Facilitated by Laura Dee Milnes & Samuel Gough-Yates
Laura Dee Milnes and Samuel Gough-Yates invited artists from UAL Camberwell BA Sculpture (2nd year) to experiment with peer-to-peer learning, knowledge sharing and collective, active research in a two-part workshop. Drawing on their respective backgrounds in performance and graffiti, and their more recent expanded sculptural practice, the artists worked with participants to explore the radical potential of communal activities, collaboration, amateurism and the dissolution of individual identity in order to achieve collective strength.
Session one involved participation and discussion around non-hierarchical learning, participatory art and freedom through anonymity, with practical exercises (no experience necessary), short presentations about Milnes and Gough-Yates’ work and open conversation between all participants.
Session two was led by the participants, who worked collaboratively to lead actions or activities with the rest of the group, bookended with analysis and critique of the processes and outcomes of these mini-workshops.
When agency is voluntarily given up, when I transform my own body into an object, an object that I am and that I possess, I find it to be a freeing experience. I become both master and slave to myself and not held in the systematic fantasy of any other being. I control, and I let go.
~ Laura Dee Milnes
Escaping Myself, Becoming All Else: Several Attempts to Live Outside the Skin I Am In, (2017)
If one is to be political with art, then instead of creating feelings of futility, one should be constructive and generous. […] The possibility for art to enact change lies in its ability to influence individuals and institutions.
~ Samuel Gough-Yates
Socially Engaged Art: What is the Possibility for Art to Enact Change? (2017)
About the artists
Laura Dee Milnes has a practice that encompasses performance, sculpture, writing and research, working with whatever is to hand, with a very ‘DIY’ approach that celebrates the handmade, homemade, cobbled together and slightly wonky. Interactivity and person-to-person exchange are integral and she has created various installations within which communities are formed for brief moments, and where collective leisure activities take place – making slime is one of these, as well as painting nails and playing darts. Part of Laura’s performance practice has often involved adopting various personas, who become ‘hosts’ in two senses of the word – they are a vessel for her and her body/voice, and they facilitate social situations, such as pub quizzes, karaoke, communal spaces and group activities. Stepping into these characters, she simultaneously loses her identity, while amplifying a particular aspect of it, usually drawing upon personal experience or family history to build an avatar, and at other times creating an absolute fiction to inhabit.
Samuel Gough-Yates believes that every material has its own aura and voice and combines construction materials such as bricks or tarmac with simple actions such as throwing or hitting to create video, sound and installation works. Recently he has become interested in working with people as a medium and has led badge-making workshops in which participants are introduced to badges through his collection of political pins. Gough-Yates considers the wearing of the badges after the workshop has finished to be part of the work and as such, considers participants that wear the badges out in the world to be performers in his work.
How To… is available as a workshop for various contexts. If you are interested please contact the artists at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image above: How To… BBQ Bananas at Art School, activity led by workshop participants on day two (2018)