How We Behave a project by Grant Watson

1 Jul 2015 – 18 Jul 2015

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

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The Showroom

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Numerous buses from central London stop on the Edgware Road within a few minutes walk of the space, including the 6, 16, 98, 332 and 414.
  • The Showroom is a short walk from Edgware Road underground station, which is served by the Hammersmith and City, Circle and Bakerloo lines.
  • Edgware Road Tube for Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines
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Inspired by an interview with Michel Foucault published in Vanity Fair in 1983, entitled How We Behave, Watson’s long-term project focuses on the central question that Foucault posed in this interview – why can’t life be ‘the material for a work of art?’.


At The Showroom a selection from a series of filmed portraits, taken from Watson’s ongoing research that has seen him conduct more than fifty interviews with individuals in New York, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Amsterdam, will be presented on monitors in the gallery space.

Exploring how people shape their lives– at work, at home, with other people and with the world at large – interviewees reflect on their lives, their relationships to others and how they work on themselves. Subjects are often engaged with fluid, unconventional or experimental life patterns, working across the disciplines of art, theory, teaching and activism, and have been drawn from professional and friendship networks sometimes in collaboration with locally based organisations.

The concern here is not with ‘lifestyle’ or the link between life and art, but with what Foucault considered to be an urgent question for our time - how people make their subjectivity and invent new ways of life and relations to others, as a form of resistance. 

Each interview has been carried out in the same way with a group of three interviewers, a stenographer and the interviewee. A series of questions concerning details of the subject’s life produced observations on behaviors and habits, exercises and techniques, emotional processes, economic circumstance, ethical dilemmas, politics and poetics. 

Each interview was transcribed and edited before a selection of transcriptions was made and developed further in collaboration with interviewees and pared down to shorter texts. These texts were then used as the basis for a second filmed interview in which participants were asked to revisit the first interview in a part-scripted, part-improvised presentation for the camera. 

A second phase of interviews will begin in September 2015 with people living in London and Mumbai. Initially fifty interviews will be made across the two cities and will result in a series of short films that will join this ever-growing archive of ‘life practice’ and reflection on contemporary subjectivity.

First Phase Interviewees
New York: Omar Andrade, Jessica Applebaum, Gregg Bordowitz, AA Bronson, Pascale Gatzen, Robert Greene, Larissa Harris, Martha Rosler, Carolina Ramos, Violeta Sanches, Leo Bersani

Sao Paulo: Rafael Adaime, Alexandre Dos Anjos, Fernanda Boouchat, Suzy Capro, Daniela Castro, Daniel Fagundes, Mauricio Fernandes, Mauricio Ianes, Neka, Peter Pal Pelbart, Rosane Preciosa, Suely Rolnik, Marta Soares

Amsterdam: Jan van Adrichem, Melanie Bonajo, Binna Choi, Yael Davids, SherDoruff, Dirk van der Heuvel, Jacob Korczynski, Matthew Luts Kinoy, Joke Robaard

Los Angeles: Elisabeth Blainey, Michelle Dizon, Caribbean Fragoza, Romeo Guzman, Hans Kuzmich, Mary Kelly, Dont Rhine, Frances Stark, A.L. Steiner, Leonardo Vichis, SylvereLotringer

San Francisco: Randy Alfred, Nicole Archer, Peter Berlin, Mike Kuchar, Kirk Read, Morris Taylor, Paul Rabinow

The first phase of How We Behavewas commissioned by If I Cant Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, and supported by Mondriaan Fund and the Arts Council of England.

Phase two is developed in collaboration with The Showroom and If I Cant Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution. Additional support has come from Nottingham Contemporary, Wysing Arts Centre, The Wattis Institute, The Kitchen, Casa de Povo, GuestHaus Residency, Human Resources, and Nucleo de Estudos da Subjectividade (PUC-SP).


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