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Associate Studio Programme 5 : Louise O’Kelly

In our second year of the studio programme we have begun to invite curators and programmers as well as artists, with Louise O’Kelly marking one of the first of these. Louise is the founder and director of Block Universe, an annual performance art festival based in London which is coming up to its fifth year. The conversation began with an introduction from each studio associate on their practice, which Louise expanded on by querying our intentions within our respective work. This was used to open up discussions to the whole group, covering the ethics of participation in creative practices, and the politics of rehearsal amongst others. Louise was particularly interested in our continued use of the studio without the structure of the institution, and how we spent our time here, agreeing that time not spent making in the studio can still be considered productive. Louise then followed by introducing why and how she created Block Universe, and we were able to enquire about the inner workings of the festival. We were interested in how the festival has developed over the years, and what advice she found most helpful in creating Block Universe and her career as a whole. Louise spoke about how she created the festival to fill a niche in the London art scene, despite similar performance festivals taking place elsewhere such as Performa in New York. Other current performance ventures such as the Tate Tanks and David Robert Arts Foundation similarly were not in operation at the time. Louise told us how she had created Block Universe with the ambition of supporting artists in what they need – whether that be better pay, more considerate use of space, or allocated time for rehearsal and preparation; this has continued to this day with Block Universe throughout the festival’s five-year history. Aidan Strudwick.

Notes have been disabled.