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We Are Invisible We Are Visible (WAIWAV)

On 2 July 2022, 31 Disabled artists disrupted 30 locations with surreal interventions, in recognition of the 102nd anniversary of the first Dada International Exhibition. Dada is dead. Long live Dada!

The Artist is Not Present

Trapped in a hall of mirrors of my own making and pinned to Instagram like a butterfly, my WAIWAV intervention became a ritual of healing and transformation with more layers than a vanilla slice. Somehow, by the end of the day I created a shrine; and as absence and dislocation run through my veins the impression on others is unimaginable.

Instagram Lives feel like jumping off a cliff. In the space of a second you can be visible to anyone anywhere. I rotated my screen so that viewers experienced a mirror version of my intervention. So far so Dada. Instagram Lives combine extremely accessible technology with extremely limited options. I had committed to the portrait format when so much of the action spilled out across the landscape of my studio. This meant that there were corners to hide in. On the day, I put on my headphones and performed like no-one was watching. My performances are a form of live assemblage; the point is to mediate human connection through the object. I seek to disrupt a neuro-normative insistence on eye contact.

My hourly performances were streamed both at Site Gallery in Sheffield and anywhere in the world on a smartphone.The performance artist and filmmaker Naomi Morris, was with me in the studio. Naomi was my creative collaborator and co-conspirator, filming the action in glorious landscape format.

The Instagram Lives have now been archived and The Artist is Not Present. Traces of my performances can be found in a short film and a series of film stills so to be published on my website

This reflection was originally written for the WAIWAV website, and I should add that many of the images used in my intervention were created during my ACE funded R&D Neurophototherapy project.

Robyn Haddon at Site Gallery: “It looked excellent in the space and I feel it was successfully Dada.”

Naomi Morris in the studio: “I got to see this in the flesh, oh my goodness, what an honour! Glorious!”

@whatdohq on Instagram: We loved every part we were able to watch live, as well as the recorded videos. Fantastic concept, fantastic performance.