On Sunday Bankside was at the heart to something massive.
Hundreds of women age 60+ came from all over the UK to participate in Suzanne Lacy’s new performance artwork Silver Action. All the women were or had been part of significant activist movements and protests since 1950. They were joined by 20 under 60s who answered the call put out by Bankside communications company Forster, ‘Are you Passionate about Art, Feminism and Social Media?’ I said yes and so was part of perhaps the first artwork that has integrated real time social media comment into its content. How exciting!
The performance ran from 12-5pm. Each hour 96 women took their seats round square tables and shared their personal stories of female activism live and unscripted, while visitors wandered the Tank. Live personal narratives and reflective thoughts were projected onto the walls of the non-traditional circular art space and snippets of group conversations were tweeted out via #silveraction.
Bearing witness to the words weaving their way across the network of tables I sat at the corners of was a humbling experience. Prompted by a series of questions posed by the artist, the conversations covered everything from the doors the production of cheap white goods and developments in childcare have opened for women, ageism and the effect of other forms of bias, modern perspectives on waste and the environment, possible remedies to societal breakdown and notions of “activism” in the masculine and the feminine realm.
I tried to open up the experience I was having to my wider online community through a heck load of tweets. For the non-twitterers out there, here are some of them:
I loved ‘Silver Action’ and will be keeping in contact with the project to see how the oral histories recorded on the day will be archived and displayed in the future. Importantly, Sunday’s event communicated the roles these women have had in social transformation to a very wide audience in a transformative way and highlighted the social relevance older women have to the whole of society now. It also reminded me how great Tate Modern is.
'Silver Action' was part of Tate’s Live Performance Series.
I first came across Suzanne Lacy through her performance piece 'The Crystal Quilt' (1987). This artwork is currently on display in the Tanks. In this 430 women over the age of 60 came together in a shopping centre in Minneapolis to talk about their experiences of getting older, you can see artworks relating to the event and a film of it in the Tanks now.