Studio intro

A photograph of a monitor between two curtains. The monitor is positioned in the centre of the image on a brown block in front of a window with bars on it. On the monitor’s screen is a close-up of a blonde woman. Two white curtains are positioned either side of the monitor. The wall behind the two curtains is pink. In the centre top of the image are silver balloons which spell out the words ‘STAY SICK’.
Laura Lulika, An Ode to Marge (or how i taught myself to speak again by watching the real housewives), 2018 (installation photo) Image courtesy of the artist. Credit: Judy Landkammer

Hi, I’m Laura Lulika, thanks for stopping by at my virtual studio. I’m an artist, researcher and community cultural worker with a focus on unconventional care methods and community support networks. I am interested in how we experience our bodies and how we care for ourselves and each other.

I have spent most of my time recently delivering workshops and talks on care and accessibility, working with the collective and peer support group, Sickness Affinity Group, and being a new parent.

This residency has given me the timely opportunity to return to my own personal practice and reflect on interests and curiosities that I have yet to explore. In my own experience of being housebound, which started long before the pandemic, I became interested in the culture we

consume in isolation and how that impacts our sense of self. During this residency I am going to dissect the cultural fascination with ‘hyper-able’ bodies, in sports, cartoons and popular culture. The obsession with body limits is simultaneously jarring and relatable to my personal experiences of having an unreliable body. Sick and disabled bodies are commonly perceived as ‘unhealthy’, something to be cured rather than cared for.

And at the same time, we are often pushed to perform feats of ability to be deemed worthy by capitalism. I have gently titled this project, ‘Body Builder’, in reference to my deceased Dad who was a body builder and where I think I can mark the beginning of my own awareness of hyper-able bodies.

This research will inform some playful explorations into how I have consumed, digested, absorbed, adopted or rejected these performative tropes and characteristics.

Please feel free to look around the studio and leave comments and questions in the comments section if you want to.

Hope you find something that speaks to you,

Laura Lulika

Studio intro

A collage of green leaves, white daisies with yellow centres, and stripes of yellow and red streak across the image.
Linda Stupart, Watershed, 2020 (video still) – image courtesy of the artist

Two Summers ago, I went on a boat to the Arctic Circle and swam in the sea and crawled through the ice as a virus and an alien and myself. It was very cold and intense, but I finally felt close, really close, to the melting polar Ice Caps.

2020 Summer and the virus was suddenly something really tangible and terrifying for everyone in the world. We were stuck inside, but were allowed to take a daily walk. I wanted to carry on thinking about ecologies and nature and bodies and intimacy, so I decided to get into the River Cole – a river in Birmingham that runs really near my house. Because it’s in Birmingham, the river is dirty and full of the run-off of people’s lives and this felt/feels important. So, I started the process of walking down it.

In the last year I have done five walks down the river, moving further towards the mouth each time.  In this residency I hope to do a lot more walks, getting further away from my home and deeper into the river. I want to also spend time editing, writing, and collaging with the footage of walks I have shot since I made this film in 2020. In the Arctic we didn’t have any access to the internet. Now, cyberspace has become one of the only places we can be together and it’s been both horrible and warm – the way that everything is connected online – like root systems or rivers, even though a lot of the internet (like root systems or rivers) is rotten.

It’s good to reside here for a month and work inside this ecology, too. Look around and get in touch using comments if you’d like.

Studio intro

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.
Seo Hye Lee, What Did You Say?, 2017 (audio-visual installation)

Hi, my name is Seo Hye Lee (pronoun: She/Her). Welcome to my studio! 

I am a Somerset-based South Korean artist. I consider myself to be an artist that works with mediums of sound, illustration, and installation. I like to explore the nature of sound as a deaf individual in different ways.

As someone who has frequently worked with audio-visual installation, I would like to push my practice toward creating works within the video installation and moving image format. Due to my deafness, I grew up relying on subtitles in film and media. I have since become interested in subtitles as a nuanced form of communication. This residency will provide a fantastic opportunity for me to explore this in greater depth and allow me to experiment with the context of subtitles more boldly, particularly engaging with other artists and researching in depth. For this residency, I will be experimenting with the language of subtitle, and the inaccuracy of auto-generated captions and transcriptions through the medium of video projection.

