Strange Ecologies #2: Uncomfortable

Sonia Boyce

Jill Craigie Cinema, University of Plymouth 18:00 07.02.19

In January 2018, media coverage erupted about the take down of a 19th-century painting (Hylas and the Nymphs, 1896) by J W Waterhouse a Pre-Raphaelite painter, at the Manchester Art Gallery during a performance organised by artist Sonia Boyce.

The artist talk will look at the circumstances of the performance and the subsequent multi-screened video Six Acts, alongside another moving image work Exquisite Cacophony, filmed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2015.

Sonia Boyce (OBE, RA) came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black-British art scene of that time, with images that spoke about race and gender in Britain.

Since the 1990s, Boyce has developed a wider social practice inviting other people into the work. At the heart of these improvised situations are questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures where the personal, aesthetic and political meet.

Recent exhibitions include: Sonia Boyce – a retrospective, Manchester Art Gallery (solo, 2018); Á Cris Ouverts, Rennes Biennale of Contemporary Art (group, 2018); We move in her way, ICA-London (solo, 2017); The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Prospect 4, New Orleans (group, 2017); and, All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art (group, 2015). A recent monograph, Sonia Boyce – A Thoughtful Disobedience, edited by Sophie Orlando has been published by les presses du réel (2017).

ADA Public Programme 2018–19: Strange Ecologies

Series of talks from the School of Art, Design and Architecture (ADA)

All talks are FREE and open to all. The talks are organised in collaboration with The Arts Institute, The Atlantic Project and The Box.

The School of Art, Design and Architecture (ADA) at the University of Plymouth presents the Strange Ecologies talks series (2018-19), in partnership with The Arts Institute, The Atlantic Project and The Box.

“We need new social and aesthetic practices, new practices of the Self in relation to the other, to the foreign, the strange – a whole programme that seems far removed from current concerns. And yet, ultimately, we will only escape from the major crises of our era through the articulation of: - A nascent subjectivity - A constantly mutating socius - An environment in the process of being reinvented.”

We take this quote from Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies (first published in 1989) as a starting point to explore the interconnected networks of mind, society and the environment now, and in turn to reflect the research strengths of the University in marine studies, cultural heritage and health.

The ADA Public Programme thus explores how transversal eco-aesthetic practices can respond to the damaging effects of integrated world capitalism (e.g. the increase of mental health and stress-related disorders; the rise of right-wing nationalism and fundamentalisms; ecological crisis on a global scale, climate change and natural resource depletion). Invited speakers respond to ecologies in their widest sense: to counter the pervasive atmosphere of inaction, and propose new social and aesthetic imaginaries.

Image: Sonia Boyce, We move in her way – after Lygia Clark and Sophie Tauber-Arp (2017) repeat print