Part of the Community celebrates and navigates the work of queer people from the RCA community.
Exhibiting works from students and alumni, the Students' Union platforms will be utilised as a space to share queer voices.
The exhibition will take place throughout the month of February, LGBTQIA+ History Month, as part of the RCA Students' Union ongoing programme
Curated by Hayley Gibson.
Part of the Community presents: Bernadette Silva
Bernadette Silva is a first-year student currently based in El Paso, Texas, USA, on the V&A/RCA History of Design programme. Her current research focuses on material culture and ephemera within theatre and performance, emphasising the ways performance speculates on and processes the human (and nonhuman) experience. She has worked within online communications for nonprofit organisations over the last ten years and is interested in exploring connections and communities formed online.
The Queer Archive collection gathers queer archives from different parts of the community to preserve global queer experiences through archives across media. The archives showcased are both collected by the project manager and user-submitted. The definition of an archive is fluid and open to user interpretation.
"Between a few things I've read independently and the research I've done on the History of Design course, I've found myself reconsidering my idea of what archives can be and how much we have to contextualise them to interpret the information they carry. It's often more difficult to find historical archives that centre queer stories, especially outside of significant but painful moments. I want to create a place to show how things like space, access, imagination, and other factors make up everyday life at different points and places, especially in the moments that we don't normally consider as part of an archive." - Bernadette Silva on Collecting Queer Archives
Part of the Community presents: Zoë Marden and Vasiliki Antonopoulou
Purple Velvet is a collaboration between Zoë Marden and Vasiliki Antonopoulou. Zoë Marden was born and raised in Hong Kong and is now currently based in London. She works with performance, video, text, sound, sculpture and installation to create alternate worlds and speculative futures. Her work is research-based and is concerned where intersectional feminism overlaps with the post-colonial. Vasiliki Antonopoulou – AKA Billy Klotsa - is currently based in London. Born in Greece and raised in Saudi Arabia, two locations that re-emerge in his practice, she combines text, performance and moving image, to explore notions of displacement and otherness. Using a sculptural language, his work queers the process of image editing by challenging the binary format of rough versus sleek moving image. Both Billy and Zoë graduated from the Moving Image pathway of MA Contemporary Art Practice in 2018.
Purple Velvet is a collaboration between Zoë Marden and Vasiliki Antonopoulou. The project began during our masters in MA Contemporary Art Practice: Moving Image at the RCA while part of the queer society. Purple Velvet was a regular event that created a safe space for artists and performers to experiment and test new ideas. It was also a discursive platform that explored the possibilities of building alternative structures to coexist sustainably within institutions. It is organised horizontally and fosters interdisciplinary exchange. Now no longer housed in an institution, it continues to evolve as a collaborative platform. The collective is mutable, it expands and contracts inviting in different modes of production.
In this episode we remember the spaces that made us.
Part of the Community presents: Ashleigh Williams and Gabriella Davies
Rack Your Brain is a collaboration between Ash and Gabi about the representation of marginalised groups in mainstream media, and the importance of seeing accurate cultural representations of yourself.
Gabriella Davies is a working-class trans woman from the midlands who has 'run away from being poor and marginalised in Stoke to live the artists dream of being poor and marginalised in London'. Gabi plays to her strengths; taking class and gender and turning them on the world as her lens. Gabi graduated from MA Contemporary Art Practice in 2019.
Ashleigh Williams is an artist and writer based in London. Her work itself aims to highlight the importance of lived experience through reappropriation of the conventions of “blackness”, “queerness” and “disability” whilst uplifting marginalised voices. She is currently studying MA Contemporary Art Practice, alongside being a guest editor at Montez Press. Both Gabi and Ashleigh have been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020.
Part of the Community presents: Eden Topall-Rabanes
Eden Topall-Rabanes is an illustrator and artist using drawing and creative writing to depict queer life in London. After graduating in 2018 from MA Visual Communication, he started to, alongside his personal practice, organise Riposte in London. Garnering inspiration from daily life and discussions with his peers, Eden’s work aims to open discussion around HIV stigma, addiction, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and the different forms of domination, oppression and discrimination happening in our society at large as well as our individual communities.
