#READART – “What Is A WOMAN?”
“#READART” (R.A.) is an ongoing project merging the boundaries between Fine Art and literature and focuses on the power of subjectivity. R.A. becomes a visual embodiment of the “mark” which has “inexhaustible access to redefinition” (Derrida, Signature Event Context). R.A. is an immersive experience which surrenders the role of the author. All content is generated by the public and the artist (Niquelle LaTouche) acts only as the curator to reframe it within the limits of the limits of (RE)reading. The ambiguous titling “#READART” plays on the words “Read” (past tense) and “Read” (actively and present tense) to highlight the importance of the latter, in hopes to disassemble “fixed” terms and their meaning through actively (re)reading. The hashtag included in the title is concentrating on the social culture of trending topics, hashtags usually are used to define in the shortest way possible. “#READART” avoids the popular habit of shortcutting and opens up a space to redefine. The three works: “#READ”, “(S)HE” and “What Is a WOMAN?” question the purpose of literary discourse in order to construct identity, specifically gender.
“#READ” is a textual installation based upon works by Ghulam Mohammad, the installation plays with positive and negative space and uses the materiality of the words as the walls which shape the space which you wander through. The texts are submitted by the public answering what a woman is and are a literal boundary in the space. These walls act as the constructed boundaries of language. The literature remains suspended, an unfixed wall of sorts which represents its fragility. The cut out letters is to amplify the importance of removing the use of literature to define a “fixed” meaning. The shape, look and path of the space is enclosed by the literature and although the texts are submitted by several members of the public they all act to change and reshape the way in which one can encounter the series of works. The texts, much like language, forces the audience to conform to its pathway. “#READ” is a visual representation of the restriction and limits of literary construction.
“(S)HE” explores the limits of the sexed body. The sound sculpture uses audio from the public answering “What Is a WOMAN?” and displays the duality of interpretation. The sibling faces face outwards and although sharing the same blood (in the same way the male and female share the X chromosome), that difference of the ‘Y’ seemingly causes a social inequality. The characteristics of a female are often expressed in biological terms to differentiate her from the male. But sex, is not gender. Gender is unfixed thus this open space (which represents the mind) between the two outward faces explored in “(S)HE”. Both male and female bodies answer what it means to be woman, the audio has frequent points of overlap in interpretation which shows the lack of importance of sex and how socially we often confuse gendering with biological difference. Gender is a room created in the mind, “(S)HE” allows you to enter this space.
“What Is a WOMAN?”
“What Is a WOMAN?” is focalised around the role of the curator in the art experience. With artist Chantal Miller of ChantiMedia as stimuli, this piece focuses on self-definition. Niquelle LaTouche has reframed and appropriated submissions from several members of the public and incorporated their interpretations into randomised groupings. Each book will be framing 4 submissions and no grouping will be the same which is focused on the idea of reading. Although all framed within the bounds of the same books the contents are different, much like that of a woman. The various visual interpretations act as a physical (de)construction of the word “Woman” and the reframing has placed the works within the realms of literary boundaries. R.A. encourages people to “write themselves” (Virginia Woolf, Room of one’s Own) as only through self-definition can we encourage an appreciation towards the plurality of interpretation.
The interactive elements of the works will function as symbols of the ephemeral nature of language and as a collection, “#READ” , “(S)HE” and “What Is a WOMAN?” work to deconstruct complex discourse-based ideas. The works draw reference upon early feminist theory and seeks to transcend normative notions of supposedly “fixed” ideas. Avoiding conforming to the constructed boundaries of terms such as “WOMAN”, R.A. problematises the reinforcement of singular, stereotypical definitions which often marginalise.
All pieces will be part of the 3rd year exhibition “Fxck It! I’m Having Wine!”” https://www.facebook.com/events/807048109378703/
my work is the small area in Spur C right at the bottom :)
After my curatorial work and refining my practice focus I put out my call for submissions from the public on my social media pages as I wanted to adopt curating as my practice and to use the public content as the main content of my piece which I have only had curatorial influence upon in aims to deconstruct a major term to me “WOMAN”.
