Hide and seek: playing with visibility

SHAW, Becky and BUTLER, Rose (2016). Hide and seek: playing with visibility. In: Putting Space into Action, University of Huddersfield, 30/9/2016. (Unpublished)

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Metaphors and practices of visibility are central to debate about participatory art practices, including: the way institutions seek visible evidence of community engagement (Pollock & Sharp 2012); how artists may intend to make marginalized people visible (Wright 2008); how participation can make participants less, not more visible (Wright, 2008); how collaboration may be conceived as a way of seeing each other (Shaw, 2013); and how critical art practices seek to make hidden power structures visible (Lütticken, 2015). In the following, a collaborative project with a group of nursing and midwifery research students is explored, focusing particularly on practical experiments with visibility. In 2016 Kings College London and Somerset House’s Utopia project celebrated the 500th anniversary of More’s novel, with artworks and student engagement. From early conversations about utopia as a no-place, the students focused on transition between expert practitioners to novice researchers. Anxiety about how they ‘appear’ as researchers evolved into a conversation about the visibility of patients and research subjects, and a task to explore the value of seeing, witnessing, observing, experiencing and feeling, as researcher and practitioner. Later we spent time playing hide and seek at a medical ward simulation centre- itself a place between real and fiction and where performance is measured. Initially doubting the feasibility of hiding in a transparent, clinical space, the research students became experts, using subterfuge, distraction and bluff. Hiders and seekers took camera footage, so catching the person’s image was innately tied to hiding or seeking. In exploring the qualities of visibility in roles for our Kings’ students, the work also openly problematizes their visible presence as participants in our art process too. The work then, offers the means to see the social mechanism by which things and people become visible.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Becky Shaw
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 14:33
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 11:17
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13831

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