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BAB, WE'RE BACK! 16 - 22 OCTOBER 2017

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Unrestricted View: Opening Night and Demonstrating the World

Welcome to Unrestricted View, a series of written responses to Fierce 2017 from local writers.

Response to the Opening and Demonstrating the World by Chris Ansell

Opening Night

On an inconspicuous night in October, Fierce Festival landed. An opening night of performance and partying set the tone for what was to be an invasion of contemporary performance across the city.

 

Standing in the Hub, I looked around hoping to bump into somebody I knew. I didn’t. They seemed a friendly enough bunch but after a day working in London I wasn’t really in the mood for making friends. So, I got a bottle of beer and preoccupied myself by looking around the bar, waiting for the first performance to commence.

 

On the bar tables were scattered some event programmes. I picked one up and had a flick through (partly attempting to look like I was waiting for somebody rather than just being the guy who turned up to the party alone). Five performances were to take place throughout the night and each had a small mention on the double page spread that detailed the evening’s schedule. Each act was mentioned by performance name, artist name, time and a 50 word description.

 

50 words! That was it! No artist statement or exhibition text just a brief synopsis of the piece. Where was the information? How was I to know what to expect with only 50 words? I looked around as saw no exhibition labels, statements or wall literature. All I had were the 50 words in front of me.

 

Thank fuck.

 

I felt a sigh of relief.

 

For once, there was no literature or information telling me what to expect and what the work was about. Instead, I would have to wait to experience the work for myself and was given license to realise my own thoughts about each act. Rather than have the work described to me before I had even seen it, I would be free to approach the work with a fresh mind that had not been influenced by background, content or context.

 

As each act commenced I was presented with something completely new and unexpected. Each provoked a gut reaction; a thought, a feeling. I felt things that I was not prepared for. In fact, I had not been prepared to feel.

 

I had become so used to walking around galleries and thinking about each piece on display and thinking about how it related to the text that I had forgotten that art can make you feel. I had become so accustomed to reading first then looking and thinking that I had forgotten that art touches the body not just the head.

 

As performances progressed my head did engage and I thought about each piece and what it meant. But this was not just a case of connecting the dots between the artwork and the literature. Instead, I really had to think.

 

It was an exhausting experience – feeling so much and thinking so much – but it was thrilling, and entertaining, and terrifying. And I loved every minute.

Demonstrating the World

A windy day in Birmingham as storm Brian hits. A trailer sits at the top of Victoria Square, facing the iconic Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. One side of the trailer is open, its side lowered to form a make-shift stage, and inside can be seen an assortment of props and objects.

 

On the protruding stage, a man stands wearing black and a green high-vis jacket.

 

He walks around his make-shift world and goes about daily tasks: watering a plant, taking a hat off, opening a step stall. As he does he addresses his growing audience, explaining his actions through the PA system and wireless microphone headset.

 

People watch, intently. People watch as he performs the most mundane tasks at a frustrating speed.

 

Why? Why do people gather to watch, taking time out of their day to watch a man perform tasks that they see and do everyday? There is no introduction to the occurrence, no sign telling them that this is a performance and that it should be watched. Some people may even watch the event for 20 minutes and leave completely unaware that they had seen a piece of art today. So why do people choose to stand, in the wind and the gradually increasing drizzle, to observe the mundane life of a man on the stage.

 

I think they watch because it makes them feel safe. It is easy to get lost in the performance, in the actions that are simultaneously absurd and mundane. There is something comforting in observing a man complete everyday jobs, in knowing what he is going to do before he even does it.

 

Perversely, there is something strangely predictable about the performance. In a familiar setting familiar actions are performed. Regardless of the stage or the man who chooses to explain his every action, it is easy to be lulled into a sense of security by this familiarity.

 

The actions seem to belong to the world and feel much more at home in Victoria Square than Antony Gormley’s sculpture ever did. They seem to be simultaneously part of the world and a reflection of it, mirroring the bizarre world that we live it. A world that is full of so many recognisable motifs but somehow always feels strange.

 

We have evolved to cope with this strangeness and take comfort in the actions that are recognisable and predictable.

