Cooperative Lunch #3: A Public Assembly

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Cooperative Lunch #3: A Public Assembly
Sun 29 Sept, 1–3pm
Free, no booking required

 

What is this process?
What is this thing that homogenises complexity, difference, dynamic dialogue,
action for change and replaces it with sameness?*

 

The 2018/19 public programme at Cubitt has been organising under the title Structures That Cooperate – events, exhibitions, research and conversations have centred Cubitt’s position as an artist-run cooperative and how this can shape and support collective concerns as cultural workers. 

Cooperative Lunch #3 will take the form of public assembly around the proposition that London is a structure that does not cooperate. Unaffordable rents, unsustainable competition, unrealistic expectations – so why do art practitioners continue to move here? With what hopes and at what cost? Gentrification, competition and precarity have become normalised and internalised. How can we find ways to flourish under these conditions? 

Cooperative Lunch #3: A Public Assembly is an open forum to share, debate or just observe. Through a series of short readings and screenings; discussions will explore the conditions that lead to what American writer Sarah Schulman has called the gentrification of culture: increasingly precarious living and working conditions, the effects of gentrification on creativity and the homogenising impact of higher education. 

Contributions include:
 
SHELL LIKE – a collaboration between Amy Pettifer and Jennifer Boyd, which takes the form of an ongoing series of hour-long listening events featuring both existing and newly commissioned audio works by UK-based and international artists and writers. Programmes are curated in response to a theme and are experienced in the atmospheric surrounds of an exhibition or conceived environment. SHELL LIKE creates a dedicated space for sound work and focuses on the importance of listening – particularly as a group – as a vital social and political act.

 

As part of Cooperative Lunch #3: A Public Assembly, SHELL LIKE will be sharing an audio work by British artist and poet Penny Goring. Goring makes drawings, paintings, sculptures and poems that access recurring personal trauma visions, exploring the contemporary state of emergency – where violence is commonplace, structural, intimate, where loss of freedoms is forgotten or keenly lamented, and there is no rescue or escape. Her audio work, Tower Block 55, is a sour sweet mourning song, sung over railings and into the cloud of pollens, pollutants, and other vertiginous voices that hang heavy over the city. Its lyrics are slicked and slutted, swinging from domestic textures to the grist of love relationships. While safety and sanity seem to balance on a knife edge, the singer is a bold protectress, in possession of counterspells, secret shortcuts and the most panoramic view. Tower Block 55 was first published by i-D, and was commissioned as an audio work by SHELL LIKE in 2018.

 

Morag Keil and Georgie Nettell ‘s video work The Fascism of Everyday Life will also be screened.The Fascism of Everyday Life features tours of the artists’ homes plus title/credit sequences. Mirroring the style of a lifestyle/reality TV program the film incorporates clips and music appropriated from adverts and shows that focus on homeownership, products and services. Inevitably the imagery promotes a “how to get ahead” attitude and enforces a normativity based around the nuclear family and property rights, a set of norms that are in sharp contrast with the real-life living situations of the artists. Both live in shared accommodation rented from private landlords in a city in the midst of a housing crisis marked by high rents for poor quality housing. Despite the real pressures of the housing crisis on the quality of life, the film serves to mock the aspirational agenda of the mainstream media which is based around competitive neoliberal value systems. The British obsession with homeownership as a measure of success is embedded within such images, which are designed to script desire in a way that conserves and reproduces a social structure of inequality.

 

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The event is hosted by Angela Blanc, Panos Fourtoulakis, Nora Kovacs, Ottavia Lunari and William Rees, a collective of curators currently studying and living in London. The hosts will prepare free food and drinks for all guests. 

Cooperative Lunches is a regular event series at Cubitt, an event around food, community, sharing space and knowledge. The first Cooperative Lunch in October 2018 was hosted by The Voice of Domestic Workers, a migrant domestic worker union in residence at Cubitt until December 2019 the second was in February and hosted by Cooperativas de Alimentos.

*Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind

Image:  Morag Keil, Georgie Nettel, The Fascism of Everyday Life, 2016, HD Video, 11 mins, 44 secs
Courtesy the artists and Project Native Informant London

Cubitt Gallery is part of an artist-led organisation based in Islington, London. We promote innovative curatorial practice with an 18-month Bursary, supporting curators at the beginning of their careers.

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