]performance s p a c e [
- - -
]performance s p a c e [ remains the UK’s only performance art specific organisation. Our mission: to facilitate the prime conditions for performance art(ists) in the UK. We are committed to supporting challenging and difficult practices that embrace performance art as an ever-evolving medium.
Performance art offers us fluid ways of understanding our environments and experiences, through the mediums of time, space and ones body. It is a way of living - a mode of communicating, knowing/learning, remembering and dreaming. It reminds us that we are always in relationship with that which surrounds us - the human and non-human aspects making up our world(s).
- - -
Founded in 2011 (in Hackney Wick, London by Bean and Benjamin Sebastian), ]ps[ remains an artist-led initiative drawing on anti-institutional lineages and DIY working practices. The organisation has always morphed in shape, size and location as a stratergy of continuity - mirroring the ephemerality and fluidity of our field. In 2022 ]ps[ returned to London (from Folkstone), entering a development phase of mobile programming, further exploring the potentials of ]ps[ as a conceptual space, finding temporary home(s) within the sites, programmes and buildings of partner organisations.
]performance s p a c e [ cultivates time-based work that critically pushes the boundaries of the body, time and space - while championing artists and practices that make the established genres and methodologies of the field more porous. We seek to be in community with those whom we may create new commons, to the side of mainstream art education and market structures. ]ps[ is committed to internationalism and the mobility of people and practices.
We initiate and participate in local, national and international networks, co-created with myriad communities of artists, producers, curators, researchers and audiences - maintaining close working relationships with organisations including the Live Art Development Agency, Live Art UK, Ugly Duck, Home Live Art, Whitechapel Gallery and Venice International Performance Art Week to mention but a few.
Regularly funded by Arts Council Engalnd from the National Lottery Project Grants scheme
Co-founding Director & Curator
Benjamin Sebastian, 2022. Video still from film by Baiba Sprance & Marco Berardi.
Benjamin Sebastian (b. Cairns*, AU. 1980) is a trans-disciplinary artist-curator based in London, whose practice spans: curating, installation, writing, image making, sculpture, new media & performance. Some of their most recent projects have included; speaking on the panel ‘Queer Art; Past, Present & Future’ at London city hall for LGBTQIA* History Month - taking part in the symposium; ‘Art, Memory & Place’ at Turner Contemporary - curating ‘PSX: A Decade of Performance Art in the U.K.’ on behalf of ]performance s p a c e [ - exhibition of their solo show; ‘Working With Entities//Setting Intent’ at VSSL Studio - activating their live installation; ‘3 Reflections²’ as part of FUTURERITUAL at the Institute of Contemporary Art - as well as collaborating with the Live Art Development Agency as guest curator on the ‘INTERSECT’ series (platforming embodied practices that reflect intersectional ways of being through contemporary performance & live art).
*The Gimuy Walubara Yidinji and the Yirrganydji peoples are the traditional custodians of Cairns and surrounding district. Gimuy is the traditional place name for the area Cairns City now occupies. Sebastian wishes to pay respect to the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji and Yirrganydji Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all Indigenous Australians.
Benjamin is co-founding director & curator at ]performan s p a c e [. They lead on all aspects of ]ps[ in dialogue with the associate director (Ash McNaughton).
Ash McNaughton. Image curtesy of the artist.
Ash McNaughton (UK 1990) is a Folkestone based contemporary artist & facilitator. They are an active member of the international performance collective; Anam Cara and regularly lead workshops centring performance art methodologies at institutions such as: TATE, Whitechapel Gallery, and Middlesex University. In addition, Ash is a trustee of Folkestone Pride, co-director of SITE, and co-founding organiser of Last Fridays Folkestone. They obtained their BA(Hons) in Sculpture from Gray’s School of Art (2013) and an MA in Performance (Contemporary Art Practice) from the Royal College of Art (2018). Ash has performed extensively in the UK and Europe including: The Aberdeen Art Gallery (Aberdeen, Scotland, UK), Haddo House Arts Festival (Ellon, Scotland, UK), Tramway (Glasgow, UK), Venice International Performance Art Week (Venice, Italy), Electrocamp Festival (Mestre, Italy), Revolve Festival (Uppsala, Sweden), Whitechapel Gallery (London, UK), Tempting Failure (Croydon, England, UK), Salvage Festival (Folkestone, England, UK), and Performance Platform (London, UK).
Ash is Associate Director at ]performance s p a c e [ and co-leads on all aspects of ]ps[ in dialogue with the director (Benjamin Sebastian).
Associate Arts Producer (freelance)
Mine Kaplangı (and friend) - Original image by Eda Sancakdar (dino courtesy of the ]ps[ team).
Mine Kaplangı is an independent curator and art mediator based in London. They are the co-founder of the curatorial collective Collective Çukurcuma (2015) and KUTULU (2021). Together with Collective Cukurcuma, they have been curating public programmes of exhibitions and running their reading group events as an ongoing transdisciplinary project since 2016. Mine received their bachelor's degree in Philosophy at Istanbul University and (Certificate Programme) in Philosophy of Arts & Aesthetics at Bologna University/ DAMS Faculty. Currently working as a project manager at VSSL Studio, and co-curating the online gallery of Queer Art Projects, qap.digital.
Mine is Associate Arts Producer (freelance) at ]performance s p a c e [ working closely with the the director & associate director on various aspects of ]ps[.
- - -
Previous Team Members
Bean: ‘A Body’. Performed at Profound Sound Festival and Steakhouse Live Festival. Image by Manuel Vason.
