“What do we want from each other after we have told our stories?”
Tue 25 Aug - Wed 9 Sep 2020 / 7pm
This Work isn’t For Us is an ongoing study, initiated by Jemma Desai. Partly a critical appraisal of historic ‘diversity’ initiatives, partly an alternative policy document, the study is also an embodied ethnography, assembling testimonies from arts workers navigating institutionally initiated gestures at ‘inclusion’.
This series of encounters bring together some of the artists and practices that continue to shape the work.
The third session is a reappraisal of a performance Jemma shared at London Short Film Festival in January 2020 (just before writing This Work Isn’t For Us) as part of their Public Intimacies strand. The session combined readings and other voices reflecting on current art practice and research on representation, praxis and film sector work practice to explore how lived experience, subjectivity and academic inquiry can be mobilised to reclaim space that is otherwise mediated by whiteness and was delivered in a public / private space where Jemma had used her fee to buy most of the seats in the cinema.
Here Jemma will revisit these texts and clips after the dissemination of This Work isn’t For us in light of the public dissemination of the work which includes auto-ethnographic elements. The revised piece, delivered online, from Jemma’s home will look beyond the reclamation of physical space and into the more abstract arena of the co-option of ideas and thinking that happens when complex lived experiences and positionalities are rendered legible for public consumption.
Jemma Desai is a born and bred Londoner who is reconsidering her work biography after having spent the last year looking straight into the void of institutional life. She is currently a researcher and writer, sometimes talks about her feelings in public, and used to have a film programming practice that she hopes to re-imagine in a better future.