Beatrice Gibson, Alison Knowles, Ghislaine Leung, Annea Lockwood, Claire Potter, Charlotte Prodger, Carolee Schneemann, Tai Shani, Mieko Shiomi
Private view: Tuesday 24 April, 6-8.30pm
Exhibition continues: 25 April - 25 May 2018
ORGASMIC STREAMING ORGANIC GARDENING ELECTROCULTURE is a group exhibition looking at practices that emerge between text and performance, the page and the body, combining a display and events programme of historical and contemporary works. Newly commissioned and existing works will intersect with an array of archival material located in Carolee Schneemann's Parts of a Body House [1968-1972], from which the exhibition title derives, and Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood's score anthology Womens Work [1975-8]. ORGASMIC STREAMING ORGANIC GARDENING ELECTROCULTURE seeks an alternative framework to look at the influence of conceptual procedures as well as experimental writing within contemporary feminist performance practices across visual art, sound and text. The exhibition seeks to highlight these significant trans-historical sensibilities, whilst acknowledging their disjuncts. Each artist brings a particular method, procedure or interrogation to the act of writing or performing text, blurring descriptions such as text, score, work, performance, version and iteration.
ORGASMIC STREAMING ORGANIC GARDENING ELECTROCULTURE's exhibition display is accompanied by a day of live performance, a workshop, a publication and an affiliated symposium to take place in May 2018. Curated by Karen Di Franco and Irene Revell.
Parts of a Body House is a score, a document and a piece of speculative fiction, written by Carolee Schneemann between 1957-68. The text operates across a series of registers and durations, as an architectural reimagining of the interior of the body as fleshy, subversive locations for social and political interaction, and as a set of instructions for an unrealised performance environment. Originally published in the poetry journal Caterpillar [issue 3/4, 1968], it was republished in the anthology Fantastic Architecture [eds. Dick Higgins and Wolf Vostell, Something Else Press: New York, 1969], before featuring in Schneemann's first artist book, the eponymously-titled Parts of a Body House Book , made with the Fluxus affiliated Beau Geste Press, in Cullompton, Devon. Within the site of Schneemann's textual body, corporeality is exposed as a network of sinuous circuitry, activated by immediacy - touch, heat and interaction. Drawing out the connections between the spaces of performance, as a textual and embodied environment of activity, extends to the works within the exhibition, where Parts of a Body House will be presented as a typographical framework.
Womens Work [sic] is a collection of textual, instructional and propositional performance scores by twenty-four women, edited and self-published in New York by Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood over two printed issues [1975-8], bringing their work into relation with the feminist movement through the medium of the score. The display will draw out three works from the collection. Alison Knowles' Proposition IV (Squid) was conceived in 1970 at CalArts in the context of her House of Dust project. The textual score invites performers to autonomously write their own score card that navigates the four quadrants of the work's circular performance space. Annea Lockwood's Piano Transplants [1966-2013] propose a series of transformations of the instruments by natural processes including Piano Burning, Piano Drowning and Piano Garden. The very first Piano Transplant, a prepared piano that Lockwood made in 1966 in London is displayed in the gallery, accompanied by the 2017 recording of its performance by Áine O'Dwyer; a series of photographic documentation spanning 1968 to the present chart some of the many performances of the other Piano Transplants. Mieko Shiomi's Spatial Poem (1965-75) comprises nine separate events that each invite participation anywhere in the world at a simultaneous moment which are then gathered together as brief written reports. Spatial Poem No. 3, 6 and 7 - Falling Event, Orbit Event and Sound Event respectively - are included in Womens Work, and here conducted through the framework of the exhibition; in the gallery and publication, with contributions from the exhibition's artists and visitors to the gallery, amidst a wider network.
Claire Potter works across performance, publication, installation, and film, to address modes of reading, speaking and writing. They will be producing a new sculptural text installation for the gallery space, based on a study of sound in back-to-back housing. Ghislaine Leung is an artist and writer. Leung's two score-based works Shrooms, (2016) and Colour Hides the Canvas, Moulding Hides the Frame, (2013) will intervene into the gallery environment as pervasive, organic concepts. Charlotte Prodger works with moving image, writing and performance, exploring the intertextual relationships between each of these materials. Compression Fern Face (2014) takes the descriptions of Dennis Oppenheim's video performance works of the early 1970s, including the eponymous title, as scores for this sculptural video and print work, and explores what happens to speech - and the self for which it is a conduit - as it metamorphoses via time, space and technological systems - here as much a crossing of gender as the spatio-temporal. Beatrice Gibson is an artist and filmmaker whose works are often score-like and improvised in nature, exploring the pull between chaos and control in the process of their own making. Drawing on figures from experimental composition and literature such as Cornelius Cardew or Gertrude Stein, her films are often participatory, incorporating co-creative and collaborative processes and ideas. Tai Shani's multidisciplinary practice, comprising performance, film, photography and installation, revolves around experimental narrative texts with her on-going feminist project, Dark Continent Productions. Iterated through character-led installations, films, performances and experimental texts, it is an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan's 1405 pioneering proto-feminist book, The Book of the City of Ladies.
A one-day offsite event will accompany the gallery programme expanding on the live possibilities of the exhibition. This will include contributions from Anna Barham, Daniella Cascella, Ami Clarke, Tomoko Hojo, Natasha Lall, Aura Satz, Linda Stupart and others, with the full programme announced shortly.
Gallery events include a performance from Claire Potter and a workshop 'These are the Scores' led by Irene Revell. Details and dates to follow.
An affiliated symposium, Female Conceptual Art practices, Sound Sculpture, Archives, Oral History and International Transactions, convened by Dr Jo Melvin and supported by the Chelsea Camberwell and Wimbledon Graduate School will take place at Chelsea College of Arts on Thursday 24 May.