A tale from south of the river where just off Peckham Rye when you turn down Blenheim Grove and onto Lyndhurst Way; Yes the same Lyndhurst Way that is just off the Lyndhurst Grove that Jarvis Cocker mused on about and that Architect who lived at number 59; there is an arch and under that arch lives Arcadia Missa, founded by director Rozsa Farkas and curator Tom Clark.
Arcadia Missa is a gallery. It is also a publishers, presenting contemporary art with clear curatorial themes that tie into its own cultural critique. A cultural critique that is responsive and reactive to the experiences of contemporary culture, focusing on digital, experiential and per formative practices.
The mission is to promote practices that not only interrogate their own, yours or our understanding of art but also to interrogate society’s understanding at large. Impressive, relevant and producing on and offline publishing events and facilitating research that is responsive and reactive to events, conversations and newly formed research residencies, you can also rent a studio space out the back.
It seems that doing it yourself in this day and age is doable, particularly in Peckham and it is difficult to ignore the message that our young, telling, procreative graduates are sending out, loud and clear, ring out the bells, ‘Do it yourself!’. We caught up with Rozsa to ask her viewpoint on this and to take a look at the current exhibition XYMEMORY.
How old are you?
Turned 25 in October . . .
Where do you live?
Where were you born?
SOUTH EAST LONDON!!!! Whooooooo!
Where were you educated?
Where do you see yourself going?
The pub/my Mum’s/not far. Arcadia Missa doesn’t have an expiry date yet, and even if/when there is a ‘post arcadia’ time, I reckon I will continue self organised projects around my interests and expanded practice.
What has been the greatest challenge in giving birth and life to Arcadia Missa?
Building all the studios was easier than you’d imagine. The hardest thing is sustainability within the long term – I think this is true for our friends with spaces too.
What sets Arcadia Missa apart from the other artist led organisations emerging out of Peckham?
From our inception we were dedicated to per formative digital practices and publishing (on and offline).
And what makes Arcadia Missa blend with them?
Peckham has a close community and strong relationships between those producing and presenting art in the area, I think it is this closeness, and I’d go as far to say, support network, which results in all the places socially ‘blending’
Can you elaborate on the artist, Marlie Mul and current exhibition XYMEMORY?
I was a fan of Marlie’s work and got to meet her when she came to see her friends’ Katja Novitskova and Amalia Ulman’s show, which was just a bit of random luck. She takes the ephemeral, often a subjective action or essence and puts these into a material object, gesture, in order to create narratives of the momentary subjectivities she picks up on. In XYMEMORY it is work that is born out of an online publications project www.xym.no where the group (XYM) invite artists to produce downloadable pdfs for the site. A key factor of this process is that the pdfs are limited; they have varying temporalities on the site. Marlie’s XYMEMORY sticks play on this value construction that goes on with assigning limitation to an (even intangible) object. Here value construction comes from notions of authorship, uniqueness, the handmade and limited amounts in her production of handcrafted usb sticks – with all the previous / expired pdfs contained within them.
What have you learnt about your own capabilities and character throughout this journey?
Haha too much to say/admit! I’m a ‘workhorse’ – is that the expression? I’m pretty resilient. And as most people in arts would say, I’ve learnt that my work is my life.
Do you have any further skills that stem beyond being a bad ass independent young woman? Do you have any other roles that need to be fulfilled?
Lol. Being a bad-ass independent man?
How do you cope with the pressure to constantly evolve at Arcadia Missa? Is it an organic experience or does your team have a strategy?
It’s organic due to material condition, evolution of one’s interests and then we strategize that development into our programme and publications.
How do you cope and refrain from becoming overwhelmed and succumbing to any commercial pressures? Is succumbing to commercial pressures ok?
Succumbing to commercial pressures to me means making money takes importance over everything and that you would promote something you are against or art you dislike etc solely for financial gain. However in reality I think we further need to wake up to the economic situations in and around us both on local and global scales, and perhaps veer away from fetishizing precarity within ‘bohemian’ creative networks. IRL is tough, lets explore but not celebrate blindly just how tough, and this also means that being able to be self sufficient can be a massive statement but also a way to hopefully in the future help support your peers
Why Peckham and not the East End or anywhere else for that matter?
It’s my hometown! #reprezent. This also means that I already had a network of collaborators and audience here. Plus I find most of the typical East end scene stagnant. I was so excited going to Brick Lane etc at 15 or so, but that kind of died by sixth form as it was already becoming way too gentrified. The majority of East End places with a good feeling to them are much further East now which is quite demanding for me (to trek to) as I’m such a South Londoner . . .
What advice would you give to any persons looking to go their own way?
Its very hard work, so only do it if it is something you are truly passionate about.
Are you putting on any further club nights at Arcadia Missa?
Not right now, but not never . . .
Why this fair city and not beyond?
My Dog <3
XYMEMORY runs until this Sunday 11th November.