Rita Munus will host a series of workshops on writing, vocals, percussion and movement with an invited group of artists across July and August at Cubitt Gallery. Work will be collectively developed to ask how we understand our chronically ill bodies, amplifying words and sounds that need to be heard in relation to capacity, capitalism, institutions, loved ones and the public. The project will not be about generating definitive answers or theories, but to investigate similarities, differences and hidden parts.
Rita Munus are a collective that runs writing workshops and events with a focus on radical creative practice and process as a vehicle for topical discussion, exploration, play and catharsis. The collective is made up of writer Charlotte Heather and artist Sop and focuses predominantly on issues of chronic illness, queerness, otherness and capitalism, engaging with and prioritising participants who have direct experience with the themes.
The first series of workshops ILLTH looked specifically at chronic illness, the sick body and capitalism. The sick body is seen as ‘less than’ within a capitalist framework, because it cannot participate in production to a ‘satisfactory’ level. But the sick body is not ‘less than’. Focus on ‘getting better’ or ‘being well’ puts unnecessary force on the sick body to achieve something that for many chronically ill people is impossible. Often this actually makes the body more sick. Capitalism leads to over exertion – capitalism leads to chronic illness – illness struggles to fit into capitalism, thus the circular plot. There is a distinct parallel between ILLTH’s focus on process, not production, and the need for the sick body to be able to focus on just being, as opposed to the binaries of sick and well and ‘getting better’.
Future workshops will cover mental health, the pharmaceutical industry, the physical body and its movement, gender identity and sexual identities and behaviours, all in conversation with capitalism.
“The workshops let you write, but what you write is not for others consumption. You do not create a final product. You enter an ongoing series of discussions with each other on subjects which apply to the participants. You write something that you can do whatever you want with. You write because you have something to say, even if it is only to yourself. You write to play; with words, ideas, the world, yourself, others. You do not write to commodify your feelings, to conform to production, or to make yourself palatable to others. You do not write to be consumed, you write to experience writing.”
rita – to tear, scratch, write
munus – service performed for the community, duty, work
Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Spirit of 2012.