FK Alexander @ Wellcome Collection

🔊 👐🏾

zarina + gabrielle 26/02/17 


Last week we met one of our readers Megan Vaughan for an art date because we really like meeting strangers off the internet. Megan is a good theatre person so she took us 2 an event at The Wellcome Collection that was part of The Sick of the Fringe (which came out of the edinburgh fringe as a separate contingent for shows about health - - - after its founder was criticised of centring too much work about his own cancer experience ! can you cope lol nopeee, how rude). 


we didn’t know anything about the event on that day, so read it like we felt it / which was to walk into a room in the basement of the wellcome collection/ lighting low and purple. there were little pillows sparse across the floor and about thirty people lying with one of these under their head, people clustered in places like body friends. N There was a woman stood over everybody with a white bralet and skirt on, rough blonde curls, and silver glitter blotched around her eyeballs (zarina said she had terrifying eyes). She looked ghostly and silly, like club kid dress-up. There was a weird out-of-place projection of cell graphics on one of the walls, v sciencey and v Wellcome Collection + a spread of instruments on the floor like metal bowls and symbols, that typa thing + there were 2 people sat a table with decks at the back of the room. 
there was sound like white noise filling the whole space, like a full glass, and kind of gentle. The woman was carrying a gong down at her side, stroking it with a stick (I googled it and the proper name for a gong stick is called a mallet. The more u kno ⭐). when the three of us found a spot to lie down, we realised the gong music only resonated over whoever the woman was standing next to, bc it was lost in the larger sound from the decks. 


tbh. I would normally feel awkward about this kind of pressure to meditate but i didnt have TIME because things got VERY VERY loud. within 5 mins it sounded like we were lying in the engine of an aeroplane omfg. the noise was so full on it was almost painful but gabrielle SOMEHOW FELL ASLEEP idgi. zarina ... ye, that feeling of when ur on an aeroplane n the sound of its engines becomes background - that. But then the gong, the gong, it was all very strange and I was on edge, not relaxed. 
We stayed in the noise for abaaa 12 mins n then got up wide-eyed and left to debrief outside.
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One thing we have gained in becoming art writers is the confidence to walk into a room of creative activity and b ok rationalising whatever is happening inside that room on our own terms. if an exhibition visit is an encounter kind of cut away from time + space, you should write to readers knowing they might not have the same experience - n so the text written about it should try to match a quick relevance of that (so pertinent for performance). The White Pube writes like this, rather than critical pieces of writing that position an aesthetic experience within academic history. I respect that n it can be useful for a certain audience, but its not what we r about. We spoke to Megan about our critical style and scale, n she really affirmed that and encouraged wot we do,, made us feel all warm in our bellies n chests <3. 


ZM: I will say, that I was kinda thrown off by this specific work (Gab told me about a nice Scouse- y idiom: ‘sends ur head west’ ye, that). I am so fascinated by white spirituality & its components. Bc tbh European Philosophy & religion r separate things (which is odd 4 me bc it’s not the case for my experience... I feel like Hinduism,,,, duh they’re the same... but Islam, also kinda blurrrrss the line between religion & philosophy in a way Occidental traditions could never kinda fathom??) & the west hasn't rlly got a history of spiritualism;.;.;.;. I am fascinated by white ppl who say namaste & burn incense. What are the composite parts: East///Buddhism //mixed w Hinduism (divorced from context) //mixed with something that felt vaguely West African w the beats & the totemism of the bowls laid out/ but like an altar?// Amongst the Eastern spread of artefacts were witchy crystals - witchcraft as a very Western phenomenon - representing fear of the /woman/as/Other/ / n then some psychedelic stuff in the background - n that as the starting point of the West’s spiritual history — - — - when hippy culture kinda said fuk u to capitalism n if that’s a binary, does that mean there’s something about the conditions created by anglo-saxon protestantism & capitalism that just INHERENTLY rejects the spiritual??? Does protestant/- capitalism represent & vibe off that part of knowledge that is quantified & qualified (something the spiritual kinda rejects, bc i feel it as a system of knowing and learning and experiencing thru ur body & the very f a c t of ur corporeality.??? u get me??? ) n like... amongst all of that is the way whiteness frames meditation: as an activity separate & cut off from any other action than itself. (Kind of like white pube writing lol). It’s at odds with my experience of meditation as a religious act of repetition, and afterwards, Gab said something about how she doesn’t get meditation n i was like ME NEITHER, at least, not like this?.... this piece felt vvvvv strange.. Like, if u went into another person’s house n their front room was like... the exact same furniture & shape as ur front room, but they’d accessorised it differently n it felt similar but alien;;; n uncanny in that balancing act between familiarity & estrangement. I don’t really have any cogent thoughts on the specific aff/effect this interest had on me RE; this work... just it felt strange: a white lady dressed as a disco-queen silently leading meditation with a singing bowl and OM bells.... that’s all

 

b͓̽e͓̽s͓̽t͓̽ ͓̽v͓̽i͓̽e͓̽w͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ ͓̽i͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽l͓̽a͓̽n͓̽d͓̽s͓̽c͓̽a͓̽p͓̽e͓̽
͓̽o͓̽r͓̽ ͓̽o͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽a͓̽ ͓̽d͓̽e͓̽s͓̽k͓̽t͓̽o͓̽p͓̽

{ 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔬𝔫𝔩𝔶 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔬𝔫 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔥𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔓𝔲𝔟𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔩 𝔢𝔵𝔦𝔰𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔟𝔢𝔠𝔞𝔲𝔰𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔠𝔥𝔬𝔬𝔰𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔰𝔲𝔭𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱 𝔲𝔰 𝔢𝔞𝔠𝔥 𝔪𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔥 𝔳𝔦𝔞 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫. 𝔚𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔬 𝔱𝔞𝔩𝔨𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔧𝔬𝔟𝔰 𝔟𝔲𝔱 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫 𝔦𝔰 𝔥𝔬𝔴 𝔴𝔢 𝔤𝔢𝔱 𝔭𝔞𝔦𝔡 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔲𝔞𝔩 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔥𝔢𝔯𝔢 - 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔯𝔢𝔳𝔦𝔢𝔴𝔰 𝔫 𝔞𝔯𝔱 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔬 𝔬𝔫. 𝔄𝔫𝔡 𝔦𝔱'𝔰 𝔰𝔬 𝔦𝔪𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔞𝔫𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔰 2 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔴𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔞𝔶 𝔦𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔭𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔠𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔠𝔰 𝔴𝔦𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔱𝔦𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔟𝔦𝔤 𝔣𝔲𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔬𝔯 𝔦𝔫𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔱𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔰, 𝔭𝔲𝔟𝔩𝔦𝔠 𝔬𝔯 𝔭𝔯𝔦𝔳𝔞𝔱𝔢. 𝔗𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔨 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔬𝔩𝔡 𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔶 𝔭𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔰 - 𝔴𝔢'𝔩𝔩 𝔡𝔬 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔰𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔭𝔯𝔬𝔡𝔲𝔠𝔢 𝔮𝔲𝔞𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔶 𝔬𝔲𝔱𝔭𝔲𝔱; 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔰𝔱𝔲𝔣𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔣𝔲𝔩 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔦𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔯𝔢. }

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