This is not a protest. Because it is too late.
We’re making a new ‘thing’.
We’re calling it an installation, socially distanced pop up performance and film project.
But that’s quite a mouthful so we’re giving it a name; DISMANTLE.
Google says ‘dismantle’ means, “to take (a machine or structure) to pieces.”
That seems about right.
In the literal sense it’s about buildings and spaces.
Buildings are being dismantled all around us all the time.
We are pretty used to it. Mostly because they are replaced with other, often bigger, buildings.
In the even bigger, more slippery and messy sense, it’s about systems.
We can’t ‘see’ systems, so *maybe* they are harder to notice, but, some of us still try to dismantle them because they often feel harder to just get used to. When we don’t like systems… well, we want to take them to pieces.
How is much less clear.
Some of the things we’re talking about whilst making DISMANTLE:
The here and now. Covid-19. Yep. (How could we not.)
The Arts. The growing threat of the arts industry, particularly theatre, especially new theatre, and even more so devised/experimental/‘risky’ theatre.
The arts is always precarious. I think you can tell a lot from a country in the way it treats it’s artists. I don’t have any facts to back that up (soz), but I think it’s true. It’s about the importance it places on culture, connection and community. Its architecture, and how welcome it makes you feel.
The Artists. The people that make up the arts.
Especially freelancers. How we can continue to collaborate, to stay creative. To do what we do. And be paid for it too.
The Koppel Project. How they have just lost a building that gave over 70 artists studio space in Soho. How that building is going to be torn down to make space for yet another luxury hotel. (Hotels versus individuality slash identity). How Koppel are often the people to fill buildings with artists temporarily, while other people decide what’s going to happen to the building long term (because it can’t possibly just be an artists studio for more than a couple of months or years).
So, I guess we’re also talking about buildings & permanence.
Redundancies. People being pushed out of buildings.
People. Where they go now.
How (and if) we are valued.
Weeds. Growth. Belonging.
Space. Who owns space. Who decides who is allowed in (and who isn’t).
When space is given (or taken away).
How spaces can be repurposed. When that’s positive (and when it isn’t).
What happens to a space when it gets turned into something else.
The feeling of a space - its vibe.
The history that is somehow held within four walls and how we try to erase it by knocking it down.
The spaces we love. The buildings that are used to being full of people and aren’t.
The empty spaces. The shops that aren’t shops anymore, the cafe’s that aren’t cafe’s anymore.
The spaces that need to be filled with life.
For a group working in touring theatre who usually/used to move about the country and it’s various spaces almost daily but was made to stay still, in one space, I’m not surprised we’re wondering about it really.
Geography. What the landscape of the country will look like - who will have ‘lost’ and who will have ‘won’.
Who gets to be part of the conversation, and how.
I’ll stop throwing words around now.
We are being given space to collaborate, create something visual, and make as much noise as we want to. This is filling us with hope and maybe it will you too.
Buildings might be disposable, but artists are not.
Let’s begin to DISMANTLE.
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter.
I will stand with you better.
I haven’t done enough.
I won’t give up.
I will give and grow love.
I will listen, make space (and mistakes).
I will out and be outed.
I will stand with you, rooted.
I am taking some time to reflect on ThisEgg’s values, and to figure out how best to action ThisEgg’s support for BLM in a concrete way.
For now, some (of many many) books for reading / podcasts for listening / stuff for watching / artists, activists & organisations for adoring & supporting:
Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
Natives - Akala
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
The Heart - Race Traitor Series
About Race - another Reni Eddo-Lodge
13th directed by Ava DuVernay
Killer Mike's documentary series, Trigger Warning
I May Destroy You created, written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel
Isra Hirsi who co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike, the American arm of a global youth climate change movement. In 2019, she won a Brower Youth Award. That same year, Hirsi received the Voice of the Future Award. In 2020, Isra was placed on BET's "Future 40" list.
If, like me, words words words can be difficult sometimes, follow Mona Chalabi who puts all the stats n facts into illustrations.