I hope you will enjoy the documentation of my process and research in my virtual studio and please feel free to ask me any questions or leave comments! 

01 Interview with Vishal Kumaraswamy

Words in white capital letters say: “They closed around my head and with a golden sword shaved it;” The background is dark blue, reminiscent of an early evening sky. An unidentifiable black shape is in the bottom right corner - it looks like the shadowy silhouette of treetops. The image is a still frame from an artist moving image work by Vishal Kumaraswamy called "your dataset must die" made in 2021.
Vishal Kumaraswamy, your dataset must die, 2021 (still image from video)

Jamie Wyld (videoclub & Vital Capacities’ director): Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work?

Vishal Kumaraswamy: Hi, my name is Vishal Kumaraswamy I’m a Bangalore based Artist & Filmmaker. Within my practice, I work across AI, text, video, sound and performance and I look for points of convergence between Caste, Race & Technology. My works a by weaving speculative narratives & counter-mythologies in multiple Indian languages around themes of Artificial Intelligence, Gender & Labour.

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Interview with Jaene Castrillon

Installation view of an exhibition. On the left of the image is a tree-shaped collage of many, many black and white images (it's not very clear as the images are small, but some are portraits of people) - they are lit in a sunshine yellow light. The floor of what is assumed to be a gallery is chrome, and reflects the rest of the room. 12 TV monitors make a wall on the right of the image, on 2 screens are an animation of a man drinking from a bottle, on another is a hand touching the screen, other screens are whited out or unclear. On a On the wall and written over the photos in large handwriting is written: I don't want to alarm anyone but I think there's a lil alkyhol in the..." unreadable from there.
Jaene F. Castrillon, Perpetual, 2015 (installation) – image courtesy of the artist

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?

Jaene Castrillon: I am a 2Spirit interdisciplinary artist, activist, author & award winning filmmaker who explores my relationship to the world through Indigenous teachings, ceremony and the wisdom of the land. I describe myself as a settler to Turtle Island of mixed heritages (indigenous Colombian & Hong Kong Chinese) who was raised on the teachings of Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations.

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Interview with Damien Robinson

Main image shows a collection of hexagonal and abstract patterns in shades of blue and aqua. To the right are two smaller images showing a wooden, dark lacquered box, with a red panel, in the middle of a panel is a triangle showing an image of blue hexagons.
Damien Robinson, Chimerascope, 2010 – courtesy of the artist

Jamie Wyld (Vital Capacities’ director): Really great to have you as 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? 

Damien Robinson: Hi Jamie! Thank you for asking me to take part!

I’m Damien, I’m a visual artist working with mixes of digital and non-digital approaches. My practice was originally print-based and I used to make three-dimensional work; over time I began incorporating digital processes, particularly around using discarded technologies and open-source software. I was lucky enough to get the chance to work with Mediashed, which was really forward thinking in terms of artist collaboration and teaching us about free media concepts. As a deaf artist I’d had little access to formal learning; even during my degree I wasn’t allowed to learn about or use huge amounts of equipment because I apparently constituted a health and safety risk, so I went about a lot of things the “wrong way”. The Mediashed experience involved thinking differently about hardware and software, so I began enjoying mis-using processes and technologies, something I still do now.

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Interview with artist, Angela Su

Four black and white images from Angela Su's film 'Mesures et Demesures'. Top left corner: four portraits of women in eight frames are having tests taken from skin and ears. Top right corner: a woman bends over backwards, wearing a long billowing skirt and bodice shirt (Victorian era). Bottom left: a blurry photo shows people sat in two rows posing for a photo. Bottom right: a group of people stand as though in the clouds, floating.
Angela Su, Mesures et Démesures, 2015, Single-channel video, 5’ 59”

Jamie Wyld: 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? 

Angela Su: I am an artist who wears many hats. I make drawings, videos and I’ve also worked on a couple of publication projects. Science, the history of science, the impact of technology and the transformative body are the recurring themes in my work. As gaming and activism collide in recent years, I’ve become interested in the world of gaming and the idea of how coding can change not only the laws of the virtual world, but people’s behaviours in the physical world. On the other hand, as gamers provide entertainment and content for video games, the boundary of work and play has thus been blurred, these game labourers are often unpaid because the owners of the game often gain economic benefits from players’ contributions. I am fascinated by all these different aspects of gaming. It’s a huge topic.

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