May Day is known as an international celebration of the worker that arose as a marker of the Haymarket riots in Chicago triggered by their poor working conditions and demands for an 8 hour work day.
“Mayday mayday” is a distress call coming from the French “m’aider” meaning help me – a call to come to ones rescue.
A painting of three black nurses in crisp white uniforms titled Portrait of Daphne Steel, 2018 hangs on the wall of St George’s University. They commissioned artist Sola Olulode who made a painting of Daphne Steel the first black matron in Britain. The painting was not only a celebration of 70 years of the Windrush generation in Britain but also a connection to 70 years of the NHS. The two commemorations are deeply entangled.
The word care has Germanic and Norse roots and its etymology relates directly to “sorrow, anxiety, grief,” also “burdens of mind; serious mental attention”. Care can also be painful. In Old Norse it apparently relates to the word for ‘sick bed’. To really care for, to sit with someone else’s pain. We are learning this lesson right now. Commissioned artist for Future Collect Jade Montserrat challenges us to think through a series of questions this month relating to how language translates to practices of collecting and how the power of language impacts on the practice of artists. Jade also proposes that we look beyond the care of the art work to think about the care of artists and helps us consider what kind of infrastructure of care is needed to support a system of artistic practice.
You may have also recently noticed a new ‘care’ emoji has recently been created by a social media platform. “Even apart, we are in it together” explain its developers a reaction that is to show extra support although we are apart from each other. The small round yellow pictogram is hugging a heart. As we nationally and personally deal with the loss of loved ones, Stephen Weller’s blog post sensitively analyses AUTOICON the work of Donald Rodney. Donald’s work sparked many conversations when Stephen presented his research of this work back in January in the Stuart Hall Library. The conversations concerning digital intimacy, data and the body are presented in his blog post.
As we enter our third month of working remotely in lockdown we continue with our (interim) programme, bringing our offline culture online. Thank you to those who participated in the lively discussions as part of the Global Re-Visions reading group. We continue our discussions with Leila Mehulić and Naeem Mohaiemen addressing the Non-Aligned Movement.
This month we move into a digital territory familiar to iniva with the presentation of artists work online. For those of you familiar with iniva’s work will know the digital gallery x-space. We introduce Ben Yau’s new work, Proximate Currents, 2020 which addresses Stuart Hall’s essay, ‘The Neo-Liberal Revolution’ that traces the ideological roots of neoliberalism from colonial practices and deconstructs its ‘revolution’.
We hope that you take the time to join us each and every Thursday at 6pm throughout May beginning with the release of the next episode of our podcast Chatting in the Stacks.