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How do institutions choreograph us?
Institute of Contemporary Arts
A figure in pink and white clothes blends into the wall, against a pink and white branded display of logos.
Defences of Animals, Clara Saito / Harun Morrison, 2022, performance documentation.
Photo: James Allan

Welcome to an afternoon of thinking through practice on the way visitors move in institutions, and how institutions move.  

In an art institutional space, how do signs, maps, labels, panels, the architecture, the objects on display determine our thinking? How do our bodies relate to these ‘choreographic instructions’, and to the people visiting around us?  

In art galleries and museums, the presence of our bodies in space is always political. As visitors, our identities are in constant negotiation with the implicit or explicit narratives (gendered, racial, class, colonial) of the space.  As Sara Ahmed notes, to be ‘welcomed’ means that you are a guest, while the institution is the host and, therefore, you are not at home.  

As professionals working in art institutions, what are our choreographies of working in the office, the box office, the meeting room? What are these ‘practices’, and how do they shape and direct our thinking and our decision-making? 

The event will feature movement-focused artistic practice, collective discussions, and presentations from industry professionals on audience monitoring, evaluation and public engagement projects.  

With contributions from:

CHA X5 
Tara Fatehi Irani 
Harun Morrison 
Jemima Yong and Anahi Saravia Herrera  
Alisa Oleva 
Sara Ruddock 
Richard Martin, Siobhan Forshaw, Luke Gregory-Jones (Whitechapel Gallery) 
Melissa Bentley and Marie Hobson (Victoria and Albert Museum) 

Free for Techne students. Register via the Techne mailing list


Programme

We warmly encourage attendees to participate in the whole afternoon and not attend individual sessions, but please do step out if you need quiet time.  

Print works by CHA X5 are on display in the space. Jemima Yong & Anahi Saravia Herrera will hand out ‘visitor surveys’ at the end.

1 – 1:25 pm  Welcome, spatial game.

1:30 – 1:50 pm  Marie Hobson (V&A): verbal and visual presentation.

1:55 – 2:20 pm  Richard Martin, Luke Gregory Jones (Whitechapel Gallery): verbal and visual presentation.

2:25 – 2:45 pm  Break

2:45 – 3:30 pm  Take part in a movement session with Sara Ruddock or explore walking and mapping scores outside the ICA with Alisa Oleva.

3:30 – 3:45 pm  Break

3:45 – 4 pm  Re-gathering, spatial game.

4 – 4:20 pm  Tara Fathei: video and verbal presentation.

4:20 – 4:30 pm  Harun Morrison: video and accompanying text.

4:40 – 5:20 pm  Discussion groups facilitated by Lorenza, Paul, Harun, and whoever wants to start one.  

5:20 – 5:30 pm  Close and thanks.
Curated and organised by Lorenza Peragine as part of the Techne PhD Fellowship at the ICA, with support from Paul Paschal. Supported by Techne, the University of Roehampton and the ICA.
About the artists

Alisa Oleva is a multidisciplinary artist using performance strategies to explore everyday movement scores and collective walking practices. She works with the alternative audio guides for galleries and urban spaces, choreographies of the everyday movement in public spaces, urban choreographies, choreographies of tourist groups, the way the city moves us and how we move it. She is currently one of 12 artists part of the Another Route international fellowship at ArtsAdmin, London, and previously presented her work Walking Home at Performistanbul in Istanbul, Turkey (2020), Chisenhale Dance, and LADA.

CHA X5
are an arts collective based in Nottingham and London, currently composed of Rohanne Udall and Paul Paschal. They have been trying to make interesting things happen (performances, publications, workshops, exhibitions, radio broadcasts, etc.) since 2013. Sometimes they set up their own things and sometimes they work with institutions (David Roberts Art Foundation, Siobhan Davies Studios, LADA, PACT Zollverein, Iniva, Primary, Sadlers Wells Theatre, etc.). They are currently interested in: acting, bookmaking, demons, holding office, hosting, moral rhetoric, overcare, poetry, ugly feeling.

Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based in London and currently an associate artist with Greenpeace UK. His forthcoming novel The Escape Artist will be published by Book Works in 2024. Harun has recently staged the performance Nothing Special at Centrale Fies at MAXXI, Rome. He is currently exhibiting Dolphin Head Mountain alongside a new performance work, Defences of Animals, at the Horniman Museum. Harun continues to develop a garden for Mind Sheffield, a mental health support service, as part of the Art Catalyst research programme Emergent Ecologies and circulate the publication Environmental Justice Questions.