“I am an interdisciplinary artist, working across performance & time-based media, writing, curating & design. These seemingly disparate areas of my practice are connected through a fascination of making & creating spaces, demolition & undoing of structures, both psychologically, socially & physically. I am interested in the synthesis and friction between gender constructs, capitalist power structures, ecology & permaculture. My practice explores the interconnections of these through a fiercely political body & heart, rooted in the land and deep listening to people & communities.” - Bean
Bean co-founded ]ps[ & was co-director from 2011 - 2020. Bean co-curated major ]ps[ programmes including; Regimes of Hardship (Martin O’Brien), ]performance e c o n o m i e s [, Performance Art Faction, DRAWN, WAKE and PAUSE&AFFECT. Bean remains a member of ]performance s p a c e [’s informal advisory board.
Joseph Morgan Schofield:
Joseph Morgan Schofield, 2020. Photo by Fenia Kotspoulou.
Joseph Morgan Schofield (UK 1993) is a performance artist. Understanding acts of gathering and communing as central to their practice, Joseph’s work incorporates curating, producing, facilitating, mentoring and teaching. Joseph organises FUTURERITUAL, a performance and research project considering ritual and queer futurity. They co-produce move close and Live Art Club [London], and are a co-founder of The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Exprimenters and Dissenters. They are the co-founder (along with Benjmain Sebastian) of VSSL studio (London, UK) and work for The Place (London, UK) as Programme Producer.
Joseph was associate director of ]ps[ from 2020 - 2022. Joseph supported strategic, governance & financial matters at ]performance s p a c e [ and co-curated PSX: A Decade of Performance Art in the U.K. (2021) and TIDING (2022).
I AM SENSITIVE NOT CENSORED
I TAKE RISKS
I DO NOT SEEK PERMISSION, I WILL NEGOTIATE CONSENT
I AM A PLACE OF DISCUSSION & DISSEMINATION
I QUESTION & WANT TO BE QUESTIONED
I CULTIVATE LIVE WORK THAT CRITICALLY & PHYSICALLY PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES OF TIME, BODY & SPACE
I AM A SPACE FOR PROCESS, A PLACE FOR DIFFICULT, UNRESOLVED & EVOLVING WORK
I EMBRACE PERFORMANCE ART AS AN EVER EVOLVING MEDIUM
I WILL COLLABORATE BUT NOT ALWAYS CO-OPERATE
I AM OF NO DESCRIPT ABILITY, RACE, AGE, GENDER, CLASS, SEXUALITY OR FAITH
I AM YOU
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN FREE LABOUR
I PAY ARTISTS
I BELIEVE IN MOBILITY
I AM A PLACE OF ACTION
I MAKE SPACE
I AM EMOTIONAL
I AM IN FLUX
THIS MANIFESTO WILL CHANGE, I WILL CHANGE
In recent years, ]performance s p a c e [ has explored hybrid programming across physical and digital spaces. Folkestone’s Creative Quarter was our hub - and our exhibitions, festivals and events spread to offsite locations in Kent and to partner venues in London. Earlier this year, following the delivery of TIDING; a day of performance art at historic sites in Kent - ]performance s p a c e[ entered a period of development, leaving our physical premises in Folkestone to explore a more mobile model of working. During this time, we have worked from VSSL studio, a project space and artists’ studio in London, which is also managed by ]ps[ directors Benjamin and Joseph.
Our development phase continues and we are fundraising to support this process. In part, these resources will be used to support proper consultation with our current and future artistic communities around what opportunities, contexts and activities the field needs to flourish - now and in the future.
One of the conclusions we have drawn from our development activities so far is that ]ps[ should remain a mobile platform. We imagine ]ps[ as a conceptual space - mirroring the ephemerality and fluidity of our field. A mobile ]ps[ is a framework which can better hold our programming, producing and network building activities. Much of the most exciting work ]ps[ has been engaged in across the last few years has happened offsite, in temporary homes and out on the Land. In committing to this mobile model, ]ps[ can lean into a more nuanced relation to site, seeking out idiosyncratic spaces better suited to the exceptional ephemeral performance works our communities create.
At this moment we are also thinking about how the ]ps[ team works together. Benjamin continues in their role as Director, leading on curatorial and day to day activities. Joseph continues to collaborate with Benjamin, while responding to other commitments, and will take on the role of Associate Director, working on strategic development and partnerships. We continue to work closely with our Project Manager, Ash McNaughton.
]ps[ has continually reshaped its working practices throughout various geographies across the last decade. This current model seems to currently best serve both our organization and communities. Benjamin and Joseph will work from VSSL studio in Deptford, which also houses the ]ps[ archive, and we welcome coffee and face to face encounters. While ]performance s p a c e[ is based at VSSL, our programming will largely happen elsewhere in London and further afield.
Our development activities will continue throughout the winter with a view to continued programming from early Spring 2023. In the meantime, we are developing a number of collaborative relationships in which the ]ps[ team work as creative producers, and we welcome approaches from performance artists who may benefit from producing, production management and support.
Kajoli Ilojak, Salvage Festival, 2019. Photo by Manuel Vason.
finding us...In 2022 ]ps[ returned to London and entered a development phase exploring how best to continue our mission (cultivating the prime conditions for performance art(ists) in the U.K.)
While continuing to scout for a physical London premesis, our current administrative home is:
50 Resolution Way
Deptford. SE8 4AL
For mobile programming collaborations, you will find locations & directions on the relevant offerings pages, and we can otherwise be reached online: