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Institute of Contemporary Arts
29 Nov 2023 – 24 July 2024

The Conditions studio in Croydon, a bright green building with glass doors under a blue sky
The Conditions studio in Croydon

This series of talks and workshops hosted by ICA forms part of the programme of Croydon based studio and education initiative Conditions. The programme includes four public talks and a series of private educational sessions for artists on the Conditions programmes 2023-24. 

The public sessions are open to all, and respond to contemporary conversations around artist practice through four artist talks. Their aim is to create a context for public interdisciplinary conversation and learning. 

The private educational sessions include talks, movement workshops, writing workshops and screenings, and focus on interdisciplinary learning opportunities for the studio holders that move beyond genre constraints. These private sessions are only open to people selected for the Conditions programme.

As part of the 2023–24 partnership, ICA and Conditions have invited the following practitioners for a series of public talks:

Keiken, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Graeme Arnfield, Ben Rivers.

For the private sessions the invited practitioners are:

Malik Nashad Sharpe, Frances Morgan, Louis Schou-Hansen, Justin Tam, Tautvydas Urbelis.

Guests for the 2022–23 programme were: Mark Leckey, Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, Perwana Nazif, Danny Bushes (Two Way Dreaming), Eve Stainton, Rachal Bradley, Tai Shani, Joseph Funnell, Jared Davis, Kelman Duran and Marina Vishmidt.

See more about the 2023–24 open call
Artist Bios

Ben Rivers was born in Somerset, UK in 1972 and lives and works in London. Rivers’ films are typically intimate portrayals of solitary beings or isolated communities; his practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Rivers uses these themes as a starting point from which to imagine alternative narratives and existences in marginal worlds.

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (b. 1995, London) is a Berlin/London-based artist. They received a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2019. Brathwaite-Shirley works predominantly in animation, sound, performance and video game development. Their practice focuses on intertwining lived experience with fiction to imaginatively retell the stories of Black Trans people.

Frances Morgan is an artist, performer, facilitator and producer from East Yorkshire whose practices draw from dance, live art and writing. She creates performances as containers for language and movement, which co-exist on their own terms, without hierarchy or resolution. Made for theatres, clubs, galleries, and film, these works emerge from an array of constellatory interests: queer and post-work futures, poetry, improvisation, tarot, and leftist politics; funnelled through her shifting experiences of transness, intimacy, desire and longing. Her most recent film and installation project, to feel something tipping, under and towards you was made in collaboration with filmmaker Eleanor Sikorski and sculptor Tristan Albrecht, co-commissioned by Wellcome Collection & The Place. The continuously looping film charts a cyclical experience of emergence and disappearance, of breathing in and out, of being with others and being alone. It weaves together fleshy, textured poetry and movement, oscillating between poles of trans potentiality.

Gary Zhexi Zhang is an artist and writer whose work explores connections between cosmology, technology and economy. He was born in Suzhou and works in London. He recently edited a book of fictions, essays and interviews about finance and time, Catastrophe Time! (Strange Attractor Press, 2023). The opera he co-created with Waste Paper Opera, Dead Cat Bounce, premiered at Somerset House in 2022. His last solo exhibition, Cycle 25, documented events that blur the boundaries between speculative belief and the material world, like natural disasters, scam nations and cosmic economies. Recent group shows include Sea Art Festival 2023, Busan; Katabasis, Totalab, Shanghai; Liquid Ground, UCCA Dune, Beidaihe & Para Site, Hong Kong; The Principle of Hope, Inside Out Art Museum, Beijing.

Keiken is an artist collective co-founded in 2015 by Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, based between London and Berlin. Keiken (the Japanese word for ‘experience’) create speculative worlds through filmmaking, gaming, installation, Extended Reality (XR), blockchain and performance, exploring the nature of consciousness, test-driving possible futures and unpacking how societal introjection governs the way we feel, think and perceive. Keiken are a winner of the inaugural Chanel Next Prize and are residents at Somerset House, London.

