By Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan, MA Art and Science, CSM
Us Bodies, A Socio-Parasitology Manifesto
by Esme Lewis-Gartside and Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan
HYG NIGHTS is embedded into the Hundred Years Gallery programme each month, creating a space for performers, writers, sonic artists and collaborations to happen. Late last month, was Hundred Years Gallery’s HYG Night #4 The Interruption Is The Part Between, with performances by Rosie Terry Toogood, Livvy Lynch, Iris Colomb and Sabrina Hasan & Esme Lewis-Gartside – Us bodies, a Socio-Parasitology Manifesto. HYG Nights #4 was an all female event about body work, interruptions, fluidity, resistances against boundaries and borders.
The parameters of the performance evening, are organised by Annabelle and Alex. For more details on the performances from HYG Nights #4 , please see the HYG website.
Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan and Esme Lewis-Gartside collaborated on forming Us bodies, A Socio-Parasitology Manifesto for this particular performance. Esme spoke out her poetry Us Bodies and produced the sound piece which mediated, heightened and warmed the space between herself and Sabrina’s Socio-Parasitology Manifesto which she has been working on for a couple of years and ended the performance with. Sabrina and Esme’s previous two encounters were at Limbo project space in November 2017 for the group show ‘Locating the Leech’ and at the last Earwax event hosted at Rye Wax, Peckham ‘EarWax: Daughters of Chaos’ where this collaboration catalysed from. Sabrina and Esme’s collaboration came accidentally at an ‘EARWAX collective’ event. These nights are for women who work in sound and performance, it is for the female voice and experience. This is where they began to explore the relationships between their different works.
Taken from Us Bodies:
‘and then you peel some more, down my neck and onto my breasts.
inch by inch you break down my body.
until my raw scales are exposed to the sun
as the zero to my 1 we are repeated on each others surfaces a thousand times.
while I am convenient,
you sit, making space for yourself.
in-between those small layers around my lungs, slowly reducing the space for air.
and when you look me in the eye, i shiver
you gently rid me of my layers
one by one and my [un] flesh shatters’
Us Bodies talks about the point at which intimate relationships with other humans become parasitical. Perhaps in comparison to Sabrina’s work it is the darker side of socio parasitology. It is the unstripping of the female form, the deconstruction of the body in relation to emotions and we are left with ‘the scales’. It is contact at its rawest moments. The textures and physicalities of the text are then paralleled within the sound, the transient space of the sound goes hand in hand with the physical space within the text / words.
Esme says “It is important for me to create a texture to surround the audience, the sound acts as a wrapper for the bodies in the space.”
There is a movement between the words and sounds which emanate the body being broken down. The sounds are sourced or recorded from a range of things from field recordings of peeling oranges to samples taken from NASA recordings of stars.
She continues with “a lot of my sounds come from the voice as well. Editing the pitches and tones of the human voice to create samples.”
Excerpt from Us Bodies – for a copy of the full text please email email@example.com
Socio-Parasitology Manifesto performance is based on her concern for resistance against the pejorative perception of humans as negative parasites is the source of her practice, looking into social theory, the Frankfurt School, biopolitics and clinical parasitology as research into creating a new model for social change – that of the Socio-Parasitology Model. Her focus is on the interruptive stage and the first act of contact made between a parasite and host coupling; as an activity which releases a productive change.
She says “viewing humans as parasites in terms of migration, the refugee crisis and paralleling people as parasites of new environments and other bodies, should be a task that is celebrated and reimagined as a positive productive engagement with others, our environment and with social groups.”
The manifesto speaks of working “towards social change”, and was performed with Esme’s sound layered amongst it. She continues with “there is a definite need for changes in perspective towards migration and bodies, as forming a resistance against the negative use of the parasite is as important as producing active work. I think the political side of the parasite needs to be explored and I believe the manifesto enhances a positive side for viewing large fluxes of people as parasites to be a useful progressive act of change. Extending ourselves beyond our flesh; and developing human behaviour by adopting parasitic behavioural traits is vital. There is no work completed in isolation when wanting to produce social change; as all forms of interactions are social and dialogue is produced through natural couplings, in groups and communities.”
Taken from Socio-Parasitology Manifesto:
“The parasite manifesto specifies, that one interruption must be completed every hour.
you need to interrupt in order to have agency
you need to interrupt to become positive
you need to interrupt so you are parasitic ”
Excerpt from Socio-Parasitology Manifesto – for a copy of the full text please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Esme: Fuck Off X Earwax
Sabrina: Socio-Parasitology Reading Group #1
Esme founded EARWAX [in September 2017], an all female sound and performance collective based in SE London for women, about women.
Its for the sound of women’s voices, the sound of their opinions, the sound of their experience.
Sabrina is currently part of MA Art and Science, a resident at The Cube, Shoreditch where she is part of a Neuroscience based residency with an exhibition which is currently open to the public and is co-curator of Laundry Arts programme “Nom” with an exhibition to be hosted at AMP Gallery in October.