Live art invades Brockley and southeast London for all the summer season.
That’s the hope, at least, for Something Human!
Public spaces become venues for encounters between the local community and international emerging live artists. Practices involving the physicality and temporality of human actions and interactions are the ground of this two-way conversation about food, sustenance, mortality. With Freshly Packed / Always Check the Label, Something Human offers artists’ works and bodies to the local community, as a ground for exchange, participation and debate.
Why live art? Why Brockley and southeast London?
Temporary, ephemeral, intangible, live art performed in public spaces investigates audiences’ reactions when people are called to respond to unexpected solicitations. It creates new transitory forms of interaction, social rituals and common choreographies. Outside the comfort zone of exhibition spaces, live art can exploit its ability to embed relationships with provocation, humour and playfulness, while expanding its aesthetic possibilities.
Emerging talents are asked to be brave and show their completed or in progress works to an audience that is not necessarily there for them. For the artists, this could be the starting-point for a non-programmed collaboration that can take their practice in new and surprising directions.
Something Human aims at opening the local community to the most innovative practices that from East London are slowly reaching various areas in South London. Brockley, so close to the Goldsmith University, seems the perfect place for young live artists to start proposing their concrete ideas, to suggest different perceptions of local spaces, behaviours and rules to residents and passers-by.
The hope is that locals will react as stated in the agreement between audience and artists in Helen Cole’s ‘Dear Artist…Love Audience’.
In this agreement the audience assures that, in return for the artists’ efforts, ‘I will react to anything you throw at me with interest, compassion and belief. I will be awake to any possibility, especially the untested and untried. I will not always seek beauty, but will look for the restless and the truth. I will allow my subconscious to be free and my senses to be alive. I will be active and open minded, questioning and fierce. I will be brave and loyal, challenging and intrigued. I will be open to your suggestions and will meet your curiosity with fearlessness and understanding. I will question you, but my mind can always change. I will bring knowledge and experience, excitement and hope. I will be appreciative, supportive, critical, honest and clear. I will put my bum on the seat and if there is no seat I will not complain. I will follow you and match the risks you take with risks of my own.’*
This really would be the dream audience for both artists and organisers!
However, experience teaches that, although live art has already conquered mainstream venues like The Tanks at Tate Modern, often its interventions are still misunderstood and looked at with diffidence by many. Therefore reactions such as shock, feeling of intrusiveness, lack of participation, and indifference are also common.
However, each community is different and each audience has different ways to participate and react to public stimuli. Whatever it might be, Brockley and southeast London’s response to Freshly Packed / Always Check the Label is going to be a thought-provoking ground for research and experimentation and it will hopefully increase the presence of performance art in these areas.
*The Live Art Almanac, 2008, published by Live Art UK
Text by Alessandra Cianetti
More info about FRESHLY PACKED: https://something-human.org/projects/freshly-packed/