Louis Schou-Hansen (it/they) is a dancer and choreographer whose work is situated at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Its practice encompasses various formats such as performances, making dances, performing, writing, and sometimes curating. Louis' work dives into speculative fiction as a tool to investigate, dissect, and denaturalize how bodies have been molded through violent Western fairytales, utilizing queer and trans-feminist epistemologies. Louis has studied dance at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and the Royal Danish Ballet School, as well as fine arts at The Dutch Art Institute. In 2023, Louis was shortlisted for the Sandefjord Kunstforenings Art Prize with Harald Beharie, and was in 2020 nominated for the Norwegian Critics Association Prize for the piece Shine Utopians. In 2016, it started collaborating with Norwegian choreographer Ingri Fiksdal, working as a performer in several of her works.

Malik Nashad Sharpe is a choreographer and movement director working with dance, dark fantasy, and horror. Creating primarily underneath the alias Marikiscrycrycry, he makes provocative performance works that are formally engaged with the formal construction of affect, atmosphere, and dramaturgy from the marginal perspective. He graduated with a BA in Experimental Dance with highest honours from Williams College, and holds a certificate in Contemporary Dance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, where he won the Simone Michele Prize for Outstanding Choreography. He often works with dance as a social art form and relies upon a variety of techniques and practices to articulate his choreographic systems and values. His works often address violence, alienation, horror, melancholia, belonging, and the horizon and his works have been widely presented across the U.K., Europe, and Canada.

Justin Tam is a producer and saxophonist, performing as Tzekin. He uses saxophone to create chords and long loops that replay memories of trance, ambient and improv music. When playing the saxophone he prefers texture over technique. As a producer, he has written club music, R&B, rap and grime with a host of vocalists/co-writers on Skyline Death, and ballroom tracks featuring vocalist/producer Divoli S’vere on Gold Chainz and Kiko Kicks. He is an early member of EDZ (formerly Eternal Dragonz).

Tautvydas Urbelis is a curator, (ex)philosopher and strategist working in the fields of contemporary art, alternative education and speculative architecture. Focusing on intersectional modes of knowledge distribution, transdisciplinary exchange and creative R&D, Urbelis explores the infrastructures and poetics of an increasingly complex world. Currently working as a curator of Alternative Education and Public Programmes at Rupert (Vilnius, Lithuania) and artistic director of festival Audra (Kaunas, Lithuania).
Public Sessions, Cinema 1

Wednesday 26 Jun 2024, 6:30pm, Cinema 1
Home Invasion: Graeme Arnfield
A nightmarish essay film on the history of the doorbell, tracing its invention and constant reinventions through 19th century labour struggles, the nascent years of horror cinema, and contemporary surveillance cultures

Wednesday 29 Nov, 6:30pm
In this artist talk, Keiken speak about their origins; how they started and how they work together both as a collective as well as with a network of collaborators. The talk focuses on how their collaboration evolved over time and the different roles they play within the collective in relation to the development of their work. The talk uses their current ongoing worldbuilding project Morphogenic Angels, closely looking at Chapter 1 of the Morphogenic Angels game as a way to expand on their methodologies and practice. Screening parts of the game for reference, Keiken talk through the work's development alongside the key concepts and ideas behind it.

Wednesday 28 Feb 2024, 6:30pm, Cinema 1
Gary Zhexi Zhang
A successful artistic practice benefits from being autonomous, coherent and legible. But the world is none of these things. What lives in the gulf between contemporary art and its claims?

Wednesday 24 Jul 2024, 6:30pm, Cinema 1
Ben Rivers
Rivers’ films are typically intimate portrayals of solitary beings or isolated communities. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Rivers uses these themes as a starting point from which to imagine alternative narratives and existences in marginal worlds.

Private Sessions, Studio

Malik Nashad Sharpe
Frances Morgan
Louis Schou-Hansen
Justin Tam
Tautvydas Urbelis
An art installation of light blue liquid-like lights in a factory space
Tautvydas Urbelis
Two white people and a black person moving their arms in a choreographic way
Louis Schou-Hansen
A white person in a singlet kneels on a floor, their arms posed, holding their chin
Frances Morgan
A black dancer wearing a hoodie, holding their arms out against a blue background
Malik Nashad Sharpe
Tzekin playing saxophone on a stage in low orange lights, with incense smoke drifting
Tzekin. Image: Lydia Wilks