French Londoner Tonny A is a performance artist, choreographer, theatre director & current member of the Restock, Rethink, Reflect Two artists’ advisory group. Blending movement and spoken words with multimedia, his work focuses on the themes of cultural, sexual and physical identity, often aiming to challenge the sexual & cultural stereotypes associated to his physical disability & ethnicity. Born and raised in the mid 70's in the West Suburbs of Paris, Tonny studied History & Politics at La Sorbonne University. After a few years travelling around Central & Eastern Europe, Tonny relocated to London to pursue a career in broadcasting. Since then his artistic personae have varied from being a performance poet, the creative producer of Sweet & Sour – an alternative Cabaret night of performance poetry, theatrics, live music and visual art – to directing multimedia theatre & dance productions, which included In The Shadows of Senghor (2006) & Generation Next (2008), performing in Romeo Castellucci's Inferno as part of SPILL Festival (2009), being a featured artist at the Queer art Festival GFEST 08, 09, 10 and recently one of painter Charlie Pi's subjects for his latest exhibition The Skin I'm In at The Crypt Gallery (2010).
Jon Adams’ work draws upon a wide range of materials and processes, including photography, video, sound recording, digital sound and visual manipulation, 3D installations, traditional sculpture and illustration. He is currently a Research Fellow in Disability Arts within the Faculty of Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Portsmouth – and, as such, has access to new technology and critical processes/observation. He works cross-faculty as his practice includes elements of arts, sciences and autobiographical reinterpretation of living with hidden impairment. His experiences of disability are at the core of his work but do not define him as a disabled artist. He plays with the transformation of the ‘ordinary’ and concepts of the ‘hidden’ and what is ‘normal’. His work includes themes of hidden disability, positive dyslexia and Aspergers awareness combined with a subversive and/or geological context. His most recent project Disarticulate – part of a Creative Campus Initiative and Inspire Marked – was chosen for this year’s London 2012 Open Weekend and a launch event for Discovering Places. It involved participants across the UK making thousands of recycled flags to create unique new temporary public artworks across the country; this has begun conversations reflecting issues around disability, fragility and the nature of public art. He works closely with the Creative programmer Accentuate to have an understanding of the Cultural Olympiad and how showcasing work within these streams can work.
Katherine Araniello lives and works in London. She completed her Masters Degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in 2004 where she won the Warden’s Purchase Prize in her final year. Her work has been shown at galleries including Tate Modern and Tate Britain, and her video work has been screened at film festivals internationally. In 2009 she completed a digital shorts film with 104 Films written, directed and starring herself entitled Follow Me on My Journey to Die. In 2010 she received a Bursary from Artsadmin to support her live work, specifically a performance remaking Dinner For One, to occur at Toynbee Studios in July 2011. Katherine Araniello works as a multidisciplinary artist producing films, performances and collaborations with other artists. Her work examines contemporary issues relating to disability, creating frameworks that challenge and subvert preconceptions. This is often done through dark humour, presenting disability in contexts that may be unfamiliar to an audience; this in turn creates a fresh discourse on the representation of physical difference.
Bobby Baker is a woman and an artist, and lives in London, England. In her career of 35 odd years to date she has, amongst other things, danced with meringue ladies; made a life size edible and tasty cake version of her family to be eaten by visitors; opened her kitchen to the public and subsequently many kitchens around the world; driven around the streets of London strapped to the back of a truck screaming at passers by through a megaphone to ‘Pull Yourselves Together’ and cured thousands of her pea patients with their many ‘unreasonable’ psychological and behavioural problems with her Therapy Empire How To Live.
Since arriving in the UK in 2002, Caroline has been mentored by Adam Benjamin, CandoCo and Yael Flexer (Bedlam Dance) and has participated in several residencies with CandoCo. Caroline participated in The Dancers Project 2005 (The Place) and underwent training on the Cultural Shift project 2005 (East London Dance). She has choreographed and performed work as girl jonah with Fiona Wright and is a founder member of Weave Movement Theatre (Melbourne) and The FATHoM Project (Newcastle). In 2007 she received a Wellcome Trust Arts Award to create Proband, which uses her genetic mutation as the basis for the choreography and music. She was recently awarded an Unlimited Commission to create new work, Leaving-Limbo-Landing, which will be presented as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme. Caroline toured with SDT in Spring 2007 where she helped create and performed in Adam Benjamin’s Angels of Incidence. She choreographed The Long and the Short of It with Tom Pritchard for company repertoire in 2008 and co-directed NQR (2010) with Marc Brew and Janet Smith. Caroline is currently SDT’s Dance Agent for Change.
