The One Fine Night team is less of a team and more of a partnership. Formed during one fine night in Manchester, two friends imagined sharing stories, art and music while raising money and awareness for causes they care about. Our first event focused on the representation of women in folk and fairy tales. Stories old and new, familiar or not were interwoven with live music one night in December last year. Since then, we have spent many an evening bouncing ideas around in our respective kitchens over copious cups of tea and maybe a few glasses of wine. Now, at long last, we have finalised the plan for our first exhibition, and launched the open call for art works.

OneFineNightPoster

The Surveilled takes the male gaze and questions its role in 2016. How does society define the way that women are seen and how are women defining it themselves? And how has the ever-watchful eye of our own devices and the hidden machines behind them changed this, as the plurality of voices on social media bring intersectionality into mainstream discussion?

We are both interested in modern technologies and feminism, and our ideas merged seamlessly as a steady swell of news articles, images and fictional books relative to these themes came into view through a series of questions we seek to discuss and answer. Are we helped by apps that allow friends to follow your walk home remotely? How can we guard against the problems of revenge porn, and the trolling of women in the public eye? Is there a balance between being watched for our own good, its connection to victim blaming, and our right to privacy and independence? For whose good is the sinister safety net if it fails to catch us just when we need it?

Further exploration into our theme led us to look at the juxtaposition of how society dictates when and how the female form should be uncovered or hidden, and how women are redefining these boundaries. Through the lens of our society, the concept of a woman is often strictly defined, and these norms are then amplified through traditional and digital media. Its tropes are familiar, but not in our intimate and everyday experience, and women are now using digital tools to chip away at these boundaries, broadening the scope and adding complexity so that they are seen as they truly are.

From this discussion, it’s clear why we took a year to get to where we are now. The topic is broad and complex, which is both challenging and exciting, as it allows the artists who participate the freedom and scope to explore the subject.

The curatorial process so far has felt like a series of insights and obstacles, from finding a venue to building an open call, but throughout the learning process our friendship and passion for our subject has remained crystal clear. Even if those positives may have led to conversations that strayed into the night without much work being done.

So far, confirmed artists include Malmö-based illustrator My Palm and filmmaker Linnéa Haviland, whose short, Invisible Skin, recently appeared at the London Feminist Film Festival and Short Hot Flush Film Festival. We are especially excited about the launch, which will feature a range of performers, including a DJ set from Glen Cutwerk. During the exhibition, we’re planning to stage workshops and an in-depth tour of the artworks for local community groups as well as individuals. It’s vital for us to ensure the exhibition can be engaged with and accessed by as many people as possible, so we’ll also establish women-only events over the course of the exhibition.

The Surveilled is all in aid of Women For Women International, a strong charity for women’s rights in countries affected by war. It helps the most marginalised women to support themselves financially, improve health and wellbeing, influence decisions in their home and community, and connect to networks. In conflict, and its aftermath, the impacts of sexual violence, poverty, widowhood, discrimination, gender inequality and continued insecurity often persist, which can lead to isolation and destitution. We hope to raise money for a large donation to aid the great work they do.

One Fine Night’s exhibition The Surveilled is planned for late January 2016. They are accepting art submissions until 25 December.
ofnmcr@gmail.com

UPDATE: The exhibition has now been confirmed for 5-7 February at Idle Hands. For more information, click the link.

Amelia Bayliss and Catriona McCallion