Nina Edge has recently engaged in a string of commissions with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) where she is currently developing new work. The work combines tents as the single most important architectural form for the next future, with the impact of technologies on free speech, as an issue demanding immediate attention. These two elements come together to turn the FACT ‘Inside Out’, on their own request, for their next exhibition
Elements of this new work will have its first outing at the Architectural Association School of Architecture CONTAvention weekend in May, before roaming Liverpool under canvas over the Summer of 2013. The work is a mechanism which will collect narratives via voice recognition software, chronicling people, their time and place, transforming speech into text, & relaying it onto monitors for public viewing at FACT Liverpool.
Storyteller; the keeper of victories
Maybe language is the next legislative and political battleground, impacted by technologies that transfer speech to text, and text to distribution, transforming the private to the public via social media and surveillance.
Perhaps we are in an era where a digital theatre of war rages, where un-read bloggers vent their opposition, in democracies which see more people blogging and tweeting than voting or standing for election.
Does that mean private beliefs the new opiate for the new masses – masses of individuals with a few hundred twitter followers…..
Architect; the weaver of the threads
Are the tents which isolated & detached or together as tent cities, house the invisible homeless of the G8 nations, the same kind of tents as those that house refugees fleeing political or climatic peril?
And are they the same as the tents which house the Occupy activists on the steps of the Cathedrals and Banks, and the same models as the holiday dwellings for a fortnight’s budget holiday as well? Nylon lightweight affordable…..is the tent defined by the circumstances of whoever who sleeps there?
How do common zip up tents relate to the rare heavy cotton tension structures, fit for a sales expo, or a champagne celebration or some heavyweight recreation ? Marquee, Tipi or luxury Wigwam where the wood is already chopped and dried or the flimsy tent where the homeless girl died. Who decides ?
The work of this artist
The way in which power dents and drives it’s path has been a long-term interest of controversial artist, designer and writer Nina Edge. What she does dodges easy definition variously seen as challenging and inclusive, harrowing and humorous, mature and naive.
Edge makes work on the streets, in shops, bars, allotments and waste-ground, and in galleries across the UK. She has appeared as both an invited guest, and a gatecrasher at Tate Liverpool, as a representative Black British radical in the Bronx Museum of the Arts, as an immigrant in Hull Ferens at the Trophies of Empire commissions, & even as a Welsh presence at Philadelphia’s Painted Bride. She crops up craftily as a ceramicist, carnival designer, and producer of political textiles in the Arnolfini, and as a costumier, performer and purveyor of contemporary mass ritual all over Liverpool, notably in her seminal Sold Down The River performance - billed as ‘A Post Betrayal Intervention for a Post Industrial City’ and revisited in her 2012 film of the same name.
There are Public Realm works such as the walled West Close Garden in Cardiff Bay at the mouth of the Taff & a ton of turquoise glass on the River Irwell which seem to be permanent, but are not. There are rapidly produced temporary drawings on hundreds of windows designed to wash away with the window cleaner which often remain intact.
There is work with unpredictable & unimaginable duration like trespassed plantings and plasticine reliefs for tinned up terraces which will last as long as regeneration plans are contested. Duration it turns out is defined by investment.
Nina Edge’s role as a communicator across social media, broadcast and print publication has jogged alongside art interventions, blurring edges of culture, critical discourse and campaigning, between PR, propaganda and artist’s presentation. In actions that have been manifested inside and outside art spaces, on TV and radio she has gathered an audience on highways of the powerful, and dragged them all the way along the path to the most dented.
It is possible to view this practice as being in contravention of accepted orthodoxies, or simply without reference to existing frameworks for debate and production. A combination of flexibility, curiosity and lack of regard for expectations has lead to endless discoveries and collaborations, such as this with Ben Parry and the Cultural Hijackers at the AA School and the Contravention weekender.