//At HOME with BUZZCUT// Bursary
Kayleigh Handley, member of the Artsadmin Youth Board and Live Artist, was a recipient of an //At HOME with BUZZCUT// Bursary.
Scanning the Macloed Hall at the Pierce Institute, I ashamedly realise I can list off the drinks orders for the thirty-odd individuals in front of me but can only put three names to their faces. I could recite the responses to their past-performances, through a patchwork of drunken accounts described to me as a barmaid at Artsadmin. I’ve skimmed past their names on the spines of books or read short extracts about their work while dusting the shelves at LADA. I’ve even had conversations with many, yet rarely plucked up the courage to discuss our shared occupations before the credit card machine spits out their reciept.
Precarity, and the Precariat.
Noun. precarity. (sociology) Precarity is a precarious existence, lacking in predictability, job security, material or psychological welfare. The social class defined by this condition has been termed the precariat. [Wikipedia, obvs.]
I picked up a new favourite word while listening to Helen Walker & Harun Morrison speaking about their recent project Precarity Centre (Grand Union, Birmingham) during Sideburns- a series of discussions organised by Phoebe Patey-Ferguson. Collectively known as They Are Here, Helen & Harun touch briefly on the situation common to many artists/producers making ends meet with zero-hour contracts. Individuals who find themselves in precarious working class conditions regardless of upbringing and with few legal rights to fundamentally change the situation. As performers occupied, stretched and abandoned ideas of identity throughout //BUZZCUT// festival, this shiny new word was helping me explore mine.
At this juncture, it would probably make sense to introduce the //At HOME with BUZZCUT// Bursary. Talking about the new collaboration with Buzzcut, Home Live Art co-director Jane Greenfield noted “With our modest resources we wanted to find a way of supporting artists in the most direct way possible. So we have teamed up with Buzzcut by offering travel and accommodation expenses to a number of artists who didn’t quite make the final festival line up but whom we all felt would benefit from attending the festival”. My fellow recipients were Alicia Jane Turner, Mary Pearson and Tim Jeeves. The Bursary seems to perfectly match the needs of a precarious artist; it gives both financial and mentoring support to see work and expand networks.
Re-introduction: “Hi, I’m Kayleigh. I’m a live artist, let’s talk about performance.”
One of my highlights of the week was Emma Frankland’s Ritual For Change, an evocative mix of storytelling and actions. As Emma details the effects of gender transition and hormone pills, she axes a block of wood down to scraps and cuts a bag of water so that it slowly deflates. Building a tower of scaffolding, she recounts her experiences from each level until the construction of her new self is complete. The juxtapostion of typically masculine materials and the gracefulness of the performer are perfectly balanced throughout. What really amplified the tenderness of the piece was seeing the conscious integration of the BSL interpretor, both wearing similar outfits and delicately applying plaster to their bodies in tandem.
At this point I wish I had the words to articulate why I enjoyed works like FUCK SOUP– Krishna Ishta & Ray Filar, Inferno Variete– Lechedevirgen Trimegisto, Dark Side of the Boob-Louise Doyle, and MANY, MANY other works. But I think it’s a good place to open up an invitation for us to carry on the conversation at //BUZZCUT// On Tour: Let England Shake. See you there 🙂
Home Live Art, Sarah Wilson & Richard Dedomenici- for the bursary & chats
Rosana, Nick, Karl & all the volunteers- for all of your epic work
All of the performers- for being brilliant
They Are Here- for the photo
& the Artsadmin Crew- for the Jagerbombs & filling in a few names to faces