The Bordello collective will perform a live art response to the film Days End by Gordon, including projections of Middlesbrough’s architecture, they recontexulize Gordon’s work as a whole into the 21st century focus. Looking through a new lens, three performers will be responding to what is going on around and and this performance will only be done once. To visit this, head over to https://middlesbroughartweekender.com/ to find out more! The Middlesborough Art Weekender will be taking place from the 30th of September to the 3rd of October, unforgettable, educational and interactive art pieces, performances and workshops await you! #Ad
Tell us about your journey and how the Bordello collective came to be.
- G: I and Andy identify as queer and non-binary and use any pronouns. Bordello collective was born in Preston, as a theatre company, and it was successful! In 2013 the landscape changed and in 2015 the funding changed, so we chose to end the theatre company and reform as a collective. We took some time to end the collective and the theatre, moving away from a traditional model we had originally adopted. It allowed us to come together to reflect and reconnect, creating what we know today as the collective. At its core we are 4 or 5 artists, ranging from visual artists, multi-media artists, performance artists and more, we decided to become a co-operative. Everyone is paid the same and nobody is in charge, we didn’t want to have a director but a curator. It was born out of that entire journey and out of rejecting the systems we had automatically fallen into and wash pushed towards.
- Andy: I joined the collective in 2016 as it just became a collective, moving away from its theatre-based background. I started working straight out of university, so everything was new to me. It shocked me not everyone works in this collaborative and cooperative way, trading off skills and learning from each other. Not just theatre but artwork. Our ethos is that everything we do is grounded and responding to society.
- G: The way we worked was alternative to a standard process. We have a constant connection to something we’ve been socially conditioned to do. For some people it’s been a micro theatre exchange that feels direct and one-to-one, a collage together that feels real. It was the most transformational and liberating experience and it changed us. There are different levels of responsibility within the collective, someone has to ring the venues, and someone has to press the “pay people” button etc. One time Andy contacted Edinburgh fringe to say our show is interactive, a narrative piece, where we’ll be wandering around. However, when filling out the forms on the computer, the system couldn’t understand it, our venue was simply “Edinburgh”, with the time it might be 5 mins to 5 hours, it didn’t understand how expansive it was.
What made you want to be a part of MAW and tell us about your piece in MAW
- Andy: Because we’re very ingrained in the Middlesbrough Art Scene, accepting the invitation was a no-brainer. We know the scene very well so to get the opportunity to create work was great.
- G: Our work in general is responsive, we built a framework that will include projections, images and contextualise days end imagery into the 21st century using shadows, light, structure and we will be interact with what is happening around us. As Queer performers it’s what we are constantly doing, camouflaging, releasing or showing off parts of ourselves. Sometimes it happens very consciously and sometimes it happens unconsciously as a protective measure.
- Andy: It was a stroke of genius to programme the week, to not just have it as a projected film but it brings a live element to it. It made so much sense for us to do it, for me personally I love bringing performances to where it’s not usually seen. I’m so pleased to be a part of something so gallery-esque and grounded in visual live arts.
- G: Is Middlesbrough the Manhattan of the 21st century? Middlesbrough is full of promise, and it is about to explode and become the next big thing, there is this element of heritage history within it.
- Andy: It feels like we have genuinely been brought in to be a part of it.
Be unafraid to be who you are and give it timeAndy
What advice would you want to give to someone wanted to pursue a career in the arts?
- Andy: surround with people that will support you and prioritize them over people that won’t /don’t.
- G: time is the most powerful commodity you have and people will want it for the lowest price they can get, trust that you’re on the right path, if not, forgive yourself, redirect and be true. And check in with yourself.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
- G: I grew up under section 28 and went to school where my teachers were told legally, they couldn’t support the LGBT community. I’ve been an activist since I was a kid. I was beaten up most days and my lip was split, teachers would turn away and close the door, they were so afraid to promote homosexuality as a life choice. To a frightened and confused young person it will get better, we must liberate ourselves. To my 14-year-old self it will get better and stop putting yourself in risky situations in Manchester gay village!
- Andy: similarly, being true to yourself is one of the most difficult things you can do, especially when you’re younger. It can seem like a hollow statement as it requires time and work and energy, and emotional intelligence, but be unafraid to be who you know you are and give it time.
- G: Being true to yourself doesn’t always mean saying yes to yourself it’s sometimes saying no also.
What are you most excited for at MAW?
- G: The dystopian tower blocks like doll houses which is called MdZ ESTATE by Jimmy Cauty. I’m really excited to see work come back to those reclaimed spaces.
- Andy: for me it’s the new energy to Middlesbrough and the number of new faces, it’s fascinating to see people travel in and see the spaces and the work that happens there. The art scene here is thriving and its reclaimed and it has life.
Being true to yourself doesn’t always mean saying yes to yourself, it’s sometimes saying no also.G
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
- G: we do, we have been incredibly busy, all the 2020 work that was supposed to happen all came to fruition in 2021, I’m also excited to take time off and have some self-care. For the future I’m excited to see what comes out of this intense period of reconnection, what we might make next, responding to what will be a very challenging decade. I’m not a person who shy’s away from being candid, it shows how I feel.
- Andy: similarly, for the collective, there is stuff in the pipeline, but I think I’m ready to start reacting again. As people we go through periods of being outward and what is happening outside of us. And look inwards and respond.
- G: one of the things I want to do, is go to the hill called Roseberry topping, it’s the highest point in a large area, you can see it from North Yorkshire, Durham and more, it used to be a beacon mountain for Vikings, guiding them. I want to put a laser with different colour lights on it, this would be the collective beacon of light to come together. It is a metaphor for our work, bringing people together, to think about the world and remind us we are human beings living with other human beings living with ourselves and that we are fragile and must take care ourselves, we will survive.