Radio Arts Catalyst Artists in Residence 2020-21

Ashley Holmes: 'Double 6', collaborative performance with R.I.P. Germain at former Court Room of Leeds Town Hall; image by Jules Lister, courtesy Poor Image Projects & Index Festival
Image courtesy Kaajal Modi
Becoming Forest (poster); courtesy Breakwater
“Lavender in Lava” [back] Sound Album Cover(xIIi).=1020, Y.Agbo-Ola 2021. Digital C-Print. Image Courtesy Olaniyi Studio

Ashley Holmes, Breakwater & Cường Phạm, Kaajal Modi and Yussef Agbo-Ola have been selected for a new residency programme as part of Radio Arts Catalyst, supporting early-career artists and practitioners to expand their practices into sound and broadcasting. 

Residents have been invited to develop experimental sound-based work, test out new aural approaches and pursue sonic modes of artistic inquiry, with mentoring support from independent curator, researcher and writer Annie Jael Kwan and Arts Catalyst’s curatorial team. 
 
ABOUT THE RESIDENTS
 
Ashley Holmes is a multi-disciplinary artist and DJ working across sound, moving image, radio broadcasts and performance. His work explores histories of resistance and anti-colonial resilience embedded in Black musical and sound-based practices to examine concepts of property, access and citizenship. In 2019 he started Open Deck, a series of gatherings giving space to collectively listen, discuss and document relationships to music and oral histories. He also hosts Tough Matter, a monthly show on NTS Radio.
 
For the Radio Arts Catalyst Residency he will be developing a body of sound-based works and research that will explore the potential of broadcasting and sound production to consider the ways perspectives around migration, class and racial identities are embodied, gathered and disseminated in music and cultural traditions.
 
Becoming Forest is a collaborative endeavour between the artist duo Breakwater and the radio producer, curator, activist Cường Phạm. Breakwater is a London-based Korean diaspora artist duo of cross-disciplinary artist and researcher Youngsook Choi and Taey Iohe, who make installations combining performance, film, sound, photography and  text to explore postcolonial and intersectional identities. Their collaborative practice centres around ideas of postcolonialism, climate justice and migrants' lived experiences as well as their mutual interest in excavating counter-narratives through an exploration of spiritual knowledge, folklore, and queer methodologies. Cường Phạm is a cultural producer, community activist and curator based in London. He has co-curated ‘Record, Retrieve, Reactivate’ (An Viet Foundation) and ‘Resettled Spaces’ (Lien Viet) which explored the history, memory, and language of the Southeast and East Asian migration experience. He holds a MA in Southeast Asia Studies at SOAS. Under the handle phạmbinho 范悲儒, he hosts an NTS online radio show, to musically reframe ‘Asia’ as a contested paradigm.
 
This project considers mental wellbeing as a collective responsibility, focusing on the  detrimental impact of Covid-19 and the spike of anti-Asian racism upon the mental health of Southeast  and East Asian diasporas, refugees and precarious migrants in the UK. Drawing upon Franz Fanon’s  seminal observation on the relationship between colonial oppression/violence and mental illness, this project conceptualises collective healing as performing justice. Four radio episodes will be developed during the residency that aim to provide and hold a space of solidarity and communal comfort. 
 
Kaajal Modi is an artist and multidisciplinary designer with a background in community food activism, participatory design for social contexts and graphics & illustration. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD in sustainable food futures, supervised across the Digital Cultures Research Centre and the Science Communication Unit at UWE, Bristol. Through her research practice she speculates just and sustainable climate futures in collaboration with diverse communities (human, ecological, microbial). 
 
For the Radio Arts Catalyst residency, Kajaal will work with research outcomes and materials from a previous research residency to develop a multi-layered sound installation/experience that can be listened to in your own kitchen while you cook, that captures the experience of being taught how to cook by a friend or family member. The piece will further incorporate microbial becomings, creating an intercultural dialogue between the people and the bacteria who are collaborating in our preserved foods, thereby connecting us more fully to our food systems.
 
Yussef Agbo-Ola’s multidisciplinary artistic practice is concerned with interpreting natural energy systems, through interactive experiments that explore the connections between an array of sensory environments, from the biological and anthropological, to the perceptual and microscopic. His aim is to use diverse multidisciplinary research methods and design components, to reinterpret local knowledge and its environmental importance cross-culturally. His research outcomes manifest through architectural pavilions, photographic journalism, material alchemy, interactive  performance, experimental sound design and conceptual writing. 
 
For his Radio Art Catalyst residency Yussef will be creating acoustic architectural experiments that reflect upon the role of ethnomusicology, biological sonic feedback, and conceptual poetry around themes of environmentalism. He will develop a sound work that questions how different epistemologies from a range of diverse cultures relate, perceive, and become connected to or a part of their local ecological systems.
 
ABOUT RADIO ARTS CATALYST
 
Initiated in 2020, Radio Arts Catalyst explores radio as a site of encounter and as a critical space in which to collectively address current social, political and environmental challenges happening on a hyperlocal and a planetary scale. Approaching broadcasting as an ecology of overlapping spaces for listening, mapping and transmitting, Radio Arts Catalyst is made up of three central elements: an artist residency programme; The School of Broadcasting informal self-education programme; and an evolving programme of artist projects, audio experiments and sonic inquiries connected to Arts Catalyst’s ongoing research strands
 
ARTISTIC ADVISOR
 
Annie Jael Kwan is an independent curator, researcher and writer based in London. She founded the curatorial initiative, Something Human, in 2012, to focus on her interests in the critical ideas surrounding movement across borders. In 2016, her self-initiated residency in Cambodia generated the collection of digital materials that would form a significant part of the pioneering Southeast Asian Performance Collection (SAPC). The SAPC was launched at the Live Art Development Agency in London as part of the 2017 M.A.P. project that showed in Venice and the UK. Most recently, she was selected for the International Curators Forum’s “Beyond the Frame” programme, and for Outset and Arts Council England’s research trip for emerging curators, which resulted in her curated colloquium, Curating Radical Futures, at Tate Modern. Exploring questions regarding futurity and alternative identities, she initiated and co-leads the Asia-Art-Activism research network, which is currently in residence at Raven Row. She holds an MA in History of Art and/or Archaeology from SOAS, teaches at Central St Martins and Sotheby's Institute of Art, and contributes to Art Asia Pacific.
 
SUPPORT
 
Radio Arts Catalyst is supported by Arts Council England with Art Fund and Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust.