Someone else can clean up this mess is the starting point of a research project with Electra into the work of the women active in 60s and 70s London. Rather than a direct historical enquiry, each weekend event explores collaborative relationships between artists of this and younger generations, through performance and discussion. The gallery of FTHo will be reconfigured to host the performative presentations. Each event will be followed by drinks and a shared meal. A publication will follow in April.
Someone else can clean up this mess acts as an introduction to an on-going investigation into the women artists who appear in the John Latham archive at FTHo, and others who were active in the London Underground. The project asks, who are these women? What could we appropriately, and practically, achieve within the framing of FTHo? And what might such an act of historicisation mean? The curators began their research with a closer look into some of the figures whose practices share an emphasis on 'intermedia'. In particular two not unrelated music journals were rich resources for the project: Source: Music of the Avant Garde, produced in California, USA from 1967 to 1973, where a number of fascinating scores by Annea Lockwood were published, amongst them Tiger Balm; and Musics, published here in London in the mid-to-late 1970s, with numerous contributions from Annabel Nicolson and John Latham. The title of the event series at FTHo is taken from a Musics review of the first performance by FIG (Feminist Improvising Group), which included domestic noise-making with vacuum cleaners, pots, pans and blenders. The set was concluded by one of the performers shouting, "Someone else can clean up this mess".
Such a research project covers a potentially vast field of study that commands sustained time and resources, and a scope beyond the size and capacity of FTHo. Moreover, any attempt of historicising such artists whose practices continue to develop in the present day is complex and not unproblematic. The title of the series seeks to highlight that productive messiness. Influenced by Catherine Grant's essay Fans of Feminism which looks specifically at the potential of intergenerational influence and 'queers' that relation via the idea of fandom, the curators chose to focus on these collaborative practices as a way of highlighting these artists in the contemporary.
The artists invited to collaborate for Someone else can clean up this mess have been collaborating in various capacities for some time: Holly Antrum has spent the last 2 years making a film with Jennifer Pike Cobbing; Jakob Jakobsen has had an ongoing dialogue with Barbara Steveni for more than a decade; Lucy Reynolds with Annabel Nicolson for longer, working together over these years in a variety of ways through film and writing; and Cathy Lane wrote about Annea Lockwood in her recent book, Field Recording and the two were eager to collaborate more.
Jennifer Pike Cobbing & Holly Antrum
Saturday 8 March, 4-6pm
Barbara Steveni & Jakob Jakobsen
Saturday 15 March, 4-6pm - PLEASE NOTE: This event has been postponed
Annabel Nicolson & Lucy Reynolds
Sunday 16 March, 4-6pm
Annea Lockwood & Cathy Lane
Saturday 29 March, 4-6pm