Samuel Dowd trained at Chelsea College of Art and subsequently at Wimbledon College of Art in Fine Art Sculpture. In 2007 he graduated with an MA in Time-based Arts from Dartington College of Arts. He is currently based in London. Dowd’s films to-date are predominantly non-narrative portraits of both existent and imagined dwellings – exhaustively nuanced spaces – often populated by sculptural objects and, occasionally, somnambulist figures. This work is underscored by the will to inhabit moments of unmitigated experience: moments of making, being and becoming. Enigmatic encounters with forms, subjects and structures set against idealised settings and landscapes, not only in film but also manifest as sculpture, collage, text and photography. Dowd’s obsession is with the quest for ideal environments – the earthly paradise – as inscribed in the objects, furnishings, patterns and architectures of real and imagined tribes. For POLYply 14 he will be screening his recent work, Bare Breath, shot on-location in Finland last summer.
Robert Hampson has been actively involved in poetry – as poet, editor, critic, and facilitator – since the early 1970s. During the 70s, he co-edited Alembic (with Ken Edwards and Peter Barry), co-organised various poetry reading series in London, and ran ‘Saturday Courses’ with Eric Vonna-Michel and Ken Edwards at Lower Green Farm. More recently, he has edited an occasional poetry magazine, purge. His early publications included ‘degrees of addiction’ (Share, 1975), ‘how nell scored’ (poet & peasant, 1976), ‘a feast of friends’ (pig press, 1982), ‘a human measure’ (hard-pressed poetry, 1989). His early poetry appeared, among other places, in both Cid Corman’s Origin and Alan Davies’s 100 Posters. In 2001, Stride published ‘Assembled Fugitives: Selected Poems, 1973-1998’. More recently, his long poem ‘Seaport’ has been re-issued by Shearsman and Veer has published the sequence ‘an explanation of colours’.
Mark Leahy is a writer, artist and curator operating among textual practices and performance. He works with the body as sensing and as affected, using language, models of perception, and objects of everyday use. Including spoken word, task-based actions, and song his performances address the male body as desired and as desiring, and the body as a site of inscription by others and by oneself. Recent live work includes ‘Voice Recognition’ at Chapter and Verse Festival (Bluecoat, Liverpool, Oct 2011), and participation in DIY8: Queer Eye Enquiry with Chris Goode (Sept-Oct 2011). ‘After Durer after Mantegna’, an emblem combining text and image, was installed in the Window Work series at DXDX Studios, Plymouth (Aug 2011). He has written texts to accompany work by other artists, including Teresa Grimaldi’s The Vacated Works (Isle of Wight, 2009), Katy Connor’s Pure Flow (Exeter, 2009), and ‘Aftermath’ for Deirdre Power’s project Brokenland (Limerick, 2011). Critical publications include essays in Performance Research and The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice; a chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007); and an essay in The Salt Companion to John James (2010). Curated projects include ‘Public Pages’ for the conference Poetry and Public Language (University of Plymouth, 2007). ‘Swatches’, a poetry sequence was published by Acts of Language (December 2009), and texts have appeared in UK and US journals and online. Forthcoming publications include a performance text in Open Letter, a chapter on the poetry of Thomas MacGreevy, and a text on the work of artist Martha Winter. He was Director of Writing at Dartington College of Arts (2005-2007), and was MA Programme Leader at Dartington Campus, University College Falmouth (2007-2010). He lives in Devon, teaches part-time and supervises PhD students at University College Falmouth, and works freelance as an arts project manager.
Nisha Ramayya will be screening a film about the Hindu goddess Tara, and making some annotations live. The film is part of ongoing research into translation – of language, culture, and form. In this project photo and film documentation of West Bengal is mixed with Tantra-based poetic rituals and organised around a variety of genres. It is part of an exploration into contemporary versions of ‘performing the goddess’ in feminist art/writing practice. I am at the beginning of my 2nd year of a PhD in Poetic Practice, supervised by Dr. Redell Olsen.
Dawn Scarfe presents subtle site-specific interventions and resonating glass sculptures that ask us to re-think and re-negotiate our impressions of our surroundings. Individual parts of her installations are encouraged to respond to each other or to enter into a dialogue with their environment. Dawn has recently exhibited at Q-O2 werkplaats Belgium, TONSPUR_passage MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, La Casa Encendida Madrid, Bios Athens, Café Oto, 176 Zabludowicz Collection and the Southbank Centre, London. She was awarded a PhD in Sonic Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London in December 2011.