Untitled Video Portraits 1-10 will be on display at the Marlborough Pub and Theatre as part of Brighton Brighton Digital Festival and New Queers on the Block, supported by South East Dance.
In this exhibition artist Christopher Matthews presents screen-based and interactive digital works, seen in Brighton for the first time. Matthew’s work is rooted in the collision between popular culture and art histories and techniques. As a performer his own body is at the centre of the work: a highly skilled, larger, cis-gendered, white, gay, male body whose persistence continues to queer the idealised physical form of the classical dancer.
Untitled Video Portraits (2017/ present) are together studies which engage with the music video as a format at the centre of pop culture. With these works Matthews is interested in iconoclasm, a critical engagement with technique and the formal properties of popular media. Whilst drawing on certain familiar values of the music video (in terms of rhythm, editing, length and addressal of audience) he intends to re-focus on performance within the medium. The videos are played without the sound so that the identity of the music is present only through its embodiment by a subject.
Walk 4 Me is an interactive digital dance work exploring a tension between the pedestrian and the icon referencing Janet Jackson’s concert stage walks.
WHAT DOES THIS BODY MAKE?
How do we conceive of self and body? What scripts are at work? What role does our perception play? How does gender and identity perform itself at the perceptual level? How do these things implicate “other” and design they ways we relate to ourselves, each other and environment? What tools for transformation are already available or yet to be made in dance practices to disrupt hegemonic patterns and make new ones?
CONTEXT: programmed by Janine Harrington and Christopher Matthews, building on a trial project hosted last Autumn at Chisenhale Dance Space.
Chris’ work asks questions around class, gender performance, queer community and body image. Janine’s practice is engaged with questions of access, play and agency. In 2018 she wrote a proposition, radical non-symmetrical (reciprocated) advocacy which offers that each of us- where we engage- has agency to make changes for the better of all of us, however small our reach may seem. It is in this spirit that we want to make the most of our collective resources and develop radical ways of sharing practices and information across contexts whilst exploring ways to queer relations to organisations.
In October 2019 we will produce a 4-day workshop exploration with Shannon Stewart, a choreographic artist and activist working out of New Orleans who teaches each year at ROAR Berlin. We are able to capitalise on Shannon being in Europe, and collaborate to share her work in dialogue with questions and practices coming up in our UK contexts.
In 2018 we used crowdfunding, Arts Council England support and earned income to subsidise the workshop, with many free and pay-what-you-can spaces. These sessions created a temporary community of artists, many of whom we had never met before. The feedback on the sessions was extremely positive, and the low-cost was vital to make it possible for people to attend. This year we hope to sponsor as many workshop participants as possible, and offer a small stipend for those with additional barriers to participation such as low income, disability, travel costs and caring responsibilities. Read more about our efforts and how we are trying in 2019 here
More information on this very soon!
Christopher will be in discussion with artist Shannon Stewart and dance historian Arabella Stanger. They will explore the intersections of Matthews’ and Stewart’s work in relation to class structure, gender, sexuality, desire and body image. Their practices will be contextualised through lenses of dance/ art histories and place guided by the following questions:
Who gets to dance?
Where is the dance happening?
What is it about?
Why does it matter?*
Before and after the discussion there will be opportunities to explore Matthew’s digital installation Walk 4 Me
Image: Studio discussion, Autumn 2018 with Chris Matthews, Shannon Stewart, EJ Gonzalez, Samir Kennedy, Jessica Cooke, Eve Stainton, Janine Harrington
Timings info soon!
*questions asked by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
A Queer House Party: Sleepover
Following up to a Queer House Party last September in London, which explored the themes of identity, decor, and home, I am cordially inviting you to a sleepover. In this workshop, we will explore the ideas of home, sense of self, queerness, and partying through reading text, discussion, watching movies, decorating, dressing up, painting our nails, and dance parties. We will investigate what does it mean to perform our queerness in alternative spaces. Let’s question what does intimacy and intimate spaces allow for one to explore the self, togetherness, and joy. We will live our freedom to party, play our music loud and dress in bright colours. Bring your sleeping bag! Bring your lover! Bring your politics! Let’s come together and stay up all night talking, dancing, and being free.
Lads is a sensuous installation experimenting with the connections and influences of neo-classical sculpture in early modern dance, specifically around notions of masculinity and the ideal physical form.
The work will run continuously 10am-4pm in the foyer of the JCC.
Other performances at Future Oceans require RSVPs.
Performed by: Elena Rose Light, Ivey Wawn, John Hoobyar & Christopher Matthews.
Interactive sound design by: Naoto Hieda.
Dramaturgy: Martin Hargreaves
Rehearsal direction: Janine Harrington
More information about the work here: https://www.dance4.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Christopher-Matthews.pdf
Supported by Dance from England Dance4.
Developed with support from Arts Council England, Sadler's Wells, V&A London, Chisenhale Dance Space, Choreographic Coding Lab Amsterdam, South East Dance and Jerwood Foundation and with Samir Kennedy, Samuel Ozouf, Jessica Cook, Andrew Graham, Shannon Stewart, Eve Stainton and EJ Gonzalez.
Future Oceans is a cross continental, mixed discipline program showcasing choreographers, composers/musicians and devised theater companies from New Orleans, London and New York during the Arts Presenters Conference in NYC. It is curated by Laurie Uprichard, Shannon Stewart and Philip Sandstrom.
Future Fridays at Chisenhale Dance Space
14th Sept 2018 | 7:30pm
£5 Early Bird, £7.50 Advance, £10 Standard | Book Online
A Friday night pre-gaming queer space where everything surrounding you performs decorative gestures. Expect live performance, film, make-up, ceramics, words, drinks and more.
A queer hang out is a space to be together, to play, to dance, to drink, to taste, to watch, to share, to swap, to groom. Christopher Matthews has put together an ongoing durational programme on 14th Sept with something for all the senses, featuring film, decorative arts, performance and more from UK and international artists. Come hang then continue your Friday night at a local queer spot.
This performance accompanies 2 days of workshops and talks on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th Sept. Explore the intersections between queer theory, gender, identity and dance with Shannon Stewart, Arabella Stanger and Rory Pilgrim.
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Sadler’s Wells and South East Dance and Jerwood Foundation Collaborate scheme.
Building on the success of Fiver Fridays, Future Fridays is our new regular programme of projects by Chisenhale Dance Space Members, in our iconic Performance Studio. Book early for the cheapest tickets, join us for a drink, and see something new – now.
Over 2 sessions on the 12th and 13th September, invited guest speakers Dr. Arabella Stanger and Rory Pilgrim will offer perspectives and provocations in relation to Christopher’s research around masculinity, gender performance, class and more. The sessions will unfold into a dialogue between histories and practices, with the chance to zoom in or follow the thinking somewhere unexpected over the 2 days.
Image: Thomas Dupal
PERMISSION TO DANCE – QUEERNIQUE with Shannon Stewart
PERMISSION TO DANCE or REAL DANCE CLASS FOR FAKE DANCERS or QUEERNIQUE is just a dance class–with a warm up, some exercises and even a little bit of choreography. It celebrates the ritual of coming together to be in our bodies learning things. It takes inspiration from queer theory and feminism to make sense of the practices we do or can do. PTD is a warm-up for understanding how knowledge is processed and living in our bodies. We use it to open up a nonlinear communication practice between thoughts/movement but also to queer and reclaim the rituals that are familiar to us within the context of a dance class.
WHAT DOES THIS BODY MAKE? with Shannon Stewart
How do we conceive of self and body? What scripts are at work? What role does our perception play? How does gender and identity perform itself at the perceptual level? How do these things implicate “other” and design they ways we relate to ourselves, each other and environment? What tools for transformation are available to disrupt patterns and make new ones?
