Art Night and the Museum of London are pleased to announce the presentation of a new performance commission by Tai Shani at Fabric, London this Autumn, at 8pm on 25th October. The performance will take the form of a chamber play and is Shani’s first major performance project since DC: Semiramis for which she was nominated and collectively won the Turner Prize in 2019. It will be one of her most ambitious works to date.
I am really excited about the opportunity to develop certain aspects that have emerged in my practice recently, the expanded chamber play has three main protagonists; two women presenting characters called ‘Them who Love’, whose relationship is unclear, one is older, they speak of love in a profound and intimate almost spiritual way but it is unclear if it is sexual or not. There is also a Ghost, The Ghost for Revolution, that is real and a violent image on the screen, the ghost recounts somatic histories of political brutal tyranny. Many of these ideas are at the forefront of my mind and feel very urgent to me and I am really interested to see how they will play out in the setting of Fabric both a space for pleasure, abandon and communal “transcendence” that sits upon an execution site, a site of state violence.Tai Shani
The collaboration is a precursor to Art Night’s transition to a national, biennial contemporary art festival, with the first new model festival planned for 2023 and to be announced in the Autumn. This work by Tai Shani will be re-staged for the 2023 festival.
The play will premiere at London’s iconic nightclub Fabric, adjacent to West Smithfield, the Museum of London’s soon-to-be new home. The special “one-night only” show will be broadcast live on digital channels to enable access for a global audience with the assistance of media partner This is Tomorrow. My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) draws upon Smithfield’s history as one of London’s earliest execution sites and oscillates between somatic histories of political evil and love as an emancipatory power.
The collaboration also celebrates the Museum of London’s impending relocation to West Smithfield and follows the launch of the Museum of London Docklands’ major exhibition Executions, which traces the history of public executions from the 12th to the 19th century.
Smithfield has been an important site in London history for over a millennium. The area has seen executions of heretics, dissidents, and rebels over the centuries, before transforming into a market. It will soon enter a new phase in its history, becoming the new home for the Museum of London. Ahead of our relocation, it is great to be part of this project and to work with an extraordinary artist like Tai Shani to reveal and reimagine layers of Smithfield’s dark histories, bringing these to life. This will be the first of many exciting creative partnerships that the museum will invite into its new home.Lauren Parker, Head of Creative Partnerships, Museum of London
My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) is inspired by various sources; classic works of literature including Destroy, She Said by Marguerite Duras, the writing of scholars including Jackie Wang and works by filmmakers such as Jacques Rivette. Shani’s commission is a poetic meditation on various historical resistance movements and groups, the spiritual dimensions of anti-supremacism, intersectional queer feminism, communism and revolutionary thinking to recognise the emancipatory power of love and pleasure as a catalyst for radical change.
Typical of Shani’s practice, My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be will deploy a skilful interplay of dialogue and narration. Shani will use recurring moods and motifs to explore eroticism, dark powers, mystical experiences, feminist theory and the theme of Revolution – embodied in this performance as a ghost.
The play will feature an original live score composed by Shani’s long-term collaborator Maxwell Sterling and Richard Fearless (Death in Vegas) alongside digital animations by Adam Sinclair also Shani’s long-term collaborator. The play will also feature jewellery and set design by Shani.
The commission is accompanied by a dedicated creative engagement programme developed in collaboration with All Change led by arts educator and creative producer Dhiyandra Natalegawa. The creative engagement programme will consist of a series of participant-led workshops and creative outcomes, shaped around the key themes and creative approaches in Shani’s work. The project is part of All Change’s B Creative programme: an arts activism programme for young women by young women, working with inspiring artists.
We are very happy to be working with Tai Shani, her impressive collaborators and the Museum of London on this beautiful commission. Tai is an incredible artist and this project allows us to build on our history of presenting art in exciting, non-traditional spaces, commissioning artists to make and present experimental new work. This is a one off project in London and a collaboration with the very good people at the Museum of London ahead of our 2023 festival which I can’t wait to tell you about soon. We look forward to welcoming you to the performance in London – or broadcast to wherever you may be.Artistic Director of Art Night Helen Nisbet
Art Night presents My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) Tai Shani Tuesday 25th October, 8pm at Fabric, 77A Charterhouse St, London EC1M 6HJ The event is free to attend, tickets and streaming details will be released later in the summer, sign up to the Art Night mailing list to be the first to receive the opportunity to sign up to stream the event or to join them live in London https://mailchi.mp/artnight/sign-up