CAUTION brought together six artists from around the world to work on a series of solo and collaborative performances, video works, still images and installations to re-frame their artistic identities within an ongoing discourse about invisible disability.
During 2011, Sinéad visited each artist and worked with them to produce material that explored invisibility, materiality and states in-between. The process was cumulative and each artist built upon ideas generated by previous encounters and journeys with Sinéad, connecting the artists and acting as a catalyst for the progression of the work.
Through this series of meetings, actions and correspondences across continents, CAUTION navigated between the national and international, the personal and political, the structured and the shattered, to give the artists space to explore their limits, breakthrough boundaries and work with the extremes of their abilities to communicate and make things happen.
Led by Belfast-based artist and curator Sinéad O’Donnell, CAUTION artists Sylvette Babin, Mariel Carranza, Paul Couillard, Poshya Kakl and Shiro Masuyama are re-framing their artistic identities within an ongoing discourse about invisible disability.
CAUTION navigates between the national and international, the personal and political, the structured and the shattered, uncovering how we are shaped by the cultural codes and environments that we inhabit.
The artists gathered in Belfast for an exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery as part of the London 2012 Festival and some of the work travelled to London as part of the Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre.
Download full programme of events (PDF)
A CAUTION book is available for £5, this publication details the creative journey experienced by lead artist and curator Sinéad O’Donnell with the participating artists Sylvette Babin, Mariel Carranza, Paul Couillard, Poshya Kakil and Shiro Masuyama. For this publication, each artist was invited to contextualise their experience of a project that aimed to re-examine their art practices and personal ideologies. Additional perspectives are provided by the project mentors Aaron Williamson and Boris Nieslony.
The book is published by Artsadmin to coincide with the opening of the exhibition CAUTION at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast from 23 August to 29 September 2012.
CAUTION was commissioned for Unlimited, a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The project was principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and The British Council.
An exhibition of the CAUTION project was presented at Golden Thread Gallery in Aug/Sept 2012.
CAUTION is produced by Artsadmin.
Originally from Dublin and based in Belfast since 1995, Sinéad graduated from the University of Ulster in 1999 and received a fellowship from AHRB to take a Masters programme at Dartington College of Arts from 2003-04 where she graduated with distinction. She studied sculpture in Ulster, textiles in Dublin and visual performance and time-based practices in England. Her work has been presented in Asia, Canada, Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North and South America and supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Socrates Erasmus, the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Council.
The critical and artistic core of Sinéad’s solo work explores identity through immediate and mediated encounters with territory and the territorial. Recent performances have been presented at the National Review of Live Art, Glasgow (2010), Art No.11 experimental residency Japan (2010), ArTrend performance art festival Taiwan (2009), Gt Gallery project space Belfast (2009), Shelter 209, Israel (2009), My Land performance art festival, Croatia (2009), Glassbox exhibition space, University of Ulster (2009). Sinéad continues to be part of PAVES, initiated by Anne Bean and crossing borders between London, Belfast, Zagreb, Tel Aviv and Erbil since 2009.
Poshya Kakil is one of the most progressive young female performance artists currently working in Kurdistan-Iraq. Poshya graduated from the College of Fine Arts in Erbil in 2009 and her art deals directly with her identity as a Kurdish woman living in Iraq. Her performance work is about her living reality and reflects systems of kinship, gender, religion, barriers and borders. Painting, design, words, poems and drawing all contribute to how she develops her ideas into live actions. Despite geographical, cultural and border restrictions, she continues to collaborate with artists working in performance all over the world. In Kurdistan-Iraq, she has made a series of performance actions and films such as Knitting Iron, a film made at the women’s jail in Erbil supported by the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
Poshya has recently shown time-based and transmitted performance actions as part of CHAOS at Open Space, Victoria, Canada (2010), DISTANCE at Stoke Newington International Airport, London (2010), CHAOS with Bbeyond, Belfast (2010), ArTrend festival, Taiwan (2009), My Land festival, Croatia (2009 and 2011), as part of PAVES at the National Review of Live Art, Glasgow (2010) and at Liminal Space, curated by Sonya Dyer, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
In 2011 Poshya presented her film Knitting Iron alongside a performance detailing the unknitted lives of young girls led by Anne Bean at the BE Festival, Birmingham.
Sylvette Babin holds a Masters degree in Open Media from Concordia University, Montreal City, where she lives and works. She has been working in performance since 1997. Sylvette has participated in a number of artistic events in Canada and overseas, notably Live Art Göteborg (2010), Chaos, Belfast (2010), Praxis, Greece (2009), 7a*11d, Toronto (2008), InfrAction 07 and Préavis de Désordre Urbain, Sète & Marseille (2007), Viva!, Montreal (2006), SOS Tierra, Argentina (2006), International Congress of Performance, Chile (2005), FIX04, Belfast (2004) and Festival Interackje, Poland (2004). With a particular interest in contextual art and site-specific work, Sylvette’s performances and installations propose metaphors related to certain physical emotional states using strategies and devices that involve the body, absurd situations or visual and sound play.
