Performative research presentation by artist Alice Theobald

This event is part of the IAS Festival of Failure.

Performative research presentation by artist Alice Theobald exploring the ways in which we think about success and failure, our past and future aspirations and what “living your best life” really means. 

We live in a time where we are directed towards self-optimisation and constantly encouraged to “work on ourselves” for the purpose of being more "ourselves", to "live our truth" and be our "best selves", and through doing this find a route to authenticity and success, all the while documenting and sharing our “journey” online. But what impact does this have on our collective psyche, and what does it actually mean to “just be yourself”? What influences our views on what kinds of lives we admire and find satisfying or successful? Contemporary society puts a great deal of value on success and professionalism, but is there also value in embracing failure and amateurism or of being just good-enough?

Alice Theobald (Leicester, 1985) is an artist based in Birmingham, UK. Theobald works across a wide range of media including live performance, video, installation, sound, text and sculpture and composes musical scores for her works. Her work fluctuates between script and improvisation and highlights the unstable relationship between art, communication and representation. Often conflating sentimental tropes, cliche and social archetypes with absurdist and dead-pan humour, Theobald addresses accepted concepts of spectacle and emotion and uses performance as both starting point and subject matter to magnify aspects of everyday life and typically introspective thought. Borrowing from the vocabulary of cinema, television, theatre, literature and soundtracks, her practice is concerned with the desire for authenticity and commodification of emotion and what this might say about empathy, aspiration and how we (mis)communicate.

Theobald is currently developing new work as an Incidental Artist with Eastside Projects, mac Birmingham and the Birmingham School of Art at Birmingham City University where she has been supported by a Wheatley Fellowship. In 2022 she presented IL Y AURA (There will be) a major solo exhibition at The South London Gallery. Theobalds work has been exhibited, screened and performed internationally including at Gaudel de Stampa, Paris; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2019 and 2015); PLAYGROUND festival Museum Leuven, Leuven (2023); Fabriano Contemporeana International Art Biennial, Fabriano (2023); Lisson Gallery, London (2015), amongst others. She is co-founder of the music group/artist collective Ravioli Me Away who have produced a touring alt-opera, released four Albums, toured internationally and supported legendary post-punk acts such as The Fall and Ana Da Silva (The Raincoats).

Arrivals from 11:45 am for a 12:00noon start. This event is in-person only.
(Please note that in-person spaces are limited and booking is required, so we can manage numbers for the space in the seminar room)

By booking a place at this event, attendees agree to behave in a respectful manner such that everyone feels comfortable contributing as they wish. The IAS reserves the right to eject anyone who does not abide by this policy.

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