 

Aaron Williamson’s performance creates a space that is full of recognisable motifs. The stage and framing may be alien but everything upon it is known and comforting. The world that he creates is one of predictability and measured control. The world feels safe, a place for reflection and easy humour. It is a nice world to watch.


Chris Ansell is a researcher and assistant exhibition manager at Birmingham City University. He studied fine art at the Birmingham School of Art, Rome University of Fine Art and Oxford University. As an artist and curator, his research is concerned with the relationship between literature and exhibition practices.

Unrestricted View: Saturday 21 October, Fierce 2017

Welcome to Unrestricted View, a series of written responses to Fierce 2017 from local writers.

Response to Saturday 21 October, Fierce 2017 by James Kennedy

This Ritual Was Not An Accident

I was invited to review the performance of Andrea de Keijzer & Erin Robinsong’s “This Ritual Was Not An Accident” as part of Fierce 2017.

After dressing appropriately and braving the West Midlands edit of Storm Brian, I arrived to see that the performance had moved from Stryx had been moved to Rogueplay Theatre within Minerva Works. Inside the venue, we were greeted by the director and asked to fill in answers to the following questions on a piece of paper:

Name; Date of Birth; What are you wearing? Accident history; What’s the last thing you remember; What’s a song that you know?

I was mystified why they wanted this information, but I complied, and we were led into the main theatre space. Sitting on chairs there was a great triggering smell of damp bedsits in Moseley.

In front of us, one of the artists was lying down on a bed, her head sticking awkwardly up facing us. She read out the names of those who had handed in their notes in, sharing our personal and private facts with each other. Nervous laughter of recognition came out from us as she went through the register.

When she finished, hands grasped the side of her head from an awkward angle. Her head slowly rose up from her shoulders. In fact, another body was underneath, dictating the movements, until they settled down, so all you could see were their hands. Joined together, these hands made movements to simulate copulation, to a sperm meeting the egg and fertilising in the womb to make an embryo, alternately making imitations of flowers blossoming and blooming.  Their hands touched the senses on their bodies, to smell, to hear, to touch, to taste and to smell. Bodies were formed, and the information was to be digested.

De Keiljzer and Robinsong sat down, and started to transcribe the notes that we had given them earlier. They were written onto a laptop which we could see projected on a screen, and as they were projected, they were shredded. Our shredded lives and rituals appeared as a snow drift in front of us, sprayed out over the projection, burying them. A copy of what they had created was printed out, and sealed nside a red box with many padlocks.

Our society’s sensory bombardment with memory and sharing information was prevalent in the performance, and, in the next recital, what was more noticeable was the fact that the most vivid memories were associated with the weather. The shredded memories were emptied out on the space in front of us, and blown with a leaf blower onto a black drape to the right of the stage, our case studies and discarded memories buffeting into the artists and sticking to them.

These shards of memories becoming ever fierce as the storm breaks gave the impression of a separate entity manipulating every moment and decision.  As humans, we talk and communicate with this inner entity, mimicking its movements and following its instructions.  De Keijzer and Robinsong construct a house and get in together. These are our homes, full of rituals and memories that we have built, providing adequate structure before the storm breaks. The house collapses, and all that was left was us and the artists amongst the rubble. Forming a circle, we are invited to take part in a ritual, to blow up a balloon and place a pin, next to it, moving it ever closer. Some of us pop it quickly, others let it go. Our fears and rituals within this situation, and within life, dictate what we do.

Be the Change

I was invited to review the event with Fierce in collaboration with Free Radical “Be The Change” at the Edwardian Tearooms as part of Fierce 2017.

Free Radical are an art activism platform created from the Beatfreeks Collective who formed in Birmingham in 2013. The collective are working towards the mission of “Fuelling conversations and concepts that dare people to challenge the way of the world. “ Free Radical who want to “Engage; Empower; Educate and Equip.” With Aaron Wright’s opening salvo at the Festival Hub that Fierce 2017’s mission would be to “Provoke; Politicise and Party” it would seem that the combining the two would be an excellent collaboration

That evening was certainly very busy, with the delightful Edwardian Tea Rooms in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery being used as the central hub. The soundtrack was certainly set to “party” with 80s brilliance such as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and drunken singalong classics from Oasis and The Beatles, interspersed with more up-to-date tracks by Nicki Minaj and Princess Nokia, who I remembered from her performance at Supersonic 2017 where she told us all off for not being her usual sort of audience, advised us not to look at her,  and disappeared off the stage after only  20 minutes  leaving us all in a state of puzzled bamboozlement.