“i’m currently artist in residence at the new art gallery walsall. i’ve been here on and off for over a year now where i have been reclaiming the languages of lunacy. i try refusing categories, and my work for walsall has ranged across assemblages, film, live art performances, soundscaping, spoken word and visual poetry to provide a poetic, provocative and memorable series of artworks and events. my work challenges the ownership of narratives. we are surrounded, often defined by languages of all kinds, yet use them to free ourselves. i believe languages (visual / sonic / textual / performative) should be owned by all and that bandwidth rather than hierarchy is a more appropriate contemporary model. my work in walsall is a series of challenges to top-down narratives relating to psychiatry, a privileged form of storytelling, based on my own long-term history as a (frequently enforced) mental health service user. i was previously short-listed for a dadafest 2009 disability arts award”.
The Disabled Avant Garde.
The Disabled Avant Garde (aka DAG) is a satirical arts organisation formed by the disability artists Katherine Araniello and Aaron Williamson. Their concern is to create contemporary art (video and performance) that is informed by the social model of disability. The Disabled Avant-Garde’s work is an intervention into society’s perceptions and expectations of disabled people. Thus, DAG deliberately create confusion or inspire debate through humorously distorting or subverting the traditional ‘medical model’ stereotype of disability, which defines disabled people by their impairments. Their work fits the category of ‘crip humour’, being both pitch-black and self-knowing.
Pete Edwards is a live artist, director and writer. He is a graduate of Graeae's Missing Piece Actor Training Programme, where he first developed a short version of Fat, which he subsequently expanded to a full length solo performance that premiered at Oval House in 2009. Pete has toured in the Graeae production of Moliere's George Dandin, directed by Philip Osment, and appeared in the short film, Welcome Stop. He is also a workshop designer and facilitator, and has developed innovative drama workshops for people with differing speech and actors who use alternative forms of communication. Pete won the DaDaFest Award for emerging artist of the year in 2010.
Although Mat Fraser is by his own admission a disability ‘jack of all performative trades’ and therefore a master of none, he has managed to continue his Live Art output whilst simultaneously operating as an actor, writer, presenter, cabaret host & act, stripper, and general crip ubiquity. He started Live Art around 1996 after meeting Marisa Carnesky and others in London, including the Hydra collective. Over the last 12 years, he has produced a varied array of works, ranging from solo pieces to dinner parties for 6, co-creating work with other disability artists, to freak shows in Coney Island amongst a cast of 10. He is, at times, a disabled artist, but he feels at his best when he is a disability artist. He is currently working on two new pieces, and hopes to continue to work towards himself forever.
Tony Heaton describes himself as:
English, North West in place and spirit. Father, artist, sculptor, fiddler of bits, likes animals but not pets, likes people but from a distance. Tony is Chief Executive of Shape, a disability led arts organisation based in London. Prior to this, he was Director of Holton Lee, Dorset, developing a 350 acre site comprising residential accommodation, exhibition spaces, gallery, artists studios and the creating of the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, NDACA. His most recent sculpture, Squarinthecircle? is situated outside the school of architecture at Portsmouth University. www.tonyheaton.co.uk
Raimund Hoghe was born in Wuppertal. He spent his early career as a writer for the German newspaper Die Zeit, and has published several books. From 1980 to 1990 he was dramaturg for the late choreographer Pina Bausch’s renowned Tanztheater Wuppertal. In 1990, he started making his own work, and in 1992 began a longstanding collaboration with the visual artist Luca Giacomo Schulte who continues to work closely with him. Hoghe’s work has been presented across Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, South America and the United States, and has met with critical acclaim. He was awarded the Prix de la Critique in 2006, and in 2008, was named ‘Dancer of the Year’ by the magazine Tanz. He lives in Düsseldorf.
