Fresh Friday with Maggie Roberts

10th May 2024

Fresh Friday with Maggie Roberts

Maggie Roberts currently teaches Fine Art Critical Studies at Central St Martins, UAL and is a Senior Research artist on AiDesign Lab, RCA, London.

Maggie has explored the boundaries of machine and human vision with the collaborative artist Orphan Drift, which she cofounded in 1995. Their installations, performances and speculative fictions have been exhibited internationally for over three decades. In recent years she has been imagining the lifeworld of the Common Octopus, diving in the Great African Sea Forest and working with an Interspecies Communicator. Orphan Drift is considering Artificial Intelligence through the somatic tendencies of the octopus – as a distributed, many-minded consciousness. The 0ctoGANN text, Orphan Drift’s multiple channel video installation If AI Were Cephalopod at Telematic Gallery San Francisco and the ACE funded IMT Gallery Becoming Octopus Meditations all address human exceptionalism’s limited understanding of ourselves in relation to other kinds of life.

What can students expect this Fresh Friday?

There will be three sections to the workshop, each around 30 minutes.

Firstly, a short artist talk about the octopus and imagining into another, alien kind of embodiment. Screening of the second ‘Becoming Octopus Meditations’.

Part two starts with slowing into the rhythms of the ocean whilst sitting and breathing, eyes closed. Then after a brief warm up, moving to a guiding ‘story’ (the artist’s reading with video of the underwater kelp forest and excerpts from the meditations playing in the background). The dancers are asked to respond to the ocean environment and becoming octopus. They’ll start by standing or lying down in the space and respond to the provocations (maybe with eyes closed for 5 minutes). In this section, dancers might want to break into smaller ‘focus groups’, allowing people to watch and then move interchangeably.

Part three is a Compositional Circle: improvisation in smaller groups, duets, solos.

Dancers come into the centre of the circle and respond to different moods in the underwater forest, again guided by the artist’s voice. There will be a mixture of slow exploratory rhythm, with a more intense section as a storm moves through the forest.

We will close with a feedback circle, sharing what you felt and experienced.


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