Niquelle LaTouche Arts
#READART Call for submissions!
“WHAT IS A WOMAN?”
Submit your answers via:
#images (can be a collage)
#videos (max 10 seconds)
#Text (max 3 sentences)
*Multiple entries welcome, be as creative as you like!*
#Instagram @Niquelle_L https://instagram.com/p/1ym6bejhk-/
#Facebook Niquelle LaTouche Arts
Add the HASHTAG #READART in your posts for me to use your submissions as part of the interactive art installation!
DEADLINE 25.04.2015 12PM (UK time)
“#READART is an ongoing project, merging the boundaries between #FineArt and#Literature . Focusing on the power of #subjectivity , R.A. becomes a visual embodiment of the “mark” which has “inexhaustible access to redefinition” ( #DerridaSignature Event Context). R.A. is an immersive experience where the “author is not the main arbiter, [but instead] the reader” ( #Barthes Death of the Author). All content is generated by the public and the artist (Niquelle LaTouche) acts only as the curator.
With artists #ChantiMedia #GhulamMohammad as stimuli, when one encounters the series it will be unique to each individual. The interactive elements of the works will function as symbols of the ephemeral nature of language and as a collection, work to deconstruct complex discourse-based ideas. The works draw reference upon early #feministtheory and in the series seek to transcend normative notions of supposedly “fixed” ideas such as: race, gender or class. Avoiding conforming to the constructed boundaries of such terms, R.A. problematises singular stereotypical definitions of types of people which marginalise.
R.A. encourages people to “write themselves” ( #VirginiaWoolf A Room of one’s Own) as only through self-definition can we encourage an appreciation towards the plurality of interpretation. For this piece R.A. Questions the idea of #gender. Answering the question:
“What is a #WOMAN ?” “
I did a photo series where the word woman was written on my stomach (the womb- the biological differentiation between woman and man) and took several photographs playing with postures and positions.
These acted as the foundation of image for the call our video which was put on facebook, tumblr, twitter and instagram.
I found that a key part of my work is public engagement and I didn’t want a personal interpretation to diictate the content of the work. I rather various interpretations of what a woman is from various voices, videos, images , texts and of both genders. This widened demographic of people will then mean the work presented is an answer that has not come from one person therefore breaking down the singular reading.Also it means that art is experienced in the public sphere you are part of the work without being the curator. I wanted to remove all authorship from myself and just wanted to frame and display other people’s answers to a question I asked. Much like my earlier “Hello my name is” video these people volunteered to deconstruct a normative notion of definition.
The entry requirements were straightforward and I posted the call out on the 22nd of April as I only wanted it to be within a short deadline.
It was framed within the limits of an instagram or vine time limit so that it would appeal to a wider demographic but particularly the younger women and men . I also applied what i learnt at Whitechapel Gallery about the ability to make high quality work with a low budget so used video edition on my iphone to stage a video.
