When in 1992 Gillian Wearing asked strangers in the street to hold up a sign revealing their intimate thoughts, she did so in a pre-facebook, pre-twitter, pre-YouTube age. This discussion asks how the internet, social media and reality tv have redefined our understanding of confession, performance and staging the self, and questions how these changes have influenced contemporary practice. Featuring artist David Blandy, artist and curator Jennifer Chan, writer and curator Omar Kholeif and Method Acting teacher Sam Rumbelow.
David Blandy is a performance and video artist, who has established his terrain through a series of investigations into the cultural forces that inform and influence him. The music and legends of blues, soul, funk and hip-hop, haunt and guide his endeavours. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the wide, disparate sources that provide his (and our own) sense of self. Blandy examines the individual’s relationship to culture and history, revealing the complexities of the post-colonial condition. He has exhibited at venues such The Baltic, Gateshead, Tate Britain, The Bluecoat as part of the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, Turner Contemporary, Margate, Spike Island, Bristol, 176, London, Platform China Project Space, Beijing. His work is distributed by LUX, and is represented by Seventeen Gallery, London.
Jennifer Chan is an artist-curator who works with video and web-based media. Her artwork and writing explores fetish, gender and power within internet culture. Her writing has been presented at the Open Video Conference, University of Cincinnati, Mount Allison University, and Networked_Performance. She has curated at artist-run organizations such as Vtape, InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, and XPACE. She recently exhibited at Future Gallery, Forum Box, Transmediale, Everson Museum, GLI.TC/H Festival, Images Festival, and Low Lives International Exhibition of Live Networked Performances.
Omar Kholeif is an Egyptian-born, UK-based writer, curator and producer. His writing appears in The Guardian, Art Monthly, PopMatters, Film International, Frieze and many other publications. He is Curator at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, and a Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse, Manchester’s international art and film organisation, and Associate Curator at the Arab British Centre, London. He is founding Director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival, a curator for Abandon Normal Devices and a contributing curator to the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, among others. Kholeif’s cross disciplinary curatorial practice is focused on the presentation of film, video and new media for both the cinema and the gallery — producing international exhibitions, festivals and public programmes.
Sam Rumbelow is a Method acting coach, theatre director and creative practitioner who collaborated with artist Gillian Wearing on her feature film Self Made – a provocative exploration of ‘how we make ourselves present to the world’. His evolved body of work as a teacher centres on the notion that started with the work of Konstantin Stanislavsky. Alongside his intensive teaching programme, Rumbelow founded The Ensemble with invited members from his class. The Ensemble recently presented their second full-length production TRADING FACES to critical acclaim and two OFFIE nominations. Rumbelow has trained with the NYT, Lyric Youth Theatre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and with Tony Greco.