Public S/Pacing: Helen Stratford

16 May 2024 – 8 Jun 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Public S/Pacing: Helen Stratford

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[As part of this project, we’re also excited to host two events: Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life and Feeling with Crip Time.]

Informed by experiences of enforced ‘unproductivity’ arising from the realities of chronic pain, as well as limited mobility and prohibitive access infrastructures, Public S/Pacing by Helen Stratford is a project exploring the relentless hyper-productivity that characterises public space and contemporary life. How do deeply personal worlds of pain and limited energy encounter spaces built around an expectation of able-bodiedness?

In the run up to the exhibition, Helen has been visiting a number of disabled artists and peers, each exploring health and disability in different ways, and engaging in an artist conversation with them. Helen has used the journey towards them; the varying demands and labour of travel; the necessity to meet online or not at all as well as the eventual conversation as an opportunity to explore the presumptions of capacity and able-bodiedness that characterise and structure daily life. In what ways are they chronically prohibitive? Can we generate more ‘crip’ understandings and constitutions of public space?

The project and exhibition are consciously collaborative and supportive. They aim to model, capture and learn from how ‘slower’, collaborative and generative ways of working and knowledge-sharing can support modes of self-care and mutual aid. Reconfiguring the gallery into a space for rest as much as discovery, Public S/Pacing features diagrams, an audio guide, textiles and parodies of instruction manuals that accompany the various props and prompts that ostensibly ‘help’ people experiencing disability ‘get on’ with their daily lives. Through the work, the artist looks askance at the normative spaces that prevent access to and enjoyment of everyday activities, re-interpreting them with care and humour.

A big thank you to the following practitioners who have shared their time and thoughts with Helen and Bloc Projects:

Rhonda Allen, Emma Bolland, Jos Boys, Liz Crow, Char Heather, Sarah Hopfinger, Terri-Louise Doyle, Raisa Kabir, Kirstie Millar, Bella Milroy, Poppy Nash, Idit Elia Nathan, Abi Palmer, Kaiya Waera, James Zatka-Haas.

Helen Stratford’s practice spans across architecture, fine art, writing and research. Through performative workshops, site-specific interventions, video, speculative writing, and discursive platforms, they propose ways of challenging spatial prejudices produced at the intersections of social, cultural, economic and political relations. Her work has been developed, presented, performed, and exhibited at international residencies and platforms, including Oslo Architecture Triennale, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, g39 Wysing Arts Centre and RIBA. Helen is also Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University.

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Helen Stratford


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