Noëmi Lakmaier's work explores notions of the ‘Other’ ranging from the physical to the philosophical, the personal to the political. The individual's relationship to its surroundings, identity, and perception of self and other in contemporary society are core interests in her predominantly site-responsive, live and installation-based practice. Lakmaier's work aims to emphasize and exaggerate the relationship between object, individual and space. Through the use of everyday materials as well as her own body and the bodies of others, she constructs temporary living installations – alternative physical realities – exploring the psychological implications of power, control and insecurity, the drive to belong and succeed, as well as feelings of self-doubt and otherness.
She is interested in the presence of the viewer as voyeur and how this presence can act as the catalyst that galvanizes an event and creates a tension and a divide between ‘Them’ – the passive observer – and the ‘Other’ – the objects of their gaze.
Brian Lobel creates performances about isolated bodies and the dilemma of community and interactivity. After having cancer as a young adult, Brian became fascinated with unique bodily experience and how it is conceived, discussed and witnessed by others, leading directly into his current performance practice and PhD research, entitled Playing the Cancer Card: Documentation, Illness and Performance. Brian has shown work in a range of contexts, from medical schools to galleries, cabarets to museums. Performances include Cruising for Art (Victoria and Albert Museum and Forest Fringe in Edinburgh), Hold My Hand and We're Halfway There (Sadler's Wells, Shunt, and with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council), BALL (in over 70 cities internationally and published by Routledge in Understanding Disability Studies and Performance Studies, 2010), Other Funny Stories About Cancer, and An Appreciation (Duckie, Bristol Old Vic, PSi Toronto and Purex, Lisbon). He received a 2008 Wellcome Trust Arts Award for Fun With Cancer Patients, and a grant from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation for Carpe Minuta Prima in 2010. Brian is a Visiting Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London and a regular performer and teacher for Clod Ensemble's Performing Medicine.
Central to Catherine Long’s work is the individual and collective body, the subjective and objective experience with a focus on observation and perception. Her work explores and addresses issues of objectification, absence and presence, restriction and freedom, control, embodiment and symmetry. A key aim of her work is for people to gain insight into how perceptions of ourselves are shaped by our perceptions of others. She is currently artist in residence at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience in London, collaborating with Frank Bock and Doran George. She also performs with Heidi Latsky Dance Company in GIMP, and works with Heart’n’Soul, an arts organisation giving a voice to Learning Disability culture. Catherine has performed at venues across the UK and Internationally. She has a BA (Hons) in Arts Therapies.
Dr Rita Marcalo is a conceptual choreographer and practice-based researcher. After performing internationally she founded Instant Dissidence and in 2006 completed an AHRB-funded practice-based PhD, Marcalo has published in a variety of journals and is currently lecturing and writing about a trilogy of works researching conceptual and movement interfaces between the body, movement and epilepsy. The first of these works (Involuntary Dances) was one of the most talked about live art works of 2009 world-wide, and the second (She's Lost Control) is currently touring nationally. Her work has been commissioned by Dance 4, Aveiro Dance Company, Light Night Leeds, Yorkshire Dance, Ferens Art Gallery, York St John University, Bretton Hall, Community Dance York, Essexdance and Dance Digital. Marcalo's practice-based research has received several national awards (AHRC, Creative Futures, Interact, Awards for All, Lisa Ullman, CETL Fellowship). Internationally she has received an Erasmus Award (Portugal), an ELIA Award (Holland), an Intercult Award (Sweden), and been shortlisted for the Caroline Plummer Fellowship (New Zealand). After a series of positions within academia Marcalo now works in association with Dance 4, the Theatre in the Mill, Intercult, Lanternhouse, Prism Arts and the Folly, and continues to write and publish independently.
Tomislav Medak http://www.mi2.hr is a member of Multimedia Institute MAMA (Zagreb), a Croatian-based NGO dealing with social technologies, digital culture and theory, where he's coordinating the Theory and Publishing program. The focus of his theoretical interests are contemporary political philosophy, media theory and aesthetics. Medak is concerned with the expansion of the public domain as a free software and free culture advocate. He has coauthored the free culture, technology and science festival “Freedom to Creativity!” www.slobodastvaralastvu.org and co-curated an exhibition on the history of hacking “System.hack()” www.systemhack.org. Medak is a member of the Croatian Creative Commons team hr.creativecommons.org and a board member of iCommons www.icommons.org. He's also a member of the urban activist initiative “Right to the City” www.pravonagrad.org and is currently working as a director, coreographer and director with Zagreb-based theatre group BADco.
