Natasha Caruana

15.10.15 - Data & Desire talk at the Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre’s, London Literature Festival event, Data and Desire with Local Transport was a tremendous success.

During my first meeting with Local Transport’s Saskia Vogel, who was producing the event, I enthusiastically reeled off my ideas. I referred to, deconstructing photographs, experiments, audience participation, music, strippers, animation and sound effects! When I hung up Skype I took a breath and thought, how am I going to materialise the skills and knowledge to deal with this situation! 

Luckily, Local Transport is super organised, contacting me a couple of months before the night, this meant I had time to blag, beg and teach my way through. Slowly the production plan began to take shape. Whilst hobbling on my fractured foot, animation software was learnt, stop motions produced, call sheets created, strippers sourced, contacted and rehearsed. My assistant Sarah, as usual, was on hand to sort out all the hiccups. Brilliant Sarah. 

All was going to plan, but right up until the last moment I had this scared excited voice in my head repeating, how am I going to ‘perform’ an artist talk? How am I going to ‘perform’ photographs? All the artist talks I’d been to, I’d never seen photographs performed live before.

It was only a few days before the event when I felt things were finally congealing. Finding the stripper replacement ‘Chiqui Love’ from the East London Stripper Collective definitely gave me the confidence I needed. We spoke on the phone and she completely got my vision.

On the night ‘Chiqui Love’ brought such an amazing spirit to the performance. Half way through the act she entered from the back of the room whilst I described the Miller, Tybur and Jordan, 2007 experiment, ‘Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus?’ Her act engaged everyone and before I knew it I was carried away by the energy of the room and my act was over. 

The event was a great triumph for London Transport who successfully discussed the topical theme of data to a sell out audience. I really enjoyed the other acts and their interpretations of Data and Desire. 

Well done Saskia and Michael and contributors Rut Blees Luxemburg and Catherine Anyango. It was a fitting night to celebrate Local Transport’s first birthday. Looking forward to more years ahead. 

Thank you to everyone who made it to the event, for those who didn't you can see images from the night here