Collective Display of Affection - Camden Art Centre

A sharing of ideas on collective affection, ecology, technology and agency as explored by participants in our Peer Forum 2020 programme.

‘I recall intimacies that I share, challenge, negate with others, intimacies that allow new and alternative stories to be told. In this process, I began exploring the importance of collective affection and how it can organise our beings. The enormous power of symbiosis, seems more urgent than ever. Let’s go back to the cells, to the ability of different organisms to live together and share roles. Its etymology literally comes from ‘living’ and ‘together’.’ – Application for Peer Forum 2020

The 2020 iteration of Peer Forum was in operation from 2020-2022. In that time and with no particular aim, they developed a way of working collectively. Its 14 members met and shared, sometimes in person but mainly via their various laptops and phones on various bed sheets and pillows that smell of their various washing detergents. They didn’t really make anything, rather material was accumulated as it does through a commitment to meeting and sharing. They sat still together, walked down the street, played word games and showed secret sub ankle tattoos. There’s was lots of time spent and as with life, there were times that were drawn out and times that were very special; in these special moments the group walked and talked as one.

Over two days, the group presented their collection, a language of symbiosis as well as techniques and methodologies in meeting and sharing.

Saturday 12 March Sunday 13 March The Artists Share this page

Saturday 12 March

Artists’ Studio, 11.30am-12.30pm

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials to express emotion. A microcosm that represents the entire universe, in which considerations of colour, line, form, and function guide the construction of a work.  In this session the group invites participants to discover the inner relationship they hold with others by creating an Ikebana of Senses through words and shapes, using your feelings rather than your head.

Artists’ Studio, 1.00-2.00pm

Pauline Oliveros was composer and a musician, she was part of the San Francisco Tape Music Centre (SFTMC), and a beacon for experimental creativity. For this session the group invites participants to experience one of Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Meditations” exercises, which she started in the 1970’s with the ♀Ensemble, a women-only group of lesbians and non-lesbians

Artists’ Studio, 4.00 – 5.00pm

Members of Peer Forum invite audiences to a live audio-visual improvised reading on collective affection, ecology, technology and agency.  The selected readings are extracts from texts and conversations collected by the group throughout their two years of gatherings both on and offline.

Sunday 13 March

Artists’ Studio, 11.30am-13.00pm

Through a series of writing prompts and collective text-collaging techniques, the group invites audiences to explore ways to collectively process the experiences, reflections, and moments of tenderness that have passed through us collectively during these past two years.

Artists’ Studio, 2.00 -3.00pm

This session focuses on Morton Garson’s Mother Earth Plantasia synth album from 1976 and Castle If’s Plant Material (2017) which was made as a response to Garson’s original album.  This collective listening session invites participants to consider how to care for houseplants through a beautiful collection of songs which capture the essence of a family of houseplants.

Artists’ Studio, 4.00-5.00pm

Connected to the Listening for houseplants session earlier in the day, this workshop will engage with exercises that open channels of human-botanical communications through drawing, writing and meditation.

The film above was produced by the artists of our Peer Forum 2020 programme. A Love Affair is a series of letters exploring the amorous relationship we cultivate with other organisms and was curated by Lou-Atessa Marcellin for Theatrum Mundi, a centre for research and experimentation in the public culture of cities based in London and Paris.

Listen to the Collective Display of Affection playlist.

The Artists

Miriam Austin

Miriam Austin graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Sculpture in 2012 and is currently studying towards a PhD in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Austin’s multidisciplinary practice spans sculpture, installation, video and performance, exploring the relationship between ritual, myth, ecological fragility, and the politics of the body. Over recent years she has shown work at venues including Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK; Gossamer Fog, London; The Show Room, London; The ICA, London and Alma Zevi Gallery, Venice.

Naz Balkaya 

Naz Balkaya is a Turkish artist-curator based in London. Both of her artistic and curatorial projects generally promote collaboration, solidarity and safe networking, representing the millennial conditions and supporting the emerging artists. Currently, her research stimulates a feminist voice that questions the history of occult, magic and mystical practices and their correlation with the climate. She generally works with multi-media such as performance, writing, sound, sculpture and painting. Her work recently showed at Meat Space exhibition as part of a monthly programme curated by Trans Curatorial at Koppel Project, London. Collaboratively, she works through her artistic and curatorial collective, Panicattack Duo, which she established with Cypriot artist Emilia Demetriou in 2014.

Harry Bix

Harry Bix is an artist and landscape architect. In 2020 he wrote an article for AD (Architectural Design) called ‘meal deal ecologies’ which explains his work in relation to landscape design. Recently he designed a horse museum in a former school building on the Latvian/Estonian border. Using strategically placed salt licks and the moving surrounding landscape the design provides visual cues for human residents to observe the spirit of unbroken wild konik horses. With fellow landscape architect James fox he ran a masters unit in landscape architecture at University of Greenwich (2015-2021). He has shown work at Tate Modern, London (2019); Southwark Park Gallery, London (2018); J:Gallery, Shanghai; CRATE, Margate; Filet, London (2017); ICA, London; Zona de Desgaste, Mexico City. He is the recipient of the Derek Jarman Scholarship, Slade School of Fine Art (2014) and the Betty Mclean Award presented by Bruce Mclean (2016).

