We wish to thank the generosity of the four remarkable shortlisted artists for sharing their work with us. It has been a pleasure and privilege to encounter the work of these artists operating across diverse practices, using very different strategies, but united in their shared commitment to affect and to change; they stand as agents of change – social, political, personal, collective, change. They remind us of the breadth and depth of Live Art as field of activity, their brilliance underling its urgent presence in social and cultural life. We also wish to thank ANTI Festival and the Saastamoinen Foundation for establishing and supporting an award that can celebrate four artists as varied, as exciting, as vital and as needed as this year’s shortlist.
Our task as a jury was incredibly difficult, to find a winning artist amongst this group, one also united by a shared sense of generosity, generosity shown to their audiences, their collaborators, their participants and to the constituencies and communities their work contributes to. All The Queens Men bring people together in ways that are truly impactful and joyous, giving space and time to people, to communities and to histories on a scale, and with ambition, that is nothing short of epic. Their work transcends the initial impulse and presence of the artist and becomes a singular moment in time.
The socially embedded and responsive work of Jeanne van Heeswijk creates dialogue and exchange, opening out city space and urban life by asking a series of fundamental questions on how to live with each other and how the frameworks of policy, governance, capital and community variously inhibit and engender ideas of home. van Heeswijk’s process-based projects brilliantly challenge our thinking around what art is, what it can do and how we identify it.
The jury was deeply impressed by Nic Green’s work and would like to extend special mention of that here. Her capacity for invention, her ability to blur the borders between performance forms, the incredibly vivid presence of the body in her work, often her own body, her extensive skills as a performer and as a maker of performance are clearly displayed across an impressive range of productions for the stage and other contexts. Green’s sense of composition, her choreographic understanding of structure, allied to a set of concerns that are urgently, eloquently and forcibly expressed make for a growing body of performance work that impresses, shocks and inspires.
Sonya Lindfors’ live works, her interventions in social space, literary space and her contribution to public dialogue and exchange have created an urgent set of questions around who speaks and to whom. Lindfors’ choreographic practice produces interrogative space, dialogic space, an embodied black space, that deeply and purposely problematizes expectations. The impulse of her performance work and the bodies found there, hidden, revealed and playfully evoked challenge our sense of ‘the canon’; what other histories and trajectories run through this space and which do not, which haven’t featured – what voices, what bodies, remain missing? Lindfors’ work questions assumption, it questions us in our act of witnessing. In their stillness, their silence her performances watch us – as they move, speak, stand, observe, we engage in something of the same process; we begin to re-apprehend cultural space – who is it for, who works there, who is allowed to work and who attends to its potentials.
Her practice is of vital importance to its immediate contexts and Lindfors works to allow others to work, to create spaces of exchange and dialogue where previously they were missing. Her contribution to arts and culture is quickly becoming essential, foundational to the sets of social discourses around equality, diversity, gender, and sexuality that are reshaping our world. Lindfors works with the body, she works with movement and choreography to articulate and to question the place, the provenance and potentials of the body, her body, to cause change. For this, and for the equally extraordinary work we know will follow, we are thrilled to award the 2018 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art to Sonya Lindfors.