Jamila Prowse

Jamila Prowse

What’s your background?

I have a background in Art History, which has given me a research-based underpinning to my practice. Initially, I began working as a curator and writer, focused on devising new languages around blackness and identity, and supporting underrepresented artists. At the end of 2020, I shifted my focus to sit across writing and art making, in part as a response to the worsening in an impairment I have had for most of my life. I use my experiences as a disabled, mixed race person of Black parentage to propel a personal interrogation through my work.

What influences you artistically?

Primarily, I’m influenced by auteothnographic practices, and the potentials for the personal to provide cultural and contextual specificity to political and social structures. I was drawn to moving image as a medium, through a deep appreciation of moving image as a form of self-archiving, in the work of artists such as Rochelle White, Rabz Lansiquot, Evan Ifekoya, Larry Achiampong and Rehana Zaman. My hope is that by referencing my own experiences and background in my work, I can move away from what Saidiya Hartman terms ‘the violence of abstraction’; something I think is particularly important when considering race and disability.

How do you start a new work?

I tend to have things floating around in my head, sparked by something I’ve seen or heard, or passing thoughts. I’ll often be noting these down in notebooks, as starting points or references for new works. The way my brain works means that once I’ve thought of something, if it holds any meaning or curiosity for me I won’t be able to get out of my head. Often, I will have been thinking of a work for months to years preceding doing anything with it. Then, when I have enough space and capacity to face it, I’ll start attempting to draw what’s in my head out into the physical world. I often find that as I’m in the process of making a work, I’ll have conversations with friends and peers which will provide new ways of seeing and understanding a work. When I was making An Echo For My Father, a conversation with my friend Joseph Bond helped me to consider that a visualisation of absence was interrelated with gaps and silences in both the image and audio. When I reached the stage of postproduction another friend, Jemma Desai, convinced me to take out the voiceover which was originally in the work and replace it with closed captions – lending itself more to an evocation of this silence. While I’m quite a solitary person, I often find conversations which occur in parallel to something I’m working on bring out new perspectives and threads. This process is also helpful in considering how works are never made in a vacuum, they are always influenced by the environments and contexts in which they are made. As a disabled person, I tend to work very gradually, taking regular breaks and building rest time in. Wherever possible, I try to bring slowness into my practice, as a reminder of Tina Campt’s theorising that slowness isn’t just a change in velocity, it also shifts what we give our attention to.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve just moved into my first permanent artist studio space at Studio Voltaire, which will hopefully give me more time and physical space to make work. Until the end of the summer, I’m concluding my MA in Art History and writing my dissertation, which continues research I’ve been doing into institutional harm. Simultaneously, I’m undertaking writing projects, continuing to centre my research around disability, and beginning to think about fundraising to make the two follow up films to An Echo For My Father. The intention with the film series is for each subsequent film to expand out further, moving from the micro experience of absence to the macro cultural connections between Cape Town and London. As part of that work, I hope to take a research trip to South Africa, which would be my first time visiting the country, in order to document and archive the process of uncovering my paternal lineage.

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Sidsel Christensen

Sidsel Christensen

What’s your background?

My educational background is within fine art and filmmaking. I did the larger bulk of my education in London, at Goldsmith College and Royal College of art. I studied film at a foundational level in Denmark and this was a great base for how my work has developed.

What influences you artistically?

I get a lot of inspiration from devouring science fiction. Writers like Ursula Le Guin, Doris Lessing, Octavia Butler, and can I say Donna Haraway in this context, hehe? There are male sci-fi writers too of course, but here I would like to highlight Liu Cixin and his book series «The Three-Body Problem”. I love how he takes it to mind-bending intergalactic extremes; especially how he explores human movement into the 4th dimension and the 2nd dimension.

Currently I am also very much inspired by the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, especially her intersubjective practices and soft body sculptures. A mix between her and the Buddha. He was quite ground-breaking too in his approach to the body – mind link.

How do you start a new work?