Rosa Doornenbal

Rosa Doornenbal, has exhibited her work in the UK and across Europe. In 2019 she presented her solo show ‘Sliptong’ at Marwan in Amsterdam. Group shows and screenings include: ‘Forum: Bread and Games’ organised by Open Space Contemporary (2020), ‘The Vapours’ in Kunstverein Bamberg (2020), ‘What do we do now, now that we are happy’ at Chalton Gallery (2019). As a performer she has presented her work at Jupiter Woods, (London), at ‘Salty’ performance night at Printworks (Hastings), as part of ‘Sweat’ a group exhibition at de School (Amsterdam) in 2019 and at Deptford X in 2018. Awards include the Young Talent Stipend from Mondriaan Fonds for developing her creative practice, and the DCYP from Arts Council. This last grant made possible her most recent solo presentation ‘The Will to Believe’ at Palfrey, London, 2022.

Lea Collet 

Lea Collet lives and works between London, Paris and Roubaix. Her work vacillates between performance, installations, video, research and teaching. She introduces landscapes and subjects that investigate social relations and augmented affect experienced in and through digital mediation and technological collaboration. Her practice (both through making and sharing) emphasises collective experimentation and emotional symbiosis. Lea Collet trained at Camberwell College of Arts, London at BA level followed by an MA at Slade School of Fine Art, London. In 2020 she completed a research diploma with the Art and Technology university research group EUR ArTec based in Paris. In September 2021, she was invited as an artist-student at Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains a two-year program for artistic, audiovisual and digital training, production and distribution.

Romeo Roxman Gatt 

Romeo Roxman Gatt (b. Malta) is multidisciplinary artist who explores sexuality, identity, gender, love and consumption within his practice. For a while now, the artist has been working with themes of humanising and interacting with consumer objects, making the inanimate iconic and fetishised. He is also interested in documenting and archiving trans and queer experiences and has recently launched a new project in Malta called Rosa Kwir. This project revolves around alternative notions of masculinity, bringing together stories of Maltese trans men, non-binary & LBQI masc-presenting people. Roxman has an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art and was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London, and Bluecoat Liverpool (2016).Solo exhibitions: Mama’s Boy, Malta (2021), But Love left no Room for Hydration, UltraStudio, LA, (2019), Perfiction, Harlesden High Street, London (2018).

Maria Gorodeckaya

Maria Gorodeckaya is a Russian born artist and DJ who lives and works in London, UK. Her work sits at the crossroads of writing, sound, performance and sculpture as an investigation into the power dynamics within which identities are determined through both affective and affected bodies.

Zaiba Jabbar

Zaiba Jabbar is an award winning director, independent curator and founder of HERVISIONS (est. 2015). With over a decade of experience in the film and media sectors, her curatorial practice is an investigation into how people in the margins are using technology to create art outside of traditional contexts and making space for themselves in the digital environment. Jabbar was curator in residence at LUX in (2018) and is a board member of Abandon Normal Devices.

Natalia Janula

Natalia Janula practice is rooted in an interest in speculative narratives, examining the slippage between urban and natural environments, the concept of functionality and ritual, and the exploration of the femme/body’s positioning within synthetic surroundings – often with an element of levity. Employing a range of technologies and methods, including video, installation, CGI, performance, sculpture, kinetics and sound, she often works collaboratively in an effort to build a reciprocal ecosystem with individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds.

Lou Marcellin

Lou Marcellin researches ideas of ecosophy in the ecological framework which interconnects social and environmental spheres. With a background in fine art, a graduate of the Royal College of Art (MA Performance) and UAL Camberwell College of Art (BA Photography), she founded the multidisciplinary research platform Diaspore and more recently a seasonal school called RONCES exploring the making of landscapes in the rural and the urban environment. She has been a visiting lecturer for UAL, the Royal College of Art, The Slade and Goldsmith University. Lou is currently Outreach Manager at Theatrum Mundi.

Eleni Papazoglou 

Eleni Papazoglou works through print, assemblage and participatory contexts. She uses instruction-led processes, re-enactment and found material to subvert systematised methods of social production that intertwine the contexts of work and play. She also makes manuals, diagrams, writings, billboards, workshops and happenings. Eleni lives and works between London and Athens. She operates within institutional, self-organised and educational settings. She studied at the Royal College of Art and Camberwell College of Arts. Recent exhibitions and projects include: Alternate Realities exhibition, Sheffield Doc Fest x SET (2022), Head 2 Head at KEIV Athens, (Greece, 2021), Working Progress (South London Gallery, 2020), the co-direction of the nomadic project space On Wheels (2019-currently), and acting as the resident artist-educator at Supersmashers a weekly art and play session for looked after chidden in Southwark (South London Gallery, 2020-21). Eleni also works as a lecturer of Illustration and Graphics at the London College of Communication, UAL.

Anna Souter

Anna Souter is a writer, researcher, and curator based in Bradford-on-Avon and London. Her work focuses on the intersections between contemporary art and ecology. Her criticism and essays have been published by The Architectural Review, Burlington Contemporary, Hyperallergic, The Guardian, and Resurgence & The Ecologist, among others. She also writes fiction and in 2020, she was appointed writer-in-residence by Corridor8 for the project Thinking Through Extinction, created in partnership with University of Leeds and Manchester Museum. Her curatorial projects include: Darlings of the Underground, Subsidiary Projects, London, 2019 (with DATEAGLE ART); Rewind/Rewild, OmVed Gardens, London, 2019; Vegetate, Postal project, UK-wide, 2020.

Dylan Spencer-Davidson

Dylan Spencer-Davidson’s work explores the emotional conditions of contemporary life, using choreography, music, writing and video to explore the conflicts between our embodied experiences and the rational narratives we ascribe to them. Recent projects include: Affective Dynamics Study Group at Volksbühne (Berlin, DE), The way I feel under your command at RA Schools (London, UK), I don’t feel safe to tell you at Haus N (Athens, GR) and Soft Shell Hard Core at Ashley (Berlin, DE).