Bureaucracy Jungle

Below is some footage of my performance at last weeks GMCDP AGM. An EDM set sampling and deconstructing the absurd bureaucracy of PIP assessments into a heavy drum’n’bass tune.

Other performers included singer songwriters Dennis Queen, Joe Stevenson and Leah Phillips. They were all excellent.

Leah’s modern swing cleverly highlighted big political issues such as climate change. Whilst Dennis and Joe’s melodic indie songs were about personal barriers and staying true to oneself in difficult times.

 I really enjoyed the evening and will be developing the piece further in the next few months.

Do not open it … Do not own it

Hacked Cassette Player

Tonight I am performing for the GMCDP AGM at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Alongside other local disabled artists, I will be trying out a new scratch electronic piece: Do not open it // Do not own it

Do not open it // Do not own it is sound based parody about PIP & ESA claimants resorting to the use of cassette tapes to record their assessments.   

Using ableton live, touch boards and hacked cassette players, I will explore the backward/rewinding/distorted process these assessments have been for many of us. 

The process isn’t just a cruel challenge to our survival, but also a distortion of our identity or validity as disabled people.  

GMCDP AGM

6.30pm-9.30pm, International Anthony Burgess Foundation
Engine House Chorlton Mill 3
Cambridge Street
Manchester
M1 5BY

ParaOice – Berlin Edition

Over the weekend I deejayed in Berlin with turntablist Kris Gjerstad. Based at the very cool Sophiensaele, our performance was part of The Space In-Between, No Limits Festival 2019.

Using samples from the CUTTER//NASH ParaOice, we played a lively Jungle-Techno set aimed to get the party started!

It was an absolutely amazing experience to perform in Berlin – the homeland of experimental music and DJing. I’m buzzing!

Acorn Massive

Good to be back at work after a difficult summer fighting various infections, and eventually having an appendectomy 🙁 .

I am particularly pleased to be working with members of Acorn Farm again. Using both technology, storyboarding techniques and our imaginations, together we have been working on a simple ‘spooky’ sound story. We have also decided to call ourselves ‘Acorn Massive‘!

For the technology geeks out there – we used the Micro-Speak recorder (pictured), which was a great little device in terms of accessibility and quality. We also used iPads, iPhones and a Zoom recorder.

Although we ended up sampling a staggering four hours worth of noises, this mini sound story is only the first phase of a much bigger piece of work.

“A great introduction to creating a sound story, we were really impressed at some of the ideas” Angela Miveld – Day Services Manager – Acorn Farm

Please check out my instagram for projects updates …

This project is being supported by Heart of Glass.

CUTTER // NASH ‘ParaOice’ Sound Installation

Now on display, London, Asia House as part of the BodyParts Exhibition (see instagram post below).

A Paralympic parody, The Paraoice is based on a futuristic vocal competition. Through the lens of of post-human, queer and disability theories, this piece examines public perceptions of ‘realness’. Exploring how Paralympic sport has impacted upon society’s views about disability, validity and normativity.

Imagine a 2099 remake of ‘The Voice’ competition.  In this dystopian future, competitors with augmented voices are disqualified.  A lucky few, however, qualify for a parallel competition The Paraoice.  Most people love The Paraoice but some question its eligibility criteria, likening the show to vegan steak.  This in part has been due to the rise in bionic vocal chords….

The audio installation will be experienced through Sonic Pixels – an innovative sound delivery system developed by Cornbrook Creative and James Medd in collaboration with CodeBug.

Like pixels on a screen, this system allows us to create sonic equivalents of brightness, colour and texture as well as an interesting visual representation of our sound art.

Belle and the Bell Curve

Latest instablog about the fantastic sound based workshops I delivered for my Research Residency Heart of Glass.

Highlights from the workshops includes one participant, John, singing a rendition of ‘Michelle my Belle’. This was the first time John had heard a playback of himself singing or speaking. He was astonished!

International Women’s Day

Today I delivered a short presentation for Salford City Council’s IWD2019 staff event. Below is two images from the prezi I made for my speech and my instagram blog about IWD2019.

