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Loraine Leeson

Active Energy: Pittsburgh

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Loraine Leeson's work has always had a focus on community and on process. In the 1980s she and her partner Peter Dunn were working with working-class communities in the East End of London on issues that concerned those communities - in particular, gentrification, and health services. Using methods of engagement that came from the radical thinking of the 1970s, including feminism, their aim was to allow people to speak who have often been denied a voice. Leeson has continued working with these methods and aims in the East End, with groups ranging from Bangladeshi schoolchildren to older working-class men. - Hilary Robinson, Curator

Artist Statement

For me, feminism has always been about equality, and women can't be equal if the rest of the world isn't equal - we have to work on equality as a bigger issue. You can't attack one sort of discrimination or inequality without the other. So I'm very happy that I'm working with the Geezers, which is an all-men's group and the reason they are an all men's group is that men, as it turns out, suffer much more from loneliness and isolation in old age than women, because women actually socialize a lot more. So the Geezers were set up particularly to target those men that are isolated . . . It turned out that all the people at Northside Seniors that wanted to do the project were women so it is interesting that we have men in London and women in Pittsburgh.

I think we need to listen to older people. I think once people get to a certain age they become invisible and we know that invisibility, as a woman I know that invisibility, but we need to recognize that they have very particular knowledge which the rest of us need. If young people are able to come to the exhibition, the exhibit might raise questions for them that they are able to consult with older people about: "Why? Why are they concerned about these things?" And remember that they will become older themselves.

When

2012

About The Artist

Loraine Leeson, Ph.D., is a visual artist whose community-based projects focus on the regeneration of the urban environment, and how it affects both the general quality of life and personal identity. In 2002, she founded cSpace to explore the Internet as a place for collective creative practice. A retrospective exhibition celebrating thirty years of her work toured Berlin, London, Toronto, and Dublin between 2005-2008.

Loraine Leeson's work has always had a focus on community and on process. In the 1980s she and her partner Peter Dunn were working with working-class communities in the East End of London on issues that concerned those communities - in particular, gentrification, and health services. Using methods of engagement that came from the radical thinking of the 1970s, including feminism, their aim was to allow people to speak who have often been denied a voice. Leeson has continued working with these methods and aims in the East End, with groups ranging from Bangladeshi schoolchildren to older working-class men. - Hilary Robinson, Curator

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