Several of the booths in the room were used for “Artist Speed Dating”, where those present could chat to inter-generational experts in their field such as the rapper, poet and musician Dizraeli; Gabbidon, a founding member of the legendary Birmingham reggae band Steel Pulse, the acclaimed graffiti artist Mohammed Ali, and the poet Shagufta K Iqbal.

Coming out the Tea Room, I made my way to observe the first performance, which was an installation by Reetu Sattar entitled Sokol Dukher Prodip: the unsung song. Participants were invited to walk up to Sattar and place their hands on hers, which she had coated with henna. In joining hands with Sattar, we would be sharing strength, and on finishing, our own hands would be stained, creating a memory that would live on.  This action would generate a sound blasting from the installation. We would stand in silence until the noise was over.

Going back to the Tea Room I noticed that people were getting ready to take part in Noemi Lakmaeir’s We are for you because we are against them, which saw eight diners fitted inside a sculpture based on the Weeble, a  1970s children’s toy. I had tried to fit in one before the dinner, and found it incredibly restrictive; my head and arms were fine, but my legs were squashed and crossed, and it would have been remarkably difficult to eat a delightful three course meal with excellent matching wine whilst stuck inside one of these contraptions. In this way, the audience analysing and watching the diners eating filled me with anxiety. This was exactly what Lakmaeir intended; to raise important questions about the body and voyeurism, and also attacking pre-conceived notions of disability.

We then were invited to see what I thought was the most powerful piece of the evening; Vivian Chinasa Ezugha’s Ghana Must Go and Britney Spears. For me, it was very difficult to imagine this performance occurring at any other time, yes, this was performance art delivered using the body as the medium, but I certainly haven’t seen such a visceral interpretation of the cultural stigma coming from xenophobia and a total shut-down of women’s rights. Ezugha stumbled onto the set wearing an over-large shopping bag for a skirt, and began self-flagellating in front of us, all positioned safely behind the white lines. Rubbing her face-paint off in tears she clutched the two bags onto her head and sobbed silently in front of us, all the while the staccato blasts of noise depicting respectful silence and unanswered questions from Reetu Sattar’s installation peppered the intimate, uncomfortable performance.

Finally it was time for the much talked about Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir, who had come from New York City on their Trump Depression Hotline Tour. Combining urban activism with evangelical preaching and a gospel choir, their sound was perfect for the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Reverend Billy had the audience in the palms of his hands, as he pleaded with those present to take their individual agendas and activism and join them collectively in a global fight against consumerism and militarism. This performance wasn’t just a one-off, they regularly occupy spaces around the world and have been thrown in jail for their cause many times, which seems hard to fathom given the love and inspiration they preach.


James Kennedy is a freelance writer with an MA in Writing living in Stirchley, Birmingham. He is currently working on a long-term non-fiction project called ‘The Wind’ , an personal account of Birmingham City Centre’s regeneration and renewal. He likes to blog about the arts, is particularly interested in hauntology and psychogeography, and likes Nintendo, music and a cup of tea.
More of his written work can be found at: jameskennedycentral

*Club Fierce Klaxon* Tomorrow night with SHOUT Festival!

There’s nothing we love more than an impromptu party and we’re thrilled to be throwing one tomorrow night for SHOUT Festival at AE Harris.

Get down to see Rachel Clerke and the Great White Male’s fab gig/show Cuncrete, then stick around afterwards for a very handsome all-female line up of DJs and performances.

We’re delighted that Lucy Hutson will be bringing her performance ‘Grindr vs The Women’s Institute’ to Birmingham for the first time and winner of the UK’s premiere Drag King competition ‘Man Up’ Manly Stanley (pictured) will really get the party started. The perfect soundtrack will be provided by Cassie-Philomena Smyth and it’s all included in the cost of a Cuncrete ticket. Show is at 8pm, party from 9pm. DON’T MISS IT.

