Mark Storor

a tender subject

Beneath Smithfield Market, London
16 March 2012 - 31 March 2012

The thought of the act of crying. The terror of, and need to, attach a smile to someone.
These are the quiet and tender moments imagined by men whose lives are not seen to be their own.

A culmination of three years' work with gay prisoners and prison officers, Mark Storor’s a tender subject was a twilight world where questions about who we are as human beings, and why we react and judge the way we do, were posed in a promenade performance that explored the relationship between fragility and brutality, tenderness and violence.

Audiences visiting a tender subject were transported from a central London location to a secret space where they were escorted by prison officers along a guided route, encountering performance and installations that told the stories and experiences of the project’s collaborators.

The men performing the roles of prisoners in the production worked with Artangel through a collaboration with Only Connect creative arts company.


This video walk-through of Mark Storor's a tender subject is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Talk: a tender subject — Mark Storor audience discussion, 31st March 2012

91 minutes 21 seconds
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Talk: a tender subject — Mark Storor audience discussion, 31st March 2012

a tender subject, by Mark Storor, is a culmination of three years' work with gay prisoners and prison officers. The resultant performance questioned who we are as human beings, why we react and judge the way we do, and responses that explored the relationship between fragility and brutality, tenderness and violence.

Audiences visiting a tender subject were transported from a central London location to a secret space where they were escorted by prison officers along a guided route, encountering performance and installations that told the stories and experiences of the project’s collaborators.

On 24 and 31 March 2012, at the Free Word Centre in Clerkenwell, two free, informal discussions took place giving audience members the opportunity to discuss a tender subject with the artist and several of the collaborators and organisations that were part of its development and creation.

Recorded at the Free Word Centre, Clerkenwell, London on 31st March 2012

You can listen to the talk on Soundcloud


You can listen to the project's other events on Soundcloud. 

Talk: a tender subject — Mark Storor audience discussion, 24th March 2012

Recorded at the Free Word Centre, Clerkenwell, London on 31st March 2012

 


Image: A naked man sits cradling the lifeless bloody body of another man on the dank floor of a large industrial space, as an onlooker sits watching in the background during a tender subject, 2012. Photograph: Stephen White

A Critical Lens on a tender subject

Dr. R.M. Sánchez-Camus
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A Critical Lens on a tender subject

Dr. R.M. Sánchez-Camus
30 November 2012


a tender subject was the final presentation of a 3-year research programme completed in the UK prison system by artist Mark Storor together with Artangel collaborative projects producer Rachel Anderson. The workshops focused on identifying and working with gay male prisoners and female and male prison officers. This article offers the reader a method to critically analyse the work, taking into consideration all of the various factors that are incorporated into the piece but may not be immediately visible or apparent. The work instigated a strong emotional response in many viewers, leaving some perplexed about their own role in the experience and others questioning how the actions and images that they witnessed reflected that larger body of research. In offering this lens with which to explore the work critically it is important to look at how the work was arranged theoretically, and I rely on Michel Foucault and Jacques Ranciere to weave these theories into the practice. And in order to appreciate the work aesthetically, I refer to David Davies and Shannon Jackson, to develop a language around the interrogation of socially engaged works. A list of cited texts is below.

Read the complete essay


Image: Two men grapple, one in dressed in all white, the other bare-chested with a red cloth held up to obscure his face. Image: Stephen King, 2012. Photograph: Stephen White

Press

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The aptly titled performance plays with the meanings of the words ‘tender’ and ‘subject’: implying both the sentimentality and emotion felt by the prisoners and the tenderness of a bruise, while subject can refer to a specific individual or the topic as a whole. — Emily Sack, Aesthetica Magazine, 21 March 2012

Seleted Press

...Storor’s socially-conscious work demonstrates the power of art to act as a tool for communication. As well as the role an artist can play in conveying important issues to an audience that might not otherwise be exposed to them. And once again, Artangel have provided a valuable platform to help realise a very ambitious project.  — Maya Davies, Its Nice That, 19 March 2012

 

After an hour, we, as mere visitors, are able to leave. Embroidered on the shirt of the final security guard we meet is not the name of his company, Serco, but simply the word at the heart of it all, ‘tender’. Repression, secrecy, the troubled relationship between public and private: these are not just issues for prisoners dealing with homosexuality, but ones that strike at the heart of the way this country is run today. — Tom Jeffreys, Spoonfed, March 2012

 

Overcoming the initial denial of the existence of gay men in prison, he began to get a sense of the extreme difficulties created by fear, homophobia and violence. Through his workshops, Storor gave men, whose lives are not seen to be their own, the opportunity to imagine quiet and tender moments: and what he discovered was an extremely delicate relationship between fragility and brutality, tenderness and violence. — Artlyst, 15 March, 2012

About Mark Storor

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Mark Storor

Mark Storor is an award winning artist who works in the space between live art and theatre. His work is devised, often site specific and always collaborative. Recent work includes the TMA Award winning For The Best: “a devastating theatrical journey that throws dazzling light on the idea as illness as metaphor“ (The Guardian) and The Fat Girl Gets A Haircut which opened at the Roundhouse in London 2012: The wintry luminescence of Fat Girl is gorgeous stuff and a welcome return to the Roundhouse experimental roots. (Time Out London)

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Image: Still of a greying man with his back turned away from the camera, stood facing a mahogany wardrobe in an otherwise empty black space, taken from Mark Storor's A Tender Subject: Walk-through video, 2012 (left) and a portrait of the artist Mark Storor (above). Photograph: Taz Kyprianou

Production Credits

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Production Credits

a tender subject cast and crew


Actors

Feras Al-Bakri, Jabulani Siphika, Michael Williamson, Aaron Russell Andrews, Tyrone Nestor, Mustafa Shaddouh, Temi tope Lateef, Odene Beckford, Dymond Allen, Jason Rock
 

Officers

Paola Cussimano, Glen Timmings, Mick Akrigg, Phil Forder, Joanne Foy, Avril Davis, Ella Simpson, Ruth Birch, Claire Calvagna
 

Crew

Artist Director — Mark Storor
Producer — Rachel Anderson
Composer and performer — Dom Coyote 
Creative installation manager — R.M. Sánchez-Camus 
Lighting Designer — Jonathan Samuels
Production assistant and stage management — Laura Milnes, Tim Owen Jones 
Production assistant — Nicky Waters, Joe Rivers 
Sculpture and fabrication — Charlie Whittuck, Rachael Champion 
Sound artist — Patrick Furness 
Lettering artist — Jocasta Allwood 
Production assistant and crew — Alice May Williams 
Production crew — Julian King, Loz Chalk, Edwin Morris, Sean Reynard, James Stringer, Paul Gwilliam, Oliver Hymans, Lea Provenzano, Paul Schneider 
Electrics — Stephan, Jason Glass, Chris Barr, Daniel Blurton 
Photography — Tas Kyprianou, Stephen King 
Front of House — Martha Crawford, Amy Hayward, Jennie Ryerson
 

Full cast and crew details available here


Image: Two men wheel a makeshift wooden horse through a corridor strewn with debris underneath Smithfield Market during a tender subject, 2012. Photograph: Stephen King

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Credits

Commissioned and produced by Artangel with the support of Arts Council England and City Bridge Trust with thanks to the City of London. The men performing the roles of prisoners in the production worked with Artangel through a collaboration with Only Connect creative arts company.

Artangel is generously supported by the private patronage of The Artangel International CircleSpecial AngelsGuardian Angels and The Company of Angels. 


 

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