Thursday, 28 February 2013

Interzone Again

Not a single new word to the last time I mentioned this, but looking up all those webpages took me ages. I did the research so you don't have to....



The Whisky Bond hosts “INTERZONE”, a weekend of art, music and happenings exploring the boundaries of perception through synaesthesic installations of sound, light, video and performance, transforming the industrial shell of the 5th floor into a multi-sensory immersive environment of electric surrealism.

“INTERZONE”, will take the form of an expanded audio-visual experience presenting individual artworks as a syncretic entity. The space will become an artwork in itself allowing the viewer to enter and interact, navigating through the altered labyrinth of The Whisky Bond's untouched 5th floor.



Works with light as an intervention into architectural spaces. Devoid of image, the work attempts to show nothing, yet achieves something as a result.
A multi-media artist whose work has taken the form of Holography, concrete composition, installation and mechanical high voltage electrical sculpture. Seeking to explicate a re-integration of the unconscious into the conscious, through experimentation and craft.
He was in opaque for a bit with Lea Cummings out of
an artist and musician, best known for his noise alias Kylie Minoise, garnering a considerable reputation for his loud, confrontational Live Aktions which are often brief and invariably culminate in broken microphones and, occasionally, in personal injury.
Future Turner Prize winner Maclean is a digital and video artist creating hyper-glowing, artificially saturated visions that are both nauseatingly positive and cheerfully grotesque, like the collective unconscious after it has been purchased by pokemon and turned into a theme park for psychedelic explorers.
An artist who works with kinetic sculpture, sound and installation that has gained much acclaim after his recent sell-out show at Soncia festival with his machine powered, theatrical installation at the Tramway.
A sound designer and drone merchant responsible for a variety of soundtracks to short films and physical theatre shows, as well as a smattering of performances and installations. 

Creates humorous durational performance that delve into dystopian ideals of a not too distant future vomiting the surreal and obscure side of everyday life and culture. 

A video artist that takes inspiration from internet communication and sits in tumblr all day.



Elizabeth Veldon is a noise artist working mainly with samples, feedback and sine waves. Her work focuses on landscape, myth and issues of queer and feminist theory. She considers her music to be a form of activism. Elizabeth began publishing her music online a year and a half ago, and since has appeared on several labels.
New collaboration between Rickie McNeill (Cru Servers/Fox Gut Daata) and Lewis Cook (The Cosmic Dead/Mother Ganga) improvised all-hardware electronic dance music for the mind and soul. 
A regular contributor to This Is Our House?, Mark was a resident at Fortified Sessions in Glasgow and Lo Recordings Lo Quality in London and spent time working on John Peel’s legendary radio show.
Ship Canal is Daniel Baker. "Music For Burning Kebab Houses. Ghost Shops. Flash Mob Rioters with Rabies. Asbocore." (Kid Shirt). Dole noise. Psychic damage-tech. "The grey concrete crunch of bastard techno and mangled dubstep and seventies TV filtered through damp plasterboard walls.” (Cows Are Just Food).
Link may not be the right band, but the title is funny enough.
Amid documenting the UK's drone/weirdo/nether region underground with CD-r/tape label, Total Vermin, Stuart Arnot also performs, records and collaborates under a number of guises such as Acrid Lactations, Mid-Leopard Violet Prism and The Game Cock. Stuart will be preforming at Interzone under his solo huise Smear Campaign.
Interested as much in the work of early ambient synthesists as raw acid house tracks, Stefan's material is hypnotic, melodic and especially dynamic in a live setting.

INTERZONE is being organised by Diane Edwards and Kenny Love with support from The Whisky Bond.


Three from the Inbox

So - new Anatomy Night ahead. It's episode four for the post-punk Live Art Vaudeville Jam, with a selection of artists from feminist film makers (Phoebe Cottam's Beautiful Art Feminist) through boylesque beauties (Tom Harlow, who is doing turn from his new one man show) to piano bashers (Will Pickvance hints that he might just be taking one apart, either literally or metaphorically).

The last time out was a grab bag of experiments, comic interludes and singing arses (literally not metaphorically): Oli Benton's short film Walk was a nasty flashback to those evenings out that never seem to end, while Eddy Dreadnaught did exactly what he promised by a dark pantomime singalong. Glasgow has traditionally had the edge on Edinburgh when it comes to the sort of antics Anatomy arranges, but Summerhall's surprising seasonal success suggests the east is encouraging eager experimentalists.  

Friday 8th March
7.45 – 11pm
Summerhall, Edinburgh

Getting back to No Mean City, The Common Guild takes a break from its excitement around Scotland's cheeky link to Venice to present an exhibition on The Foamy Saliva of a Horse. It's the first solo show in Scotland by New York's Carol Bove and is a remixed version of the installation she had at the 2011 Venice Biennale. 