Saturday 18th November, AE Harris. Get your tickets here.

Unrestricted View #1: Opening Night

Welcome to the first Volunteer View, a series of written responses to Fierce 2017 from festival volunteers.

Response to the Opening Night of Fierce 2017
by James Kennedy 

As a volunteer for Fierce 2017, I went along to the opening night at the Festival Hub (Quantum Exhibition Centre on River Street in Digbeth). Even as a long term admirer of performance art, getting back into the scene at 38 was going to be difficult. It was an opening night, and I was in the very essence of haute couture, green fisherman’s jumper (with elbow patches), best jeans (M&S Autograph) trainers and big coat. There were a lot of very fashionable people about; but I must say that the speeches did their best to relax the entire audience and encourage them to bloody well enjoy themselves.

Indeed, it was a rousing speech by the artistic director Aaron Wright, adulating the team that had helped support the vision for Fierce 2017. He set out the agenda for the weeks programme: “Provoke: Politicise: Party”. A week filled with some of the most exciting international live art performers of today, this would be an opportunity to audiences to examine what they get and don’t get about performance art, and make them ask why.

Erin Markey (image by Manuel Vason)

After Aaron left the stage, the audience was treated to a performance by Erin Markey, who is debuting her UK show “Boner Killer” at the Festival l on Thursday and Friday night. Tonight, we’d hear the story set to music from her previous show “A Ride on the Irish Cream” about the story of a girl refusing her mother’s orders to follow the predestined route into tap class, and the different ordinations of tap that there were.  The story was excellently told, and made me fully want to launch into a closer study of Amercian folk culture, ritual and carnival.

Francois Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal’s (image by Manuel Vason)

We were then told to go into the room behind the bar, and find our places on beanbags that were scattered around in front of two small stages. When everyone was settled in the lights went off, and for the next half hour we were in the hula-hooping realm of Francois Chaignaud and Marie-Caroline Hominal’s UK premiere of Duchesses.

As a living sculpture, if you had the space and wanted to invest in some really contemporary art, you would quite happily have this pair in the corner of your living room gyrating in the nude, keeping their hula hoops in perpetual motion. At first, as spectators we were able to see their faces as they were cast in shadow, concentrating instead on the motion in front of us. Sitting on bean bags I got to think about how we must have appeared to Chaignaud and Hominal as they were locked in the moment of their gruelling performance. We all much have looked, out of the corner of their eyes like baggy rocks in a black desert.

It was a stunning feat of achievement to keep this spectacle up for so long, not only for the viewer, but also for the performer. There was no distracting soundtrack throughout the performance, and the vast majority of the crowd were in respectful silence with the occasional flash of camera, despite it being a drop-in performance. All we had was the noises of the effort that the performers were making, and the constant hum of the air conditioning around, adding to the surreal/hyperreal scene in front of us.

Ostensibly there could be a narrative, the man and the women hula-hooping repelling and attracting each other, sometimes the hula-hoops would meet each other and crash, and grunts of absolute effort began to fill the silence. In seemingly a shorter time than the 34 minute duration, the lights went out and the performance finished. And the reaction from everybody I heard said it was an absolute success. 

Splash Addict (image by Manuel Vason)

Before I talk about Splash Addict, a collaboration between Susie Green and Simon Bayliss, I have to say that both the lighting and sound that FIERCE have arranged for the hub (overseen by production partners Cloud One) was absolutely terrific, and completed the imagery set by Splash Addict incredibly.

The setting was sparse yet effective for the performance.  Disco lights, a stand for the synthesiser and a gigantic chaise longue in the middle. I didn’t see the performers’ entrance, but the crowd were soon enticed to get up to the front. Susie Green’s commanding and laconic spoken vocals put into a classic performance very much in the spirit of a  Grace Jones, a Nico or a Miss Kitten, and Simon Bayliss’ electronic sounds assimiliated the best of electroclash and minimalist techno, through a handful of incredibly poppy songs, even finishing off with a bit of Gabber at the end for good effect.

Susie Green’s solo exhibition, Pleasure is a Weapon, examining the relationship between fetish and form, runs at Grand Union, part of the Minerva Works arts complex at nearby Fazeley Street until the 18 November, and is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12-5pm.

