GUT HOUSE: Deptford Town Hall, 25 October-4 November 2019.
‘Now we, organs, return to fish-like times and begin to think.’
GUT HOUSE is a thirty-minute audio guide for Deptford Town Hall. It was included in the Deptford X Fringe programme 2019, 25 October – 4 November, a free artist-run community arts festival in and around Deptford.
The audio guide centres the recent POC (People of Colour) student-led occupation of Deptford Town Hall (12 March – 26 July 2019) –and ongoing actions – by Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action (GARA), using the gut and bacteria as a ‘parasitic diagram,’ referencing Sabrina Mumtaz Hasan’s ‘Socio-Parasitology Manifesto’. The unconscious body – mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, anus (students, workers and community) – in solidarity with the gut bacteria (GARA), come together to force the conscious body – the brain (Senior Management Team) – to meet urgent needs for survival. A chronically sick body supports a politics of care that is necessarily sustained and embedded.
Thanks to the ARLIS 50th Anniversary bursary, I was able to work with nine voice contributors from Goldsmiths Anti-Racist Action and Bury Your Gays (a QTIPOC – Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour – centred collective), as well as with those of friends and family: Yesenia Ramirez, Emma Massoud, Farrah Riley Gray, Johnny Dior, Amina Jibunoh, Mike Timms and Himali Singh Soin.
During the festival there were two special events – ‘collective’ audio tours, using a hired silent disco kit, on Friday 25 October, 6:30pm and Saturday 26 October, 3pm. Thank you to Nicholas Brown for taking this photo on the Saturday. I was using my phone to play the audio file and didn’t take any pictures myself!
The ‘collective’ audio tours led a group of twenty or so visitors to move through the building together thinking about the gut and bacteria as a model for social change. Inside the ‘gut house’, each space – entrance, marble stairs, gallery and council chamber – is also: mouth, throat, pouch-like stomach and bowel. Visitors were led down into the ‘stomach’, the Constance Howard Gallery and Goldsmiths Textiles Collection, to spend time with Farrah Riley Gray’s exhibition ‘Knotted’, also included in Deptford X. This is why the guide is in two parts.
Now, the work continues indefinitely; the audio lives online
( https://www.jessamockridge.com/gut_house.html ). You are invited to use your own devices and visit Deptford Town Hall during normal opening times, Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm, to take part in the self-guided tour. It is best to download PART 1 and PART 2 to your own device rather than streaming, as the internet isn’t great in the basement. For old iPhones, if you open up PART 1 and PART 2 in separate browsers and allow them to load, it should work.
Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Rd, New Cross, London SE14 6AF
Unfortunately, this audio guide is not appropriate for children due to the building regulations.
Not wheelchair accessible. An automated stair climber is available, however: contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7919 7121 to arrange in advance. If you have any access requirements, please email email@example.com and let me know.
Please be aware that strong language is used.
Goldsmiths, University of London