Other speakers included: Debbie Brown (Director of Service Reform) and Magda Sachs (Principal Policy and Equalities Officer).

Image depicting a mountain. Text at the top reads: D 3 – Democracy Disability and Devolution, Manchester Based Women’s Project, Breakthrough UK – Gemma Nash (Trustee)
Image of a leaf. Text on the leaf reads: Why? According to the Fawcett Society, only two women MPs identify as being disabled people – under half a percent of the House of Commons! 42% of women in Greater Manchester who reported sexual violence were also disabled (Voices of Survivors Project 2018)

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The campaigning theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Balance for Better’. But for many disabled women, our lives are literally ‘Hanging in the Balance’. Last month I learnt a shocking, if not surprising, statistic: 42% of women in Greater Manchester who reported sexual violence were also disabled (Voices of Survivors). . . The safety of women in Greater Manchester is a key area of concern for the newly launched Pankhurst-Fawcett Scorecard. The Scorecard identifies 10 key measurements around gender equality across Education, Employment, Safety, Participation and Culture. Led by Helen Pankhurst and the GM4Women2028 Coalition, the plan is for the data to be compiled and shared annually to 2028 (which is the anniversary of equal franchise). . . One of the biggest reasons why the safety of disabled women has become more of an issue over the last few years is due to cuts in our welfare state (Sisters of Frida). In Greater Manchester, for example, many disabled women have reported a 25% reduction in their social care package, sometimes this has been reduced to 50% or even 0%. . . Unfortunately it is also more common for women to have no other method of funding their own care, making them more at risk. According to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, just under half of disabled women are neither employed nor actively seeking work. . . This is a particularly difficult situation for any women in an abusive relationship, as they can end up forced to rely upon their abusive partner to provide ‘care’. . . Anyone can become a disabled person and I always think it’s worth remembering that our fight for representation and is also your fight, or those before you – many suffragettes, for example, became disabled through their activism. Many ended up incarcerated in institutions alongside other disabled people at that time. So these brave women were again denied the right to vote, because they were disabled. #internationalwomensday #girlpower #womenempowerment #balanceforbetter #events #feminist #women #art #empowerment #feminism #iwd #womeninbusiness #artwork #sdg #celebratingwomen

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Field Recording – Acorn Farm

Gemma Nash using her field recorder, Acorn Farm 2019. Photographer – Michele Selway

Yesterday a visited Acorn Farm. The farm runs a brilliant day service for people with learning disabilities, some of whom will be taking part in my forthcoming sound based workshop. This workshop is part of the research for my Heart of Glass residency.

Working alongside technologist Kris Gjerstad, we will be focusing on different ways of communication and challenging perceptions about who who is allowed to speak. We will also be exploring the work I have been doing with Gareth Cutter, i.e. the voice in fairytales and future ways of talking.

Gemma Nash with the lively group from Acorn Farm, 2019

Whilst I was at the farm I recorded some sound using my newly purchased Zoom H5 Recorder. Here is a short sound mix from the field recordings I made during my visit!

Research Residency

Gemma Nash speaking about her work for the Heart of Glass team, 2019

Last week I delivered a presentation about my arts practice for Heart of Glass. Heart of Glass are an arts organisation based in St Helens with a focus on collaborative and social arts practice. They recently commissioned me to work on a research residency which will take place from February to April 2019.

Working alongside Emily Gee (Heart of Glass Producer) and local disabled people, I will be investigating new possibilities of articulations beyond traditional art world paradigms.

I will also be exploring issues of power, voices and intersectionality through collaborative workshops, studio time and research visits.

Gemma Nash at Heart of Glass talking about Beyond Vocal Norms collaboration with Gareth Cutter!

Watch this space for more blogs about this exciting action research.

One from the Archives

BBC article from 14 years ago (gulp) about my ‘Old Skool’ club night Virtual Itch and the club’s resident disabled DJs.

“He lifts the needle onto the record, throws the record down and up to mix it into the next record using his chin, and then manipulates the controls using his mouth – it’s gobsmacking. The women just love him!”

Did I really say that ?! Cringe.

For the full article, click on the link below:

Disabled DJs on the decks

by Nuala Calvi, 13th February 2005.