Quarto (image by Manuel Vason)

I saw a circle of spectators on plastic chairs in contemplative thought watching Quarto unravel and ravel the black 1,000-metre rope over the space under them. When I see something like this, I find it fascinating to think how many separate narratives are being constructed in the spectators heads of what this all actually means, philosophical feats of thought, how long should they stay for, or indeed if they’d remembered to get milk in for the morning. Indeed, Quarto’s performance could have been seen as a representation of the way in which the human mind is constantly pulled apart, self-analysed and distracted in so many different and ever-increasing ways. Or, of course, many other things entirely.

Double Pussy Clit F*ck (image by Manuel Vason)


The stage was now set for (pause) Double Pussy Clit F#ck (nervous laugh.) I was excited to see these, being a fan of riot-grrrl in my youth, and enjoying its re-emergence in recent years with bands such as Texas’s Sailor Poon and London’s Skinny Girl Diet to name put a few. Searching on YouTube for a clip of their performance I was greeted with a lot of YouTube community approved pornography, which I didn’t think was what I was after, however I did chance across another grrrl band by the name of Clitoris Rex (from Missouri) which again were very up my street.

But (pause) Double Pussy Clit F#ck (nervous laugh) were from Glasgow, and soon they arrived on stage to rapturous applause. A three piece, all pretty much in the nude with long black wigs, save for one on my left who had a bear mask on, who I believed was the Bez (or the bears) of the band, enticing the audience to dance their macabre but brilliant dance.

Instead of distorted guitars and spiky riffage, the enticing and repetitive music was played on a child’s drum kit and synthesizer and and a ukulele, and the whole performance was that of absolute organised chaos and anarchy. A performance so in-your-face, fierce concentration was absolutely on the spectacle. The bands were totally in control and it was a great live performance, with the audience completely on side. I took a film of their penultimate song, which is all about loving someone so much you would like to make a leotard out of their skin, which is a pretty appropriate summing up of their sound.


James Kennedy is a freelance writer with an MA in Writing living in Stirchley, Birmingham. He is currently working on a long-term non-fiction project called ‘The Wind’ , an personal account of Birmingham City Centre’s regeneration and renewal. He likes to blog about the arts, is particularly interested in hauntology and psychogeography, and likes Nintendo, music and a cup of tea.
More of his written work can be found at: jameskennedycentral

HIGHLIGHTS so far (It’s not too late to join us for the final few shows today)

Miss out and be sorry. Check out some highlights so far…. See you later?

LAST NIGHT WAS FIERCE

Checkout our highlights video, and join us for more fun across the week:

Spotlight: Fierce FWD 2017 gang

We had a chance to ask some of our Fierce FWD artists (who will be performing their work at this years festival) some questions so we can get to know them a little better, their muses and musical tastes ahead of their shows this week.

The Fierce FWD artists have been developing work over the past 6 months working in collaboration with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. In addition to working with a major theatre organisation there is a strong emphasis on going to see work as part of the programme which has created pathways for Fierce FWD artists to be exposed to a number of research trips to Live Art events around the UK, including; SPILL Festival of Performance, In Between Time: Bristol International Festival, Steakhouse Live and Arika.

Malikiscrycrycry also known as Malik Nashad Sharpe

Show: $elfie$

When: Thursday 19th OCTOBER

Born in New York City but raised in London, Malik is a choreographer whose work explores themes and issues from sexuality, race, to the deep dark web and nationalism. Malik performs under the moniker Malikiscrycrycry and will be sharing his work $elfie$ at Fierce festival 2017.

$elfie$ is a work built out of physical and internet investigation and was initiated by my desires to create an environment for which we can all abandon failed nationalist projects and is third/fourth in a series of five works around the ontologies of blackness and queerness.

Who or what  inspires you at the moment?