Displayed above is a range of Edens work including installations, illustrations, sculpture and the upcoming book "coming out".
Riposte which means “a quick, clever reply to an insult or criticism”, was created by a group of French art students in response to an administration who forbid them to show art on school walls, and an art industry they disliked. Riposte is meant to showcase and experiment around art and give opportunities to young artists. 7 years later, after 45 events that took place in 6 different cities and 2 different countries, the grassroots movement is alive and strong. It is now bringing about 30 artists to entertain 400-500 people in Art-Raves, mixing installations, performances, visual art of all forms (photography, painting, animation), with techno DJs. All artists are part of under-represented groups, and often explore social and politic matters within their work.
Part of the Community presents: Nuka Naya
Nuka Nayu is a multidisciplinary artist from Korea, currently based in London. Nuka's work is predominantly performance and includes speech, improvisations, choreography, poems, and prose. They seek to temporarily invoke a state of ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’; a constantly shifting threshold within the absent and invisible. They use ‘Chaos’ as a method to direct their work and a use of ‘making strange’ as a focal point to bring about new modes of stimulation. Since graduating from MA Sculpture in 2020, Nuka has held a one-month residency at Queercircle throughout January and is currently on a 6-month-residency called SPUR at Chaos Magic Space.
"A way of understanding the flow (changes) of nature is by the coding of order and disorder. Change can be evoked through the ways in which we decode language and past, tracing clues that others have left, while leaving marks to be observed. The future is encoded. I have recently been trying to decode languages that are involved in my art (especially those inherent to using text based practices) to create a new work. When one makes use of popularised language, one summons the past, and is in the multiplicitous realm of history. With inconsistencies in words and semiotics it is possible to uncover forgotten timelines, hidden realities within the past, or any number of things which hold within them the potential to change the course of the future. Digital/virtual experiences without humans are non-human experiences; posing a sacred world which enables a new dimension of spirituality. The space I would like to navigate within is a simulation of a pending event on the digital timeline, from a fictional point of view which interrogates an ontology of the ghost who is both yet to live and die."
Part of the Community presents: Georgina Watson
Georgina Watson is an artist and performer working across text, video and performance. She is currently based in both Buxton, Derbyshire and London and is studying for an MA in Contemporary Art Practice. Primarily her work explores her relationship with the rural landscape she grew up next to, while also critically questioning our general engagement with those spaces and the structures through which she was taught to approach them.
READ THE PDF
Part of the Community presents: Mathis Zhang
Mathis (Zhang Hang) is an artist living and working in Shanghai. They explore their identities, non-binary thinking and gender fluidity throughout their cultural backgrounds and cross-culture life experiences. Raising question with storytelling in the frames of Chinese folklore and literature classics, Mathis develops their language with performance and multimedia art. Mathis graduated from MA Contemporary Art Practice in 2019.
Dreams, Butterfly Boy Dreams (Genesis)
"Fight with tenderness.
Dreams, Butterfly Boy Dreams is a journey of identity exploration. It is a dream about gender fluidity and non-binary thinking. Mathis discoveries their gender identity throughout their cultural backgrounds and cross-culture life experiences, using diverse resources, ancient stories, philosophy with subversive interpretation to develop their own God in the heart. It is moral support, a provocation and a personal protestation for LGBTQ+ community rights in the contemporary oriental cultural and political environment."
Part of the Community presents: Amalie Gabel
Amalie Gabel is a painter, poet and installation artist from Copenhagen. She is a current student on the MA Painting programme. In 2020 she was awarded the Danish Embassy Art Prize and her solo exhibition ‘Monolingual Marriage’ will open at The Royal Danish Embassy, London, in 2021.
The above works are a selection from the 'Monolingual Marriage' series.
“The paintings are snapshots of an imagined life under intermittent lockdowns. Here; in the kitchen, as the quiet drama of life continues, coffee is served to a self-proclaimed fuckboy. In a different place; a person is waiting for a meeting to begin, a doctor’s appointment, or a seminar. Somehow the furniture in my own home becomes as uncomfortable and unforgiving as the ones found at the doctor’s office. The sound of my voice is delayed and scratchy, almost catching the topic off guard as the conversations have already moved on.
