Vertigo / I Live With Black People 

Lead artists/researchers: Lucy Richardson & Gian Carlo Rossi

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Vertigo/I live with black people is a project that explores the representation, identities and position of woman in 21st century London where globalisation, diaspora, and immigration have affected the demographic of our city. The work explores their diverse relationships to the concept of place.

The project hopes to explore, tangentially, the relationship between place, space and identity. It will be a performative exploration of subjective mediation between space and place, a meditation on the notion of lived space and a foray into the third space discourse where Henri Lefebvre brushes shoulders with Deleuze and Guattari.

The point of ignition for this project, is ‘dissonance between subjective experience and cultural assumptions…the unexpected mobilization of subject or location’.

(Kirby K. M. Vertigo: Postmodern Spaces and the Politics of the Subject Indifferent Boundaries: Spatial Concepts of Human Subjectivity London Guilford Press 1996 pg 97)

This particular work draws on various notions of place and space developed by cultural theorists and geographers.

The title of the project - Vertigo/I live with black people - is initiated by personal testimony and the work of Kathleen M Kirby, in particular Indifferent Boundaries, Spatial Concepts of Human Subjectivity, Vertigo: Postmodern Spaces and the Politics of the Subject. This notion of vertigo can be briefly defined as such by Kirby, ‘the detachment of the subject from its physical site, or a dissonance between subjective experience and the cultural assumptions, or the unexpected mobilization of subject or location’ (Indifferent Boundaries 97).

The conceptual concern with notions of space and place come from Defining the Space of the Subject, Investigating the boundaries of feminism. In this chapter, Kirby’s reading of Adrienne Rich and Chandra Talpade Mohanty draws the following conclusions:

Place seems to establish set boundaries that one fills to achieve a solid identity. Place settles space into objects,…If place is organic and stable, space is malleable, a fabric of continually shifting sites and boundaries. (Indifferent Boundaries 19)

To this we ‘add’ Deleuze and Guattari and their notions of smooth and striated space, where smooth space is open-ended, can be re-written and wiped clean; in opposition to striated space, which is ‘gridded’, confining and exclusionary, oppressive space…

What we are exploring in Deleuze and Guattari’s provocative work is the state of flux between the two notions of space, the potentially fluid geographies that exist in this interstitial ‘third space’.

We will be exploring to what extent - in Deleuzian terms - place is striated, space is smooth, and the state of flux (the process of deterritorialization / reterritorialization) is the shifting site of identity.

Using the theoretical language and context outlined, we will be attempting to find an aesthetic and theatrical language that manifests the way in which individuals negotiate the relationship between space and place and how objects, events, ruptures and circumstances forge identity. The work will be an attempt to give a theatrical voice to a theoretical context and concern, demonstrating how theory can lead to practice through embodiment and a collaborative working process.

 

 

 
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