Commencing on 21st March with a performance and visual installation led by artist Hannah Perry, Touch Sensitive, a programme curated by Cairo Clarke, brings together a series of individual art events, joining to investigate representations of female bodies. Artists explore diverse understandings of the body, imagining it as a database, a store of information accessible in various ways. Each iteration in the series develops on the concept of the body as a database, made accessible through the sense of touch.
Regarding the all-female aspect of the project, Clarke told Something Curated:
“I think sometimes an all female show can in itself be tokenising or fetishising, or if one’s agenda is to create a ‘female only’ anything, it isn’t very progressive. In the case of Touch Sensitive, it made sense to invite female artists because the project is about exploring female bodies. However, I’m really glad we have collaborated with men in parts of the project. Particularly Suzannah Pettigrew’s performance where the soundscape has been created by CKtrl, and dancer Simon Donellon performs in the piece. The male gaze is inherent to representations of the female body, how we identify and construct representations of ourselves. It’s not us and them, it’s us all moving around space and occupying it to different degrees together.”
Considering touch as a means of communication, Clarke’s project draws parallels between the explorative act, and ways in which the female body is explored, exploited, commoditised and fetishised. On Friday 24th, artist and founder of recurring party MAXILLA, Lotte Andersen, invites participants to a workshop where she will be capturing uncensored, honest, bodily movements through a series of dance portraits to be published online. Later, on Sunday 26th, Girls in Film presents a series of shorts exploring feelings that arise from the visual and physical experiences of the female form away from hyper-sexualisation of bodies. The films are part of an installation inviting the public to question notions of private and public space.
Other participating artists include Harriet Middleton-Baker, Diana Chire, and Suzannah Pettigrew. There will be no permanent objects in the space, with the project evolving through each individual instance and the presence of those who choose to be a part of it. Clarke notes: “The gallery will be used as a spatial resource, illustrating the fluidity of bodies, of public and private space.” Employing varied mechanisms, both physical and conceptual, rather than aiming to contain and preserve them, the project seeks to encourage the dispersal of artworks outside of the gallery.
21st – 26th March 2017 | Guest Projects, Sunbury House, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Words by Keshav Anand