A Symptom – a body of work by London-based artist Lucy Clout brings to Cubitt a set of propositions that in part offer up questions of self-organising, passive and active participation.
Sculptural and video pieces bring together research around the close readings of bodies in relation to medical diagnostic narratives, queer reproduction and pleasure. The creation of new knowledges, their distribution and the ability to access them is examined through the work via references to online communities where the internet is activated as the site of extreme publicness and privateness.
A Symptom talks to the possibility of [digital] screens for communication and community or screens as modes of privacy and concealed activity. Nurses, a 6 minute film, specifically references technology and online forums for sharing and organising in this instance around health and diagnosis and in relation to the inequitable availability of technology and kinship. The second film in the space Nurses 2, shown on a flatscreen monitor, reveals the construction of narrative, the filming and editing process with friends. Questions around self-organising, passive and active participation are addressed through a withheld subjectivity and with clouded transparency not to universalise what this can mean.
“The work comes out of a specific time spent in an attic flat on the Scottish border. A sickness of now, a cure of now, a pleasure of now too – understood via bodily image production, projections and interpretations.
These sets of work are not an argument but a set of stories and tones – the sociopathic CEO leveraging the single drop of blood as oracle, a website on which orgasm sounds are shared and discussed, the monitoring of cervical and ocular mucous, a body coded as infertile or aroused.
I imagine ‘Nurses 2’ as an obscure set of footnotes, or silent backing singers. Tone is created in the filtering of screens and cameras. Both bluntness and blur are used in a performance of pleasure against interpretation.” – Lucy Clout
The invitation to Lucy Clout from Cubitt’s Curatorial Fellow Louise Shelley also makes transparent the position of friendship, drawing on a shared history of exchange, support, trust and positions developed in parallel and in difference. Whilst not a subject of the work, this is a structure inherent in its display at Cubitt.
A text by writer Lizzie Homersham is also made available which builds on a conversation and an essay published as part of Solvent Magazine an exhibition by Lucy as part of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2018.
In October 2018 Cubitt’s public programme started organising under the title Structures That Cooperate, an ongoing programme that talks to Cubitt’s context as an artist-run co-operative. Events, workshops and artworks have so far shown approaches to organising, economies and collective formats, imaginaries and realities. A Symptom is the first of two spring exhibitions that work to extend and complicate these starting enquiries through solo authored presentations that address possibilities for collective mobilisation from personal positions and politics.
The work presented builds on work made during a six-month residency Lucy undertook with Berwick Visual Arts and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in 2018.
Lucy Clout is a London based artist whose videos use technology and pop culture to examine loneliness, intimacy and kinship. The works produce and reproduce minor (disposable or insignificant) speech to examine embodiment, longing and historically gendered performance. Recent projects include forthcoming new work for flatness.eu (2019). In 2015 she was awarded the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella award. Recent exhibitions include Solvent Magazine, The Gymnasium, Berwick as part of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (2018), Jerwood Space, London, CCA, Glasgow (2015) and Limoncello, London (2016). Recent screenings include Raven Row, Tate Britain and Anthology Film Archives, New York (all 2017).
Lucy Clout: A Symptom, installation view, Cubitt Gallery, 2019. Photography by Mark Blower, courtesy of Cubitt Artists.