
Continue reading “Forgot Me P.E Kit”