'I Care By...' (A Recital)

To recite is to read aloud, to repeat from memory, to declaim (meaning to utter or deliver in a rhetorical or impassioned way), to narrate, and also, to allege. A recital is defined as an enumeration or listing of names, facts, events, doings – happenings to be shared, reckoned with, remembered. A recital also describes a performance of a programme of music by a soloist or small group. Both definitions depend on an audience, on witnesses, watchers, listeners.

SoAH Research Presents offered a recital by artist/soloist Jade Montserrat, a performance which invited the audience to reflect upon matters close to her heart concerning race; the vulnerabilities of bodies; the tactile, sensory, healing qualities of drawing and writing; the structuring of care within institutions; and care as a method for arts and humanities research. The performance was participatory. Audience members were invited to attend with whatever materials for drawing they had to hand, and to engage in a series of exercises which centred upon practices which Jade encouraged them to entangle, including drawing, breathing,reading, listening, writing and vocalising.

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Reclaiming the Body: Jordan Baseman's A Different Kind of Different

The verb ‘to reclaim’ derives from the Latin ‘reclāmāre’, meaning to cry out against, to protest, to object, to appeal. In the 12th-century its meaning was extended in the Old French to mean ‘to call upon, to invoke, to claim, to seduce... From the early 14th-century through to the 15th it was used in falconry to describe the calling back of a hawk to the glove, and from here, its meaning expanded again to include ‘to tame’, ‘to make willing’, ‘to control’. Its meaning, accrued through centuries of usage, concerns power. It is as central to the feminist vocabulary as the word ‘patriarchy’. How to reclaim a body; how, as Anne Boyer described it, ‘to weaponise your dying cells against what you hate and what hates you’; how to cope with an imposition of gender which can be brutal? (As queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick wrote at her diagnosis of breast cancer, “Shit, now I guess I really must be a woman.”); how to be a woman, how to perform femininity – should that be your desire – in an altered state, all over again?

These are some of the matters of intent that invited guests Mania Akbari, Gemma Angel, Anees Chagpar and John Walter explored in an event moderated by Blackshaw which accompanied a screening of Jordan Baseman's short animated film A Different Kind of Different, which charts the psychological impact of breast cancer. The film was co-produced by Nerve Centre, Derry and Matt’s Gallery, London, with executive production from Jacqui Davies.

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Care: New Research Group at RCA London

Beginning of Care, a weekly research seminar convened by Blackshaw at the Royal College of Art, London. Thinking through care in its many forms – of people, histories, pedagogies, spaces and places, of the objects, papers, personal effects and exhibition experiences attended to by the curator/conservator (guardian; carer) – it activates the verb ‘to care’ as a methodology for arts and humanities research. How, it asks, might we approach the research practices of reading, writing, looking, assembling, listening, documenting, creating, remaking, performing, curating, and making public from a position which prioritises the trans-subjective relations that are at the heart of care, that ask us to feel, to take time, to tend to, to keep safe, to hold, to heal, to re-memorialise, to repair?