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DIY in North America: Progress Festival, Toronto

LADA’s flagship artist development programme seeds new projects in North America, led by Dickie Beau and Selina Thompson.

LADA’s DIY model of artist development projects – by artists, for artists – arrives in North America in 2018, following the generous support and advocacy of the British Council. For the first time, this international programme of DIYs brings projects conceived by the experienced and acclaimed DIY artists Dickie Beau and Selina Thompson to artists working in challenging and unconventional ways in three locations across North America. Following initial projects in February at Progress Festival, Theatre Centre’s celebration of international performance in Toronto, further DIY projects will come to Austin and New York later this year.

The projects imagined by Dickie and Selina respond to the eclectic and unusual needs of artists working in Live Art today, with each built around a central concept which invites the creative exploration of peers.

Dickie Beau’s DIY – Blindr – conceived in collaboration with Toronto artists, draws upon themes which relate to Dickie’s seminal work ‘Lost in Trans’, as well as raising specific questions around gay male subjectivity, visibility, invisibility, and other ways of looking at the gaze. The workshop is informed by the artists’ thinking around liminal histories; queer histories; sites of transgression; dark rooms; the performative and transformative power of shame; serenades; safe spaces and dangerous spaces; and the position of the artist as being “in the dark” during a creative process; also, the implications of solitude, of collaboration, and approaches to intimacy.

Selina Thompson’s DIY – Fine, We’ll Answer Them – uses her Race Cards installation as a starting point, inviting artists to gather and commune in a specially-created environment in which questions about the power relations implicit in a racialised world can be addressed by a newly-forged creative community. Moving from the personal reflection of individuals to the negotiated responses of a group, this DIY invites artists of colour and those working with issues of race and identity to take a seat at the table, and answer all 1000 of the questions from the work:

26.  In a conversation about race, whose comfort should take priority and why?
331. Did Sara Baartman have agency – and if so, how does this complicate her story?
615. What is the relationship between art, power and race?
830. Do you feel provoked?
993. Who in Your community needs your solidarity?

Banner image credit:

From DIY11: 2014 – Dickie Beau’s House of Strange Loops (image courtesy of the artist)


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