It varies. The projects seem to ferment for a while, often through a very wide range of interests and guilty pleasures that I look at, people I engage with, books and films. Then, suddenly it clicks together in an unexpected way. That is when I get the drive to realize the work. With the “performance installations” I do, the work is not really happening before it engages the audience. So then starting would mean making the installation and other supporting “infrastructure” for this interaction.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on understanding what artistic research really means and how it fits into my practice. As I am now an official PhD candidate at the Art Academy in Bergen Norway, I guess I ought to find out, hehe. Currently, I am looking into how it is possible to move into the 4th dimension, live action roleplay techniques and building structures with people and strings. The latter is a bit hard at the moment due to Covid-19, since I can’t really invite people to join me. The structures keep collapsing, and when I build them it seems more like I am engaged with some kind of absurd Becket-like performance. I am also planning a performative lecture about LOVE. Not romantic love, but love on a communal level. I think that is what’s most needed right now.

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Ninna Bohn Pedersen

Ninna Bohn Pedersen

What’s your background?

My education spans film and fine art, but both taught me about authenticity and fiction. I have a love for collaborative practises.

What influences you artistically?

My influences come from many places, often my everyday life, often from working directly with a material. e.g. at the moment I am making some quite formal experiments in the studio with light and colour. These then inspire thoughts that blend with my personal situation and potentially produce writing and conversations or perhaps other experiments.

Another important influence is being in dialogue with other artists, especially those who are very close to me. I find often, they understand my work better than I do. I have always been more drawn towards that which is within my reach, than those and that which is far away.

How do you start a new work?

I feel as if I am always starting new work or that I somehow continuously work on the same forever evolving piece. My practice is a continuous flow of making, collecting video recordings, writing and painting. So I never really feel like I start anything entirely new as I build upon that which came before. It is the littlest of things that create a new forking in the road of making. However I find that it is the showing of a piece that essentially ends a line of thought. That whenever I share a work with others, the public, then I let go of it. Usually this is when I finally begin to understand what the work really is about.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment I am working on a video, which is made up of a series of formal experiments with light, colour, movement and sound. It is diving into the birth of cinema and the elements that constitute a filmic narrative. I am exploring the perimetres of storytelling instigated through moments of dramatic conventions.

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Eugenia Lim

Eugenia Lim

What’s your background?

I was born and have lived in Melbourne (on the unceded sovereign lands of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Eastern Kulin Nation) my whole life. I am part of the Chinese diaspora: my parents migrated to Australia from Singapore in the 1970s for work and to raise their three kids. Because my father was a doctor, they were able to settle here despite the racist, anti-Asian ‘White Australia Policy’ at the time.

What influences you artistically?

My work is hugely influenced by big questions and conundrums I grapple with in life: how to live within systems (patriarchy, petro-capitalism, colonialism) I don’t agree with, but nevertheless am part of. I’m interested in intersectional feminism as a methodology to make space for both dialogue and difference: and the frame of art and art-making as a space for people of all genders, ages, sexualities, ethnicities and abilities to encounter each other as co-conspirators and collaborators across difference. I’m also inspired by the work of other artists who I see my work in a contemporary dialogue with: Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Tehching Hsieh, Megan Cope (Quandamooka), and Hoda Afshar to name a few.

How do you start a new work?

By researching, reading, writing, conversing and visiting or responding to specific architectures, sites and people.

What are you working on right now?

With my company APHIDS, I am leading a project called EASY RIDERS, a performance work and accompanying film that explores work, precarity and the physical body in the digital age. The work comes out of a long-term collaboration with a group of on-demand or ‘gig’ workers who ride, drive, deliver and work for Silicon Valley platforms here in Melbourne. It’s a work that tries to frame the personal and globalised experience of contemporary work through an artistic lens; and the similarities and vast differences between the experience of art-workers and platform-economy workers.

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Antonia Luxem

Antonia Luxem

What’s your background?

I was lucky to live in many different countries around the world, and have therefore spent the majority of my life as a traveller and explorer. Before inspiring me and teaching me to become an artist, London gave me an education in human rights and environmental law.

What influences you artistically?

I read and listen to a great deal of music. These two art forms really help me switch off and explore new dimensions.

