An Intern’s Perspective… From School to the Barbican! – Artist presentation from Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A.

This week, Something Human’s young intern will be assisting the production process leading up to this weekend’s programme, From East to the Barbican. Ji-Young Ahn will be reporting on the activities along the way. Here’s her first missive, after Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A.’s presentation on Monday.

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On the 17th August, Monday evening, I attended a presentation at the Idea Store in Whitechapel led by two women in their 50s to 70s dressed head to toe in red. They sang, danced and gave personal and factual accounts of Irish Women trying to break away from “old-fashioned traditions” and the current situation for them in Ireland and England. The mood of the workshop was relaxed and informal with the distribution of oranges as an aid in visualising part of the story and as a quirky engaging tool.

As an art student, to learn about the scarlet ‘Speaking of I.M.EL.D.A’ provided interesting insight into the history of Irish female migration and rights over the years, especially with the increase of interactive performance art, a medium which is still relatively new to me and less represented in the secondary education system.

Within performance and live art, to learn about the interpretation of the ‘audience’, where the 12 women themselves were both the audience and the performers, was significant in beginning to understand the fine and sometimes turbulent relationship between art and activism – the protests and demonstrations alongside social media in recent years having highlighted and reiterated the important impact one has on the other.

The presentation hinted at a sensitive and larger ongoing topic of debate, feminism, and raised questions and ideas on whether the group would follow pre-existing notions to appeal to a larger audience, and possibly stir up a larger universal following through both social media and the arts community, or continue to solely fight for their own specific cause on today’s politics and religion.

Thus possibly, the IMELDAs brought a new perspective on interactive art of which could further pry open other controversial grey areas of the art industry.

Nevertheless their efforts displayed a group’s transition, where their actions became an art form via social networking and technology being grasped and utilised as fundamental tools in reaching out to create discussions, where this in itself also became a concept and part of the piece.

The talk was a useful guide in informing the audience on the groups fruition as well as visually the different performance and live arts, and thus a good starter for the events to follow during the week.


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