ABOUT STALKING HISTORIES
Stalking Histories is an independent disability arts project exploring lost or hidden stories from disability history and culture. As disabled people we reinvented ourselves in the 80s and 90s.The old style charity images of need and dependency were challenged by positive images of disabled people in contemporary society . We wanted to find positive images of disabled people from the past that would strengthen our sense of self image today and give us some sense of cultural continuity.
Our first project was a touring theatre production called Stalking Histories about a gay, disabled man who survived the holocaust by becoming a photographer for the Nazis. It was his job to record and categorize people and this work was used as scientific evidence of those people's inferiority.
Stalking Histories was funded by Arts for Everyone and toured in the North West. We wanted to draw comparisons between the photography of the Nazis, charities advertising and contemporary molecular imaging of genetic modification. To explore our current relationship with the power of the scientific image we invented a new work called ANIMATED which involved the audience through interactive exhibition performance and workshop.
The images made by the audiences and workshoppers were made into a new animation which was then projected onto the set as part of the performance.
We also ran workshops that explored the themes of the work through drama and pinhole photography. Animated was funded by Regional Challenge - New Audiences and toured a range of Theatre and community venues in the North West and in the South West as part of the Heatwave disability arts festival.
This work then evolved into Mendel - which went further into the theatre uses of new technology using live camera filming and projection.
We wanted to bring disability arts to new audiences and not just rely on our regular audience so Mendel toured to non-theatre venues and was shown at Band On The Wall in Manchester with a DJ mixing sounds before the show. There is a video -Selling Mendel - which shows our marketing strategy for this tour. Copies of Selling Mendel are available from Stalking Histories for £5.
Ruth Collett is developing the use of new technology in theatre storytelling with her new play - Agnes Jagger's Last Jig - a medieval mystery adventure.
She has worked with Doo Cot, Manchester-based adult puppet company - to try out different forms of storytelling and has put together a work in progress which is the first piece of disability arts work to be posted on the on the website gallery.
The website project came out of a need to create accessible space for disabled artists to meet and show work. This can be written, visual or audio work which can be discussed in the artists' forum or feedback can be posted on the noticeboard. We want to make a lively and supportive space in which artists, who may never meet in real space, can exchange ideas and form collaborations. Stalking Histories can support short term, one-off projects to find funding and provide the gallery space for that work to be shown. For more information on this go to HOW TO GET INVOLVED.
The website also offers a new way of having management meetings that gets rid of most of the problems disability groups have in maintaining a management team. No travelling. No access problems because you work from home. Meetings only take up actual meeting time - not 2 hours either side on transport. People from all over the country can be involved. It's cheaper for the group not paying travel and room hire costs.
Stalking Histories is
a place where new ideas about disability art and the use of new technologies
can be explored. We hope it will kick off new collaborations and international
projects. If you have a project idea go to HOW
TO GET INVOLVED to
find out how.