Speaking in contexts where monolingualism is the norm makes me overly aware of how my mind stutters, how the words get mixed up, and the sounds become unfamiliar on my tongue. It narrows my speech down to simple sentences. When the conversation is monolingual it becomes entirely my job to make sure I am not misunderstood. We become our own subtitles, and our own false friends.
Communication is about how we move in the world. The way we express ourselves, when we sleep, wake up in someone else’s hoodie, or stumble into a kitchen looking for coffee, a snack, and a chat; hoping the way we have slept is not just our business. Sometimes a monolingual marriage is not only about speaking the same language but living on the same telephone line as well, the voice loud and clear; no scratches in sight.”
Part of the Community presents: Luca Astra
Luca Asta is a French-Italian visual artist living and working in London. They graduated from MA Contemporary Art Practice in 2019 and are currently an artist resident at We Exist x Koppel Project.
Watch Communion: please note the film is marked 'mature' and may not be appropriate for all viewers.
"Holding a baby, holding someone, holding something, holding faith are spaces of comfort felt within embodied gestures of communion. 'Communion' looks at the constructed yet felt essentialist nature of these needs of protection."
Part of the Community presents: Kexin Liu
Kexin Liu is an artist and designer from China, currently on the MA Jewellery & Metal programme. Kexin enjoys exploring different mediums and various subjects. Her works range across jewellery, animation, product design, and exhibition design. She has a strong interest in exploring our relationship with the nonhuman.
"My experience of living with a great number of houseplants under lockdown had a direct influence on my work. I have developed a focus on the symbiotic relationship between humans and houseplants, drawing inspiration from plant neurobiology as well as arts and literature that challenge the human-centric understanding of nature.
Part of my practice aims to use plants’ electrical signals as data to generate furnishing patterns so people can be more aware of the vitality of plants. The initial outcome is a speculative animation featuring a changing wallpaper pattern in response to the withering of a bouquet of lilies. The next stage of development and realization will involve the collection of data inside a laboratory environment and cross-disciplinary collaboration."
Part of the Community presents: Clem Rousset
Clem Rousset is a French Graphic Designer with a passion for everything printed, graduating from MA Visual Communication in 2020. Lately, they have been considering turning to baking as a backup plan, in case being an independent designer doesn’t work out.
Grey Stuff is an ongoing research project using grey as its anchor point. From and through grey, it branches out to investigate things liminal and non-binary, the limits of categories and the weight of labels. The review gathers in a single publication a year’s worth of the research undertaken between 2019 and 2020, which consists of a series of written pieces and of collected material such as images and quotes.
Part of the Community presents: David Vytautas Glass
David Vytautas Glass is a Lithuanian visual artist and filmmaker, born in Chicago, Illinois (US) – currently living and working between London and Berlin. He is a current student on the MA Contemporary Art Practice programme.
“To mutate is to change state or condition. I’m interested in exploring the ever-transforming state of identity. A continuous cycle of reinvention. Mutation instinctively links to something negative, a change for the worst. A mutant is a monster. In a system of binary categories – the other. In a (failing) heteropatriarchal regime the non hetero, non-fertile, non-maternal body is a mutant body: a non-reproductive body resisting an established order. Slowly the gender regime begins to crumble. Is that utopia in the distant horizon? Can you feel the rippling presence of a dawning new world? The revolution fronted by bodies existing beyond hegemonic gender and racial norms has already begun.
I work with sound design, digitally shot footage, computer generated imagery, AI technology and archive material asI explore notions of transformation. A synthesis of personal narratives and critical ideas- my research and visual work become tools providing opportunities to engage with and reflect on the self and beyond. An exploration of a system of complex internal networks that are heavily interlinked with the mechanisms and technologies extending beyond the border of the skin. Reconstruction of the self. In a state of continuous change. To what extent are we able to move beyond our pre-configured identities?