Thursday, 4 August 2011

Immigration, asylum seekers, refugees,... getting political!

Hello all,

I have lots of hobbies and interests and love talking about silly and superficial things, like things I cook, clothes I buy or bags I make. However I am a physical theatre performer and I am constantly looking for ideas, observing and listening to people and their views on things that are important to us all - how do we treat a fellow human being? I know this is a little broad, but concepts like sexuality, gender, immigration, feminism might give you a clue into my work.

I am currently doing research on a piece about immigration, refugees and asylum seekers, mainly in the UK, although, we'll see where the research takes me as it might spread to the rest of the world. For now, I am keeping it open in all respects; it might be a performer's piece, it might be an installation piece, it might concern a particular type of immigration, anything goes. This is actually an exciting part of of the process when I can dream as big as I want to and allow any idea to be a part of the creative process.

So, here is something that has got me thinking and that has touched me very much today. It is an installation piece in the South Bank, London.

The original 1951 Lion and Unicorn Pavilion at the South Bank Exhibition aimed to describe the British character and way of life as well as pointing out their contradictions. The lion of the title represented bravery and courage while the unicorn represented imagination and independence. At the heart of the installation was a sculpture of a flight of ceramic birds, symbolising migration and freedom of speech.

 In today's installation piece artist Gita Gschwendtner worked with 50 young refugees, whose poems - written and spoken - reinterpret the original themes of strength and imagination. A flock of white birds – or aeroplanes? – fly down the outdoor corridor linking Waterloo Station with Hungerford Bridge and comes to rest next to Royal Festival Hall.

Here are some of the pictures I took today:

The installation is not silent. As it is by the river, it is always windy, and the papers, poems and the wind make strange and beautiful music together. Harsh sounds are mixed with the voices of the young refugees reciting their poems. Some are in English, some in their own mother tongues, some are singing songs (click to enlarge the picture and see the poems properly):

If you have a minute, it would be wonderful if you could write what you think when you hear a word immigrant. You don't need to write more than a word if you don't feel like it. Or it might be a picture, a sound, an object? Anything you have is more than welcome. I promise I will not use it in the final piece; it will only inform my research and creative process.
However, if you rather abstain from commenting on the subject, that is OK too.
Also, if you are in London or passing through, the exhibit will be on till 4th September 2011. I strongly recommend it.

Sorry for the long post, but I have so many ideas going through my head at the moment and I just can't seem to edit well.

I think I will finish with questions by the wonderful Judith Butler:

"The question that preoccupies me in the light of recent global violence is, Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And finally, What makes for a grievable life?"
Judith Butler, Precarious Life

See you all soon and thank you for stopping by.

Red xx

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Blackberry picking - what a fabulous day for berries!!

Hello all,

so, I am enjoying my holiday in style. I was sick on Friday, but by Sunday I felt much better and so I went away and today spent the day in the sun with a very, very dear person. We did some sewing together (much more fun than doing it on your own), ate lovely food, drank good wine and delicious English ale (perfect with lunch on a hot day, but only one glass for me, otherwise I'd fall asleep). 

And as you can see from the title, we went blackberry picking. I think blackberries are my favourite of all the berries and we picked 3,5kg in 2 hours!!!! And, had a great time too. And we didn't need to get out of London to do it either. We did it at the common in South Norwood. These berries grow in the parks, they are no one's property and people need to get active and get picking!! That's exactly what we did and here are a few pictures of our "hard labour":

Yep, that's me, stretching really high to get the very sweet, big ones. I got them!!

Here are some ready for picking and some that didn't get enough sun yet.

These were really high. We battled with thorns and have the scratches to prove, but these were just too high and we sadly had to leave them unpicked.

Here is the bowl we almost filled in the first 10 minutes. It was difficult not to eat too many as we picked. Some of them tastedlike the PEZ sweets. You remeber those?

These were the boxes we filled after 2 hours. 

Here is how they look when they are all together.

And, here is one of the happy pickers :-)

We have picked so many berries, four people will be able to share them and not for just one desert. I've put two bags in the freezer so I can treat myself in the winter and will have lots more left for healthy snacks in the next few days.

What are your favourite berries? Do you like picking fruit?

Happy picking!!!

Red xx