A Means Without End: Community art collective Arika return with the latest edition of their Episodes strand
- Claire Sawers
- 8 November 2019
Nisha Ramayya / Courtesy of the artist
Edinburgh-based radical arts organisation present five days of performances, discussions, screenings and more
Somewhere in the virtual realm, a Google Drive exists where artists, activists and philosophers can brainstorm and geek out. It's a study group called The Institute of Physical Sociality, created by Edinburgh-based radical community arts organisation, Arika.
'The group have been wondering if they can provide generative analogies for reading the complex desires and struggles of social life,' writes Barry Esson from Arika. 'Or if the disturbing findings might be poetic indicators of the impossibility of continuing with dominant ways of understanding existence.'
Following on from 2017's weekend festival Other Worlds Already Exist (themed around science fiction) is Episode 10: A Means Without End, using quantum theory, maths and physics alongside music, film and dance to untangle some knotty modern issues. Poets, academics and sound artists will gather for five days to find imaginative routes out of oppression, be it patriarchal, heteronormative, ableist or racist. Jazz theorist and black studies scholar Fred Moten is returning to Glasgow, alongside performance artist boychild, documentary maker Wu Tsang and tarot reader / philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva. Jackie Wang is a punk zine creator, performing a piece for harp inspired by Alice Coltrane, and Nathaniel Mackey, the black radical poet, will read his work and take part in discussion groups.
Nisha Ramayya is a poet who grew up around the corner from Tramway in Pollokshields, now based in London. She'll be reading from her debut poetry collection, States of the Body Produced by Love, a mystical blend of Tantric ritual, Hindu goddesses, Ella Fitzgerald refrains and Sanskrit.
'I might break into chanting!', says Ramayya. 'The point is to hold people's attention and try to create a ritualistic space. To transform the space. Chanting reverberates through the body. I'm interested, like everyone else in the cohort for the weekend, of engaging with different ways of thinking. Not mainstream thinking. But finding ways that we might live together, exist in shared spaces, while also refusing dominance.'
Ramayya explains the double meaning of tantra; 'a particular belief or ritual practice', but also 'an act of weaving things together'. Episode 10 binds together themes of race, transfeminism, gender, austerity and mental health, amongst other things, looking for overlaps, insights, survival tips and coping mechanisms.
'As a child of immigrants, growing up in Glasgow and going back to India a lot, identity has never been a stable thing for me,' says Ramayya. 'I have transfeminist friends and collaborators, who have taught me a lot about feminism, bodily autonomy and justice in healthcare, and everyday acts of resistance. It's about nothing being static, fixed or conservative. There's something in common in these ways of thinking. It's about weaving stories and relationships between all of these things.'
Episode 10: A Means Without End, Tramway, Glasgow, Wed 20–Sun 24 Nov, arika.org.uk.