How do you start a new work?

I’m usually reading something on a particular subject-matter, like a book or an essay, and then new ideas and possibilities start mushrooming and I start writing.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been working on my next film for over a year now, which I’ll be shooting with an amazing crew at the end of February. It’s a really exciting new project that’s taking my work in a slightly new direction. It’s about the dreamlike journey of a queer woman through a strange universe where she encounters a number of puzzling characters, who are kind of archetypes of our society. The confrontation with these archetypes lead her further and further in her quest, until she meets a group of beguiling circus performers and magicians who show her a new and exciting way of life…

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Katie Goodwin

Katie Goodwin

What’s your background?

I’m from a big family brought up by my mum mostly on her own who has encouraged me in her own way to pursue my art. I was always into painting, photography and all kinds of films. I came to London to do BA Fine Art when I was young and not very confident and gave up painting and I made a few videos some of which I still like but the whole process made me not like art so much. So for a while I went off to work as a video editor and ended up working in the film visual effects industry in Australia. The hours were insane but I saved up and started making art again and so eventually I came back to London. And art. And got a studio. And this time with a lot more life experience and a drive full of very cool footage and lots of ideas enrolled in an MA Fine Art and was really blessed with my cohort that year.

What influences you artistically?

Cinema, writers and thinkers, architecture, scientific discoveries, astronomy. And although I don’t want it to a certain unease with politics and the world happenings of late.

How do you start a new work?

I usually find an image or read an interesting article or paragraph or find a special discarded object or I meet someone and a conversation sparks an idea. I have a little notebook for ideas. Most never go anywhere. And usually whilst in the midst of one project, another branches off and I have to put that part on hold until I’ve finished the first. Or the second branch becomes bigger and better and more significant and I drop the first. But generally I let everything grow quite organically. Even with the film shoot. Just plan where I’m going and then find my way. The edit is where everything comes together like cooking, throw all the ingredients together, give it a stir and try and make some sense out of it.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a pseudo meditation 3D animation utilising some fancy softwares I learnt over the first lockdown. It’s going to have some political overtones in the voiceover which I’m scripting right now but look and sound wise it’s going to be hypnotic.

And another animation work for an exhibition next year about waiting—something we’re all doing a lot of lately. The work is going to be set in a train station where trains pass through but never stop. It’s not going to be very long but it will probably be on eternal loop.

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Matthew Burdis

Matthew Burdis

What’s your background?

I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1993. I initially began making and studying sculpture and then moved into video and film.

What influences you artistically?

I find myself being more and more influenced by reading than anything else: a mix between fiction and autobiographical writing.

How do you start a new work?

My work usually begins with a specific place: either one which I have visited physically or experienced in a removed capacity, such as in a film or a photograph. I initially build around either an image and / or an object from this location.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently making a work that exists as both a film and as a performance called Interior (The Spectator). This work has come out of working for the then studio and now estate of the painter Howard Hodgkin. The first memory I have of Howard is from twelve years ago, when I was fifteen years old on an annual school trip to Tate Britain, where I saw his painting Clean Sheets. It is the only work I can recall from that trip. The painting is a lot bigger than I remember it, the composition and colours remain the same.

My next encounter would be nine years later when I began working at his home and studio in January 2017, at the same time Howard was in India painting. Whilst he was in India, giving past memories a physical form, I was in his home, archiving and itemising those that had already found a tangible existence. As I awaited his return home, I listened to interviews of him as I logged the thousands of analogue photographs in his library, directly beneath his studio. His voice in my ears and his still image in my hands.

Almost immediately on his return home, Howard Hodgkin died, aged eighty-four on March 9, 2017. The anticipation of meeting him is a feeling that still persists. Interior (The Spectator) is built up of hundreds of still images, all but two of which were taken by myself, accompanied by a narration of musings and thoughts. That said, it is not so much about Howard Hodgkin, but around ideas concerning personal and collective memory, around knowing those we have never met. At a time when so many of us follow or look into the lives of others, I find myself thinking about what identity means now and how an object or an image can represent this.

