TALKER is an interview zine about performance.
Each issue features a long-form interview with a performance-maker and is produced as an extension of my own work with the aim of opening up discourse around live practices.
Created by Giles Bailey, and risograph-printed in London by Hato Press.
Issue #1 features a conversation with artist, writer educator and curator of artist's moving image, Ian White. The interview took place in January 2012 and focuses on Ian’s live work — from early experimental collaborations to his landmark solo trilogy Ibiza Black Flags Democracy and hybrid curatorial projects.
Issue #2 features a conversation with performer Kate Valk. As a founding member of experimental theatre company the Wooster Group she has contributed to some of the most vital and exploratory live work of the past three decades. This interview took place in October 2016 as her first directorial contribution to the company Early Shaker Spirituals was being performed at the Pompidou Centre.
Issue #3 features a conversation with the director and playwright Richard Maxwell. Since 1999 he has worked with his company New York City Players producing theatre work for the stage, for galleries and as moving image. His plays are set in the everyday environments of building lobbies, living rooms, karaoke bars and highway intersections. Often non-professionals, his actors portray American archetypes through spare, stylised dialogue and occasionally sing. Recent productions include Queens Row at ICA London, Paradiso at Greene Naftali gallery and Good Samaritans at Abrons Arts Centre.
Issue #4 features a conversation with the artist Sue Tompkins. Tompkins is based in Glasgow and at the heart of her practice is a unique treatment of language. This finds form as typed works on paper, installations, paintings and live performances. The interview focuses on how the performances are made and the live situations in which they are experienced. We speak about movement, migraines, parenthood and a desire not to leave the visual world.
Issue #5 offers a transcript of an event hosted by the writer Kathy Acker at the ICA, London in February 1987 in which the performer Spalding Gray discussed his work. A founding member of the Wooster Group, Spalding Gray gained fame for his autobiographical monologue performances. At the time of this conversation, he had just completed filming Jonathan Demme’s movie adaptation of his work Swimming to Cambodia, a performance in which he describes experiences surrounding a trip to Southeast Asia to play a small role in the film The Killing Fields (1984). In this dialogue with Acker, Gray focuses on the process of developing work and compares his experience of writing with making live performance.
Issue #6 features a conversation with Spanish artist Dora García. For over 18 years García has worked with performance to deal critically with relationships between artworks, audiences, and places. Her projects are often developed in response to works by others and deploy performers as intermediaries in ambiguous roles as undercover agents, prophets, guides or spies. In this conversation she traces the origins of her performance practice from a diverse creative community in Brussels in the early 2000s to the Happenings by Argentinian polymath Oscar Masotta happening again in her recent work Segunda Vez (2018).
Issue #7 features a conversation with director, choreographer and performer Jo Fong. Though her background is as a dancer, performing as part of Rosas, Rambert Dance Company, Mark Bruce Company and National Dance Theatre Wales among many others, she also works across film, theatre and the visual arts. Her own work is distinguished by an open, self-aware process and an innovative and expansive approach to research and rehearsal. This interview begins with her ongoing project Ways of Being Together, a series of workshops, discussions and performances centred on the idea of belonging. Jo goes on to share insights into her working methods and discusses her complex relationship to dance, the difficulty of speaking and the impulse to do so.
Issue #8 features a conversation with artist Paul Maheke. Born in France and now based in London, Paul’s work has been exhibited widely and, at the time of this conversation, his most recent performance Sènsa, developed with musician Nkisi and lighting designer Ariel Efraim Ashbel had just been presented at Performa festival in New York. Paul’s own dancing body is a central feature of his practice and we discuss the development of this in his recent projects. He also describes the significance of others in his creative process and his ambition to create events and share practice rather than produce images through dance.
Issue #9 is a conversation with artist Clifford Owens. He is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, and his work focuses on the body in relation to the power dynamics of race, masculinity, class and the fragility of social structures. It also closely examines the significance of photography in performance making and its histories. His project Anthology responds to the absence of a performance history that includes Black artists by soliciting and performing scores from Black artists working today. In Photographs with an Audience those attending the performance are invited to respond to prompts and questions by making a commitment to the moment and history by standing before the camera and having their picture taken.
Issue #10 is a conversation with Barby Asante. Barby is a London-based artist, curator, educator and occasional DJ. Her work is concerned with the politics of place, space memory and the histories and legacies of colonialism. The work is collaborative, performative and dialogic, often working with groups of people as contributors, collaborators or co-researchers. This issue focuses on her live work, from South London community intervention Noise Summit to her intricate, iterative project Declaration of Independence. The interview explores the crucial role of ‘contributor-performers’ and the challenges of presenting performances online.
Issue #11 is a conversation with Miranda July. Miranda is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. This conversation explores her live work, from early plays and performances for theatres to projects that are built on audience participation and take the form of apps, public talks or an interfaith charity shop in Selfridges department store. Alongside these, we discuss the significance of clothing, the ever-presence of stories and the importance of rituals. Her most recent film Kajillionaire was released in 2020.
(TALKER) Gustav Metzger. TALKER is normally an interview zine about performance. This conversation with Gustav Metzger took place in 2014 as part of a project by Leeds-based visual art organisation Pavilion and focuses on his early years in the UK and formation of his artistic identity. We also discuss how he was shaped by experiences of the natural world and his artistic and political responses to how it is threatened. Gustav Metzger (1926 — 2017) was an artist and political activist who developed the concept of Auto-Destructive Art and the Art Strike. Together with John Sharkey, he initiated the Destruction in Art Symposium in 1966.