As always, what looks like an interesting exhibition has a nice bit of International Art English to decode: here we go.

"Featuring a collection of found and hand-made objects, such as a piece of driftwood suspended in a polished bronze frame, the installation brings together seemingly random (and even contradictory) objects that, while natural in origin, call to mind the artifice of cultural value and meaning.
Bove presents each item in a way that heightens the potential symbolism of the disparate objects and the relationships between them. The meticulous composition highlights the cultural, spiritual, mystical and even psychological associations of each object, offering multi-layered meanings that operate on aesthetic and cultural levels.
Bove’s earlier works have included a number of socially significant texts and images that reference popular culture more explicitly. Spiritual guides that were popular in the 70s sit alongside images from the pages of Playboy magazines and art history books from a similar period, drawing parallels between potency of their content and their moment of currency."
To put it another way: juxtaposing objects with other, perhaps unexpected objects, can suggest associations that don't happen when the objects in question are in their usual environment. 
Carol Bove 'The Foamy Saliva of a Horse' 
20 April to 29 June 2013
21 Woodlands Terrace, Glasgow, G3 6DF

Heading north, Bgroup are presenting a new show by Ben Wright at Aberdeen's The Lemon Tree. While this press release isn't so guilty of IAE, it's tough to work out what this will be like: "Just As We Are begins at walking pace and culminates in an invitation for audiences to consider joining the spectacular finale." 

Just As We Are
Thursday 28th March, 7pm
The Lemon Tree

Glasgow Film Theatre unveils a unique event to mark International Women’s Day

Since I am still feeling guilty about being nasty to the UN when it announced it was releasing a special song, I am delighted to hear that the GFT is doing something with music to celebrate International Women's Day that I can really support. 

It isn't so much the politics of the films being shown (Traces Left looks at Glasgow art and politics in the 1930s and 1940s, and the main feature Hell Unltd is a classic anti-war number from the period of the Spanish Civil War), but the addition of a live soundtrack by Kim Moore (from Zoey van Goey) and Gareth Griffiths (out of Getting an Award From BAFTA). 

Hell Unltd is a good choice for IWD: co-director Helen Biggar was a graduate of Glasgow School of Art in a period when Glasgow was a hotbed of socialism (not that much earlier, the UK government had considered martial law to break the power of The Reds on the Clyde) and socialism was an honest utopianism. And while it expressed a pacifist spirit, Hell Unltd put war into a context of recession and oppression. 

In the light of the arrests made at the ATOS protest last week, the film's belief in the role of mass organisation - and that the suppression of organisation is effectively a suppression of freedom of speech - is timely.

The screening and performance will take place on International Women's Day (8 March 2013) with the intention of raising the profile of women artists and their ongoing legacy in Glasgow. It will be the key event in an evening celebrating Helen Biggar's work and recognising the contribution of women artists to political activism. 

//BUZZCUT// Festival

It's difficult to imagine that the //BUZZCUT// Festival is only really a year old. Since it emerged last year - in some ways from the wreckage of the New Territories programme, although there is no formal connection between the two festivals - it has turned up at The Glasgow International Fringe, Tramway's Freshfaced and manipulate. Their vision of "two artists making space for more art" has placed them apart from the usual approach to curation, since they offer artists an opportunity to present their work in unusual formats and venues.

After the debut festival at The Old Hairdressers, the first four days will be happening at Mono - better known for music gigs (and the cool record shop off the side of the bar) - before heading up to the more familiar Glue Factory for a final blast. With fifty odd artists rolling into town, including acts from Iceland and Germany, //BUZZCUT// does echo the glory days of The National Review of Live Art. Yet its emphasis on emerging artists connects it to an emerging network of events that support work that might otherwise struggle for exposure.

"Last year it was distinctive because it was an artist-led, no-funding/budget first time festival but that also had a really extensive programme," says co-curator Nick Anderson. "This year what we're really hoping will work will is that we're focusing the programme around community and making the Trongate area, in particular, a really busy area for just under a week."  

There are a few artists who can be recognised from the NRLA - Richard Layzell and Richard DeDomenici (who both do a variation on the humorous lecture demonstration, with added antics and subversion), as well as names that have become familiar from last year's festival - Ultimate Dancer, and Greg Sinclair (post-modern choreography and quick-fire composer respectively). But unlike many festivals, the vague gestures towards building a community and dialogue are replaced by a genuine forum.

