List of works

‘The Disabled Avant-Garde Today!’ (2006) – an exhibition of ‘homages’ to their ‘avant-garde’ influences such as Tom and Jerry, Busby Berkely etc. (Commissioned by Gasworks Gallery, funded by Arts Council England.)

‘Assisted Passage’ (2007) – A fictional petition was staged outside Birkbeck College with Williamson imploring students to support Araniello’s desire to fly to Vienna for an assisted death. (Commissioned by Birkbeck College, University of London, ‘Diversity Week’.)

‘No Room at the Igloo’ (2008) – a deliberate mashup of the pagan and Christian Christmases was staged at the Royal Festival Hall as Araniello and Williamson portrayed Mary and Joseph inviting visitors to pose with them and ‘Baby Jesus’ (played by a chihuahua dog). . . in a large igloo. A film was made to fictionally portray the circumstances behind the performance installation. (Commissioned by the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre.)

‘Charity Stall’ (2007, 2008): at London’s trendy Art Car Boot fair the DAG sold their badly-made bric-a-brac claiming that the proceeds were going to fund the ‘art therapy’ from which their work derived. A film, ‘Amazing Art’ candidly documented the duo’s stall at the Fair and later at Home Live Art’s ‘Alternative Village Fete’.

‘Sing Along with the DAG’ (2008) – at Liberty Festival 08 in Trafalgar Square, DAG belted out their ‘institutional classics’: ‘Sing a Rainbow’, ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ etc. A karaoke film was made from the performance.

‘Damaged Dance’ (2009) – DAG took the opportunity to turn a civic commission to create a performance around a fountain in Wolverhampton into a candid film exposition of what is often referred to as the ‘disability arts ghetto’. (Commissioned by DASh/ Wolverhampton Disability Film Festival.)

‘Top Ten Institutional Classics’ (2009 – 15) – garbed as a Black Metal band replete with distorted feedback guitar and tambourine, the DAG take on day-centre standards such as ‘Ten in The Bed (Rollover)’, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and ‘Skip to my Lou’. (Commissioned by DaDa Fest, Liverpool, 2009; – Additional performances commissioned by Live Art Denmark for the Pumpehuset Festival, Copenhagen, (2014); and Rich Mix, London (2015).

‘Robots Destroy the Tower of Babble!’ (2011) – was the Biblical Tower of Babel wheelchair-accessible? Why couldn’t the babbling builders learn sign-language? In a parallel homage to Robot Wars, DAG dressed as Robots and scooted about the Gallery in customised, bumper-armed electric chairs to attack their own rickety, chicken-wire ‘Tower of Babble’. (Commissioned by Live Art Development Agency, ‘Access All Areas’).

‘I Am Sick’ (2011) – from being heart-warmed to tick-boxed; from celebrity crips to medical art, the DAG list all the things about the disability art scene that makes them sick. (Commissioned by Live Art Development Agency).

‘The Way Out: the Disabled Avant-Garde’ (2011) – Radio 4 programme broadcast 11.30am, 15.3.11. Disability has never had its revolutionary moment: no Suffrage, Stonewall or Watts Riots. Rather it’s been perceived as the poor relation of civil rights, last on the agitation pecking order. The DAG ask whether art and irony can achieve what mainstream politics never has and give the disability movement its own revolution? A documentary by Simon Hollis, the programme attracted over 600,000 listeners. (Commissioned by BBC Radio 4, 2011).

‘Stage Invasion’ (2011)Sick of the ‘balloons and banners’ culture of celebration attached to disability art; sick of cheerleading for the Mayor and the Olympics; sick of juvenile forms of entertainment like juggling, circus acrobats, kids theatre and rubbish cabaret; sick of crowd-pleasing wannabes and stumps-out performing-seals; sick of the shameless cronyism of the disability arts funding system; sick of it all, those professional irritants THE DISABLED AVANT-GARDE have diagnosed the sickness and its not looking good: ‘DISABILITY ART IS DEAD!’ was their message as they mounted two – uninvited – stage invasions at the London Mayor’s Liberty Festival.

‘Camp DAG’ (2011)The ‘alien invasion’ is a potent myth, from the rampaging Vikings to the itinerant Roma; from abducting extraterrestrials to contemporary economic migrants: ‘settled’ society fears disruption to its steady everyday life. The Disabled Avant-Garde adapt the notion of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ by setting up – seemingly out of nowhere – a campsite consisting in up to a dozen disabled people on a picturesque riverside pitch near to the Oriel Davies Gallery in central Newtown, Powys. The resulting film gives the sense that some nameless disaster has occurred. (Commissioned by ACE Wales and DASh/ ‘Outside In’, September 2011).

‘Backstage Drama’ (2011) – at an arts symposium a special ‘Backstage Pass’ to visit the Disabled Avant-Garde was distributed. Once there, alone with the DAG, the visitor was interviewed on-camera in a way reminiscent of TV chat shows but with an eventual, unexpectedly acidic twist. Having got the interviewee to describe their latest projects and passions, the DAG would viscerally insult them and dismiss their ideas. (Trashing Performance Symposium, Toynbee Hall, 29 October 2011).

‘Pong’ (2012) – London’s Paralympics caused much confusion about what is, or isn’t an Olympic Standard sport? Darts? Contemporary Dance? Things that disabled people do like bowling, only not very well? The DAG step into the breach of the confusion to assert that the ancient screen sport of Pong should be afforded Paralympic status since it is SO accessible to disabled people requiring only the ability to waggle a toggle to an Olympic standard! For an evening at Tate Britain an audience was invited to come along and take on DAG at Pong – projected on a big screen. (Tate/ Home Live Art.)

‘Bite the Hand that Feeds’ (2012); compilation DVD of 17 DAG short film works and documentation. (Published by the Live Art Development Agency.)

‘Reverse Mendicants’ (2015) – Dressed in filthy plague-rags, the DAG circulated the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, sob-violinist (Jack Catling) in tow, to draw upon the public’s pity and implore the casual public to afford them alms: ‘OWT FOR ARE BUCKET, MISSUS?!’ Over the course of two hours almost £30 was raised and donated to a very good cause. (Commissioned by Tate Modern).

‘The Bat Band’ (2015) – with the DAG dressed up as Batman and Robin and their cohort-band featuring Catwoman (Jenna Finch) on drums, Penguin (Kate Mahony) on guitar, Riddler (Simon Raven) on keyboards, King Tut (Jack Catling) on violin and the Joker (Marja Commandeur) on handclapping, the Bat Band rocked out on their ‘Nananana-nananana…’ theme tune for many minutes as the audience arrived for their hallucinogenic night club experience. (Commissioned by ‘Alien Radio’ for Nottingham Contemporary).

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