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Days of Action

Mosley, Jonathan; Warren, Sophie

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Authors

Sophie Warren



Abstract

‘Days of Action’ is a series of works that responds to and exposes latent forces within the circulatory spaces of political and cultural locations. The series brings social logics from political demonstration and motion indebted to political language into productive tension with the spatial logics of institutional buildings. These interventions, constituted from extra-ordinary occupations of space, seek to explore the latent political unconscious of the architecture, revealing the limits of what may be inherent, past or imagined within a place and of how we act within it, both individually and together.

Within the series, movement is understood as a social, spatial and political act. Central to this understanding is the exertion of power – power to move and power over the movement of individual and collective bodies, whether this is exerted by a social group in pursuit of a common goal, or by architecture and its associated social codes and rituals that shape the choreography of everyday movement. The works embody individual or collective empowerment in relation to the architectural spaces they occupy, as felt by the participants in the experience of the work, and as witnessed by the viewer.

‘Days of Action’ consists of four works; the first and second works 'Revolution Between Two Points' and 'Uprising' created during the artists’ residency at The French Communist Party Headquarters in 2016 funded by Arts Council, British Council and Institute Français; the third and fourth works 'Solidarity Line' and 'What is the Building Calling For?' created for Tate Modern in 2018 funded by Tate Exchange, Spike Island and commissioned as satellite works to Tania Brugera’s Turbine Hall commission ‘10,148,451’. The Days of Action series was exhibited at Tate Modern in 2018, the first two works shown alongside three iterations of the live performance events. The final publication of video documentation of the works took place in 2019. For detailed information about each work please see additional information.

Exhibition Performance Type Other
Start Date Sep 1, 2019
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
APA6 Citation Mosley, J., & Warren, S. (2019). Days of Action. [Video and still image documentation of series of individual and collective actions]. Exhibited at Tate Modern, London. 1 September 2019 - 1 September 2019. (Unpublished)
Keywords collective action, architecture, affect, political demonstration, institutional architecture, space and occupation, social empowerment
Related Public URLs https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/tate-exchange/performance/days-action-warren-mosley
Additional Information
‘Revolution Between Two Points’
Sophie Warren & Jonathan Mosley, 2016
Moving Image: 8 minute loop.
Sound: 50:32 minutes.
Location: Underground First Floor corridor, The French Communist Party Headquarters, Paris.
Series: ‘Days of Action’
Exhibited: Cité international des arts, Paris, 2016; Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London, 2018

‘Revolution between two points’ plays on the politics of motion – how political terms are indebted to the language of movement. The artist enacts the formal motion of revolution as she spins back and forth within the curvilinear underground corridor of the Communist party Headquarters. The motion is simultaneously physical, mediated and symbolic. It responds to the immediate plasticity of concrete form, and the original gesture of the architect’s hand which draws an architecture that also ‘breaks’ with the efficiency of rectilinear space. Her revolution is both spontaneous and abandoned, running counter to customary patterns of use, but is confined and held between two points through its mediation.
The moving imagery is juxtaposed with an archival soundtrack in French of communist politician and writer Louis Aragon addressing the 13th Congress of the French Communist Party on revolutionising the ‘Art of the Party’ in 1954. Aragon argues that a painting depicting a strike is not important because of the strike it represents, but because of the sympathy for the strikers its form can generate among viewers. Artists should therefore employ form and content to promote sympathy, and potentially action, from the viewer.


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‘Uprising’
Sophie Warren & Jonathan Mosley, 2016
Image: Digital still displayed on a monitor.
Location: The Delegation Room, The French Communist Party Headquarters, Paris.
Series: ‘Days of Action’
Exhibited: Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London, 2018

‘Uprising’ explores an interdependent relation between body and architectural form. The real and the symbolic in this found architectural setting are explored through the ‘politics of motion’ - how political terms are indebted to the language of movement. Within the work the action of the figure is suspended and the motion of uprising is implied within the architecture in the ‘disobedient’ floor plane rising up to meet the ceiling. A play symbol central to the image signals a constant state of beginning.

The work nodes to Slavoj Zizek’s notion of suspended revolution that holds all the potential of utopia without the “morning after” effect. Since as Zizek observed revolutionary ‘upheavals lose their energy when one has to approach the prosaic work of social reconstruction.’ Zizek’s notion of a suspended revolutionary act creates a “short circuit between the present and the future”, one that is permanently coming into being. (Slavoj Zizek ‘From Revolutionary To Catastrophic Utopia’ in Rusen et al. ‘Thinking Utopia – Steps into Other Worlds’ (Berghan Books, 2005) p.247.

The work was made whilst the artists were in residence at the French Communist Party HQ in Paris, an iconic Oscar Niemeyer building designed and built for the French Communists between 1967-1980.

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‘Solidarity Line’
Sophie Warren & Jonathan Mosley, 2019
Event Location: Tate Modern, 5th December 2018
Moving image and sound: 5 minutes
Camera and sound: Kelly Warman and Nadja Ellinger
Editing: Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley
Funded by: Tate Exchange, Spike Island.

For Tate Modern the artists realised two collective actions within its architectural spaces based on written propositions. ‘Solidarity Line’ and ‘What is the Building Calling For?’ use collective devices from civic resistance and direct democratic assembly to explore particular relations of ’them' and ‘us', ‘I' and ‘we’. Architecture is exchanged for the ‘other’ (the counter protest or authority), to be negotiated not as an antagonist but as an affective force that can generate new social and spatial possibilities.

The film documents one of these actions - ‘Solidarity Line’. ‘Solidarity Line’ uses the bodily formation of the defence line, that instead of defending territory, becomes a transient line – a moving border, a living architectural element. The participants, without speaking, draw on an attentiveness to each other and the environment, navigating through the circulatory spaces of Tate Modern by collective intelligence. Individuality is constantly re-negotiated according to the needs and demands of the group, and in response to built form.

The ‘Days of Action’ series was facilitated by the artists with artist/activist Hannah Davey (Liberate Tate / Greenpeace) over three iterations. Each event enlisted participation from a distinct group. The event shown invited staff of Tate across the different teams including cleaning and security staff, invigilators, administrators and curators. The actions proposed new orders of movement that aimed to foster new relationships between the building and those who use it, and an interconnectedness between building members and their individual spheres of operation.


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‘What is the Building Calling For?’
Sophie Warren & Jonathan Mosley, 2019
Event Location: Tate Modern, 5th December 2018
Moving image and sound: 8 minutes
Camera and sound: Kelly Warman and Nadja Ellinger
Editing: Kelly Warman with Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley
Funded by: Tate Exchange, Spike Island

The film documents the action - ‘What is the Building Calling For?’. The question becomes the content for a collective address to the building relayed through its foyers, landings and stairwells by participants using the ‘people's microphone’ (human amplification of a speaker's voice through repetition of words by other voices at the limit of earshot). The collective voice of the participants inhabits the acoustic territories and thresholds of the architecture, witnessed in turn by visitors.

The ‘Days of Action’ series at Tate Modern was facilitated by the artists with artist/activist Hannah Davey (Liberate Tate / Greenpeace) over three iterations. Each event enlisted participation from a distinct group. The event shown invited staff of Tate across the different teams including cleaning and security staff, invigilators, administrators and curators. The actions proposed new orders of movement that aimed to foster new relationships between the building and those who use it, and an interconnectedness between building members and their individual spheres of operation.

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https://www.tate.org.uk...ys-action-warren-mosley

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