who are you and what do you want?
In late 2016, non zero one worked with Year 4 children from a Wandsworth primary school to create who are you and what do you want? – a DIY-identity-choosing-placard-making-slow-mo-video extravaganza that asked people of all ages how they identified and what they stood for.
Part of a scratch project commissioned by BAC Moving Museum entitled Return To Elm House, we looked at local hero Charlotte Despard (a radical feminist too radical even for the Suffragettes) with the 8-year-old Wandsworth residents, exploring the things she stood for: sticking your head above the parapet, standing up for what you believe, and talking on behalf of a group who needs you.
Following a series of workshops in the school, we found we had a list of categories that the young people had used to identify themselves within – ranging from “BIG SISTERS” to “PLAYSTATION GAMERS”, “FAST RUNNERS” to “NON-RELIGIOUS PEOPLE”. There was also a list of things that the young people had said they wanted, or that were important to them, or that they would fight for, including: “EQUALITY”, “THE RIGHT TO FEEL HEARD”, and “PIZZA”.
On arriving at the installation at BAC, groups of school children were faced with a decision tree (see photo gallery at the bottom of this page) – they navigated this by answering questions, and this would lead them to two categories. In the first category they came to, there were three phrases that could be used to describe an identity – the “FAST RUNNERS”, and in the second category, a thing to stand up for – the “PIZZA”.
Once people had made their choices, they could come over to where a template placard was waiting for them – “_______ FOR _______”. They could choose which way round to put their two words – PIZZA FOR FAST RUNNERS or FAST RUNNERS FOR PIZZA? EQUALITY FOR NON-RELIGIOUS PEOPLE or NON-RELIGIOUS PEOPLE FOR EQUALITY?
Once the placard had been made, it was time to “stand up” for what it represented – with their placards, people then entered the slow-mo film booth, where the fans were turned on, the lights were powered up, and the fanfare played. Over the course of the installation, over 100 people were filmed with their placards – this is who they are, and this is what they want.
Photos by Alex Brenner.
If you had to go on a march with a placard right now, do you know what it would say? Who do you stand for and what is it you want? Big questions. And thanks the Battersea Arts Centre, we tackled these topics head on with a class of eight and nine year olds.