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Tessa Garland

Tessa Garland

What’s your background?

I spent the early part of my life beside the sea in Cornwall, South West England. I went to Falmouth School of Art then then to Newcastle to study a Fine Art BA in sculpture. After art college I travelled and lived in many cities around the world. In 2002 I moved to London, mainly because of the brilliant access to art it offers. I am based in East London, which I love because of its diversity and the numerous artists who are in my life. Over the years I have watched the whole area change particularly since the London 2012 Olympics. Whole neighbourhoods have been crushed to dust and new ‘villages’ built. For many years now I have been witness to these changes.

What influences you artistically?

Banality, urban loneliness, the everyday, twilight and the way light shifts from day to night. I’m also interested in the way cities change and the politics of public and private space. Living in East London I am surrounded by new neighbourhoods where luxury flats (that are not so luxury) are marketed and sold. I have favourite locations that I return to and wait for something- a moment that interests me…this could be as simple as a lamp light coming on or the silhouette of a figure backlit in a window.

How do you start a new work?

Often through a collection of observations that I film. These recordings form into sequences and become longer works or are used as loops in sculptural works. I have created my own library of observations and have particular favourite recordings that reappear in many works. Early on in the process I will search for the right kinds of sounds to accompany the visual, audio is very important to me. I’m not musically trained have a keen ear for what is right. I’m also good at internet searches and sourcing sound that I remix and reappropriate for my own use. I’m naturally curious and like to try out new ways of working but it’s reassuring for me to return to the same piece of footage and rework it into something new. Recurring locations also allows me to fine tune my observations. I might return to a particular place up to ten times maybe more to get a single shot that I think I can use.

What are you working on right now?

It’s been very busy recently. I’ve been working alongside Sophie Hill (Nunnery Gallery Director) on the International exhibition of moving image and performance, ‘Visions in the Nunnery’, Nunnery Gallery. We showcase many brilliant artists across three programmes, each of these spans 3-4 weeks. The exhibition takes about 6 months every two years to put together. I’ve always organised exhibitions and activity and see it as going hand in hand with my own artist’s life. I’m a big believer in creating networks and being proactive. I’m grateful for the inclusion on this artist led platform, 6x6 project. I’ve already started to watch the films and have discovered so many artists who before where unknown to me. Also good to see some artists on 6x6 project that we have shown in Visions in the Nunnery too!

As far as my own personal work I am part of Visions P2 and will be showing a new work that I have been developing for quite a few months. The work in progress aptly named Chobham after the area in the Olympic Park where I have been filming people silhouetted on their balconies at twilight. It’s great to have a real physical gallery to be able to show work in, so I want to take full advantage of this particularly when so much content is now online.

Tessa Garland’s portfolio →

April Lin

April Lin 林森

What’s your background?

My background is a bit non-linear and convoluted: I studied sociology at the London School of Economics, and considered a path in academia, enamoured with the possibilities of creating knowledge that the university represented. By my third year, I had grown disenchanted by the endless hierarchies and bureaucracies, one of many students fatigued by the effects of privatisation on the UK university system. As my formal learning started to resemble that of an expensive chore, I started to work with video, a far less conscripting method of nurturing my interests. I could be emotional, loose-tongued, wandering; I didn’t have to be certain, productive, arguing my way forward. I decided to switch paths after completing a deflating research internship at a university, and did a brief stint at a documentary film Masters programme at Goldsmiths University, but didn’t feel comfortable in the genre’s attachment to factual truth claims. I kept making experimental work that played with what truth is or could be that confused people, I think. And so, I have arrived at working with moving image, where there is space for me to care about the issues I care about, in the ways I want to learn and explore and share them. As an ever-evolving person, I don’t know how long this iteration of my practice will last, but so far I am finding it more expansive and liberating than anything else I have done, which is promising and re-invigorating.

What influences you artistically?

