Surprise and Serendipity

Surprise and Serendipity, this Thursday evening at Apiary Studios, brings together a diverse group of UAL PhD students to explore practice as research. The uncurated evening showcases a set of works in progress and includes sound art, performance, expanded cinema, life narrative and video.  The works are presented in an alternating programme dedicated to the possibility of finding new meaning through an experimental dialogue.

CCW PhD student Manoela dos Anjos Afonso is one of the participants and told the Graduate School about her contribution. ‘During this event, I will be transmitting a diary entry by using a fax machine. This work is called I am [not] here, and consists of a reflexive and private piece of writing about what it means to be an immigrant woman living between here/there, space/place, presence/absence, silence/language, visibility/invisibility.

This fax piece connects to my practice-based PhD research entitled “Language and place in the life of Brazilian women living in London: an artistic approach to life writing”, developed at Chelsea College of Arts. In this investigation, I take four life writing genres as the platform for my art practice and research, which are focused on the perception of place from the English language perspective by a group of Brazilian women living in London. Life writing addresses different forms of life narrative, such as autobiography, biography, testimony, diary, memoir, autoethnography, and letters, for example.

In Surprise and Serendipity I chose to use the diary because it is chronological and privately records life events with different purposes throughout history: conserving memory, addressing the future, surviving, unburdening, knowing yourself, deliberating, resisting and thinking. Each recording in a diary is called an entry or register and can be more or less imprecise and interspaced. Despite the fragmentation and privacy of this kind of writing, diaristic writing is a repetitive and regular act that produces a set of important vestiges of a life. These traces might be superficial, descriptive, but also deep and inspiring, becoming more and more meaningful, powerful and revealing throughout the time.

I will be writing and transmitting my piece from another space, far from where the event will be happening. Not to be there is also a choice, and it reflects my concerns about what it means to be an artist: is it possible to exist as an artist without exhibiting? Even not being there, I will count with Serendipity during my writing process, hopefully provoking any sort of Surprise there, where my words rather than my body will be.”

Surprise and Serendipity is on Thursday 23rd April, 7-10 pm at Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, E2 9EG. Admission is free, all are welcome.

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