Kim Noble is a performance and video artist, and one half of Perrier Award-winning, BAFTA-nominated experimental art-comedy duo Noble and Silver. Kim’s work uses a provocative and humourous style to expose the human condition: notions of death, sexuality, gender and religion are picked at with dry comedic use of tragedy meshed with absurdity. His multi-disciplined approach has led him to work across theatre, TV, film, art and comedy; his broad output includes writing/co-directing a Channel 4 series, performing in comedy venues and at multi-media events at West End theatres, having his work displayed in art galleries, and producing a modern day manifesto for the British Library. He no longer smells of wee.
Martin O'Brien's practice focuses on physical endurance and excess in relation to the fact he suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, a severe chronic disease in which the body produces excess mucus that, amongst other things, works to restrict and prevent breathing through clogging up of the airways and lungs. O’Brien’s practice includes a daily regime designed from imposed medical treatments and preparatory exercises for his work, investigating the convergence between the condition of his body and his body based performance practice. Martin O'Brien has performed in venues in Britain, Poland, Germany, Spain and Norway and his work has been described in Real Time Australia as ‘Utterly compelling… a real tour de force’. He recently ran a Live Art Development Agency DIY 7 project entitled ‘Altered States’ at Colchester Arts Centre. He was a contributor to ‘Victim Art: Plague, Performance and Metaphor’ as part of Ron Athey’s residency at the centre for the history of emotions (2010), Queen Mary University London and artist in residence at Gallery Art Claims Impulse, Berlin in 2008. In October 2010 he began a practice-based AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Reading on endurance-based performance. martinobrienperformance.weebly.com/
Maria Oshodi’s first play, The S Bend, was produced as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s young Writers Festival in 1984 and later by the cockpit theatre in 1985. She went on to write four more plays including, Blood, Sweat and Fears, From Choices to Chocolate, and Here Comes a Candle, all touring nationally and published by Longmans, Methuen and John Murray. Whilst studying for her degree, she wrote the screenplay Mug, which was produced by Warner Sisters as a short for Channel 4 in 1990, and Hound which was Produced by Graeae Theatre company and later published in 2002 in their anthology of plays, ‘Graeae Plays 1’. In 1992 she graduated from Middlesex University with a 1st BA honors in Drama and English. Since then she has worked in arts development, for BBC drama production, as a freelance writer and in 1997 she founded Extant, the award winning, first performing arts company of visually impaired artists in the UK.
Luke Pell is Head of Learning and Development at Candoco Dance Company. He is also the module convenor for Inclusive Practice, Dance and Disability on the M-Teach Dance at the Royal Academy of Dance. Candoco Dance Company is the company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. They create excellent and profound experiences for audiences and participants that excite, change and broaden perceptions of art and ability, while being bold and unpredictable, and placing people and collaboration at their heart. Candoco is a learning organisation. They learn from their creative practice and constantly strive to grow, renew and exchange knowledge, ensuring that their experiences are of the highest quality, whilst remaining relevant and contemporary. They aim to bring about change in thinking about dance, about ability, about who is allowed ‘in’ and how we interact with and create our worlds. Learning and Development sit alongside performance and creativity in their plans. Both are equally important and support each other. Their integrated and coherent programme aims to create major change in the dance workforce and lead a shift in attitudes to dance and disability. Their leadership has a wide influence in communities involved in both dance and disability, and at the intersection of these worlds they aim to be leaders in generating sustained public value, through changes in the dance economy, as well as in social attitudes.
Together during the 1980’s and 90’s, Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose made work that provocatively explored themes of pain/pleasure and sadomasochism, illness and death. Bob Flanagan suffered from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and eventually died from the disease in 1996 at the age of 43, at the time one of the longest living survivors. He was a masochist and spent the last sixteen years of his life in a relationship with Rose during which he lived as her fulltime slave. Their performance work meditated on the relationship between s/m and CF, involving extreme acts of masochism being performed live on Flanagan either by himself or by Rose. The infliction of pain worked to both fight and express the pain of CF. Comedy was regularly used and made what otherwise would have been unbearable to watch bearable. Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose have presented work at Beyond Baroque, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Otis College of Art and Design, Santa Monica Museum, Exit Art and the New Museum in New York, the Musée d´art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland, and more recently at the Tate Liverpool, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and the Hamburg Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany. Their practice has been written about in several books, including the REsearch publication Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist, Body Art: Performing the Subject by Amelia Jones, The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art by Petra Kuppers, amongst others.
