2016 - current
Irene Revell is a curator whose work seeks out new contexts and connections for practices with challenging social and political implications. Much of her work since 2004 has been with the London-based curatorial agency Electra, where she was Artistic Director from 2011-15. She has been a member of the Cinenova Working Group, which oversees the running of the Cinenova feminist film distribution organisation, since 2006. She is the Visiting Curator for the MA Sound Arts, UAL, and previously Visiting Lecturer on the MA Sound and Image at University of Kent.
Recent collaborative projects include the Cinenova series Now Showing (ongoing); The Multiversal Score, Wysing Arts Centre (2015); Someone Else Can Clean Up This Mess, Flat Time House (2014). Recent writing includes contributions to 'Women Artists, Feminism and the Moving Image' (ed Lucy Reynolds, I.B.Tauris, forthcoming), Oncurating Journal Issue 29 (with Lina Džuverović), Camera Austria Issue 130 (with Kerstin Schroedinger) and she was associate editor of 'Aftershow: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz' (Sternberg, 2014). She is a recipient of an AHRC TECHNE award.
Performing ‘Womens Work’: what constitutes a feminist performance score and how does it extend our understandings of contemporary art practices?
'Womens Work' [sic] is a rare collection of performance scores* by 14 women, edited and published by Fluxus artist Alison Knowles and sound artist Annea Lockwood in New York City in 1975. It includes some prominent figures (composer Pauline Oliveros, choreographer Simone Forti) but many contributors remain little known, and this multidisciplinary publication has been rarely referenced and never considered in its own right. Yet it offers an invaluable counterpoint to the male avant-garde canon, evidencing a network of diverse artists relating their practices to the feminist art movement of the 1970s.
My research will use this unique book, alongside contemporary feminist theory, in particular post-humanist philosopher and physicist Karen Barad, to create an understanding of the feminist performance score that not only foregrounds this historical network, but resonates with contemporary practices to address and extend key notions of autonomy, agency and collaboration.
I will conduct an historical analysis of Womens Work, its works and artists, and in parallel convene an interdisciplinary performance group who will negotiate the performance of each work and reflect on the process. This will culminate in my curating a programme of historical and contemporary works that opens my research to a wider public.
My methodology focuses on embodied experiences of performance, and reacts to museological tendencies to treat such scores as objects of visual fetishisation. It also draws heavily on, and extends, my own feminist curating practice that spans more than ten years across visual art, sound and performance, coupled uniquely with a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and prior study of Physics, underscored by twenty years of involvement in queer feminist cultural activism.
*Within the term ‘performance score’ I include event, instruction, text, graphic scores and those using other non-conventional notation.