My performance practice approaches storytelling in a way that challenges assumptions authorship, authority and normative economies of the gaze. I celebrate the Noble Savage, interrogate the myth of 'civilised man' and indulge in the cruel, seductive impossibility of being good.

A selection of short fiction from the past few years...

I am currently reading a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. My research centres around intersectionality and alterity, emancipatory politics and the end of the world within the contemporary moment.

Happiness Forgets

Happiness Forgets

HAPPINESS FORGETS

I was looking for a little comfort. Turns out, the past wasn’t the place to find it…

Remember the good old days when everyone got along, when life was simple, when our television screens protected us from sex, violence and the discomfort of difference? Remember when police were friendly, politicians were statesmen, mothers were wholesome, the rich worked hard and celebrities were role models? Remember when we knew where we belonged?

Me neither.

Starting from a Cosby Show binge, viewing the pre-digital past through the dirty glasses of hindsight, Happiness Forgets interrogates the space between celebrities and fans, credibility and doubt, comedy and tragedy. It’s about race, sex, nostalgia and the moment when we see something familiar in a whole new light.

Happiness Forgets takes the form of a lecture performance utilising dance, video, and sound.

Happiness Forgets Live Tumblr – a dramaturgical repository.

The piece debuts at The Drum in Birmingham as part of the Fierce Festival on 11 October, 2015.

UK PERFORMANCE DATES:

Leeds:  7 November 2015 at Live Art Bistro

London:  26 November 2015 Sacred Festival at The Chelsea Theatre

Lancaster: February 2016 at Lancaster Arts

AFRICA PERFORAMNCE DATES:

Lagos: 25-28 February 2016 at Lagos Theatre Festival

PRESS FOR HAPPINESS FORGETS:

The Guardian Interview Season Butler

Co-commissioned by Fierce Festival, Chelsea Theatre (for Sacred), Colchester Arts Centre, Compass, Live Collision and Lancaster Arts.

Work developed during a Staycation Residency at Chisenhale Dance Space.

Photo: Christa Holka (2015)

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Happiness Forgets is a new multi-media performance by Season Butler, debuting at the Fierce Festival on 11 October 2015, followed by its London debut in the Sacred Festival at Chelsea Theatre, November 2015

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Everything About You

Cruising for Art at the Basement, Brighton, 2011, photo © Christa Holka

Season Butler has never met anyone like you before…

(devised for Cruising for Art

Deployed at Latitude Festival, under the piano at the BFI bar, The Basement (Brighton), ANTI-Festival (Kuopio, Finland)

Season Butler has never met anyone like you before… (devised for Cruising for Art Deployed at Latitude Festival, under the piano at the BFI bar, The Basement (Brighton), ANTI-Festival (Kuopio, Finland)

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maiitude |mī ē toōd|

photo © Christa Holka

maiitude |mī ē toōd|

noun [neologism]

1. A certain non-pejorative quality of flatness; the specific, fiddly quiddity of flat objects.

2. The particular way that flat objects move, particularly their tendency to jump.

3. Signifier-signified hyper-aggregation; the relation to the text or images on one side of a page to the text or images on the reverse.
3a. The piece of paper behaves like its text (or doesn’t):
‘at’ is incredibly easy to spot. It’s just always there.
‘tall’ isn’t. ‘attractive’ is, ‘avoid’ does.
3b. The ‘O’ box is Fernando Pessoa’s life, a puddle of days keeping books, the insufferable sea of ‘of’s, with the occasional ‘ochre’ of a Lisbon sunset on the side of a building, or the ‘ostensible’ of an epiphany that the grocer also has a soul, or the odd encounter with ‘other’s.
3c. A specific trompe l’oeil when the meaning of a word alters one’s perception of the shape of the object on which it is printed or in which it is contained.

4. Stupid proximity poetry:
‘England’ ‘erectus’
‘attractive’ ‘adults’ ‘always’ ‘a’ ‘a’ ‘a’ ‘a’
The Poor Arithmetic of Proximity:
‘for’ ‘for’ ‘for’ ‘for’ ‘fourteen’

5. My own tendency to read in to tiny texts which are not messages and were not meant for me: The Way It Makes Me Want Things;
I want to get a job writing ransom notes.

I’m troubled by the ‘H’ box. It’s full of ‘her’. I’m looking for ‘here’ and there’s ‘her’. I’m looking for ‘hear’ and there’s ‘her’. I’m looking for ‘help’ and there’s ‘her’. I’m looking for ‘him’ and there’s ‘her’. ‘Hirsute’ ‘harmonica’, the tiny comfort of the blues.

maiitude at ]performance s p a c e[ 2012, video by Timothy Smith

maiitude |mī ē toōd| – noun [neologism]

1. A certain non-pejorative quality of flatness; the specific, fiddly quiddity of flat objects.

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Chicken? (Naw, not me…) – I’m With You 14: Gorge at Apiary Studios

“Gorge: Chicken is the second iteration of an ongoing project that brings bodies around a dinner table for a messy politically-charged encounter with other eating bodies.” Johanna Linsley, I’m With You co-producer.

imwithyou.me/2014/04/14/iwy-14-gorge-chicken-documentation/
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Photos by Tim Smith, Christa Holka and Philipp Carl

“Gorge: Chicken is the second iteration of an ongoing project that brings bodies around a dinner table for a messy politically-charged encounter with other eating bodies.” Johanna Linsley, I’m With You co-producer. imwithyou.me/2014/04/14/iwy-14-gorge-chicken-documentation/ apiarystudios.org Photos by Tim Smith, Christa Holka and Philipp Carl

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Love Me, Nick Griffin

I have a secret crush. I don’t think I can keep it to myself any longer. The truth is I’m crazy about him. But I’m not sure how he feels about me. Maybe we’re just not right for each other. But I can change. “Love Me, Nick Griffin” is a love letter to utopia, an ode to lost causes.

