This is just a quick and brief post to introduce a central London exhibition I will be a part of in March 2019 (9-17), the exhibition at Ambika P3 forms part of my doctoral research activities at the University of Westminster in Central London and will take two forms; an exhibition and an evening event/talk/saloon. It will serve two purposes; to formally introduce my research to sex workers, sex work activists, academics and allies and to explain the hyphen in my research title, Whoretography: sex workers as image-makers, a critical analysis of sex worker auto documentation in online spaces. Sex workers as image-makers, in which photography functions as a hyphen in the sale of sex, sex work activism and feminist and political debates.
Hyphen?! confused? I am aware that this post marks a change in the tone of my posting, for those of you who are unaware, I am undertaking a visual arts practice-based PhD.
I am part of a caucus group of doctoral researchers tasked with the creation of a new art journal, the theme of the journal is Hyphen, we are launching this journal with an exhibition at Ambika.
We were led to the idea of the hyphen as a conceptual frame by the initial question of how and when to expose research as art, and how to exhibit this coherently in a group show with such diversity of backgrounds, interests, cultures, media, etc. In this we are inspired by the writings of Erin Manning (2016), who in The Minor Gesture reflects on the in-between that connects, but also separates, negates, exceeds, explodes, the two terms that make up research-creation (the Canadian equivalent for practice-based research):
The hyphen is non-binary, multidimensional; a link, a gap, a joint, a hinge, a line, a break, a mark, an opening, a void: an indicator of a series, of a “yes, but also…”, Crucially of a more-than. The hybridity of the mark of the hyphen in the aﬃrmative requests a cognitive leap: an addition, a multiplication even. It revalues, and it challenges. This is what our modes of practice that inhabit, overflow, interrogate and antagonise the institution also do. As ‘practice-led’ researchers, we are in a critical and precarious position that challenges ‘normopathic’ (Guattari) conceptions of knowledge and its production, consumption, locations, etc.
We mean for this to be an exciting moment - and needless to say, I am excited about this. Excited about presenting sex workers as image-makers as research in progress, eager to take sex work activism and research into the art theory realm, to be part of an exhibition that is alive and challenging to ourselves, our participants and our guests. We want to challenge the institution of the university and the gallery/museum space by unfolding its limits/restraints and finding ways of inhabiting and exceeding it as a collective body or a collective of bodies. We wish to have an exhibition that shares our work as creative research, and that also speaks to our broader community in London
There will be security at the event. It will be filmed and photographed as part of my doctoral research project, it goes without saying, but the primary emphasis of this event is about photography and photography as the multidimensional; a link, a gap, a joint, a hinge, a line, a break, a mark, an opening, a void in the sex work stage.