Gallery: Art in Crisis – Birmingham
As part of ‘Art in Crisis’ HFWAS were asked to join Crisis Skylight (a charity for the vulnerable housed and homeless), to run 4 workshops with members of their organisation around performance art. The aim was to give an introduction into live art and together with the participants create a performance that would start at the Crisis offices in the Rhubarb Building and work its way to an exhibition at Centrala, Minerva Works. The workshops where also run in coordination with Vicki Ayers who ran a body percussion workshop.
The performance consisted of ideas from the participants, HFWAS and Vicki. Through chatting with the participants about mutual experiences, ideas of performance and walking the route we began to create a performance.
We started under the viaduct near the Rhubarb Building. Here we created a performance/installation out of chalk and ourselves. The walls where plastered with stories, poems and thoughts from all the participants about what the history they have had feels like and how people have reacted to them. Time was given to the audience to read through and enjoy the atmosphere created within the short tunnel.
The audience were then led to the next performance area behind an artist holding a hand written cardboard sign with #ArtinCrisis written on it.
The Next performance area was in a bus stop. The participants where simply told to do their tasks on repeat as if they are waiting for a bus. There where cigarettes being rolled on a constant cycle, mobile phones being played, personal conversations on mobiles and songs being sung. The audience were crammed into the space with the performers and in turn became performers themselves.
Then the audience were led to Minerva Works for 2 final performances. One was taken directly from an experience of a participant, where they tried to make money by faking a tightrope walk in a street performer style while homeless in London. The audience were told to join them on a line in the car park of Minerva Works. This created a snake of performers walking the tightrope.
The final work was held in a lift. The audience was broken into smaller groups. These groups were taken into the lift with all the performers, where a sound and body percussion performance began to unfold. There was no set plan for the style of performance, only the feel of the performers between one another creating a new experience for the audience. The performance lasted the duration of the trip up 2 floors to a final exhibition in Grand Union.
After the performance and workshops the feeling throughout the performers was one of joy and comfort. The start of the workshops had shown a style of art that not many people had looked into. Over the few days that we worked with the participants their passion started to grow and more works and examples where being discussed and shown until they finally created their own performance.
Photography by Marcin Sz