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Reading Group & Screening

Reading Group & Screening

Please join us for a free Screening of Nightcleaners, Part 1 (1972-75) by Berwick Street Film Collective at Cooper Gallery on Wednesday 15 February, 6:30 – 8:30pm. The third instalment in our Event Series for Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event?

Made by members of the Berwick Street Film Collective, which included Of Other Spaces artist Mary Kelly, Nightcleaners documents the routines and poor working conditions of women nightcleaners in the 1970s and their campaign to unionize.

Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaners' Action Group and the unions – and the complex nature of the campaign itself, which involved two widely publicized strikes in the early 1970s.

In its depiction of the precarious and invisible labour conditions of domestic workers, Nightcleaners is celebrated as a landmark of collective and feminist film-making and widely recognised as an important precursor to current political art and moving image practices.

UK, 1975
16mm film transferred to digital, black and white, 90 mins
Director: Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan)
Find out more about the film via LUX: Artists' Moving Image

This screening of Nightcleaners (Part 1) is part of the Of Other Spaces Event Series.

Further reading
In Of Other Spaces’ Study Area, exhibiting artist Mary Kelly has contributed a replica of the December Issue of Shrew Magazine, in which her photo sequence of nightcleaners was featured on the cover. This photo sequence was made prior to the film and emphasized the cyclical repetition of labour.

Images courtesy of Berwick Street Film Collective: Humphry Trevelyan, Mary Kelly, James Scott, Marc Karlin and LUX, London

Upcoming Events:

Reading Group / Workshop: Wednesday 22 February, 6:00 - 8:00pm led by Dr. Catherine Spencer

Closing Performance Event: Saturday 4 March 2017, 2:00 – 6:00pm with performance by Anne Bean, He Chengyao and Siön Parkinson with the Rhubaba Choir.

All events are free to attend however you may need to RSVP in advance.

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Exhibition continues until 4 March 2017

Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event?
is a two-chapter contemporary art exhibition and event programme at Cooper Gallery and off site venues in “She Town” Dundee. Having accomplished Chapter One on the high note of the 12-Hour Action Group in the winter of 2016, Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? continues its dialogue through word and deed in Chapter Two.

The title of the programme acknowledges the work of Hannah Arendt who understood politics as a ‘space of appearance’; a process of being seen and heard by others. Deprived of this, gestures whether artistic, social or political, cannot herald in new alternatives. To do this, gestures must be provoked into becoming an event. Always without precedence an event ruptures and shatters how ourselves and the world appear. Transgressing prejudices and assumptions an event is a moment that declares another world is possible. Summoning the spirit of Arendt’s ‘space of appearance’, Chapter Two proposes the body itself as an event.

Standing among and between others, the body is a resistant otherness, queering and questioning its own appearance. Protesting and speaking, confronting and mythologising, this questioning body utters its answer in performance. Immersed in a depth of meaning and dissonance, the artists’ films and live performances, two practices intertwined with feminist thought and action since the 1970s. Chapter Two of Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? elaborates necessarily complex answers to the otherness of a questioning and critical body.

Artists featured in Chapter Two of Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? include Anne Bean, Cullinan Richards, Rose English, He Chengyao, Mary Kelly, Linder, Annabel Nicolson, Siôn Parkinson, Georgina Starr and Hanna Tuulikki.

Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? is a project initiated and curated by Cooper Gallery DJCAD University of Dundee and is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Henry Moore Foundation, Kingston University and Scotland's Jute Museum @ Verdant Works.

For more information on the exhibition please visit the exhibition page for Chapter Two of Of Other Spaces.