In the bell explores humanity’s complexities with sexuality, gender and identity. This intimate and evolving audio-visual work is created around a database of stories where collaborators shared their personal thoughts, physical battles, mental struggles, and unique experiences.
The project initially began with Bethany whose incredible career and identity were at odds, as a transgender woman with a background in military and commercial diving. Inspired we looked to support her story with other voices, exploring the spectrum of experiences in grappling with societal heteronormative standards and gender presentation:
Bethany reflects on being a transwoman in the most male-dominated arenas such as the RAF, commercial diving and Oil & Gas north-east Industries.
Annabel Strange ‘finally’ shaves off her beard, initially acting as a shield against transphobia and allowing her some limited privilege of the patriarchy.
Emma Ross shares her existential sadness when her voice broke in puberty and she abandoned her passion for singing. Now after more than 10 years she is undergoing her transition and starting to sing again.
In the Bell is a project about a community coming together to speak candidly and unreservedly about intimate subjects for which society often provides little space. The production reflects our multitudes of existences and experiences, holding vulnerabilities and defiant resistance. In the bell aims to build discourse by showing different perspectives, using art as a creative means to seek common ground by inviting an honest discussion based on mutual respect, understanding and patience. We believe this is an important moment for addressing this topic as our collective societal isolation has meant all of us are having to deal with our understanding of self in new ways.
This is an opportunity to utilise our altered contexts, solidify community and find new ways to express and stay connected in these times. These kinds of documents are critical artefacts of our times, traces of the personal battles and social activisms we enact on a daily basis.
In the bell has been shown through a mini-fest of visual art, film, podcasts and live performances at Four Pillars celebrating diversity through three powerful storytellers.
Kate Steenhauer is a visual artist and filmmaker, whose practice explores the dynamic and interactive capacity of drawing in dialogue with other artforms, technology, and their relationship with its audience. This moves visual art as a traditionally static experience into a dynamic interactive artform that is temporal, transient, and transformational. Multi-disciplinary collaborations include dance, opera, music, sound, verbatim and artificial intelligence. These productions can be viewed through the mediums of theatre, film, (live) audio-visual installation and artwork; and offer a unique multifaceted experience.
Maria Sappho, Improviser
Maria Sappho is a Puerto Rican American, originally from Brooklyn, NY currently working as an improviser, artist, and researcher in the UK. While being a trained musician (MMus Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) she also works as a sculptor, dancer, videographer, and visual artist. Her work is highly theatrical, involving strong feminist, posthumanist, and absurd narratives. Maria is a 6 year member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO), she is a founding member of the Noisebringers ensemble (CZ/UK); and she has worked with a number of large ensembles; BBC Scottish symphony orchestra, Australian Art Orchestra, Instant Composers Pool, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. She is equally comfortable premiering works such as at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Museum of New and Old Art (AU) and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as she is in gallery settings, her recent installations include: Cupola (UK) Sunny Bank Mills (UK),DAI hall (UK),MOA – Museum of Operation Avalanche(IT),NGallery(GR) and Analix Forever(CZ). Her current work is at the theatre saint-Gervais in Geneva where she is working on writing the first Opera entirely composed in collaboration with an AI. She is a winner of the New Piano Stars, Governors Recital Prize, and the Dewar Awards. Maria is a current doctoral candidate at Huddersfield University, on the European Research Council project IRiMaS, and the module coordinator for improvisation at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Part of her work also includes her involvement in advocating/platforming artists via her Feminist Free Improvisation Archive, (for women and non-binary artists), curating for Mopomoso TV (oldest running free improvisation series in the UK), and co-editing the monthly political arts magazine the Mass.