Monica Tolia & Moses Ward

01 August 2020

October Residency: Rituals of radical Other-care

Monica Tolia is a visual and performing artist working with digital technologies & choreography. She holds an MFA Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London (2018). Moses Ward is an independent dance artist recently graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance in 2020. Together, they’ve collaborated on interdisciplinary performances since 2018. Recent projects together include ‘2M’ a performance film due for release in 2020, ‘Flora/Fauna/Machina’ at Chalton Gallery for Art Night 2019, & Arts Council National Lottery funded project ‘Technologies of Lived Abstraction: Future Present’ at Ugly Duck (2019, London). They will be continuing their collaborative performance research through the context of Deptford X’s residency ‘How to be together again’.


Instagram: @mon_tolia and @moses5115



Project summary

“Pandemics can be portals” said the radical Indian thinker Arundhati Roy, and the world has been going through 2 pandemics, that of COVID-19 and racism. Before we exit the other side of the portal into what we hope will be a more equitable world, we first need to shed the holding patterns of the past, as Roy claims to walk through lightly “…ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

We will spend our months residency researching collective healing and ritual practices for the new normal using our combined skillset in body-based practices & sound production.

With the politics of touch compromised by the threat of coronavirus, a core aspect of not only our practices as performers and dancers is compromised, but also a fundamental part of human experience and care. The body releases held patterns through touch and contact, so we need to reimagine the intimacy of the embrace that we are lacking in this moment.

The term “holding patterns” in the popular meaning is used in aviation to describe the choreography of an aeroplane circling around waiting for permission to land. In dance and movement practices, it’s when areas of the body become stiff, stuck, sticky, achy, painful or immobile. They are something that emerge as a result of trauma, bodily or emotional. It’s something we are all holding these days as a result of months of isolation, news of countless deaths, bereavement, uncertainty about the future and witnessing structural violences on social media. Questions about how we heal ourselves & care for others in preparation for the work of future-building are at the centre of our minds… we are still circling the questions brought out through the twin pandemics, figuring out how to land into the future we desire.

We ask how can we create forms of embrace without physically being able to hold each other? How can we find alternative forms of touch? With words, with sounds, with materials, in the surrounding environment, with ourselves? And with that in mind, what ritual experiences can we create which we can then offer to others.

With social distancing in mind, we’ll be running our residency mostly through Instagram. Keep an eye on our IG space to follow our research ideas, micro-performances & offerings!

We will spend our months residency researching collective healing and ritual practices for the new normal using our combined skillset in body-based practices & sound production.

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