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!