Rachael Clerke

Works with Live Art Danmark
2020 “A Spell to Make a Building Disappear”, performance at Copenhagen Contemporary and recipe for Performance Opskrifter.
2023 “The Punk Band Project” at Life Art for Children 2023.

A Spell to Make a Building Disappear
A Spell to Make a Building Disappear is a workshop and performance for children and families, aiming to temporarily erase institutional space. It is a rough reworking of a cabaret piece, Sex Noise Choir, that Rachael likes to perform late at night in queer spaces, when everyone is drunk. This version is more mundane – using sounds from outside the gallery space – but it is likewise about taking power in unexpected ways, and the radical possibility of learning to use our voices. In A Spell to Make a Building Disappear participants practice using their voices to take up space in an institutional setting, with the aim of allowing the prominence of the building to flicker and fade.

The workshop and performance are designed to embrace the duality of the art institution as 1. A space that allows us to be heard and express ourselves, and 2. A space that holds [too much] power in deciding who and how people are heard. What if children took the space allowed by the gallery, but dissolved the building itself? What might this environment look like if the art, the artists and the audience was still here, but the institution momentarily absent?

Photos: Ellen Friis

A Spell to Make a Building Disappear Performance Recipe
Based on her performance, Rachael developed a recipe that invites future audiences to continue the research and the art work that were created by the young audiences in the original version. Their recipe asks the participants to each collect one sound. All of the found sounds will be connected, and an orchestra piece will be composed from this material.

The Punk Band Project
Our Live Art for Kids festival in 2023, which we organised in Copenhagen in collaboration with S/H theatre, focussed on original ways to use sound and music as materials in live art. It was the perfect occassion for Rachael to finally make her oldest and greatest dream come true. For 25 years, she had dreamt of being a memeber of a punk band. Until the day she realized in a moment of overwhelming clarity that she could simply start one herself! So she did. She decided not to care about good looks, musical skills or experience. Because life is a lot more fun without worrying about that sort of thing. Instead she contacted some groups of adventurous teenage girls from Vesterbro, and within a day they created the music, visuals and performances of their brand new punk bands from scratch, and played a concert for impressed audiences of all ages.

About the Artist
Rachael Clerke is an award winning Bristol-based artist working across many mediums. Her work can usually be described as a sort of satire and is often explicitly anti-capitalist, queer and feminist. She is interested in changing the world by creating alternative narratives and realities. The work is often an experiment about what ‘real life’ might look like if we were less concerned with what ‘real life’ has always looked like.Rachael is currently developing Working Model, a modern-day city built by children, and Shared Ownership Businesses, a shared ownership business. She is also learning to skateboard and grow food.Rachael is a proud member of Interval artist collective, Artist Union England, and ACORN and is a Jerwood Foundation Artist Advisor.

She once received a ‘review’ that read simply – “Performance Art? Either learn to paint or sculpt or fuck off”.

Rachael’s work is documented on her website.

About liveart_dk

Liveart.dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.