This piece debuted at Stav B’s platform (Off Broadway, 2010) and subsequently showed at the Forest Fringe (Edinburgh, 2010) and Duckie (2010).

Photos © Christa Holka

I have a secret crush. I don’t think I can keep it to myself any longer. The truth is I’m crazy about him. But I’m not sure how he feels about me. Maybe we’re just not right for each other. But I can change. “Love Me, Nick Griffin” is a love letter to utopia, an […]

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Three Courses Served Cold

Three Courses

A Performative Installation by Season Butler and Hannah Ringham (Shunt) with Neil Bennun, Ottillie Parfitt, Georgia Jacob, Ben Ringham and Max Ringham.

Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats for a gentle disaster for two. Three courses, three times a night. It will be our pleasure to serve you.

A Performative Installation by Season Butler and Hannah Ringham (Shunt) with Neil Bennun, Ottillie Parfitt, Georgia Jacob, Ben Ringham and Max Ringham. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats for a gentle disaster for two. Three courses, three times a night. It will be our pleasure to serve you.

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Some Thoughts on Princesses and Privilege

Photo © Alison Henry 2009
Photo © Alison Henry 2009

Photo © Alison Henry 2009

It’s an old story. The more we believe in something, the more we allow ourselves to be convinced by it, the bigger it gets and the more powerful it becomes. The longer dead the author, the more difficult it is to question the story’s veracity. As with monsters, so with princesses.

Photos © Christa Holka and Alison Henry

I’m With You: Occupy London

It’s an old story. The more we believe in something, the more we allow ourselves to be convinced by it, the bigger it gets and the more powerful it becomes. The longer dead the author, the more difficult it is to question the story’s veracity. As with monsters, so with princesses. Photos © Christa Holka […]

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The Pedant’s Dictionary

The Pedant’s Dictionary is an ongoing project; entries – which take the form of text, video, performance and objects – will be added in no particular order and with a very subjective attention to detail.

The Pedant’s Dictionary is an ongoing project; entries – which take the form of text, video, performance and objects – will be added in no particular order and with a very subjective attention to detail.

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I Don’t Know How to Be Good but I Know How to Be Sorry

Shunt Lounge, 2011, photo © Katrina Lauder

This piece is a performative sculpture I devised in 2009, attempts to address the phenomenon of sexuality as a performance, and to show, as artist Karen Finley puts it, “how women are both defined by their sexuality and punished for it.”

The performer in the sculpture is tied using Japanese shibari bondage knots by another woman. On the pyre, styled from 350 to 400 candles to create the effect of a bonfire, she stands as a silent object. Punters call, ask questions, comment loudly about her, but she can’t answer – her trial has passed, society has made its judgement. I devised the piece to be durational – rather than, say, staging it as a photograph – to emphasise that fact that the spectacle of our punished sexuality and the blame that comes from the gaze we receive (she did it to herself, one could say) within the paradigm of “post-feminism” is something which does not just occur but which must be endured.

Photos © Neil Guy

This piece is a performative sculpture I devised in 2009, attempts to address the phenomenon of sexuality as a performance, and to show, as artist Karen Finley puts it, “how women are both defined by their sexuality and punished for it.” The performer in the sculpture is tied using Japanese shibari bondage knots by another woman. On […]

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More from Beyond than from Above

[This performance-for-documentation served as research for my novel-in-progress, Hanging from the Hammer of the Bell and part of I’m With You 6: Scarborough]

Work was set to start at dawn, so I spent the night alone in the house. I liked it. It made me feel tough. Like the early morning, exposed to the elements and my fear of water. Like the broken typewriter that rendered the act of writing suddenly physical like it was when I was a kid. And it was a performance and a bit of fun. But it was also research for my book and my only chance to produce something for this book. So if it didn’t work, or if my work was no good, I might have to rethink everything, reconsider what I’d thought were some pretty good decisions, to be an artist, to be a writer, to produce pages every day. I wanted to wish for a good day, I wanted to pray for it. But I’ve been wary of magic lately and decided to leave it. Because the thing is, if you use magic words and they don’t work, the magic’s gone forever.

I made a flask of soup and a flask of hot water for maté, set up as close to the cliff’s edge as I could manage and started, with a typo…

Photos © Chritsa Holka

[This performance-for-documentation served as research for my novel-in-progress, Hanging from the Hammer of the Bell and part of I’m With You 6: Scarborough] Work was set to start at dawn, so I spent the night alone in the house. I liked it. It made me feel tough. Like the early morning, exposed to the elements […]

read more
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