Jemima Yong and Anahí Saravia Herrera make work that creatively interprets political situations and feelings. Between them, they hold experience as performance makers, curators, writers and community organizers. Jemima and Anahi are interested in creatively reflecting on their felt experience of power structures as women, migrants, cultural workers and ambiguously young people. They gravitate towards creating work that involves the act of making things public and making the covert or insidious explicit. They like to laugh when they do this, so humour is also important. Currently, Yong and Herrera are working on a research as performance project called RAGE ON STAGE, which is about the many layers and expressions of feminist anger. They live and work in London (for now).

Lorenza Peragine is a AHRC/Techne-funded PhD student in Dance at the University of Roehampton, London, researching everyday choreographies in art institutional spaces. In 2022-2023, she was a PhD Fellow at the ICA, focusing on racial and social injustice in art institutions. As an artist and producer in London for the past 10 years, she has devised and collaborated with other artists to realise performances, exhibitions, and festivals. She has also worked in museums and galleries as visitor assistant, evaluator/interviewer, marketing officer, and cataloguing and packing collection objects. Her academic background is in history of art and museum studies (University of Bologna, Italy), and dance practice and performance theory (Trinity Laban).

Luke Gregory-Jones is Head of Visitor Services and Civic Engagement at Whitechapel Gallery, where he works to develop the civic possibilities of the institution. He has previously worked as a researcher at UCL STEaPP and Theatrum Mundi, and guest tutors on the MA Visual Communication course at RCA. His interests include urbanism, psychogeography and walking.

Dr. Marie Hobson is Senior Audience Research and Insight Manager at the V&A. Having spent 15 years conducting visitor studies in national museums, including the Science and Natural History Museums, she is now growing the audience insight function at the V&A. While her previous appointments were situated in Learning teams, her current post operates within a Marketing department offering new perspectives on the role of audience research in a museum. Marie has recently completed a doctorate at King’s College, London, investigating museum practitioners’ understanding of research and evaluation, professionalization of visitor studies and how to increase evaluation utilisation in organisations.

Melissa Bentley is Visitor Research Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington. Melissa has over 15 years’ experience working in culture, heritage and visitor research. She has worked at the V&A for over 10 years as the visitor research manager. She manages day-to-day data collection and reporting as well managing large-scale, multi-year evaluation projects through all stages of capital and learning projects. She combines this part-time role with freelance consultancy focussing on evaluation and data analysis. She is a member of the Visitor Studies Group.

Richard Martin is Director of Education and Public Programmes at Whitechapel Gallery. He was previously Curator, Public Programmes at Tate (2016 – 21), where he led the annual Tate Intensive programme for international culture professionals. His curatorial practice is supported by 15 years’ experience teaching at King’s College London, Middlesex University, Birkbeck, University of London, and UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture. He completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at the London Consortium, a multidisciplinary programme partnering Birkbeck with the Architectural Association, the ICA, the Science Museum and Tate. He is the author of The Architecture of David Lynch (Bloomsbury, 2014). 

Sara Ruddock is a Swedish, London-based artist working with dance and choreography as vibrational and relational practices. Since 2002, she has created and performed solo works and collaborative projects with artists from sound/music, performance and visual arts. As a dancer, Sara worked with a range of choreographers including Deborah Hay (US), Lena Josefsson/Kompani Raande-Vo (SWE) and Jules Cunningham (UK). As an educator, she has taught extensively at DOCH/Stockholm University of the Arts, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and independent workshops and classes internationally. She is currently a PhD candidate at University of Roehampton, researching listening as embodied and relational practice, specifically through notions of resonance and resistance in dancing and sounding.

Siobhán Forshaw is the Curator of Community Programmes at the Whitechapel Gallery. Her interests include contested cultural memory and identity, the relationships between care and labour, human and more-than-human community systems, and lately, in power devolution and access in the art world, particularly concerning class and disability.

Tara Fatehi is an artist, writer, researcher and performer based in London. She has a PhD in Drama, Theatre and Performance from the University of Roehampton (2020). Her project Mishandled Archive (since 2017) which culminated in the publication of a book with LADA (2020), engages with daily minimal choreographies in public spaces as acts of resistance. It also proposes ‘mishandling’ a collection of family photographs, dispersing them around the world and recording them publicly on Instagram, as an alternative way of engaging with archives. She was the first ever resident artist at the United Nations Archives in Geneva, where she performed In Observance on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (2021).
 
01:00 pm
Tue, 20 Jun 2023
Theatre

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A shot of a gallery floor from a balcony. Two people look into a glass cabinet. In the background, a figure in pink and white clothes blends into the wall, against a pink and white branded display of logos and apparel.
Image: James Allan