Memes, cybernetics, affect theory, allostatic load, choreography as a social proposition, mirrors, vapourwave, the idea that gender is ending, alt-lit, QTIPOC, assemblage

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

Authoritarianism has laid bare the intentions behind neoliberalism is a pretty honest way–It is so difficult to call out any system of oppression right now because the people who most ardently defend freedom of speech are those who have no basic understanding of the concept and they are trying to stay in power. Those historically in positions of power are those who continue to hold that power no matter how many revolutions or uprisings, no matter what “progresses” we have made, but at what point, at how many generations must one exist in this country, or any country, to be seen as an equitable member in society? I mean, there is nothing equitable about the world–no equality–nothing. It doesn’t exist in a world defined by runaway capitalism. But a phobic majoritarian culture isn’t okay with permitting those from minoritarian cultures to hold positions of power, and then utilise police states in order to maintain those hierarchies. We are all scarily complicit in the maintenance of a police state, but we don’t realise that it is just being refined and exacted in order to take rights and power away from those who have historically gone without. Ideally, I would hope that we would just collapse our concepts of power so that we can dream about other systems and ways of being–because at some point everything will be destroyed. I choke on toxic air in London every day. I wonder if Choreography can do things.

What are you currently listening to?

I often listen to things on repeat for long periods of time, on repeat at the moment is: ACTRESS, The Other People Place, Kelela, Ugly God, AK420, Larry B, Rico Nasty, and Bali Baby.

What are your top 3 Fierce Festival 2017 picks?

There is so much amazing stuff happening at FIERCE like how am I supposed to choose but ok here we go–My top three pics would have to be:

Last Yearz Interesting Negro’s “i ride in colour and in soft focus, no longer anywhere”

Andrew Tay’s “Fame Prayer/Eating”

Colin Self’s “Siblings”

Read more about the world premiere $ELFIE$ and buy your tickets here

Website: maliknashadsharpe.com

Instagram: @malikiscrycrycry

 

Louisa Robbin

Show: To Care

When: Saturday 22 October

Louisa is a live artist and writer, a sad girl who projects her feelings on to glitter and gold and a Queer Black British (African) woman who is forever ticking boxes.

Her latest work ‘to care’ explores her depression and the desperate need to keep going, keep doing and be more.

Who or what  inspires you at the moment?

The rise of the black alternative! I’m loving the representation of the awkward black girl, the black nerd, the black and lgbtqi. I’ve always got my eyes on platforms that raise and cherish these profiles. They remind me daily to continue to be who I am, unapologetically.

Incase you’re curious, here’s a few folks I’m talking about…

Michela Coel

Lena Waithe

Galdem

BBZ

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

I can barely think in the morning to think of what I’m thinking of…

 What are you currently listening to?

Moses Sumnney – Aromaticsm

Kelsey Lu – Church

Kadjha Bonet – The Visitor

Kendrick Lamar any song, any time.

And anything poppy from the 90’s-00’s

 What are your top 3 Fierce Festival 2017 picks?

 Eca Eps – From Chibok to Calais

Demi Nandhra – I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired

Jamilla Johnson Small – i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere. Last years interesting negro

 Louisa’s ‘to care’ is presented with Bedlam festival and Fierce. You can find out more and buy your tickets To Care here

 Website: louisarobbin.tumblr.com

Instagram: @louisa_robbin

 

Vivian Chinasa Ezhuga

 Show: Ghana Must Go and Britney Spears

When: Saturday 21 October

 Vivian is an interdisciplinary artist, working in live art, film and drawing.

Born in Nigeria, Enugu state, Chinasa Vivian Ezugha makes work that attempts to connect her to her cultural heritage and to the questions she is asking about her identity as a black woman living in England.

 What inspires you at the moment?

Right now I am inspired by a group of students that am working with in Germany as part of a symposium called ACT. MOVE. PERFORM. Their commitment to trust me and my crazy ideas brings joy to my heart. To perform is something special, but to inspire others is powerful.

  1. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

I woke up this morning feeling very down. I have been dealing with a lot and this morning it came back to me like a flood. But then i went downstairs saw the awful  breakfast and thought, ahhhh life isn’t so bad! being a bread must be a painful thing.

  1. What are you currently listening to?

Am listening to Fela Kuti and lots of afrobeats because i like to dance.

