Working together over two weeks, 16 young people and artist collaboration agency for agency developed a series of performative actions that question and explore what it means to work.
Through daily sessions, the group explored tensions around success and failure, individuality, collectivity, power structures and navigating uncertain futures, culminating in a final performance, art-work: rehearsals, presented in the Speak exhibition at the Serpentine North Gallery in April 2017.
“A rehearsal is a session of exercise, drill, or practice, that are done in order to prepare for a public performance, ceremony, and therefore to make the person rehearsing more comfortable and confident at the moment of the real performance or ceremony as it releases the stress of the failure, because in real life fails happen all the time.” –Youth Forum member
Serpentine Youth Forum is run in partnership with Westminster Academy, located on Harrow Road in West London, and a commissioned artist. The project forms part of the school’s Year 10 internship programme. Young people, aged 14–15 years old, work collaboratively with an artist to identify and define issues in the social realm and make change.
In spring 2017, the Serpentine Youth Forum were: Alex, Amiira, Atun, Awa, Aya, Barby, Ben, Clelia, George, Hala, Ilias, Leoreta, Mahek, Mariana, Rania, Ryan, Sadea, Teresa, Vleron and Yousef.
agency for agency
agency for agency are a collaborative project with artist Barby Asante, curator Teresa Cisneros and producer Jessica Harrington, who work on projects in curation, education and advocacy in visual art, social practice, live art and performance. They collaborate with artists, non-artists and organisations, asking questions about practice in relation to space, place, identity and politics.
This Youth Forum commission builds on from agency for agency’s ongoing research, Assembly Required (Showroom, 2016).
Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator and educator who’s work explores space, place and identity. The drive of her work is to create spaces for dialogue, collective thinking, ritual and re-enactment. Using archival material in the broadest sense, she is interested in breaking down the language of archive, not to insert or present alternatives to dominant narratives but to interrupt, interrogate and explore the effects and possibilities of the unheard and the missing. Recent projects include As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence. For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa an ongoing project that performatively collects stories of Women of Colour, of which a current iteration is showing in the Diaspora Pavilion, Venice and Run Through a collaboration with Architect Gian Givanni currently on show in Who’s Urban Appropriation is This? Curated by Metro 54 at TENT, Rotterdam. She is also part of agency for agency, previously working in collaboration with Serpentine Youth Forum with students at Westminster Academy.
Teresa Cisneros has worked in the USA and UK utilising contemporary art to explore everyday politics and concerns in collaboration with artists and non-artists of all ages. She explores the politics of identity and contemporary concerns through an intersectional approach. Cisneros is a cultural producer, a curator, an educator and a member of many communities.
Alex Thorp, Curator, Education
Ben Messih, Assistant Curator, Education