In the spirit of Dada Bristol-based artist collective AIM have created a series of nonsensical happenings and fuzzy protests.
AIM consists of a group of artists who define themselves as learning disabled and as neurodiverse. We work in the public realm and provide opportunities for our artists to develop skills, knowledge and creativity through engaging in a range of artist-led projects. We share our work with a wide audience through exhibitions, presentations and screenings.
The projects we create are artist-led, providing opportunities for our artists to develop skills, knowledge and creativity. Our starting point in devising and developing projects is through making. For Everything and Nothing we have created art in the form of costumes that we wear as part of our intervention. We are passionate about the power of art to be more visible - be more active - to wear our art in public and to push the boundaries of what we do as a group, exploring new ideas. We aim to become more politicised and open up discussion about disability and art, recognising that lockdown has highlighted inequalities for disabled people.
In the spirit of Dada, our intervention is nonsensical, anarchic, non-conformist with an absurdist sense of humour. Visual aspects of our ideas have been directly influenced by photographs from Dadaist costumes created for Dadaist events in Berlin and at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich.
We have also taken inspiration from an archival photograph taken outside the Arnolfini in 1989 of a group of disabled artists protesting about the re-design of the cafe and lack of access. We are incorporating the artwork made by AIM artists during lockdown. For example, Jonathan Barr Lindsay spent lockdown creating pictures of superheroes who he imagined would save us from the current situation depicting and commenting on world anxiety. Betty Sargent crocheted miniature figures of all the people she could not see during lockdown, exploring her feelings of missing connections with people. Chris Rose filled his flat with life-size Lego figures he made from cardboard, making a personal comment on the experience of isolation.
For Everything and Nothing the artists will brandish placards created to convey seemingly arbitrary, confusing, and possibly contradictory messages, using the language of protest while generating confusion about the message – a ‘fuzzy protest’, both serious and humorous. The project has been devised and created by AIM artists Jonathan Barr Lindsey, Louise Morgan, Dave Pearse, Chris Rose, Beth Richards, Betty Sargent, Helen Grant and Colin Higginson.
With the support from the Arnolfini and special thanks to Jesse Cooper and Keiko Higashi.