Claire Potter, detail from the installation Playhouse after the intervention of the performance Playhouse (Creep), 2018. Photograph by Vanda Playford.

May 15, 2018
April 25–May 25, 2018
16 John Islip Street
Chelsea College of Arts
London SW1P 4JU
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Beatrice Gibson, Alison Knowles, Ghislaine Leung, Annea Lockwood, Claire Potter, Charlotte Prodger, Carolee Schneemann, Tai Shani, Mieko Shiomi

ORGASMIC STREAMING ORGANIC GARDENING ELECTROCULTURE is an exhibition looking at practices that emerge between text and performance, the page and the body, combining a display and events programme of historical and contemporary works. Newly commissioned and existing works intersect with an array of archival material located in Carolee Schneemann’s Parts of a Body House (published between 1968–72), from which the exhibition title derives, and Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood’s score anthology Womens Work (1975–8). The exhibition seeks an alternative framework to look at the influence of conceptual procedures as well as experimental writing within contemporary feminist performance practices across visual art, sound and text. By highlighting these significant trans-historical sensibilities and acknowledging their disjuncts, each artist brings a particular method, procedure or interrogation to the act of writing or performing text. Curated by Karen Di Franco and Irene Revell.

Parts of a Body House is a score, a document and a piece of speculative fiction, written by Carolee Schneemann between 1957–68. The text operates across a series of registers and durations, as an architectural reimagining of the interior of the body as fleshy, subversive locations for social and political interaction, and as a set of instructions for an unrealised performance environment. Within the site of Schneemann’s textual body, corporeality is exposed as a network of sinuous circuitry, activated by immediacy—touch, heat and interaction. Drawing out the connections between the spaces of performance, as a textual and embodied environment of activity, extends to the works within the exhibition, where Parts of a Body House is presented as a typographical framework.

Womens Work [sic] is a multi-disciplinary collection of instructional and propositional performance scores by 25 women, edited and self-published in New York by Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood over two printed issues (1975–8), bringing their work into relation with the feminist movement through the medium of the score. The display draws out three works from the collection. Alison Knowles’ Proposition IV (Squid) was conceived in 1970 at CalArts in the context of her House of Dust project. Annea Lockwood’s Piano Transplants (1966–2013) propose a series of transformations of the instruments by natural processes including Piano Burning, Piano Drowning and Piano Garden. The very first Piano Transplant, a prepared piano that Lockwood made in 1966 in London is displayed in the gallery, accompanied by the 2017 recording of its performance by Áine O’Dwyer. Mieko Shiomi’s Spatial Poem (1965–75) comprises nine separate events that each invite participation anywhere in the world at a simultaneous moment which are then gathered together as brief written reports; Spatial Poem No. 6 and 7Orbit Event and Sound Event—are conducted through the framework of the exhibition

Claire Potter works across performance, publication, installation, and film, to address modes of reading, speaking and writing. The new sculptural text installation and performance, Playhouse and Playhouse (Creep), commissioned for the exhibition, are based on a study of sound in back-to-back housing. Ghislaine Leung is an artist and writer. Leung’s two score-based works Shrooms (2016) and Colour Hides the Canvas, Moulding Hides the Frame (2013), intervene into the gallery environment as pervasive, organic concepts.  Charlotte Prodger works with moving image, writing and performance, exploring the intertextual relationships between each of these materials. Compression Fern Face (2014) takes catalogue descriptions of Dennis Oppenheim’s video works of the early 1970s as scores, and explores what happens to speech—and the self for which it is a conduit—as it metamorphoses via time, space and technological systems. Beatrice Gibson is an artist and filmmaker whose works are often score-like and improvised in nature, exploring the pull between chaos and control in the process of their own making. The two new video works Prelude: Eileen and Prelude: CA, performances-to-camera by the eponymous poets, are ‘preludes’ to a forthcoming film, I hope I’m loud when I’m dead (2018). Tai Shani’s multidisciplinary practice is often iterated through character-led installations, films, performances and experimental texts. A chapter of her on-going feminist project, Dark Continent Productions, presented here with a new VR animation, is an expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s 1405 pioneering proto-feminist book, The Book of the City of Ladies.

A day event at LUX on Sunday, May 20, 2–5pm accompanies the gallery programme with live performance and screenings from Anna Barham, Daniela Cascella, Ami Clarke, Tomoko Hojo, Natasha Lall, Aura Satz, Linda Stupart.


An affiliated symposium, Women in Conceptual Art, convened by Dr Jo Melvin and supported by the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Graduate School will take place at Chelsea College of Arts on Thursday 24 May.


The Womens Work publication is on loan from the Her Noise Archive, UAL Archives and Special Collections. Annea Lockwood’s permanently prepared piano is on loan from The Hugh Davies Collection held at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The exhibition and events are co-presented by Chelsea Space and Electra and supported by Arts Council England, Chelsea College of Arts, Chelsea Arts Club Trust and LUX.

May 15, 2018

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