A River Runs Through It: Letter From Melbourne

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Anna Breckon and Nat Randall, Rear view, 2018. Image courtesy the artist

A hundred years or so before my mother’s mother prepared to move her family from Myanmar to Calcutta, India, and then some years later on to Birmingham, my father’s ancestors travelled on convict ships to Australia. I write this to position myself in relation to Australia: Myanmar and Australia hold a special place in my imagination as countries where people somewhat like me lead radically different lives.

I arrived in Melbourne on 25 January, the day before Australia Day, a public holiday commemorating the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships. This is a controversial celebration, which, despite being tied to centuries-old colonialisation, has only been a national public holiday for 30 years. Speaking to people born in Australia and to immigrants, I came to understand that a vocal community thinks that the holiday should instead mark a different moment in the country’s history, for example the day that indigenous Australians gained rights through the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975.

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hmn: The Space of Hesitation

 

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Location for hmn2: Hertsmere Road E15, 18 May 2015. Courtesy the artists

hmn is a quarterly sound-based test centre organised by artist Anne Tallentire and writer Chris Fite-Wassilak. This roaming event series, running since February 2015, is an intimate and unique platform for artists, thinkers and workers from a range of backgrounds to present new work. Conceived as an alternative space for testing ‘what sound is and can be’, each edition takes up residence for an evening in venues such as libraries and community centres across London. In a recent conversation with Beth Bramich, Tallentire and Fite-Wassilak discuss the project’s intentions and outcomes, and its ongoing development.

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Reading Group: To Become Two

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Alex Martinis Roe, ‘To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice’, 2018. Published by Archive Books. Courtesy of the artist.

Join The Bad Vibes Club (Beth Bramich & Kathryn Siegel) at the London Art Book Fair, Whitechapel Gallery for a reading group and discussion about transgenerational approaches to feminist politics, based on a reading excerpts from Alex Martinis Roe‘s book To Become Two: Propositions for Feminist Collective Practice. This event touches on themes Martinis Roe explores of intergenerational rifts and estrangements, the affective aspects of collective practices and the possibilities of solidarity in difference.

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Emma Smith: Euphonia

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Emma Smith, Euphonia, 2018, installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool. Photograph: Rob Battersby © Bluecoat

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it feels like peoples’ voices have been getting louder recently. There’s an urgency bubbling, a building hum, occasionally erupting into shouts and sobs, a startling squall. In a time of social division, there are also movements to form communities and to lend our voices to causes, to find better ways to communicate and to prevent the mental anguish of isolation. The premise of Emma Smith’s exhibition ‘Euphonia’ is that through speech we are constantly making music together, and that this collective action is important for social connection. This music is made not just through song, but in our everyday social interactions, our voices unconsciously hitting complementary notes, our speech patterns merging with others’ rhythms, becoming more harmonious as we bond.

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The Bad Vibes Club Podcast: Chloe Cooper

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Chloe Cooper, Internal Scratch, 2018, performance documentation at Battersea Arts Centre. Courtesy of the artist. 

Bad Vibes Club Podcast co-host Beth Bramich talks to the artist Chloe Cooper about her work with Jenny Moore and Phoebe Davies as Bedfellows, a research project about sex re-education, performing an Internal Scratch at Battersea Arts Centre, sex education at the British Museum, sex positivity, activism and consent. Listen to the episode here.