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Critical Practice

Laura Moreton-Griffiths

Telling stories for positive change.


Laura Moreton-Griffiths artist, writer and curator, lives and works in London.

From a young age, I have had a strong sense that things aren’t right.

As Capitalism is failing, our agency is reducing with it. How do we take back our agency? My philosophical practice attempts to do just that. My enquiry is my resistance, challenging what I know about the world, asking others to do so also, so that we can build a new and more equitable world picture.

Developing out of my overarching project exploring how Capitalism got into our head and how we get it out, ongoing works try to understand and illuminate discriminatory social practices. Works about gender, class and race, concentrate on economic drivers of injustice. Giving form to my critique research, political and cultural theory is distilled in entertaining ways.

My focus on storytelling kicks back against systems that whitewash politics and erase histories for blue-chip markets. Referencing the past whilst looking to the future, I start with the desire to retrieve history painting’s sublated good. I am interested in this outmoded and problematic genre’s accessibility, its ability to communicate with diverse audiences and the public it has created. It has made me think about new ways of telling and imaging history, but for a multimedia era.

Like Capitalism, the art world absorbs, mutates, takes on new forms; in the same way, my work responds to uncertainty, considering alternative ways of showing, surviving and organising. Resisting Capitalism’s speed and production of objects, I am keen to share ideas ethically, in real life and across digital platforms for the networked community, good and bad. This community, I believe, is capable of working collaboratively to make positive change.

My stories about conflict and control blend fact and fiction, and mix personal biography with overlooked events from history and current events. The ideas have travelled a long way, the themes are leaky and costumes cross projects.

Like the history painter of the past, my research goes through a lengthy process: in my case, writing, collaging, drawing and storyboarding, and collaboration across disciplines. Traditional processes are mixed with interactive and broadcast technologies and crafted with precision and slow labour. It’s a process of construction.

The works are unapologetically wonky. Tender, funny, political, soulful, conflicting, sad; with a largely black and white aesthetic. From room-sized graphic novels that people can walk around, the characters drawn in pencil and ink on paper, gesso on board, and painted in oil on laser-cut powder-coated steel, activated by Arduino circuits and proximity sensors; to 3D characters and environments, to hand-drawn animation and digital film, and handmade costumes and props for performance to screen and in real life.





Banner image: Hand-drawn and animated character for the opening sequence of The Adventures of Gas Hood, 2021.

Side image: Production still, performance in a wearable painting, based on eighteenth century Masonic symbolism, for Being Duchamp Becoming Elsa, 2021.

Still from The Adventures of Gas Hood, 2021.

THE ADVENTURES OF GAS HOOD, 2021

Gas Hood Does Busby Berkeley

Socialised as consumers, always producing, deeply entangled in how and what we produce, I perform myself and my character hidden in a mask, itself a character, a reconstruction of a WWI gas hood made to protect against early chemical warfare. Lost in a mass of technology, a material force. Where is our agency?

Hand-drawn animation and moving image.

Watch it here.

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Ebook, 2021.

FUTURES WITH FUTURES

Imagining the world differently

A collection of four short stories, designed around the alchemical Elements – EARTH WIND FIRE WATERbuilding blocks that built the world the way it is – that could just as easily build it another way.

The overlapping themes play out in an imagined near future of corporate nation states, toxic supply chains and environmental collapse. The female characters, all take control, showing how the smallest act of resistance can have global effect.

Read the ebook here.

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Getting into character, being Duchamp: production shot for Being Duchamp Becoming Elsa, 2021.

BEING DUCHAMP BECOMING ELSA

A readymade photostory

A film, a 3D object, a performance, an artist's book - a multidisciplinary work about the originator of the well-known urinal, a seminal artwork that changed the way we view art and how we think about the world – Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. The cross-dressing, gender-bending narrative, encounters the man who lived down the hall, Duchamp and Elsa’s run-ins with the old boys’ club. Secrets, lies, figurative and real murder. Examining the clues, what was Elsa trying to tell us?

Watch the trailer here.

To be presented in real life at Cromwell Place, 22 – 25 July.

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