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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Gabriella Ackerman

We present a project proposal that focuses on ideas of time and methodology, adopting the phrase ‘urgency of slowness’, borrowed from artist Celia Pym. Inspired by past Artangel projects, we are drawn to the practice of urban walking and its utilisation of pace and rhythm, which lends itself organically to slowing down.

The idea for the Parade of Pause was born out of the aim to set a rhythm for a shared parading of slowness, deliberately contrasting with the rapid speed of consumer culture that engulfs London as a city. Why Parade? The word’s origins are rooted in the Latin parare, meaning to prepare, parry to stop or halt, which resonates with the idea of slowing down. There is never a distinct, isolated sound that represents the act of parading, rather the sound of a parade becomes enmeshed with the urban circulation of place, its people and objects, creating an asynchronous symphony of everyday life. We have commissioned Lucie Štěpánková (aka Avsluta), a London-based Czech-born electro-acoustic composer and sound artist, to create a soundscape that intertwines field recordings and live improvisations with objects to accompany the parade – setting its pace and rhythm. Playing with various loops to create a polyrhythmic soundscape, Štěpánková explores ecosystemic ideas and our relation to space and one another. 

Our hope is to elicit a powerful response towards the urgency that slowness demands, particularly within the environment we currently find ourselves. Slowness, in this understanding, does not simply want to take the speed out of contemporaneity but allows us to experience our present with all its different speeds and in all its complexity and diversity.

In collaboration with:

Camilla Wrabetz

Ciarán Mac Domhnaill

Yiran Zhu

Emma Mo

Tae Kim

Marianne Tynan

Lucie Stepankova preforming a live improvisation inside the 4DSOUND system, 2023. Image courtesy of artist. Image credit: Pirelli Hanger Bicocca

Gabriella Ackerman at the opening of ‘Moving Through’ - a group show she curated in March, 2023.

Gabriella is an aspiring South African curator and writer, currently based in London.

She positions the curatorial as a site of dialectical defiance to long-held dominants, allowing space for renegotiation, for transgressing, for reimagining and overcoming.

Her current research explores contemporary notions of spatial mobility and by extension, transnationality through the medium of weaving. Initiated from a point of movement, textiles, which are inherently mobile and dynamic serve as a vessel, responding to moments of dislocation; from place, from site, from home, from one’s binding threads.

The project transverses through materially rich localities in South Africa, pulling subtly on both the historical threads of the local female textile industry as well as her own current positionality. Through a durational-based approach, the project functions as an archival repository, becoming a social destination that captures and presents contemporary narratives of women on the move. Embracing materiality and tactility, the project also emphasizes observation and "slowness" as a means to engage with the rhythms of modern mobility. By weaving together the past and present, this project aims to create a contemporary analogue of female stories in motion, celebrating the dynamic nature of textiles while providing a space to relate and connect in an increasingly mobile and often detached world.

Gabriella has been involved in numerous curatorial projects in 2023. She co-curated the Parade of Pause for the RCA 2023 display and live element. Curated Moving Through, a transitional moment creating dialogue between eleven exhibiting artists at Maverick Projects. Worked collaboratively on LUMA; a monumental collaborative group show in the heart of London and One Foot In the Sky; an intimate response to grounding and one’s connection to earth by a selection of international artists at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer.