The Future is LoadingListen to this text: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file View the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading exhibition, featuring the work of 25 marginalised artists! "2020 has been a paradigm shift for many, a year like no other. A time of raw hardship and sudden turmoil in the midst of which we have witnessed gestures of care and support capable of reminding us: we need each other. For many disabled and marginalised people, familiar with adversity, witnessing the world come to a halt in a matter of days has paradoxically generated hope. Hope that, for once, the world might take greater heed of what it means to be shut away, impoverished and excluded. For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance. As the crisis has evolved and its shockwaves travelled, we find it acting as a catalyst for many other significant conversations, in the home, the workplace, or whilst, in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking to the streets in an assertion of grief and outrage. In this time of reflection and learning, a plurality of realisations has occurred. With this, widespread unrest and demands for change have arisen. More than our lives, entire structures have been thrown into the air by what we are living though, revealing the outlines of a starkly unequal world. In the process, a pandemic of health has radicalised mainstream debate, and we are no longer shying away from discussing the pre-existing pandemics of racism, of gender discrimination, barriers to inclusion and advancement, of gaping inequality, isolation, and disenfranchisement. The list goes on. Set against this uncertain and restless backdrop, where risk of greater exclusion battles with unique opportunities for change, we at Shape are looking to the future as an act of hope. For people who are marginalised in the present day, facing discrimination and barriers to access, imagining the future can be an act of radical defiance. It is the act of making a claim to a space that is otherwise denied – and for once, marginalised people have the agency to place themselves at its centre." The Shape Open is our annual exhibition of artwork by disabled and non-disabled artists created in response to a disability-centred theme. The Open provides a space where disabled and non-disabled artists can discuss and exchange views and ideas about issues and topics which are often sidelined within artistic debate. The Future is Loading / Shape Open 2020 Curated and creatively produced by Shape Arts About the Exhibition Content Notes and Access The Exhibition Artist Profiles Exhibition Zine Resources Shape Open What's on Our Programme Shape Open The Future is Loading (Part I) Welcome to The Future is Loading... Before viewing this exhibition, you may want to read our Trigger Warnings and Access information. You can read a full exhibition blurb, too, where you will learn more about the curation of the show. You can also view this exhibition on our Instagram. All works in this show have been audio described. You can find these descriptions alongside each work. Where possible, British Sign Language support has also been embedded. Together with Able Zine, we are designing a zine for this exhibition which is available for pre-order. This zine includes a collaborative resources list, full of a variety of materials gathered by the curators and contributors during the production of this show. You can also purchase campaign t-shirts through PrintSocial. You can use this interactive list of contributors to navigate the exhibition. Audio described artist biographies can be found on individual artist profiles on our site. If you would like more information, please email [email protected] Andrew Omoding Arts Emergency Babeworld x Whinegums Bobby Parker Brothers Sick (Ezra and Noah Benus) Charlie J. Meyers Christopher Samuel Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley Elise Broadway Hayden Stern Jeff Kasper Kirkwood Brothers Laura Lulika Maral Mamaghani Panteha Abareshi Romily Alice Walden Rudy Loewe Sasha Saben Callaghan Sam Jevon Seren Metcalfe Tobi Adebajo Yasmeen Thantrey Andrew Omoding Andrew Omoding is a Ugandan-British artist living in London. His work is intuitive and instinctive. Andrew creates large-scale sculptural forms by exploring his studio for buried treasures and using his tacit knowledge of form, shape, and construction to add and discard elements as he works. Building his creations through systematic layering, wrapping, and attaching, Andrew often uses textiles, patterns, and textures to complete a work. BSL Interpreted: Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Much of Andrew’s practice involves storytelling and performance, incorporating music and both written and spoken language. Andrew weaves, sews, threads, constructs, hammers and screws materials together merging with and becoming part of the work while simultaneously singing and telling stories. Andrew’s work is personal, sometimes autobiographical and always intriguing. Andrew's contribution to this exhibition comes from his residency at Camden Arts Centre London in 2019. With thanks to Action Space for their support in bringing this contribution to life. It's my work, come see, come see (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Arts Emergency Arts Emergency is an award-winning mentoring charity and support network. The organisation helps young people without connections follow their passions and navigate their way into higher education and the creative and cultural industries. Founded by Josie Long and Neil Griffiths in 2013 as a small grassroots project, Arts Emergency has blossomed into a community of 7,000 professionals. All of Arts Emergency’s members have pledged to support marginalised young people through sharing advice, free cultural activities and work experience opportunities. Arts Emergency exposes the structural inequalities in the creative and cultural sectors, and aims to redistribute the social and cultural capital that underpins this inequity. They work for a society in which every young person has the chance to flourish and contribute to the culture in which they live. The Future is Another Place (2015) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file This banner was created by an Arts Emergency volunteer in 2015 for the ‘Arts Emergency Response Centre’ exhibition at The Cass. Back to top. Babeworld and Whinegums Ellie Harman-Taylor Ellie Harman-Taylor, aka Whinegums, is a London-based artist, weaver, writer, and lecturer. Her practice navigates the experience of living with mental illness and disability. Ellie uses the metaphor of the body as a processing machine to explore how coping mechanisms can develop and aid survival in circumstances of marginalisation and suffering. Working with sculpture, video, performance, and comedy, Ellie’s work is frequently collaborative, including the lecture series, ‘Don’t Worry I’m Sick and Poor,’ which she co-created with Babeworld at the Royal College of Art, London. Babeworld Babeworld, comprised of Ashleigh Williams and Georgina Tyson, is a collaboration which aims to demystify the processes of creativity often kept elusive in an otherwise exclusive ‘art world.’ Focusing on themes of political and social identity, Ashleigh and Georgina’s exploration of disability, accessibility, mental health, sex work, and poverty has firmly grounded their practice in the corridors of the everyday. By creating an accessible critical framework through formatting and use of digestible language, their practice makes space for new dialogue which, rather than sitting within existing artistic narratives, offers an alternative. Call Me By Your DWP Number (2019) BSL Interpreted: Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file 'Call Me By Your DWP Registration Number' (2019) is a collaboration between Babeworld and Whinegums. Visually referencing the classic coming of age movies of the 90s and 00s, this pink and dreamy world filled with objects (with the occasional tacky zoom-in) satirically romanticises the parts about living with a disability that are often vilified: using weed as a form of pain management and disability benefits as a form of employment. The work begins with the DWP automated message, stirring a sense of dread, much like hearing your alarm tone through someone else’s phone. Ellie is portrayed as the stereotypical lead, purposefully placed on screen as a statement of palatibility. As the holding music plays, Ellie recounts some personal thoughts. In turn, anchoring the situations and struggles of the “in-between.” In-between referrals, in-between waiting lists, and in-between treatments. The video in its final edits uses iMovie default transitions and glitter gifs to reimagine a classic movie aesthetic, delivering a more low-culture and low-resolution piece, which is intune with the artists’ lived experiences and working class background. Back to top. Bobby Parker Bobby Parker is a writer and visual artist based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire in the UK. Born in 1982 to a working-class family, Bobby finds inspiration in his upbringing, mental illness, disability, and issues with addiction. He has taught for the Poetry School and given talks about mental illness, namely Borderline Personality Disorder and overcoming trauma through art therapy. Bobby properly started pursuing visual arts once he had his own space to create, painting abstract and figurative images and experimenting with photography, drawing, sculpture, film, and music. I Won't Let You Give Up (2020) Red Boots Goes Shopping (2020) Unusual Side Effects (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Brothers Sick (Ezra and Noah Benus) An Army of the Sick Can't Be Defeated (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Ezra Ezra Benus is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator based in New York, USA. In his work, Ezra addresses a range of themes by drawing on his background in Jewish studies, art history, and disability, including: time, relationships of care, pain, and illness. For Ezra, the ‘Self’ is a site where political, social, and spiritual forces collide, as bodily knowledge and social models of normativity are untangled and extended to meet others’ experiences in tandem with his own. Noah Noah Benus, also based in New York, uses photography to explore people through the prism of their relationships; with each other, their environments, and with the camera itself. Noah’s work often reveals overlooked moments through alternative methods of portraiture, photojournalism, and studio works. Relying on both analog and digital formats, Noah seeks to educate and advocate for justice and accessibility. Illness finds us all, Care unfortunately does not (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file to tally only numbers without counting the breaths taken the lives touched the same air carried and cared and filtered between us View the Ezra and Noah's essay about their work in text, spoken, and BSL formats. Back to top. Charlie J. Meyers Charlie J. Meyers is an artist working in figurative abstraction and portraiture, creating work from his studio in Philadelphia. Charlie’s work often focuses on relationships and pleasure as a form of political resistance, centring the concept of ‘erotic grief.’ Don't Hide (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file The ‘Tender’ collection (2020) This body of work is a collection of figurative watercolours inspired by the concept of Spring Fever in quarantine. Spring fever invokes a sense of restless desire for romance and social connection. While stuck in quarantine, Charlie has turned to personal, archival material: memories, photographs, and films. Painted on hot-pressed watercolour paper with floral and earth tones, the paintings represent a tender reflection on love. Quarantine Nap (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Felt (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Christopher Samuel Christopher Samuel is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in identity and disability politics, often echoing the many facets of his own lived experience. Seeking to interrogate his personal understanding of identity as a disabled person impacted by inequality and marginalisation, Christopher responds with urgency, humour, and poetic subversiveness within his work. This approach makes his work accessible to a wider audience, allowing others to identify and relate to a wider spectrum of human experience. Cripple (2019) Cripple explores the idea of idleness in the context of our reality in which disabled people have been pushed further to the margins of society as a direct consequence of austerity. The weaponisation of productivity under austerity means many view disabled people as lazy or idle and not deserving of help. Without support, however, their human rights are compromised, disabling them from participating in society and forcing them into a cycle of marginalisation. BSL, Audio Described, and Captioned version: Transcript of the video. Back to top. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is an artist living and working in London, creating works that seek to archive Black trans experience. Through an innovative use of technology, Danielle compels us to imagine our lives in environments that centre our bodies: those living, those that have passed, and those that have been forgotten. Danielle has contributed a brand new work to the show following the huge success of their previous game, the Black Trans Archive. Pages for A Body that needs them I hope these pages get to who needs them. Depending on your identity, the options may open up to you. You may deserve choice and you may not yet have earned trust in your own choices. Here those that have earned the right to choose will gain access to what they need... Others must only listen. They have taken far too much already and here, instead, we insist that we give them the bare minimum. Wonder where you stand? To enter the game, follow this link. Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Elise Broadway Elise Broadway creates free-standing and wall-mounted sculptural works using stuffed, drawn or painted fabrics, often using stock images of people and animals found on the internet. The result is a startling mixture of the sophisticated and ungainly, with the apparently mundane transformed into something special and memorable. Elise's work is autobiographical and builds on a mixture of Texan cultural iconography, dark humor, and deeply personal, introspective imagery as a self-therapeutic mechanism that shifts between catharsis, deconstruction, and healing. Cocoa (2019) Cocoa is part of a series of works focusing on chimerical, symbiotically-surviving entities. Beginning as a portrait of a dog with a malignant tumor, the work began to transform as I began to consider the existence/absence of mutualistic relationships between humans and the natural world. This piece functions in conjunction with the my recent series’ (including Hecate) concentrating on the roles and bodies of domesticated animals and the concept of 'domestication’ in relation to the traditional female body. These works seek to call into question the particularly human psychological proclivity towards control (both personal and of others) and the perceived comforts of the home. Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Hecate (2020) Hecate depicts playful, theatrical scene presenting a conglomeration of ancient and fantastical cultural motifs that indicate the presence of spiritual and physical healing, safety, and bounty. The historical Hecate figure- guardian of the home and purveyor of folk medicine- represents private/social tendencies to seek out alternative medicine when contemporary scientific methods don’t hold concrete answers. Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Rabbit (2020) Rabbit focuses on the symbolism of thriving hopefulness; in a surreal setting of undisturbed daffodils, the rainbow-lit rabbit optimistically creates a bridge between organic and artificial life. Playing on childlike imagery, Rabbit highlights a personal inclination towards the comforts of life within the natural world in times of global gloom. Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Hayden Stern Hayden Stern is a Seattle-based artist whose often figurative work centres around themes of embodiment, disability, gender, and madness, explored through the concepts of monstrosity, ecology, and dreamscapes. Hayden’s work explores mythologized depictions of othered bodies in intimate, ordinary moments. By centring the marginalised bodies of their community in their work - fat bodies, transgender bodies, disabled bodies, and traumatised bodies - Hayden reaffirms these communities as worthy of loving, complex representation. Their work balances the groundedness of touch and embodiment with fantastical motifs that pull the art out of pure realism. Container (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Night Swim (2020) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Jeff Kasper Jeff Kasper is an artist and educator who works in-between design, media, and public pedagogy to facilitate participatory experiences, creative curricula, and conceptual social spaces. His current research explores how trauma-informed education and the ethics of nonviolence impact the design process, collaboration, and learning—especially for the health and wellbeing of queer and disabled folks. Over the years, his work has been dedicated to building cultures of support as an artist working in arts management, community health, and social planning. things remembered (I look fabulous but I am in a lot of pain) (2018; 2020 edition) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Jeff’s ongoing ‘things remembered’ series is a catalogue of keepsakes and trophies engraved with testimonials about the invisibility of pain and love, failure and becoming in relationships. Through this project, Jeff explores the potential everyday, inanimate objects have to tell the stories of what otherwise remains hidden between people. prototypes for white flags (we want to participate) (2016) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file The ‘prototypes for white flags’ series similarly develops on this examination of objects. The white flag is an internationally recognised protective sign of truth or ceasefire. In subverting the flag’s usual call for surrender, Jeff asks what would happen if it was deemed a symbol of truce; of collaboration rather than defeat. things remembered (love is simple and simple things devour time) (2018) Audio description: Your browser does not support the audio element. Please click here to download the file Back to top. Continue the exhibition. If you enjoyed The Future is Loading, why not follow us on Instagram and Twitter? We also welcome responses to our exhibition survey - we would love to know what you think! Back to top.