Also working as a writer, editor and curator, Sylvette has published in numerous journals, catalogues and artists’ books. She has worked as the director of the magazine esse arts + opinions since 2002. In 2008 she curated the Canadian selection of InfrAction 08 in France and in 2009 she co-curated the international event Orange in Saint-Hyacinthe, Canada.
Shiro Masuyama studied architecture at Meiji University, Kawasaki, Japan where he became interested in the intersection of architecture and art and carried out a project called Tama River Project for which he placed compartments for couples to sit at regular intervals along the bank of the Tama River.
After this project, Shiro became more interested in involving people in his work; placing his works in the middle of the city and reading the context of the site using architectural techniques. He uses motifs such as money, sex, office workers mass media and cigarettes and places an emphasis on making functional, architectural works that are approachable and easy to interact with. Shiro’s work has been described as ‘interventionist’ and ‘interactive’ and aims to draw the attention of people who have no connection to the world of art. He describes his work as four-dimensional and only complete when those who view it become involved.
Over the last 10 years Shiro has participated in a diverse range of artists’ residencies worldwide and become driven by a fascination and desire to develop art works in relation to how he can survive, communicate and make art outside Japan. He applies Japanese aesthetic senses such as simplicity to his findings.
Having recently settled in Belfast, he has become increasingly exposed to Irish culture and society day by day and his practice has become that of a stranger to a new land and a foreigner far away from Japan. As a result, his work has become more performative in its responses as he attempts to understand his physical living environment.
Mariel Carranza is a Peruvian born, Los Angeles based artist. Using her body as sculpture in her performances, Mariel challenges conventional notions of time, space and the corporeal. She works from intuition, viscerally responding and attempting to reach an understanding of events occurring throughout the world. Using time, space, textiles and actions as material from which to create her performances, Carranza attempts transcendental experiences through labour and intensively focused actions.
Mariel received her MFA in Sculpture from UCLA. Her most recent performances include I AM at Crossing Zone=Language=Land Festival, Croatia (2011), Stone Soup at Irrational 8, Track 16, Santa Monica (2011) and Shattering Glass for Gutted at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, LA (2011).
She has performed at the Bluecoat, Liverpool; Hammer Museum, California; National Review of Live Art, Glasgow; Mexico City DF; Highways, Santa Monica; 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica and Crazy Space, LA.
Paul Couillard has been working as an artist, curator and cultural theorist since 1985, focusing on performance art with forays into installation and various new media. He has created more than 200 solo and collaborative performance works in 21 countries, often working with his partner Ed Johnson. His work seeks to build community and address trauma through explorations of our bodies as vessels of sensation, experience, knowledge and spirit. He has a particular interest in considering the shared borders of our separate existences, searching for a language that can convey complex layers of personal history and cultural specificity while questioning the notion of shared or universal experience. His solo practice is often focused on duration and the effects of time.
Paul was the Performance Art Curator for Fado from its inception in 1993 until 2007 and is also a founding co-curator of the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival, both based in Toronto, Canada. He is the editor of Fado’s Canadian Performance Art Legends, a series of books on senior Canadian performance artists, including La Dragu: the Living Art of Margaret Dragu (2002) and Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars (2008). A third book, featuring the work of Alain-Martin Richard, is scheduled for publication in 2011. Paul has been a lecturer at McMaster University and the University of Toronto Scarborough and is currently a doctoral student in the York/Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture. His research is focused on a theoretical examination of the gaps between the ways we apprehend the world through our senses and the ways we construct understanding through language.
Shiro Masuyama & Sinéad O’Donnell, ‘Exposure’, from Tokyo to Fukushima, 2011
Shiro Masuyama and Sinéad O’Donnell drive from Tokyo to Fukushima tracking the level of radiation. The hot spots are in and around regular places; highways, playgrounds and some as far out as a UFO museum.
Both artists took huge risks to expose and make visible the reality of radiation levels currently effecting the Japanese people and especially children.
Sylvette Babin & Sinéad O’Donnell, ‘Montréal (IIII)’, L’Ascension, 2011
Sylvette Babin & Sinéad O’Donnell, ‘Montréal (Glass & Plates)’, L’Ascension, 2011
During Sinéad O’Donnell’s residency in Kurdistan-Iraq, she and Poshya met with a local artist named Darya Kamal. Darya’s power is in her body and in her voice. This was her first time performing live.
It is common for the electricity to cut out in Iraq and this was the case in this situation. Energy shut down. Things stopped.
The artists quickly made an attempt to light Darya’s face and use the shadows from the light outside without knowing when the power would come back on. They had just enough battery left on the video camera to make the recording successful.
Documentation – Sinéad O’Donnell
Editing – Sinéad O’Donnell
Darya Kamal © 2011
CAUTION at the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 1 and 2 September 2012
Unlimited Festival – CAUTION at Southbank Centre, London. 31 August 2012 to 9 September 2012
CAUTION artists Sinéad O’Donnell, Mariel Carranza, Sylvette Babin, Paul Couillard, Shiro Masuyama and Poshya Kakil.
Photographic credit – Jean Claude Cǒté.