During this class we will use our individual and group body to make and unmake ourselves. Working with disorientation, quick shifts of attention, endurance and group dynamics, we will move away from language and towards embodied comprehension. We will push to the edges but also question “edge” as a boundary or distinction between ourselves, others and the space we occupy. We volley between performer and witness. Is it a spiritual transformation? Is it subtle drag performance? Is it quietly radical?
In WDTBM, we use somatic exercises adapted to engage questions about how we construct our bodies and how they are constructed. Proposals are seeded from queer, feminist, and critical race theory that exemplify and disrupt the way identity is embodied. This work is supported through reading and discussion and through composing and decomposing performances.
Shannon Stewart is a choreographic artist who splits her time between New Orleans and Europe. Her company Screaming Traps explores the intersection of dance practices, embodied identities and social choreographies. For Shannon, the body’s participation in everyday life, social systems, and how we know ourselves is an opportunity for choreographic research. Simultaneously, the practice of dance rituals is a potential for un-training, retraining, making and unmaking. She’s proposed an open source method called Body Based Theory Practice and presented this research in dance symposiums in the US and Europe. Her work has been presented in theatres, bars, parades, river banks, living rooms, film screens and galleries, and reluctantly but often on the internet.
image: Sarrah Danzinger
Artist as Nomad
I am a(n)_____, living in _____, working in _____, _____, and _____, paying my taxes in _____, I speak _____ but understand _____ a little, I consider to be working as a _____, but I generally find myself working in _____, I sometimes work as a _____ to make extra money to support myself as a _____, I like to eat _____ food but I am open to trying anything, I prefer to travel by _____, I usually stay in _____, most of my friends and colleagues live in other countries.
"We’ve been called to leave our country, be European, movable, multilingual free lands and become our own individual…. Being a foreigner is a mystical State." – Paola Di Bella, My purse is a black hole
This workshop helps create a self-dialogue with the individual participants about their cultural cartography. The aims are to create a process that considers the self as a nomad instead of as a freelancer. The nomad is a person who will take, give and rethink their interaction with other cultures, dialogues and places. It is also a non-linear path within the self. The workshop will use readings, dialogues, writing, surveys, map building, improvisation, dance parties, picnics and scavenger hunts to develop material for creation. Through group investigations, participants will culminate in surveying one self and their attachment to the contemporary definitions of nomads.
Originally created through a HMRC research grant from CreativeWorks London and developed in collaboration with Dr. Sara Houston and University of Roehampton Dance Department.
info and booking here
This class will begin with a classic Jazz warm up combining styles of Mattox, Giordano and Fosse. The warm up is focused on developing the technical basics through devised combinations engaging the key muscle groups so the body can dance from its muscular system. It will build up to a full body experience.
Every class will end with a combination that takes shape as organic and thrash style movement to develop the participant’s precision, speed and performance abilities. We will break down movements for the participants to find how they can build on the warm up's aim of engaging the muscular body. Each combination is built to develop the performativity of the dancer and how they can access where this comes from within bodies' emotional core. There will be a strong focus on how to develop artistry whilst continuing to execute technical skill.
„Whenever I think of Swan Lake and Rihanna, I think of you!“ (Meagan O’Shea on Christopher Matthews)
"I'm a jazzerina!" (Christopher Matthews on Christopher Matthews)
I am crowdfunding to raise the last bit of cash I need to develop my works Lads and My Body Is Number 1, to make the best use of opportunities that are coming up, to develop research with 17 other artists and make this available to public(s) through workshops and talks... If you can support this in anyway it would help so much!
-subsidised places for people to take part in practical and theoretical exchanges around queer, gender performance and more in a programme I've put together at Chisenhale Dance Space 12th-13th September
-support towards an evening of performance, food, music, film and more on 14th September
-helping to make the next step in my research on Lads, developing towards some big presentation opportunities in the the coming years
You can see the Chisenhale Dance Space public programme here on Facebook and there's more to be announced soon!