The dirtier the better for the girls from LEAK, an English based performance group that have turned heads with their latest act and poised the question ‘is it art?’ “We like the junk and vomit and waste that comes out of living in a consumer society – pizza boxes, glittery curtains, gynaecology equipment, tin foil, Alien circa 1979, sexy underwear, cling film, discos lights and Ludacris.” Ellie Bradford and Ellen Angus are the core members of LEAK who believe that they are not trying to send a message through their works but state that, “we don’t mind if people do not view it as ‘art.’ It is messy, the aesthetic is messy and the attitude is messy.” What better way to get brains ticking and people talking by making them squirm, laugh or cry. It is all about broaching the idea that you take from it what you will, and if you don’t like it then just damn well close your eyes.
Naked bodies writhing, wrapped in cling film, sex toys and other paraphernalia, one cannot help but mutter under their breath – is this porn? LEAK say they “look to porn a lot through expressions and arousal and emptiness, maybe trying to mimic aspects of submission or passivity and domination and desire.” Can pornography be considered an art form or is it completely frowned upon and getting kicked out of the artistic front door? “Making pornography within an art institution was interesting. We felt it was dismissed and treated as a horrible disease infecting the purity of academia, and the high-culture of art,” says LEAK. Making a conscious effort to shy away from being caught up in a scene or being moulded into a particular genre their works are there to be viewed without the pressure of opinion. Whether you feel it is pornography or art, it is how you want to envision the feats of LEAK. There is no hidden message, no secret agenda.
Using a range of varied mediums such as live acts, installations, I-Pad drawings and sound pieces LEAK find “the exciting thing about live performance is that it’s always changing and never static. It’s an event and the amount of people there or their attitude will probably in some way affect the whole mood or attitude of the event itself.” Thriving on the thrill of the unexpected is what gives them their kicks. The Internet is also their stage, acting as a fully accessible platform to showcase their videos. “It’s weirdly pervy knowing that people are watching it with so many different intentions, kind of great to think that maybe their might be people masturbating over art works that aren’t really art works but kind of are…” says LEAK. The boundaries are certainly being pushed in every sense of the word, with a multitude of reactions coming from LEAK’S tumultuous executions and a certain love/hate relationship being formed. The girls say “it’s more for us a way of prodding at things to see if they dissolve, a way of finding out what people think is arousing, disgusting, silly, scary or funny. We are not sending out any particular message. I think people find that quite difficult to accept.”
A vast majority of us are often sheltered by the goings on in a big city – what lies beneath is a mix of dirt and grime that often shocks the system. The themes that are touched upon are topical and usually relevant to city life. Although off putting at times, the visionary work of LEAK plays on people’s emotions, creating a range of impressions.
Transpiring their productions through their love for chaos and messiness LEAK are tapping into the underbelly of the day to day. When divulging on how the tone is set for each piece LEAK says it derives “from a place, a mood, often joyous, sexual, humorous but angry and frustrated too.” Emotion certainly plays a pivotal part along with the likes of mass consumerism, as well as personal and political aspects that are the moral make up of LEAK. “It’s political in the sense that everything is political. You can’t get away from politics it is everywhere. In the choices that you make, the places you go to drink and dance, the food you eat the things you buy. That’s all guided by the way in which you want to play out your role as a citizen in this society.”
It is more often than not that one tends to shun the ugly and gruesome, which in fact is reality, when it comes to lives fueled by mass consumption. LEAK offers their insight and perceptions of what they take from their daily lives through a variety of media. Putting it into performance, albeit leaving it with no particular voice allows the observer to transcend the message from LEAK’s own imagination and experiences. LEAK don’t mind if people feel think it has been done before because it is coming from a place of their own where everything is always different.
To read my original post from Kaltblut please click here.