"The programme is kicked off every day with a lunch event for artists, volunteers and delegates to be fed, chat to each other," Nick continues. "And each day's lunch will also be hosted by a different artist. Then audiences and everyone can be engaging with work throughout all the afternoon, with the evening showing studio based performances in our disused shop that we're renovating!"

This is undeniably a major shift from even the radical festivals planned by Arika: the focus is as much on the dialogue as the performances. And while some of the artists may be new to Buzzcut, they are familiar in Glasgow: Eilidh MacAskil from Fish and Game, Andy Field from Forest Fringe, Jack Webb and Hunt and Darton, who has their own art cafe at the 2012 Fringe. 

"And of course we're then off to the Glue Factory on the last day," Anderson concludes "Which is a very distinctive day in itself, if last year is anything to go by. Just an amazing space for performance: artists can really be site-specific or responsive in all of its nooks and crannies! Also, it'll be great to bring everyone under the same roof for a big day-long performance-fest!"

27th-31st March,
Across multiple venues in Glasgow.
Pay What You Can!

Janis Claxton (part two)

Some fractals getting it on
When CP Snow deplored the gap between scientific and liberal arts education in The Two Cultures (1959), he suggested that the emphasis on Latin and Greek had left the British intelligentsia under-educated on the most basic scientific matters. The British state has spent the past fifty years trying to work out how to integrate science and humanities, managing to marginalise Classics but without making an appreciable difference to the division. Tim Minchin's Storm monologue hints that posh dinner parties are still cursed by a lack of even the most simple understanding of science.

The intrinsic problem might be that the timetable of school divides subjects up into categories: the strict division between geography and history is arbitrary, and it is the same physics that operates in the classroom and on the cricket pitch. And the opposition of art and science, rather like the one between religion and science, is based on dogmatic assumptions about the fundamental nature of the objects.

Fortunately, artists aren't so bothered by the division of knowledge. Although Janis Claxton has explained that an understanding of mathematics isn't essential to understand Chaos and Contingency, she acknowledges that numbers are one of the inspirations.

"We are using mathematical structures, games and number patterns as inspiration for creating both material and especially the structure," she says. "I have been inspired by Jon Conway's  Game of Life which is a cellular automaton." Conway's Life began as a board game, which needs no players, and explores the mechanism of evolution: through a series of simple rules, it follows the increasing complexity of selection processes. Chaos, designed to be viewed from all sides and above, reflects the patterning that computer versions of Life can reveal.

It isn't so much that it is necessary to understand cellular automaton to appreciate the choreography as that the choreography clarifies some of the ways the automaton operates. The dryness of the computer simulations of Life are replaced with something more visceral, more flowing, more vital.

Claxton adds that fractals were another influence: although these turned up in one of the films at Entre Chien et Loup during the Glasgow Film Festival, they are frequently portrayed as pretty visuals with a psychedelic flavour. Again, the choreography of Chaos illustrates their process, demonstrating how a simple form can be elaborated, by repetition, into something complex and profound.

It's unsurprising that Claxton also mentions Brian Eno: perhaps the most scientific of musicians in terms of process, he not only inspired a generation of electronic musicians but offers strategies for composition. The titular chaos of Claxton's choreography is not so much anarchic disorder but the working out of an idea to a point where it confuses human perception.

what happens if they keep doing it
"We have worked with 'chaos' and the idea that making a small change in a structure or material can yield wildly different results," says Claxton. "We have also been strict about staying true to the original set of conditions as a premise for what constitutes chaos rather than just total messy change. Its been fun. But we could change the name of the work to Chaos and Counting!"

Attempts to shoehorn scientific ideas into dance are not always executed with such precision - even the attempts by Wayne McGregor to get Darwin dancing lost the message within the movement. But by using Life and fractals as a foundation, Claxton moves closer to the application of a scientific method, so that the process becomes a form of experiment while the performance might be analogous to the results. 

Although these foundations appear very different to Claxton's best known works, which feed on her academic study of primates, there is a shared enthusiasm for using rigorous research to formulate the movement. Her own eclectic knowledge ensures that every production takes her in a different direction, although she can see the relationship between each piece.

"The week we began this research The New Scientist had a front page and article about Fractals and evolution.We were also working on all the Human Animal stuff so... connections alert!" she remembers.

April In Paris

Kenny Miller, in rehearsal somewhere
While I am not quite at the point of becoming an economic dramaturge, I am noticing that there are far more cross company productions knocking about at the moment: if it isn't The Lyceum teaming up with The Citizens for Taking Over The Asylum, it's Horsecross Arts getting cosy with The Tron for April In Paris.

What Asylum and April share is the emphasis on popular theatre: Asylum rejigged a TV series, April  was written by John Godber. The son of a miner, Godber's plays have been Fringe staples for years and Up'N'Under was made into a film in 1998.

