On June 10th, the LoT-D Girls dressed in a uniform of smart shirts, and jogging bottoms/pyjama pants and heels – ventured out to perform their piece ‘Nomadic Dialogues’. We paraded from site to site – starting from our base LockupNumber11 on The Drive Estate and to the Sunken Garden in front of the Attlee Terrace estate, then on to Walthamstow Village, carrying a make shift living room and signs invited people to participate. Once we set up each site, we begun our conversation with Alice, one of the LoT-D Girls, announcing ‘We are Nomadic Dialogues and we are going to have a conversation about ____, feel free to join in’. The first topic was Education, the second London and the third Food.
We created this work with the intention, based of the idea of ‘In/Visible’ as suggested by ‘the drawing shed’ – and stemming back to the original intention of the workshop to make teenage girls more visible in the estate and surrounding areas. The work was about occupying space, and not asking permission to talk about the topics they wanted to talk about – letting them be the lead of the discussion, rather than an enforced narrative by others.
See below, some snapshot style writing Zoe, one of the LoT-D Girls produced about her experience performing that day, and the ensuing conversations.
‘Uniform dialoguing nomadically speaking to strangers about things on our minds, improvisation, funny props, what do people think we are doing, thinking, chatting.’
‘German pasta, changing streets into a playground, sit down together, is this your living room, take a seat, what should I eat for dinner tonight?’
And my own reflection:
‘Walking as a group – procession. Strangers looking, not asking questions, smiling. What shall we talk about today. Shared stories.’
‘Shared ideas and history. Different ways of seeing – food, german tourist changing our assumptions. Sitting together at the table – what our everyday rituals mean’
It was a great experience in the girls deciding how to occupy this space that is local to them, and drive conversations, asking people the questions they are interested in. It also bought up some tensions around space, and who feels entitled to it and not – especially once in Walthamstow Village – sparking conversations about gentrification. Altogether an engaging and stimulating day.
Rebecca Lindsay – Addy, Live on the Drive Artist, and Zoe, Lot-D Girl.