Maxx on Speed Dating!

Speed Dating is exactly what it says, dating, at a speed. Speed being the essence of the activity. The standard duration of this ever-growing commotion is three minutes. I personally think that this is too long. Apparently, it takes no more than 10 seconds for the brain to decide the fanciability of someone. It then takes another 10 seconds to digest this information. 10 to panic, 10 to pull your well rehearsed face in case of a personality malfunction and 30 to get your breathing back to normal. We are up to I minute 10 seconds – now, once we have given our prospective other the same amount of time, (it’s the same sequence if they think you’re a dog!), we are left with 40 seconds.

What you do in the remaining 40 is what really counts. But for now, lets just go back to the first ‘check-you-out-10-seconds’ …

Whether dating or otherwise, we all undergo this 10 second experience everyday and possibly, if you’re visual junkie like me, every other hour. However, recent events in our city of singles, where playful engagement during a tube ride can often brighten up a dull journey, has had a massive effect on it travellers. Fear has replaced flirting, daydreaming and casual rendezvous’. Those ‘C-Y-O-10-seconds’ are now spent scanning rucksacks, eyeing overdressed passengers and the amount of facial hair they’re donning. First impressions have never had such magnitude. The experience is a murkier affair and there are no apologies for the fact that this behaviour is directed predominantly at us, the brown men!

I believe that we have entered a new cave in the labyrinth of racism, and how! The majority however, arguably supports this new form, yes even the brown people! After all, we all want to reach our destinations intact and breathing! The darkest side is that this new ‘stop and search’ discriminates impenitently. Now a policeman, or for that matter anyone, has the right to size me up, move away from me and/or simply chase me like a fox and gun me down!  So now, not only do we darkies have to dread the possibilities of being massacred by the extreme few – but have to prepare ourselves for the wrath of the gun totting PC.

I recently held a small ‘Speed Dating’ event with a select few. The event was a success in dealing with opposition, working together and being creative. As artists, everyone embraced the event and gave an immense amount – even with their given identities for the day. Even as Salman Rushdie and Abi Titmus, Oreet Ashery and Fernando Arias managed to meld political literature and tabloid babble from the edge of live art! The experience proved that live artists have fewer fears than most other artists. This may be because they are already politically engaged and the intrepid use of ‘the body’ in their work politicises them/the work directly – in a way that cannot be met by painters, sculptors and the likes. In this way they are like the Londoners who got back on the tubes and buses the day after the 7/7 atrocity, physically vulnerable, eclipsed by a bigger force and ready to take risks.

…and to reiterate, those ‘C-Y-O-10-seconds’, they have never been so imperatively used as now. Even the usually cosy Guardian is participating!

by Rosie Cowan, Duncan Campbell, Richard Norton-Taylor and Giles Tremlett

‘[…] Security sources said they were keeping in open mind about who was responsible. ‘One person under scrutiny yesterday was Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, a Syrian linked to the Madrid bombers and now said to be in Iraq, who was reported to have set up a “sleeper cell” in London. ‘A Spanish-nationalised Syrian who lived in north London from 1995 to 1998, Nasar was described by the chief prosecutor in the Madrid bombings case as a suspect in the “initiation, preparation and carrying out” of the attacks.  Tall, red-haired, pale-skinned and green-eyed, Nasar, according to Spanish police, has been able to travel without raising suspicion. […]’

The Guardian, Monday 11 July 2005, p.1

Damn, just when I was thinking about growing a little beard!

Part of Thinkers In Residence: Maxx Shurley, 2004/2005

exploring identity and multiculturalism in relation to curatorial practices.

Thinkers In Residence: Maxx Shurley, 2004/2005

exploring identity and multiculturalism in relation to curatorial practices.

Read more


Legacy: Thinker in Residence Awards

Anne Bean and Tim Etchells are the recipients of Legacy: Thinker in Residence Awards (2008)

Read more

Research residencies for Swiss and Swiss-based artists

Call for artists based in Switzerland to undertake funded research residencies at LADA.

Read more

Live Art Producer Residency

Inviting proposals for two emerging UK-based Live Art producers

Read more

Call for Proposals: Privilege and the Displaced, Artist Residency

Undertake a residency exploring Live Art in relation to the experiences of the displaced

Read more

Thinkers In Residence: French Mottershead, 2006/2007

exploring the challenges and possibilities of participatory practices.

Read more

Live Art Producer Residencies – Full Guidance

Read the full guidance notes for our Producer Residencies

Read more

Thinkers In Residence: Barby Asante, 2003/2004

exploring the challenges and possibilities of Live Art for artists from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Read more

SPILL Specials on Unbound

Unbound features publications, DVDs and limited editions by, or about SPILL 2009 artists.

Read more