April in  Paris is a bitter sweet romantic comedy - despite the romantic location, it is driven by Godber's distinctive northern humour. Since the married couple on their dream holiday are battling poor job prospects, financial hardship and emotional exhaustion, it's heavier on the social realism than most Hollywood rom-coms, and has a relevance to the abject misery provoked by the web of deceit being woven by the state to convince everyone that times are hard and austerity is necessary.

Godber notes this himself in the press release. "On the one hand a romantic comedy, on the other a play for our times," he says. "Redundancy, austerity and eating horse meat: what could be more current? Except it was written in Hull in 1992!”

They've enlisted Kenny Miller as director - a man who has shown his ability to match the play to the scene, as he is a fantastic and imaginative designer - and he knows his way around dark comedy. It's tempting to go for easy fare when times are hard - Godber has a bit of an edge.

Dates:  Fri 15 – Sat 30 March, 7.30pm + Matinees Sat 16, 22 + 30, 2.30pm
Tickets:         Tue – Thu £17.50 (£12.50) / Fri – Sat £19.50 (£14.50)
Dates:  Wed 3 – Sat 13 April 2013, 7.45pm
Tickets:        Tue – Thu £12 (£7) / Fri – Sat £15 (£12)


UN Women Co-Sponsored Events during the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 – 15 March 2013

There's a headline that ought to get the blog readership into the millions: egotistic local theatre critic gives opinion on international talking shop's forum. And being the kind of person who doesn't do politics - in the sense that I regard even the most selfish MSP as being unutterably corrupted merely by their proximity to power, this really will be something...

However, the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) will meet at the UN Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013, with the priority theme: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”  

My interest inevitably comes about because there has been a raft of performances that explore feminism in the past year - and old favourite festival Ladyfest is popping up this month in Glasgow. 

The press release starts off with some statistics which give me nightmares. 

"It is estimated that up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes.Violence against women is universal, and is prevalent in all countries and all settings. A gross human rights violation, it fractures families and communities and hampers development, also costing countries billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and lost productivity."

Well, forgive me if I find the last fact less than compelling. Once a human right is being violated, I don't need to be told it ought to be fixed because of its impact on the global economy. In fact, if it costs more billions of dollars to fix, that would be okay. But onto the statistics that are shocking. 

"Even though more than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence, a historic number, 603 million women still live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime."

Scotland had an Act in 2011 that addressed this problem, providing the first statutory definition of domestic abuse (in the context of harassment interdicts, legal fact fans). But Rhoda Grant, the MSP who introduced the Bill, admitted that it was not enough - it fails to see domestic violence as part of systematic oppression.

"The UN Security Council now recognizes sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war."

"The Commission is informed by the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s reports:  Prevention of violence against women and girls and Multisectoral services and responses for women and girls subjected to violence.  During the meeting, UN Women will call on Member States to strengthen global norms and standards and increase political commitment and action to end such violence against women and girls. UN Women events during the Commission will highlight that it is possible to end this pandemic through determined leadership for prevention, protection and provision of services for survivors, as outlined in the 16 Step Policy Agenda and showcased inCOMMIT, a global initiative launched by UN Women which calls on leaders to reaffirm their commitment through concrete national action."

The only real negative is that the series of events include the launch of that song they've made as their theme tune.

I am putting up the rest of the release below - it's worth having a look at the scope and scale of the conference. There's a few biographical details (including Beth Blatt, who wrote the lyrics to their song. I said that the song was written by men - and I think the tune was written by a man - but I am apologising to her for my dislike of the project. I am just being an aesthetic snob).

The bottom of the page lists the corporate supporters. That is where my sardonic snipes would usually appear. But for once, I am even going to let a banker get past without a sneer.

Press Conference with UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, 
4 March, 2.00 - 2.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live webcast]

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet will speak at several official and side events:
  • Introductory Statement, Opening Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 March, 10.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m., General Assembly Hall [Live webcast]
  • Press Conference, 4 March, 2.00 - 2.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium [Live webcast]
  • High-Level Francophone Consultations on Violence against Women and Girls, 4 March, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live Webcast]
  • Parliamentary Strategies for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 5 March, 10.00 - 11.00 a.m., NLB ECOSOC Chamber
  • UN Heads of Agencies discuss Violence against Women and Girls, 5 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [ By invitation only]
  • High-Level Task Force for ICPD, 5 March, 3.15 - 4.15 p.m., 730 Third Ave at 45th St.
  • High-level Event to conclude the COMMIT Initiative, 5 March, 6.30 - 8.00 p.m., German House [By invitation only]
  • Reclaiming Public Spaces for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, 7 March, 1.15 – 2.15 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Stop Violence: Girls at the Frontline of Prevention, 7 March, 2.15 – 2.45 p.m.,NLB Conference Room 7
  • Too Young to Wed: Working Together to Address Child Marriage, 7 March, 2.30 - 4.30p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
  • Critical Services Commitment by UN Agencies, 7 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2013 “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, 8 March, 10.00 a.m. - 12 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live webcast]
  • Violence against Women with Disabilities, 8 March, 1.15 – 2.30 p.m.,  NLB Conference Room 7
  • Gender-motivated Killings of Women, including femicide, 8 March, 3.00 - 4.15 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2013 “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women,” 8 March, 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m., 
NLB Conference Room 2 [Live webcast]. The One Woman song will be launched at the event.

UN Women organized, co-sponsored or supported side events [Please note seating is very limited for all events; RSVPs are needed]
  • High-Level Francophone Consultations on Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Gabon and the International Organization of La Francophonie,4 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live Webcast]
  • Parliamentary Strategies for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 5 March, 10.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m., NLB ECOSOC Chamber
  • Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment, 6 March, 3.00 - 4.15 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • Sexual Violence—Forms, Consequences and Interventions, co-organized with UNFPA, OHCHR, 5 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women Civil Society Session: Looking beyond 2015—Visualizing a coordinated framework to end violence against women, 6 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7
  • Achieving Gender Justice: The Case for Reparations, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Finland, International Criminal Court, and Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Too Young to Wed: Working Together to Address Child Marriage. Co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Canada and Malawi. UN is a supporting partner with IPU, UNF, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, Afri-Dev, Family Care International, Girls Not Brides, Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health, World Vision, and YWCA Too Young to Wed, 7 March, 2.30 - 4.30 p.m., Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium
  • Reclaiming Public Spaces for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, co-organized with  UN-Habitat, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Stop the Violence: Girls at the Frontline of Prevention, co-organized with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7 [ Live Webcast]
  • Critical Services Commitment by UN Agencies, with the Permanent Mission of Australia and UNFPA, 7 March, 6.30-7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  •  Global magnitude, health impacts and health sector response to violence against women, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Norway and Zambia, and WHO, 8 March, 11.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Why do men use violence and how do we stop it, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Sweden, UNDP, UNFPA, UNV, WHO, and Partners for Prevention, 8 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m.,  NLB Conference Room 6
  • Implicit stereotypes, explicit solutions: Over-coming gender-based discrimination in the Workplace, co-organized wit with the Permanent Mission of Australia, 8 March, 1.15 -2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Violence against Women with Disabilities, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Jordan,  New Zealand, Peru, UNICEF, International Disability Alliance, Women Enabled, International Network of Women with Disabilities, Plan, and Human Rights Watch, 8 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7
  • Gender-motivated killings of women, convened by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against women and co-organized with OHCHR, 8 March, 3.00 - 6.00 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium Library
  • Addressing Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: From Data to Action, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of El Salvador and Peru, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO); UNiTE Campaign, and the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University, 11 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Domestic Workers Count, Too: Ensuring Protection, Upholding Rights, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of the Philippines and ITUC,  11 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Guidelines to Measure Violence against Women, co-organized with the UN Statistics Division,   12 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [ Live Webcast]
Related Links:

Chi Yvonne Leina (Cameroon)
An award-winning Cameroonian journalist and women's rights advocate, Chi Yvonne Leina is the founder and coordinator of Gender Danger, a grassroots women`s organization that is fighting to end the practice of breast ironing in Cameroon. She will be attending CSW this year as a World Pulse correspondent and on behalf of her own media centre for Cameroonian women. She hopes to raise awareness and create partnerships to help her NGO expand its work to prevent breast ironing in Cameroon. “I would like to see greater collaboration between different stakeholders to put an end to heart-wrenching practices like Breast Ironing, female genital mutilation, widowhood rituals, intimate partner violence, etc. It would be wonderful to have follow-up and support of grassroots initiatives that are working to end these practices.” To read Leina’s first-hand account of the practice of breast ironing as part of UN Women’s “In the Words of…” series, click here.

May Louise Mooka (Australia)
For May Louise Mooka, it all began with her desire to be more than just a number.  She wanted to step beyond being just a statistic of domestic violence, and help others do the same. She is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage from Queensland, Australia. As a Community Liaison Officer, she works with 50 indigenous communities to assist in sustainable and culturally appropriate service-delivery and to build relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. “For me this is my way of contributing back to my communities the knowledge and information that I have gained.  If I had had this knowledge when I was in my relationship then I would've ended it sooner and escaped years of violence” she says.

