Adrian Heathfield and Hugo Glendinning: Spirit Labour

5 March – 18 April 2020
Opening 5 March, 6 – 8pm
7pm Unnamed and unannounced with students from Kungliga Konsthögskolan

What kind of labour is it, to work communally with the bodies, movements, expressions and affects of others, to dedicate one’s lifework to the othering that issues from these relations? Is a life – especially a life spent making, learning, giving and transforming oneself with others – a kind of infrastructure? How might we better understand and value the social and artistic force of such practices?

These questions are at the core in Adrian Heathfield and Hugo Glendinning’s Spirit Labour. The film follows the artist Janine Antoni as she encounters some exemplary artistic figures of the late 20th and early 21st century: choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin, and writer and philosopher Hélène Cixous. Spirit Labour traces a genealogy for artistic practices prone to engaging with the elements and non-human forces. Articulating the artists’ work as a form of what Heathfield calls ‘spirit labour’, the film acts as a powerful counter to notions of art as subservient to the spirit of capital.

Unnamed and Unannounced

Considering the concept of Performance and the Everyday, students from Kungliga Konsthögskolan, together with artists Valerie Renay, Hannah Clarkson and Ming Wong, will activate the gallery opening with a performative intervention exploring what it means to exist in the ‘everyday.’ Through voice, body and language in its various forms, this ‘communal happening’ will explore the mundane and the absurd, beyond masks, rules and structures imposed by society.

Adrian Heathfield is a curator and writer, and works mainly with live art, performance and dance. He co-curated Live Culture (Tate Modern, 2003), Performance Matters (2009-2014) and a number of other performance and durational events in European cities over the last sixteen years. Heathfield is a part of the collective freethought (with Irit Rogoff, Stefano Harney, Massimilliano Mollona, Louis Moreno and Nora Sternfeld), which curated a program with exhibitions, discussions, screenings, publications and commissions for the Bergen Assembly, September 2016. Heathfield is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton in London.

Hugo Glendinning is a photographer. His output stretches across the cultural industries from fine art collaborations in video and photography, through production and performance documentation. Glendinning has worked with the leading British theatre and dance companies, and his work has been published and exhibited internationally.

Anna Halprin (b. 1920) has been creating revolutionary directions for dance since the late 1930s, inspiring artists in all fields. Through her students Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Simone Forti, Anna strongly influenced New York’s Judson Dance Theatre, one of the seedbeds of postmodern dance. Defying traditional notions of dance, Anna has extended its boundaries to address social issues, build community and foster both physical and emotional healing.

Hélène Cixous (b. 1937) is a professor, French feminist writer, poet, playwright, philosopher, literary critic and rhetorician. Cixous is best known for her article The Laugh of the Medusa, which established her as one of the early thinkers in post-structural feminism. She founded the first centre of feminist studies at a European university at the Centre universitaire de Vincennes of the University of Paris (today’s University of Paris VIII).

Janine Antoni (b. 1964) works in performance art, sculpture, and photography, focusing primarily on process and the transitions between the making and finished product. She often uses her body, both as an entity, or paying particular attention to body parts as tools, utilizing her mouth, hair, eyelashes, and, through technological scanning, the brain, to perform everyday activities to create her artwork. She carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality speaks directly to the viewer’s body.

Spirit Labour
41 minutes
Featuring: Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Hélène Cixous
Directed and Edited by Hugo Glendinning og Adrian Heathfield
Original Music and Violin by Aisha Orazbayeva
George Philipp Telemann, Fantasia No. 10 for Violin Solo, Largo, performed by Aisha Orazbayeva
Voice: Sophie Gueydon
Camera: Hugo Glendinning
Text: Adrian Heathfield

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