Hutong Watch was inspired by and adapted from another test piece called Hutong, created by Mel Cook with Hey Fan, Tassos Stevens and Annette Mees for Coney in 2010.
This wide-ranging project explores our agency and responsibility over public space, both in real life and online. Rhiannon brings hers and others’ lived experience of neurodiversity to an understanding of how GIF culture is currently increasing the hostility of online space, and seeks to rectify that with the creation of calming, gently looping GIFs of her own and others’ creation.
Research and development for The Slow GIF Movement was supported by The Space Arts and Unlimited, and through Rhiannon’s position as the Brighton Digital Festival/Blast Theory Artist in Residence (2018).
The Slow GIF Movement is in development, with a number of planned or existing public sharings:
- public intervention in a conference environment for Light Up the North and Nesta (October 2018)
- a day-long workshop and evening virtual tresspass event (planned for Brighton Digital Festival 2019)
- a research project with St George’s Hospital exploring clinical uses of the Kaleidoscope Landscapes for Better Breathing series for patients with heart failure (2019).
Stationed in a town centre or prominent shopping street, we are available to anyone and everyone for free help. Offered as one person to another, rather than particular skills or knowledge we come with a tool belt containing things we thought might be helpful:
…chewing gum, change for a tenner, an umbrella, a bin bag, The Little Book of Hope, string, a sewing kit, plasters, super glue, hand cream…
So go on, buy that extra bag of melons, there’s someone here to help you carry them home!
Can I Help You? came out of an invitation to make a piece of work for a festival that wanted to challenge how we respond to people who exhibit unusual or disturbed behavior in public.
- first presented at Bonkersfest with South London Gallery and Creative Routes (2006)
- toured to Hull, Wigan, Darlington, Rochester, Gloucester, and Paignton (2016)
- presented with multiple “helpers” as part of In Your Way festival in Cambridge (2018)
Rhiannon has presented numerous talks and workshops about this work, sharing her methodologies on relational performance in public space with organisations including Greenwich Docklands International Festival, Take Me Somewhere, Glasgow University, and Battersea Arts Centre.
Images 1-2 by Jerome Whittingham; 3, 7, 10 by Alexander Parsonage; 9 by Rob Irish; others by the artist.
Public Selfcare System is drawn from Rhiannon’s lived experience of chronic debilitating conditions:
“I am an expert at resting in public thanks to a condition that sometimes forces me to lie down wherever I happen to be, and stay there until I am well enough to get up again. We may all one day have to learn to stop in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day, and rest. Get ahead of the curve, get your training in now.
Come with me to a place you may have seen, walked past, but never been to. We are going to lie down and have a rest: I am going to look out for you and look after you. You have a right to be here, you have a right to do this. We can do it together.”
Public Selfcare System was developed with financial support from Arts Council England, and has been shown at festivals including:
- Dublin Live Art Festival
- SPILL Festival in Ipswich
- Compass Festival in Leeds
- Buzzcut in Glasgow
- Tempting Failure in Croydon
- Greenwich Docklands International Festival Hub in London
The project has also been presented in wider participatory modes including:
- as a professional development workshop for artists with long term disabling conditions ‘DIY Public Selfcare System’ with The Live Art Development Agency and DADAFest
- as a textile work developed through drop-in craft and discussion sessions at Waltham Forest Migrant Action
- as an interior design concept for a “Quiet Room” at Battersea Arts Centre (launching March 2019)