Aziz then introduced us to Bangladeshi artist Shimul Saha’s work. Shimul works mostly in sculpture/ model making and sometimes uses these in combination with video and photography. His work is driven by materials and our relation to everyday objects and is interested in furniture/domestic objects and how these have become gendered object. Simul Sahar I found a lot more difficult to relate specifically to my own practice becuase his works were more object specific however his use of re-appropriation was very relevant to my works although I am using language and identity. If I took the object as an extension of a form of physical identity and like Sahar re-appropriated it to become something else it was a physical embodiment of the same idea. The new brief:
As it was a group project and we all came from different ethnic and cultural background we wanted to find a household object we all had in common. That was the cot/crib. We all had had one of these but associated them with very different things in life, some celebratory , others abandonment but this unfamiliarity to each other was what we played with. Initially we begun to made our cribs but I found doing this was not cohesive and we were disagreeing quite a lot with what the conceptual point was.so in search of a clearer and mutual object and went into the cupboards to find another option. I found balloons , and pens. A balloon changes in scale and has the capability to change scale with the release or influx of air and if you draw on a balloon that image also will change in scale. I thought this idea was more conceptually strong but asked for Aziz Sohail’s opinion just so I was not blowing my own trumpet, he agreed . We went with the balloons and drew our cribs, I initially thought letting all of them deflate but a better idea is showing that blowing up, deflation, popping, and in and out and we made the decision to make a video of our cribs in their state of change. With the time constraint given this was a tight squeeze and we filmed it on an iphone edited quickly on a mac.A group member said: “After our initial struggle on how to work together we decided to make a video using our mobile phones to film exploding balloons and confetti. In one of the clips you can see the balloon being inflated and deflated, the drawing on it gets bigger and smaller, showing how memories can stay fresh or get faint. The clips came together as one piece but with individual influences.Our concept changed over time which was interesting to think about but visually exciting as well.”
Here is the final video : http://easterproject2015.tumblr.com/post/116646386684
We then did a showing and presented back our ideas and intentions to the whole group. It was helpful to do this to understand that simplicity can also be very effective and on a low budget.
I responded to the call out:
Take part in this free two-day project with artists in residence Ghulam Mohammad and Shimul Saha.
Work closely with the artists in the creative studio, learn new skills, see behind-the-scenes of the Whitechapel Gallery and get inspired.
Ghulam Mohammad lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, his practice explores how societies and people interact through language. Taking words cut-out from books he transforms them into intricate sculptural collages. Shimul Saha, based in Bangladesh, is interested in the materials and objects we encounter in our everyday experience. Fusing together sculpture, video and animation he highlights political and psychological issues in our surroundings.
Easter holiday project 2015 is part of the gallery’s youth programme. Open to people aged 15 – 21 from across London it offers the chance to explore contemporary art, meet creative professionals and open up career paths.
See the blog from Easter holiday project 2014 here.
Ages 15-21 only.
To book email: Duchampandsons@whitechapelgallery.org
Supported by the British Council Connections Through Culture Programme
as the practice of the artists seemed very relevant to my Summer development and as I was still undecided on material matter it was important to get involved with a project like this to test out possible works in a more professional setting outside the department.
We had several ice breaker activities to get familiar with the range of people on the course as it would be the people which we would work collaboratively with over the next 2 days.
Activities included Blind drawing:
and group games to just gain group energy and relax.
Aziz Sohail (curator)
The artists did not attend physically as there was problems with visa’s but Pakistani curator, Aziz Sohail shared his curatorial experiences with the group and was personal friends with Ghulam Mohammed which helped us fulfill his breif. Sohail works in Pakistan and USA and was the lead on the project alongside Paul Crook (Duchamp and sons.) Luckily Aziz was in the country for a curatorial residency at the New Art Gallery in Walsall and was invited to work with us! We were introduced to the notion of curating in context where Aziz gave an example of how his exhibition ‘Islam Contemporary’ which opened at the height of the Boston Marathon bombings aftermath highlighted what it means to be Islamic and different ways of negotiating and broadening this identity. The themes of identity and challenging what is means to be Muslim.His curating was his practice and as i had made the intentional decision to make a more curatorial stance for “#ReadArt- What is a Woman?” it was vital in getting to see a more experienced curator’s process. Sohail understood that accepting works from the public to answer a very important societal question during a time when the word Muslim was clouded with a lot of hatred was a reflection of himself not necessarily the works exhibited, he had the authorship over all the works and the message the exhibition put forward. this type of challenging of social markers is something my “What is a Woman?” seeks to do.
I definitely observed the ways in which Sohail interprets a brief such as making Muslim a new viewed word by deconstructing popular notions,