Research & Practice

Who Do You Think You Are?

“Are you an artist? Are you a shape-shifter? Are you in transition? Are you welcoming or resisting change? Are you stepping into the unknown? Are you proceeding ‘as if,’ with no sense of certainty or security? If so I’d like to invite you to join me…”

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ was an invitation to 7 artists who identify as female to participate in a 7-day immersive experience which explored identity, transformation and the power of ceremony. ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ was for artists at a point of transition, in a state of fluidity, flux, confusion, exhaustion or questioning.

‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ was guided by Fern Smith as part of her ‘Creative Wales’ year-long enquiry which included 4 residencies at 4 venues along the Welsh coastline. Each residency asked the question ‘Is the Artist in Residence?’ Each residency took a different form and extended a different invitation.

Throughout this, Fern’s third residency, she based herself in one of the iconic creative units designed by Heatherwick Studios at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ took inspiration from pan-cultural female ‘Rites of Passage’ specifically the three stages of: ‘Incubation’, ‘Metamorphosis’’ and ‘Emergence’. The projectwas also designed so as to work with the number 7. 7 artists who identify as female were invited to work for 7 days, 7 hours each day.

This creative enquiry involved working with personal stories and collective archetypal images, spending time alone in nature with opportunities for making pilgrimage, body-voice exploration, a day of fasting, times of feasting, space for attunement to universal energies, deep dialogue and self-generated ceremony. The ceremonial space we created together and alone was intended to mark a commitment, a severance, an Emergence into a new identity… This represented a space to be still, be resourced, be inspired. And an opportunity to connect to the mysterious, our own intuitive knowing and the deep well of creativity that is within each one of us.

Venue: Heatherwick Creative Unit, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Dates: Monday 6th – Sunday 12th November 2017

Who Do You Think You Are? Was an exploration and intervention, which represented part of Fern Smith’s Creative Wales journey made possible with support from The Arts Council of Wales.

Excerpt from Invitation to Artists:

“Who Do You Think You Are? is the most edgy thing I’d done to date… I’ve been a theatre maker and performer for 25 years with Volcano Theatre, then a curator, commissioner and documenter of socially and ecologically engaged art with Emergence. I’m also a celebrant, coach and cranio-sacral therapist. What is my art-form? What is yours? I’ve put this invite out to find 7 artists who trust me enough to travel into unknown territory with me. 7 artists who want to give themselves time and space to explore new forms, connect to the source of their deep creativity and spend time in ceremony alone and with others. I am actively questioning the practice of art-making in life and society – its form and its function. I am asking myself questions like: ‘How do we live in the world as artists, as change-makers, as agents of creativity, in service of all life forms on this planet at this great time of instability and uncertainty?’ I have a desire to bring the practice of art closer to the art of living, to connect to the future as it emerges.
Would you like to join me?”