Degrees of Freedom artist group was set up in 2014 by Ahmed Farooqui to work collaborately with artists inside and outside the group to investigate, make conscious and challenge the rules governing public, private and hybrid spaces. Over time our interest has expanded beyond "real" spaces to include poetic, metaphorical and other interpretable spaces. Listed below are some recent shows. More on the DoF website.
Six artists working at the intersection of language, place and materiality were invited by Degrees of Freedom in September 2021 to catalyse the spaces at Espacio Gallery as sites for experimentation and real time exchange.
An openness to external phenomenon characterises the works in the show, permeated as they are by the physical, social, emotional and virtual terrains that they investigate. These terrains are often transcribed by the artists into text, sound, image or movement to create the possibilities for new meanings and resonances. More here.
A multimedia exhibition in July 2021 exploring artistic perspectives on play and playfulness.
Full of hands-on, participative works: absurdist games, mischievous interventions, kitsch assemblages, comic expositions and playful videos it invites visitors to immerse themselves in the exhilarating spirit of play that uplifts our lives beyond mud-bound existence.
Mingling anarchic and frequently absurd experiences with playful treatment of serious subjects, the exhibition asks visitors to consider the multifarious ways in which play and playfulness enriches our lives and gives it value. More here.
Reality and its disorders
What we call reality changed in many ways in 2020:
-the way we choreographed our social encounters,
-how people moved across architectural spaces,
-the pace of our thoughts in the slowness of time,
-the density of wildlife in unoccupied human spaces,
-the flux of our mood from day to day,
-how we balanced danger versus desire in matters of the body.
Over 30 artists working in video, performance, installation, painting, photography and printed works responded to an open call by Degrees of Freedom to explore the new currents that have shaped their lives in 2020.
Using strategies ranging from humour and playfulness to forensic attention to the body, the works examined states of minds, the new rituals for interaction, the heightened role of touch, and the dance of the body between danger and desire. More here.
Friends of interpretable spaces
A mini-festival at a historic site in Hackney (St Augustine’s Tower), in October 2018, bringing together 27 artists to explore concepts of space and place. Works touched on ideas from Einstein, Foucault, Bachelard & Debord. The festival sought to overcome the “banalisation” of the Tower as a familiar architectural presence, and encourage dialogue between the local community and the fabric and history of the building. More here.
The Republic of Brexitopia
A production for Degrees of Freedom artist group in September 2017, The Republic of Brexitopia is an imaginary country of the near future. An international group of artists were invited to explore the forms that such a country might take and the forces that might shape it. Using a mix of participative, performative and provocative strategies the artists addressed not just Brexitopia’s political and economic trajectory, but also the relationship between its citizens, the lure of exceptionalism, and the narrow line between optimism and delusion, utopia and dystopia.
The participative nature of many of the works invited the visitor to reflect on the idea of human agency, suggesting that we don’t have to resign ourselves to the inevitability of this or that future, but that we can choose to be active agents in shaping the future we desire. More here.
A production for Degrees of Freedom in 2016, the UNINVITED weekend entailed six artists transgressing six public art spaces in a spirit of joyous dissent and resistance. Questioning the increasing privatisation and commercialisation of public spaces, each artist has chosen to pursue their personal vision within a different public art space to contest its meaning and challenge the boundaries of what might be tolerated without prior permission.
Special thanks to Loredana Denicola for the photography.
More information here
The Anti Gallery Gallery Show
A production for the Degrees of Freedom collective in 2015, the Anti Gallery Gallery Show was an experiment in finding ways for artists to change their relationship with each other, their artworks and the public within a traditional gallery space so as to subvert its governing ethos- competitive individualism within a consumerist culture.
The Show was designed as a festival rather than a normal exhibition and aimed to create an ever changing, boisterous and engaging experience inside and outside the gallery space. The ambition was to engage artists and visitors, make them think, play and take part in ways that are thought provoking as well as fun.
Picked as among the top 5 shows in London in January 2015 by Time Out, Londonist, London Calling, Curious Duke Gallery, Ronorp.net, Nanapunk.tv, Best of London blog.
More information on the Anti Gallery Gallery Show