Block Universe, Londonâ€™s leading performance art festival and international commissioning body, returned from Monday 25 May to Saturday 30 May 2020, with Sessions.Â
SessionsÂ was Block Universeâ€™s first virtual festival featuring workshops, podcasts, film, live performances and music. These sessions explored what it means to host a performance or discussion in the virtual realm and how to connect with audiences through screens, and forecasted the future through alternative ways of living. Audiences experienced live performances, an augmented reality performance, an online cooking workshop and a collaborative work which forged connectivity to those separated by the current pandemic.
Artists taking part in Sessions were: Keiken & Sakeema Crook, Jade Montserrat & Nikita Gill, Eve Stainton, InĂŞs Neto dos Santos. These performances were broadcast every week day evening at 6pm BST.
On Friday, things kicked off at 9pm BST with a longer, late night line up includingÂ Ekin Bernay & Rowdy SS with collaborators, and Jenny Moore with collaborators. Finally, on Saturday, Sarah Shin and M.J. Harding with collaboratorsÂ presented a brunch time listening session at 10am BST.
Staying close to the original festival dates in May, the programme mirrored Block Universeâ€™s IRL festival format in that it offered live performance on the cross-section of visual art, dance and music. It also echoed Block Universeâ€™s ambition to ensure sustained engagement with performance art in London and beyond and to support artists at every junction – for this programme new work has been specially commissioned as a way of continuing to provide economic support for artists during this challenging time. Block Universe also supported a young curator, Marlies Augustijn to develop the programme, alongside a cohort of student trainees, with Art Fund support.