Tim Shand (South Africa) 
A decade ago, Tim Shand’s life changed when he started working as a Rape Crisis Centre volunteer. Today, as the Director of International Programmes for the Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, a UN Trust Fund-supported project, he continues to be motivated by the challenge of advancing women’s rights by working with the many passionate gender justice advocates and leaders within the African continent. His job involves working with individuals, NGOs, Governments and UN agencies across the region to strengthen research, programmes and policies to engage men in challenging gender inequality, and preventing HIV and gender-based violence. “Many men, like myself, seek ways to challenge this violence because of how it damages the lives of the women we care so deeply about, and also casts all men as potential perpetrators. In order to prevent violence against women it is therefore essential to work with men, together with women, to challenge the social norms that can perpetuate gender-based violence.”

Shimreichon Luithau-Erni (India)
Shimreichon’s motivation comes from the people, the people she meets and works with every day. She is inspired by the indigenous women who work at the grassroots levels, who in spite of the many hardships they face, remain constant—a constant force that nurtures families, the environment, and maintains peace and cohesion in the community. Originally from the Northeastern part of India, she is a member of the tribal grassroots women's organization - Tangkhul Shanao Long - and a founding member of Asia Indigenous Women's Network and Naga Women's Union in Manipur, India. She is currently the programme coordinator of the Indigenous Women Programme of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact in Thailand and works to   strengthen women's participation in customary governance institutions to address the issue of violence against women and girls funded by the UNTF. She says “indigenous women’s resilience encourages me and at the same time their vulnerability makes me want to work more …to advocate for their rights to their lands, environment and livelihoods resources”.

Agnes Leina (Kenya)Agnes works to bring change in the lives of pastoral communities, especially the women of these communities in Kenya and other countries of East Africa. Through her work with Il'laramatak Community Concerns, and as the gender representative of the IPACC - Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, she focuses on changing the status of the pastoralist women starting with young girls, and nurturing them through education as the leaders and preservers for tomorrow. Violence against women and girls including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) hampers their progress, and Agnes was part of the national working group that lobbied for laws that today outlaw FGM in Kenya. The struggle is far from over against these harmful traditional practices. She says “pastoralist women still suffer from Female Genital Mutilation and all forms of violence against their bodies and souls…we should urge men to join the fight against gender and sexual violence. Time is of essence, more and more pastoralist women in Kenya need to be represented in the UN processes.”

Susannah Sirkin (USA)
Susannah Sirkin is a senior advisor for Physicians for Human Rights, which works with partners in conflict zones to build a network of first responders—including police, lawyers, doctors and nurses and judges—trained to support survivors of sexual violence. "It inspires me to see how, when these responders come to understand the harm that sexual violence does to women and men, families, and their communities, these professionals become deeply engaged in efforts to not only treat survivors but to document their injuries and promote accountability for the perpetrators," she says. She believes that only when the social, economic, legal, and political conditions that facilitate sexual violence are seriously and systematically addressed will we start to see a reduction in this violence. "We need to finally solve this scourge, not only to assure hundreds of thousands of survivors that they will get the treatment and justice they deserve, but to offer a brighter future to the next generation – a future where a woman’s body is not a battlefield." Susannah’s organization is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

Annie Banda (Malawi)  
“I am part of them, living positively, I understand what their needs are better and faster than someone who is not HIV+. I have a passion for the HIV+ people especially women and girls. I feel good when I see that their lives have improved I feel very good and want to reach more and more of them,” says Annie, the National Coordinator of the Coalition of women living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi. The Coalition is a grantee of the UN Trust Fund to end Violence against Women for the project “Leveraging Strategies of Positive Action towards Reducing Violence against Women living with HIV.

Elizabeth Gbah (Liberia)
A target group that is not often considered vulnerable and an issue that is not often talked about, drives Elizabeth Gbah. “Women receiving higher education in Liberia is increasing gradually and the students are from diverse backgrounds, including poor and rural communities. These students with no economic status normally are denied access to opportunities like scholarships…transactional sex or “Sex for Grades” has been normalized where an instructor will sexually harass female students and nothing is done about it,” she says. Elizabeth is a part of ActionAid Liberia, which is working around the Safe Cities Initiative with a focus on young female students and their safety and mobility. ActionAid is working to change the status quo, through a project on Access to Justice and Support for Survivors of violence against women and girls in South-Eastern Liberia.  ActionAid is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF).

