The IS THIS / THIS IS project space welcomes Mark Stephenson & Nazma Ali who will be taking up residence in the High Street studios culminating with an event on Weds 25 May.
ANTICIPATED RESIDENCY WORKS
1. Mark Solo | Schema and Nomenclature: Dissection and Deconstruction of Practice and Process
In the wake of an unanticipated change to his usual joint practice arrangement, the artist is forced to confront his solo practice. In adopting the name Mark Solo, he is choosing to do this in a deliberate manner, making it explicit that the work being presented is his alone.
2. The HigherStreet International | HI-SWA-01 POTTERY STREET SUBWAY – CLOSED TO VEHICLES
(i) HI-SWA-01.1 Subway Pavilion
A micro exhibition and engagement space for HigherStreet and From the Station to the Sea, situated within Volcano Theatre.
(ii) HI-SWA-01.2 Rejectamenta
Rejectamenta is concerned with the discarded objects found in and around Pottery Street Subway.
(iii) HI-SWA-01.3 Project Fear (collaboration with Nazma Botanica)
Project Fear arises from personal experiences transposed into concerns of personal safety in the subway space.
Mark Stephenson as Mark Solo and as the HigherStreet International:
One half of the Glitterationist International (GI) collaborative practice, Mark Stephenson’s work during the 2013–2015 period would usually appear in this context. In the spring of 2016 however, following an unanticipated change to his usual joint practice arrangement, Mark was suddenly forced to confront the nature of his practice and in response created the Mark Solo and Mark HigherStreet personas.
Mark Solo is both a newly adopted name for Mark Stephenson’s individual creative practice, and a meta name about the nature of this practice. The word ‘solo’ is chosen deliberately, firstly as a protest; and secondly as an intentionally self-referential response to being forced to confront the nature of his practice. The resulting dissection/deconstruction of practice and process is what Mark Solo seeks to explore in the IS THIS/THIS IS project space residency, in the context of his work as Project Lead for HigherStreet. It is the potential opening up of a very personal world and in rendering him exposed and vulnerable, it represents a significant challenge to the artist.
The HigherStreet International (HI) is an emerging creative practice based in Swansea. It is particularly concerned with ground-up placemaking activity—happening in Wales and internationally—viewed mainly through the lens of contemporary arts and culture. The HI is working on HI-SWA-01 POTTERY STREET SUBWAY – CLOSED TO VEHICLES, concerning a neglected underline bridge space leading down from High Street to the river level at Strand Ringmore. This artist led and community engaged creative placemaking project is a collaboration with From the Station to the Sea, an investigative programme of interconnected projects about regenerative possibilities for Swansea’s High Street.
Nazma Ali as Nazma Botanica:
One half of the Glitterationist International collaborative practice, Nazma is also an experienced multidisciplinary artist. Informed by cultural traditions and feminism, Nazma aims to capture the spirit of human existence, often referencing the idea of nature being constant as an antidote to the horrors of the world. For IS THIS/THIS IS Nazma collaborates with the Higher Street International to research Project Fear, an intervention for HI-SWA-01 POTTERY STREET SUBWAY – CLOSED TO VEHICLES. Nazma’s process is usually spontaneous. Research, if any, is usually unsustained and is often carried out retrospectively. Use of the IS THIS/THIS IS space therefore represents a clear challenge to Nazma’s usual modus operandi.
Situated in the elysiumgallery High Street studios, the IS THIS/THIS IS project space is primarily used by residency artists and the elysiumgallery studios community. The aim is to enable artists to work and experiment towards creating new work in an environment outside of their usual studio practice in preparation for critical discussions within the group. The space enables artists to develop, to build, to take risks, to test and to invite peers to see the work in progress.