Blue Skies – A Conversation Series

Jillian Mayer - You'll Be Ok (2014)

Earlier this year, during the height of the global pandemic and mandatory isolation, ICF sought to continue contact with and support of its network in myriad ways – one of which was a new strand of activity titled Blue Skies.

Initiated as a conversation series, Blue Skies fostered one-to-one and group conversations led by practitioners working across multiple disciplines on a proposed topic that could take into account the immediate and long-term impact of Covid-19 upon creative practice, personal and/or public life.

If participants also felt it possible, we welcomed speculations and encouraged hearing about identifications of foreseeable changes that they would like to pragmatically cohere – the parameters constituting what those desired changes were or could be, left open for interpretation. In the midst of (and exacerbated by) the Covid-19 lockdown, the world was also confronted with the glaring reality of the inequalities embedded in our societies, which several participants in the conversation series have chosen to address in their analysis of our current moment and possible futures.

Blue Skies commences with 14 conversations from participants based in Africa, Australia, Europe, India, South America, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, to be published in different audio-visual formats supported with closed captioning and downloadable transcripts between July and September 2020. These and future conversations will form a public, collective dialogue around the capacity for this moment to elicit change.

Image: Jillian Mayer, You’ll Be Okay video still (2014). Courtesy of David Castillo Gallery.

Jillian Mayer & Adelaide Bannerman

The lead-image for the Blue Skies conversation series is a still from artist Jillian Mayer’s 2014 video 'You’ll Be Okay.' ICF approached Mayer to capture her reflection on the work itself, reviewing its original intent and it’s reading in the moment of the pandemic.

Jillian Mayer & Adelaide Bannerman

The lead-image for the Blue Skies conversation series is a still from artist Jillian Mayer’s 2014, video 'You’ll Be Okay.' ICF approached Mayer to capture her reflection on the work itself, reviewing its original intent and it’s reading in the moment of the pandemic.

Khaleb Brooks & Naeem Davis

are an artist and cultural curator based in London, UK. They will discuss the necessity for creating and nurturing ecologies of knowledge and support for the Black Trans community with a specific focus on trans masculinity.

Khaleb Brooks & Naeem Davis

are an artist and cultural curator based in London, UK. They will discuss the necessity for creating and nurturing ecologies of knowledge and support for the Black Trans community with a specific focus on trans masculinity.

Bhavisha Panchia & Leyya Mona Tawil (Lime Rickey International)

exchange ideas around the potentials of sonic disruption and noise as response to nationhood and displacement, and migration, through a series of conversations between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Detroit, United States

Bhavisha Panchia & Leyya Mona Tawil (Lime Rickey International)

exchange ideas around the potentials of sonic disruption and noise as response to nationhood and displacement, and migration, through a series of conversations between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Detroit, United States

Alex & Rory

are the anonymised names of an artist and a researcher based in the UK who have created space for a conversation around what change is necessary for reshaping the conditions of work and living for disabled and neuro-diverse people

Alex & Rory

are the anonymised names of an artist and a researcher based in the UK who have created space for a conversation around what change is necessary for reshaping the conditions of work and living for disabled and neuro-diverse people

Elijah Maja & Ibrahim Cissé with Dominique White & Adam Farah

participate in an open ended conversation that threaded provocations and questions together to explore current mind-states, strategies and thoughts on care and collectivity, alongside their individual practices.

Elijah Maja & Ibrahim Cissé with Dominique White & Adam Farah

participate in an open ended conversation that threaded provocations and questions together to explore current mind-states, strategies and thoughts on care and collectivity, alongside their individual practices.

Aidan Moesby & Claire Doherty

discuss leadership, change and the significance of context in curating and producing.

Aidan Moesby & Claire Doherty

discuss leadership, change and the significance of context in curating and producing.

Upcoming conversations:

Season Butler & Françoise Vergès are writers based in Germany/UK and France respectively. Their collaboration will explore the potentials of truly internationalist, feminist, intersectional solidarities.

Rujunko Pugh & Marie-Therese Png will speak from Sydney, Australia and Oxford, UK about Afro-Asian identity, solidarity, decolonization, and critical work in art and technology in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and international support for the Black Lives Matter movement during this period.

Rubiane Maia & Tom Nobrega are artists from Brazil who have been experiencing the pandemic from abroad. Rubiane is based in Folkestone, UK, while Tom is currently stranded in Peru, trying to find a way to get back to Brazil. From these locations they will exchange perspectives and impressions about their daily lives, the experience of being a foreigner during these lockdown times, the complexity of communicating over distance and how the personal and the political often get indistinguishable when they think about how the political situation in their homeland, where Indigenous, Black and LGBTQI citizens live under a constant threat.

Simina Neagu & Valentina Bin are London-based writers and art workers who will speak with Dr Andrea Phillips, BALTIC Professor and Director of BxNU Research Institute in Northumbria, about methodologies and practices for self-organisation in the UK arts sector and alternative learning methods in the context of precarity.

Naima Hassan & Anisa Daud are siblings and researchers based in Oxford, UK and Nairobi, Kenya. They’ll be exploring healing and wellbeing practices in relation to geographic and cultural dislocation, memory, the critical intimacy that binds them close, and the current pandemic as historical rupture and portal to change.

Vidisha Fadescha is an artist-curator & Jyotsna Siddharth is an actor, writer and activist based in New Delhi. They are building intersectional dialogues around caste and gender as Sive. They will discuss the idea of “normality,” systemic violence upon bodies manifested through citizenships and borders in context of the pandemic. Thinking of human rights and defence especially by womxn and LGBTQIA+ we believe are considered disposable, they unpack how these navigations are made with strictures of race, caste, gender and sexualities, also in the frontline response to Covid 19.

Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin & Jamila Johnson-Small are artists who work with and for movement of bodies and of ideas. Their conversations have been exploring how to orient away from practices and languages that create fortresses, elaborating on/around the binary of trauma/healing and reflecting on the ways these words are mobilised.

Jaša Mrevlje-Pollak & Gorazd V. Mrevlje: “Real changes do not occur during mass uprisings on the streets, they really happen when same people share their most intimate and hidden desires, dreams and thoughts in an unfiltered and true way.” Recollecting his father’s statement as a starting point, artist Jaša and his father, psychiatrist Gorazd V. Mrevlje reflect on their relationship and recent events in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Blue Skies at the 2020 Fringe Arts Bath Photomarathon
 

ICF was invited to propose a theme for the 2020 Fringe Arts Bath Photomarathon, so as an extension of the Blue Skies Conversation Series we asked participants in the Photomarathon to respond to the proposal that “Blue Skies is a way of imagining the potential for change in the midst of all that we are facing as a society.” View the online exhibition of the photos submitted on the FAB website. 

The Blue Skies Conversation Series is made possible with Art Fund support