cw: allusions to gender dysphoria and suicide
cw: allusions to gender dysphoria
video version here
‘Might be about my job, or your job.
Might be about essential work.
Might be about Marx, and capitalism and alienation.
Might be about crises and pandemics and preparing differently, I guess.
Might be about revolution and liberation and changing the world.
Might just be about staying in bed.‘
NOT WORKING is a lazy attempt to consider the status, culture and abolition of ‘work’.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and a summer of lockdown followed by my own reluctant return to work, I wanted to explore what ‘work’ means to me and ‘us’. I and others had felt a shift in how the nation, government and media discussed jobs and labour at this time, as well as of course experiencing halts to our own jobs, working from home, or redundancy.
NOT WORKING was commissioned by New Adelphi Theatre with The Liam Byrne Award, and was performed as part of Arrival Festival 2020.
The performance was double live-streamed simultaneously on YouTube and Instagram Live. Below is a version where these two streams are edited together with the text.
I made this lil ditty with a prompt from my friend Patrick Thomas of Penultimate, for their #PENTUP platform.
Penultimate can be found at @penultimateplace on instagram.
cw: contains discussion of fascism and white supremacy, and presentation of physical violence
“When working from a ladder, you should maintain three points of contact with it at all times. This will keep you safe.”
But the bulb needs two hands to be unscrewed. And you need to hold the nail before you can hammer it. And sometimes, to get a job done, you need to ignore how you’ve been told to do it. And you might need to break ‘the rules’.
The Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders is a performance about using physical violence against the far right. It asks if this is the best way to deal with such an issue, and it asks what happens if it’s not what we ‘want’ to do.
It was created as the ‘culmination’ of a practice-as-research project in my final term studying MA Contemporary Performance practice at the University of Salford.
The project’s inquiry centered around finding the best way to communicate tacitly understood, personal politics such as my own around violent antifascism.
I also made a zine which was given to everyone who came to see the performance.
Some findings from the process are detailed in my (quite long) complementary writing.
I got a beautiful ladder for my research and then was told I couldn’t climb it in the university under any circumstances because it wouldn’t pass a risk assessment. Here’s a video of me not climbing it at all.
A scratch of some ideas I’d collected so far around ‘risk’ that I presented in front of some peers.
A conversation and m*lkshake with another vegan – talking about milkshake and what you do with the far-right.
Spontaneous mid-rehearsal sort of installation thing ft Run DMC, Jason Nevins and white nationalist Richard Spencer