  1. What are your top 3 Fierce Festival 2017 picks?
  • Eca Eps
  • Jamila Johnson
  • Anne Rochat

Vivian’s Ghana Must Go and Britney Spears is a world premiere, commissioned by Fierce You can catch her performance as part of Be The Change: An Edwardian Tea Room Late programme. Read more about this  here

Website: ezugha.tumblr.com

Twitter: @VEzugha 

 

Emily Warner

Show: Untitled

When: Sunday 22 October

Emily warner is a multi-disciplinary artist using her background in visual art to explore art and create work that activates relationships and interactions with people and place.

Her selected work ‘Untitled’ is a wide and open research enquiry into the nature and existence of water. This is a theme that if often sourced to be present in Emily’s previous works.

 Who or what  inspires you at the moment?

 I’ve dipped my toes back into study mode this autumn, so am continually inspired by my current encounters with Jen Harvie – in all formats. Jen is a Professor of Contemporary Theatre & Performance, and I’m really switched on by her podcast series – Stage Left – where she exposes the working practice of a range of artist/performers. They’re honest, insightful and reassuring – and I particularly enjoyed this one https://soundcloud.com/user-148494537/episode-1-sht-theatre

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

 Where am I?… Go back to sleep!

  1. What are you currently listening to?

Someone sat next to me on the train listening to Shania Twain. Real loud. With another guy snoring over the top. That aside, before I left the house this morning I was listening to a 90’s jungle set by Kode9.

  1. What are your top 3 Fierce Festival 2017 picks?

Clearly a challenge to whittle to a selection of 3.. in no particular order I have picked:

Louis Vanhaverbeke – Multiverse

(cus… i’m really into toolkits and how not to use them)

Adam Kinner & Christopher Willes – Listening Choir

(cus… any chance to converse with Birmingham streets in new ways)

Andrew Tay – Fame Prayer / EATING

(cus… i’m interested in not fixing things that are wrong)

  ‘Untitled’  will be  performed as part of the Everything Fits in the Room showcase, read more and buy tickets for this show here.

Website: emily-warner.com

Twitter: @emilykwarner

 

Fierce FWD is a development programme for emerging artists living or working in or originally from the West Midlands. The scheme is aimed at those developing performance and Live Art.  Fierce FWD is a proud and integral element to us as we value the importance of providing a platform for new artists to come through and give them the space to nurture new work, so that we can continue to push the culture forward in a relevant and meaningful way to society.

Fierce FWD is generously supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. You can read more about our programme here

Spotlight on: i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere

Last Yearz Interesting Negro. Image: Max Colson

It’s a little over 24 hours until Fierce present the world premiere of i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere, the new work by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, the solo project of Jamila Johnson Small. And there’s a new trailer for the occasion. Here it is:

Good isn’t it? Hopefully it will give you some sense of what you’re in for if you make it along. Jamila makes work that is deeply considered – conjuring images and feelings that linger long after the work is over – but she also creates spaces you want to be in. She’s a magnetic performer. The music is ace. Her movement is compelling. It’s meaningful and important and it’s also really cool.

“It feels like being a spectator at an achingly cool and slightly intimidating club night. The music, all original to the show, is superb… …Johnson-Small can channel the music even into her shoulder blades, and frequently does over the course of the performance, confining herself to ‘the sensual pleasure of small dances’, as it says in the programme notes. I don’t mean that to sound dismissive in any way; she’s a remarkable conduit for the music, a perpetual motion machine, and the musical frequencies travel at the speed of sound from her ankles to her neck to the tips of her fingers.” [Draff Magazine – review from Dec 2016 of an earlier version of the show]

Basically, the message is it’s going to be ace. But if you want to read more people telling you that, check out some of these other reviews, from Ramsay Burt and Tia-Monique Uzor, and these interviews with Jamila in The Fifth Sense and The Evening Standard. And visit Jamila’s blog.

Buy tickets here

HOTLINE line-ups announced!


Image: Gnucci

We’re very excited that HOTLINE is coming to Fierce! Curated by Jamila Johnson-Small and Sara Sassanelli HOTLINE is a format for public discussion, using an extended duration to bring out more complex and fruitful conversations. It is not an artist talk or panel discussion.

We’re delighted to announce the line-ups for the two HOTLINE’s at Fierce 2017.

