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Stuart Hall Library Research Network: Duties of Self-Care

Research Network: The Difference That Difference Makes Dr Maria Walsh, Rehana Zaman and Oreet Ashery

25 Oct 2018
  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • Address

    Shoreditch Town Hall
    380 Old St
    EC1V 9LT

  • Admisson


As part of the Duties of Self-Care public programme, we will be screening Rehana Zaman’s Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena (2016) and 2 episodes of Oreet Ashery’s Revisiting Genesis (2016), followed by Q&A with session organiser Maria Walsh.

Dr Maria Walsh’s research project looks at artists’ moving image works that use the ‘performative’ in relation to therapeutic discourses and rituals so as to avoid solving social and political problems. These works, while not offering ‘talking cures’, nonetheless show practices that mitigate toxic effects without covering over their traumatic toxicity.

In this screening and discussion event, we shall encounter how Zaman’s and Ashery’s films present loosely (per)formed communities who challenge or participate in the therapeutic discourse of well-being, e.g. the circumnavigation of racism by beauty parlour rituals in Zaman’s film and the conflictual use of virtual technology to negotiate the pre-emptive mourning and memorialisation of death in Ashery’s online series. What difference does the emphasis on difference in these artists’ films make to neoliberal therapeutic discourses of well-being and care.

Dr Maria Walsh is a writer and art critic. She is Reader in Artists’ Moving Image at Chelsea College of Arts and Reviews Editor of MIRAJ: Moving Image Review and Art Journal. She is author of Art and Psychoanalysis (I.B. Tauris, 2012) and co-editor of the anthology Twenty Years of MAKE Magazine: Back to the Future of Women’s Art (I.B. Tauris, 2015).

Rehana Zaman is an artist based in London. She works predominantly with moving image and performance to examine how social dynamics are produced and performed. Her work speaks to the entanglement of personal experience and social life where intimacy is framed against the hostility of state legislation, surveillance and control. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, Kerala, India, Liverpool Biennial 2018, Liverpool, UK, Serpentine Projects, London, UK (2018); Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival (2018), CCA, Glasgow, UK (2018); and Material Art Fair IV, Mexico City, Mexico (2017). In 2017 Zaman was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.

Oreet Ashery is a London based interdisciplinary visual artist and an educator, working with biopolitical-fiction, gender materiality and potential communities. Ashery’s established practice manifest through distinct multiplatform projects and spans live situations and performances, moving and still image, writing and assemblages. The work turns to areas such as commissioned music, costume, workshops and activism. Ashery’s current work for which she won the Film London Jarman Award 2017, is an artist web series titled Revisiting Genesis on digital death and sociopolitical loss, http://revisitinggenesis.net. Revisiting Genesis solo exhibitions include: Bodies that Matter: Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery, Wellcome Collection 2019, Rennes Biennial 2018, Thessaloniki Biennale 2017, Stanley Picker Gallery 2016, Tyneside Cinema 2016, ICA fig-2 2015. The sonic performance Passing through Metal: Kettle’s Yard Cambridge, 2018, Donaufestival Festival, Krems 2018, LPS Malmo 2017. The World is Flooding, a Tate Modern Turbine Hall commissioned performance and zine, 2014 and Party for Freedom, an Artangel commission 2013. Ashery is an Associate Professor of Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.

Image: Stills from Oreet Ashery, Revisiting Genesis (2016); Rehana Zaman, Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena (2016).

Listen to the event here: