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We Nurture — Collective, Edinburgh, 2019

We Nurture was a performance and writing commission for Collective, Edinburgh (2018-19). It included a publication available at Collective’s reception and a live performance, performed twice on the 30th of March 2019.

We Nurture is a response to Collective’s redevelopment of the City Observatory and to the changing infrastructure of the organisation. It draws on Collective’s archives, the shifting language used in printed and press materials, and how this relates to NHS literature and advice pamphlets for patients. As Collective prepared to open the Observatory site to the public in 2018, Shona asked ‘how are different bodies cared for in a context heavy with Enlightenment symbolism and the trappings of a neoliberal institution comprised of retail, restaurant, gallery, and tourist destination?’”

We Nurture was developed as part of An Exchange of Method, an exchange taking place concurrently between arts organisations and artists working in ‘caring’ related environments in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Edinburgh.

For more writing on the project see this review by Gordon Douglas for Map magazine. Photography by Matthew Arthur Williams

Please take a seat. Think of this as a channel of communication between the visual arts community and the public.

“ARE YOU friendly, enthusiastic and interested in Contemporary art?”*25 “Do you have a few hours to spare each week?”* 26 [Laugh]

This is a pivotal stage in our relationship and it is important for you to be properly attached (held). This means you will absorb enough information and the risk of developing problems will be reduced.

You need to recognise the signs of effective positioning. And you need to recognise the signs that you need to seek attachment.

Wide mouths . “we want you to feel excited and stimulated” Your mouth should be wide open. [Opens mouth wide and very slowly, silently turns head spanning the room.]

Head free. “we want you to feel comfortable outside the home”

Your head should be free so you can be supported behind your neck and shoulders. You will know instinctively how to attach yourself but we can help by holding (positioning) you in a way that helps you to do this. [touch shoulders or back of seat]

Lower lip curled back – we want you to feel settled but alert – like this. [Curl lip]

Fingers – “seeking a short, exhilarating and intense experience – they should be sucked [sucks all fingers of one hand ]

Restless – Do you desire a relationship to broader political and social issues? Murmuring sounds [mmmm mmm makes mmmm sounds while leaving the room] Pain-free and comfortable.