Friday 20th October, 1pm until 4pm at the festival hub.
Phoebe Collings-James
Malik Nashad Sharpe
Michele Rizzo

Saturday 21st October, 11am until 2pm at the festival hub.
Lucy Suggate
Adam Kinner
Christopher Willes
Gnucci

HOTLINE is free to attend!

Access at Fierce Festival 2017

At Fierce access for all is important to us, we are committed to making Fierce Festival accessible and below are the services we are able to office for Fierce 2017. We know these are limited and can be improved, so we would like to hear your comments and feedback to help us as we continue to improve this. We also realise that sometimes people need things not on this list – if that’s you – please contact us and we’ll do everything we can to meet your requirements.

You can contact Fierce to discuss any access requirements by emailing pippa@wearefierce.org or calling 07933 596010.

 

Wheelchair Access

All festival venues have provision for disabled audiences and are accessible for wheelchair users, with provision of disabled toilets, with the exception of Moseley Road Baths. We will present Eca Eps – From Chibok to Calais at Moseley Road Baths which does not have step free access or disabled toilets.

 

Assistance Animals

Assistance animals are welcome throughout the festival. So we can ensure we provide the best facilities for you and your assistance animal, please let us know at the point of booking.

 

Hearing impaired audiences

BSL interpreters will be working on:

Aaron Williamson – Demonstrating the World, Saturday 21st October, Victoria Square, 12pm -6pm

Demi Nandra – I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, Sunday 22nd October, Birmingham Conservatoire, 3pm – 7pm

 

Everything Fits in the Room is a non-verbal piece, presented at the Hub on Saturday 21st (4pm) and Sunday 22nd October (4pm). There will be a BSL signer at the venue on Sunday 22nd October to meet and greet signers and answer any questions they might have.

 

In addition, there are a number of performance which are non-verbal including:

Lucy Suggate – Pilgrim

Simone Aughterlony & Jen Rosenblit – Everything Fits in the Room

Last Yearz Interesting Negro / Jamila Johnstone-Small – i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere

Michele Rizzo – Higher

 

Financial accessibility

Fierce have worked hard to keep ticket prices as low as we can, and have included concessionary rates for the majority of events. Where individuals travel with a companion, companion tickets are offered free of charge.

In addition, there is a number of events which are free to access including:

The Grand Opening Party

Be the Change: Late at the Edwardian Tea Room

Obsidian

and durational works (so you can drop-in at any time throughout the performance):

I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

fic.the.sky.

Demonstrating the World

Capitalism Works For Me!

Crazy But True

Lord of Flies

 

Invisible disabilities

If you have invisible disabilities and your needs are not met within the provision laid out here, and you would like to discuss any specific access requirements relating to this, please do get in touch directly.

 

Meet-Ups / Discussions

Fierce FWD artist Suriya Aisha is working with Fierce to hold two sessions considering access as part of her wider project, Horizontal. Sessions will be in a closed space at Centrala (a short 2-minute walk from the hub) and will have some light refreshments available and some music. They are an informal space for groups to meet up, share and reflect on their experiences of the festival.

10.30am – 12pm – Disability / Access Discussion

12.30pm – 2.30pm – People of Colour meet-up

More info

 

Getting About

We have programmed a number of pieces within a 5-minute walk from our festival Hub, Quantum Exhibition Centre, including

$elfie$ at Ace Dance and Music

This Ritual is not an Accident at West Midlands Creation Centre

The Listening Choir at Stryx (please note this is a walking tour piece)

Meet-Ups at Centrala

 

Black cabs are managed by TOA who can be contacted by calling 0121 4278888 or visiting www.toataxis.co.uk

Uber assist and Uber access are both available in the city through the Uber app. More information about these services can be found here: www.accessibility.uber.com

 

Parking

Please see details of available disabled parking at our partner venues by following the links on the relevant venue website detailed below.

At our hub venue there is free on street parking available directly outside the venue, this can get busy, so in addition we have spaces at our offices (approximately 3 minutes from the venue). If you would like to use this parking please contact us on the details provided.

 

Partner Venues

Information about accessibility from our venue partners:

See details from Birmingham Repertory Theatre

See details from Patrick Centre, DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome

See details from mac Birmingham

See details from Birmingham Conservatoire