Marthe Muhawenimana, Rwanda
Marte Muhawenimana works for the rights of indigenous women in Rwanda. She has been overseeing  gender and education efforts for the Communauté des Potiers du Rwanda (COPORWA). She has worked to increase the participation of indigenous women in the management of public goods and in peace processes. Ms. Muhawenimana has also been part of education monitoring efforts for Batwa girls of Rwanda, in order to develop strategies for advocacy and lobbying.

ONE Woman Song artists:

Debi Nova (Costa Rica/USA) 
Debi Nova is a Costa Rican singer-songwriter and dancer from Escazú, Costa Rica who resides in Los Angeles, California. Nova has sung on various projects from jazz artist Boney James to rapper Q-Tip to Sérgio Mendes and of the Black Eyed Peas. Her single CD, "One Rhythm," has an English version, Spanish version and six mixes.

Yuna (Malaysia)
Yuna is a Malaysian singer who wrote her first English song at 19 after viewing a YouTube clip of a Feist show. Performing while she attended law school, Yuna wrote mostly in English, but her Malay material proved more successful - her biggest hit, "Dan Sebenarnya," racked up millions of hits on YouTube and won a Malaysian people's choice award for best song. Yuna signed with the Fader imprint in early 2011 and quickly released her Decorate EP. In 2011, SPIN featured Yuna in their Buzzcatcher piece, “Eight Bands You Need to Hear Now.” Yuna was also a finalist in the “Best New Band in the World” competition and the show aired live on MTV’s HD Screen in New York’s legendary Times Square and was also streamed live worldwide on In 2012, Yuna released “Live Your Life.” The first single from that album – also called “Live Your Life” - was produced by Pharrell Williams and its music video premiered on MTV2 and was featured on the homepage of

Beth Blatt (USA)
Beth Blatt is the lyricist of the One Woman song. She is the founder/CEO of Hope Sings, a for-benefit music organization whose mission is to use the power of song and story to empower, inspire and connect women around the world by supporting various causes. Beth has a broad range of creative and corporate experience in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America. She is an award-winning theatre writer, and her work has been produced off-Broadway, across the U.S. and in Asia. Through Hope Sings, she has created songs for cause partners Kiva, FINCA, ACCION and UN Women, the new United Nations agency. Beth has also written for TV, radio, newspaper and magazines; she has produced television (TV Tokyo), worked in advertising account management (Ogilvy & Mather/NY) and public relations (Magnet Communications). As an actress, she has appeared on stages and screens around the world, including the film Godzilla vs. Biolante. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, and a member of the Grammys, BMI and the Dramatists Guild.

Ximena Sariñana Rivera (Mexico)
Ximena Sariñana Rivera (born October 29, 1985) is a Grammy-nominated Mexican singer-songwriter and actress. Sariñana's musical career was launched in 2008 with the release of her first studio album Mediocre, an adult contemporary pop-rock/vocal jazz album that has been critically acclaimed and nominated for various awards, including two nominations in the Latin Grammy Awards of 2008.

Private Sector Partners

Andrew Thorburn, Managing Director & CEO, Bank of New Zealand (New Zealand)
Andrew Thorburn became managing director and CEO of BNZ in October 2008. A career banker, Andrew has lived and worked in New Zealand for nearly 20 years across various positions in the New Zealand and Australian banking industries. Prior to joining BNZ, Andrew was head of Retail Banking at NAB since 2005. Beginning his career as an economist at Marac Holdings in Auckland, Andrew has held senior management positions at Commonwealth Bank and at ASB, where he worked for 10 years.

Gianmarco Monsellato, CEO, Taj, Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (France) 
Gianmarco Monsellato is the Managing Partner and CEO of Taj, an international tax and law firm in France, member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He led Taj for 8 years and has been re-elected in 2012 for 4 years. He advises leading European, Japanese, Korean and US multinational companies in transfer pricing and international tax strategies.

Dean Cycon, Founder and CEO, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee (USA) Dean Cycon is the Founder and CEO of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company, an organic, fair trade and kosher coffee roasting operation in Orange, Massachusetts, USA. Dean has over 30 years of development work and activism in indigenous communities, including coffee villages, in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Dean is a co-founder of Coffee Kids (non-profit development group), and of Cooperative Coffees, the world’s first fair trade roaster’s cooperative. Dean has been a Woods Hole Research Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Yale Law School Visiting Fellow. He created Dean’s Beans to prove that business can promote positive economic, social and environmental change at the third world source, and be profitable at the same time.

Mahesh Dayalal Amalean, Chairman, MAS Holdings (Sri Lanka)Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean is a Sri Lankan business leader and Chairman of MAS Holdings- a foremost Design to Delivery Solution Provider in the world of Apparel and Textile manufacturing. MAS has a global network of design offices, apparel manufacturing plants, fabric mills and component plants which helps the organization provide a unique solution to its customers. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology, a private-public partnership involved in research in nanotechnology. He was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, and served as a member of the National Council for Economic Development and as a Board member of the Task Force for Reconstruction of the Nation following the Tsunami.