Work that is disruptive, curious, and care-ful, that encourages us outside of obedience or passivity or neutrality. It grounds me in my own position as an artist, this comradeship of practitioners who materialise ways of being and living beyond these delineated boxes that were always destined for expiration. This doesn’t at all have to be formally recognised “artistic work”, I should say. More often than not, it is simply persons who are making expansive and envisioning work in whatever they do, perhaps even just by being. Crucial, of course, are the sociopolitical rootings — explorations need to address our contemporary structures in order to truly depart from them, or it can easily fall into erasure, or an unwitting re-looping of systems.

How do you start a new work?

I have a vague direction I want the work to move in, and then I grumble and mutter and eventually chisel a skeleton of a piece out of the haze of feelings, dreams, points of intrigue. Then I like to sprinkle something unfamiliar I have been wanting to try out — like a technique, a concept, an approach — into the process, to throw some unpredictability into it. Things take their time and rearrange themselves, before coalescing into a gut feeling that feels trustworthy and ready to be worked with.

What are you working on right now?

I am making a film for my solo exhibition at Obsidian Coast in 2021, titled
“Loving 佢 | /ˈlʌvɪŋ/ /keuih/”. It’s about how the unknown guides us towards knowing ourselves, and takes the form of an imagined exchange between two beings in separate worlds. It’s been delayed due to COVID-19, which has of course changed our relationship to labour, time, and care on a global scale. I’ve never been with a piece for so long before, and it’s quite special, feeling your relationship to each other undulate, like breathing together. I’m also about to start working on the second installment of my long-term project, “An A-Z Of Imagining A Better World”, in which I make one no-constraints, entirely-up-to-me video a year, ticking off one letter of the English alphabet at a time. I think the one for 2020 will be “C: Cry”, as this year has been one marked by grief and release, and I have found myself crying more than I can remember.

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Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner

Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner

What’s your background?

Beny: I was born in former West Berlin and spent my childhood moving between the USA, Israel and Germany. I studied at Bard College, NY, where I started in history but switched to fine art and became a painter for a few years. After graduating I moved back to Berlin and gradually shifted my practice towards moving image and writing. In 2015 I did a year long residency at Jan van Eyck Academy in the Netherlands, after which I started teaching at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands. Last year I moved to London to start a PhD at the Archaeologies of Media and Technology group at Winchester School of Art.

Sasha: I was born above the polar circle in the former Soviet Union, grew up in Moscow, and have been based in London since 2004. For my BA I studied Fine Art at the Slade, where I quite quickly began making moving image works and have been doing so ever since. I received my most hands-on filmmaking training during a semester at SAIC in Chicago. Recently I finished a PhD in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, which also developed my commitment to writing as part of my practice.

What influences you artistically?

In terms of our collaboration, there are several ongoing strands. On the one hand, we’re constantly discussing the kinds of films we want to make on a formal level. This comes in response to other films we see but also from just about any kind of stimulus we encounter. On the other hand, we’re intellectually interested in how we know the world. To this end, we seek out knowledge about the labor structures, scientific developments, technological infrastructures that have informed the particular ways in which we perceive the world and ourselves within it.

How do you start a new work?

There is this general cloud of information that we’re always adding to, whether in notes, images, anecdotes, etc. Sometimes we’ll get excited about a theme we want to explore and start thinking about how this could be translated into a film. Sometimes that doesn’t at all work. Some things we’re very interested in don’t really lend themselves to film and sometimes we have to try it out in order to figure out it can’t work. The things that do work, usually happen kind of spontaneously. Like for example, with our film A Demonstration, we had actually been working on something else for about 6 months prior to that which we ended up abandoning. A Demonstration came from one sentence we read somewhere, which sparked this excitement and we worked very quickly from there.

What are you working on right now?

Right now we’re working on a film that presents 3 episodes in the history of measurement. We became very interested in the metric revolution, it’s relationship to the French revolution, how the meter was defined as a fraction of the distance from the North Pole to the equator. From there we started learning about the relationship of measurement to justice, and maybe more importantly, its use of the pretense of justice as an effective way of cheating. This project is new territory for both of us because we have a script and are collaborating with quite a few people who have skills that we don’t. So it’s a more ambitious and decentralized scale of production than we’ve ever had before.

Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner’s portfolio →