Jenny Sealey is the Artistic Director of Graeae. Her directing career started with a Calouste Gulbenkian Director Training Bursary with Interplay Theatre Company. There she co-directed Sea Changes, Stepping Stones and Mad Meg. In 1997 her reputation for devising signed plays for deaf audiences and creating multisensory theatre led her to become Graeae’s Artistic Director.
All Graeae productions are fuelled by a passion to find a new theatrical voice which explores how the aesthetics of access (sign language and audio description, diverse physicality and differing voices) can be integral to a production. Graeae productions include The Last Freakshow by Mike Kenny, and Blasted by Sarah Kane. Co-productions include Static by Dan Rebellato with Suspect Culture. Over last two years she has lead a new street arts venture with sway pole performance company Strange Fruit creating Against the Tide, a GDIF commission, and The Garden, an Unlimited commission. Last year saw a revival of Signs of a Diva by Nona Shepphard and a new musical Reasons to be Cheerful by Paul Sirett (inspired by Ian Dury songs) both with Theatre Royal Stratford East. This year she will be directing Romeo and Juliet at Ninagawa’s Saitama Arts Theatre Tokyo with an ensemble of deaf, disabled and non disabled Japanese actors. Jenny was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to disability arts.
Rajni’s work as an artist leans gently but clearly across disciplines, countries and thought structures. She is a quiet voice of change, creating and curating visually engaging performances, interventions and writings that open up space for conversation and meeting. Rajni has been creating and directing original performance work since 1999. Over the past eleven years, Rajni has performed in the UK, Europe and the USA including the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), Tanzquartier Wien, Arnolfini (Bristol), Nuffield Lancaster, SPILL Festival (London), SpielArt (Munich), Wunderbar festival (Newcastle), Belluard Bollwerk (Switzerland) and the British Council S.P.A.C.E Showcase in Gijon, Spain (2009). She is an Artsadmin Associate Artist. Rajni is currently creating a large-scale new musical called Glorious which will premiere at the Barbican as a SPILL Festival commission in April 2011. At each location, Glorious involves a deep engagement with the local community and an exploration of what it means to be in that place, as local residents and musicians work with the company to create the piece anew.
Over the last 15 years Aaron Williamson has created more than 200 performances and video works in many countries: in Greenland, Japan, US, China, South America, Taiwan and throughout Europe. He completed a Doctorate on performance and writing at the University of Sussex, (1997). His many Awards include a 3-Year AHRC Fellowship at the University Central England, (2004 – 07); the Helen Chadwick Fellowship at Oxford University and the British School at Rome, (2001 – 02); the Cocheme Fellowship at Byam Shaw, University of London (2008 – 09). He won the ‘Artist of the Year’ award from FACT in Liverpool, (2007) and was the Adam Reynolds Bursarist at Spike Island, Bristol for a residency between February to April 2010. Profoundly deaf, Aaron Williamson is the founder of the disability artist’s collective 15mm Films and is one half of the satirical ‘Disabled Avant-Garde’ with Katherine Araniello. A retrospective of Williamson’s video works, ‘The Bell Clapper & Bestiary’, was a full-length exhibition at Spike Island, Bristol, in 2010. A monograph, ‘Aaron Williamson: Performance/ Video/ Collaboration’ was published by Live Art Development Agency in 2008 and a compilation DVD ‘Quick Clips and Short Cuts’ in 2011.
Banner image credit:
Tony Heaton “Wheelchair Entrance”. Photograph: Manuel Vason.
A range of projects and activities exploring how artists are representing issues of disability in radical ways.
A range of projects and activities exploring how artists are representing issues of disability in radical ways.Read more
Radical approaches to representations of disability by contemporary artistsRead more
A free, all day event in New York with UK and US artists and activistsRead more
An ongoing project considering the idea of managing the radical (or radicalising the management).Read more