Jorge Miguel Samek, Brazilian General Director, Itaipú Binacional (Brazil)Jorge Miguel Samek is an Agronomic Engineer, who graduated from the Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil. He is the Director-General for Brazil of ITAIPU Binacional since January 2003. He also holds the interim position of Executive Technical Director of ITAIPU, to which he was appointed in August 2011.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Janis Claxton: Part One

Over the past decade, Janis Claxton has revealed an inquisitive approach to choreography that has propelled dance beyond its comfort zones and taken on serious subject matter, from her studies on primate behaviour - most famously placing her company within a pen at the zoo - to Chaos and Contingency's foundations in mathematical theory. However, she says that behind the different subjects, "the movement vocabulary is not actually that different to the basic style I have been playing with for a very long time." And although the superficial aspects may have changed - for the theatre, she has substituted the open spaces of Scotland's grand art galleries and museums - there is a continuity in her approach that goes back to her first choreography.

"The difference with this piece is that it is forty-five minutes of movement with eight glorious dancers: the material is a drawn from both my body and all of the dancers so there is more range of material than before," she continues. "And as this work is so much about movement itself, we had time to experiment and push the range some. But I wouldn't say the style is so divergent - just more developed and better and starting to get noticed for the virtuosity it contains!"

Although she is not impressed by my suggestion that the flowing movement of Chaos and Contingency is influenced by tai chi ("I think you (and others) are trying to gear me towards this Tai Chi/Chinese thing and some apparent major influence - but I'm not having it!"), Claxton's attitude towards international exchange is serious and integral to her practice. Rather than a gesture towards multiculturalism, Claxton has pursued eastern connections because of her own enthusiasms.

"I went to China because I resonated with the movement much more than I do in the UK. I went there so that I could work with dancers who could do my 'style.' So this is historical for me, not new," she says. "I have been studying/practicing/influenced by Eastern movement arts and culture for 30 years now - in both direct and indirect ways."

The molten techniques of Chaos and Contingency are difficult to resolve into a single influence: Claxton has developed a personal style that admits aspects from most traditions of modern dance. Yet this integration does reflect her eclectic evolution as a choreographer, and the east does figure in her past and present.

"When I was 18 I started working with Kai Tai Chan in his company The One Extra Dance Theatre in Sydney," she remembers. "The man was brilliant- a Chinese/Australian Architect and Choreographer and pioneer of dance theatre Down Under." Kai Tai Chan added a martial element to the usual practice. "We did Kung Fu as part of our training and that was it - I was hooked. I studied Kung Fu five days a week for four years in Sydney's China Town. I really wanted to be in Kung Fu films but I was NOT that good!" she laughs.

"It was difficult to go to China back then (early 1980s) so circumstances brought Japan into my life . I received a grant to study Butoh Dance there. I had realized that it was an (East) Asian sensibility about the body, movement and performance that fascinated me so Japan became home and I lived in Tokyo for four years."

It might be difficult to associate the raw physicality of Butoh with Claxton's current elegant production, but it offers a freedom of approach that is not usually found in the western traditions that have roots in ballet. Equally, Butoh insists on a precision and discipline that remains a strong feature in Chaos and Contingency.

In the last five years, China has been more open, especially to visiting artists - but while many of the exchanges could be characterised as opportunistic, Claxton's long term interest has made her exchanges a far more dynamic engagement.

"Nearly 30 years latter I finally got to China. My passion for the Far East is deep and I am really committed to China. It is the most amazing and infuriating place and I am a bit obsessed about the change that is happening as China 'takes over the world'. It is so important, sometimes underestimated, and we need cultural understanding between East and West - and we need it fast!"

"For me this starts in small ways - like my dancers being in China for three months in the studio everyday working with Chinese dancers and visa versa.  I am learning Chinese (slowly) and I read and engage in what is happening with China's expansion in the West. I am happy to dispel some Western myths about China at any chance. It is an amazing country with vast and rich cultural heritages. There are fifty six different ethnic groups and more than 100 languages! I will go on and on if anyone wants to have a beer and talk China! I love the place!"

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 March 
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
in association with Tramway
Midday and 2pm 

Saturday 16 March 
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Presented by Citymoves Dance Agency as part of March Moves in association with Aberdeen Art Gallery
Midday and 2pm

Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 March
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh 
in association with Edinburgh International Science Festival and National Museums Scotland
1:00pm and 3:00pm