10 Minutes with Adam Moore

Adam Moore is a British-Caribbean artist based in London. His work explores themes of multiculturalism, unity and resilience. Applying embodied processes across various disciplines, Adam investigates emergent transdisciplinary forms and their potential to amplify and transcend meaning. Using dance, writing, drawing, collage, sculpture, video and sound, he explores how transdisciplinary practice entails a deeper understanding and synthesis of experience. Adam limns poetics and theories of sustainability through his practice, inviting others into new ways of perceiving and connecting, with themselves and others, as well as their physical and digital environments, through performance and artistic collaboration. For Adam, sustainability is a life-cycle of trial and improvement, enquiring personal and multitudinous exchanges across cultures, identities, experiences and technologies. Sustainability explores how these exchanges erode hardened institutions and attitudes, revealing alternative visions and multiple futures. 

As we move into our third month of “10 Minute Interviews” and the timely, inspiring conversations continue Kabakcı asks Adam about his practice, hobies, cultural appropriation, diversity and more.

How has your practice evolved based on where you come from and where you are living now? Does cultural appropriation play an important role in your work? 

Cultural appreciation plays an important role in my work. I am proud of my West Indian and British heritage. My roots run deep in Saint Lucia and London. I love London for its multiculturalism, despite how the positives of this might be diminishing at the moment re Brexit. I’m figuring out how to fight for and champion multiculturalism in my work in the current context. The Newham Heritage Month 2020 programme taught me a lot about my east end heritage. I’ve expanded their definition, taking this more clearly into my work now: heritage is about holding open the things, ideas and experiences of the past that are important and carrying these into the future. I think my varied and diverse experiences and influences give me a greater capacity to reach and include the broadest possible audience. I’m acutely aware of and sensitive to gross cultural appropriation within the art market and the precedent this sets for art institutions and non POC artists’ practices. Finding ways of honoring influences, origins and labour – especially that of black, brown and indigenous people – is vital. I’m glad to see this becoming more important but there’s much more change to live through and the arts is going under, I think, so now is a good time to rethink a lot which I’m excited for. Multiplicity of form, influence, process and output is important in helping me frame and communicate ideas and still have room for people to come to their own conclusions about their experience and discern what my work means to them. 

Adam Moore with Roberto Nicchitta.
Unearthed, London Topophobia.
Image: Dimitri Djuric.

Your practice is quite multidisciplinary and you have been performing for some years now, how did it all start?

I’ve been defining my relationship to the art scene since I started performing professionally in 2010 after graduating from my BA. In my early experiences realising work for artist’s, little care was applied to dancers. I withdrew from certain spheres and from performing for a while because some ‘opportunities’ were damaging or exploitative in one way or another. Performing can be ethically complex and challenging. I find it difficult to be sure of institutions offering the support and resources to facilitate the development of my making and performance practice. As a queer person of colour, its important that I develop my practice in contexts where support comes from people and institutions with rich ethics and visible, tangible evidence of critical thinking, feeling and action. I’m proud of and grateful for the support I’ve received from Haarlem Artspace, Jerwood Arts, UP Projects, Flat Time House and Newham London – they’ve encouraged me, helped me develop my practice and make work.

My body is my medium – the ‘enduring reality’ – to quote Yvonne Rainer. All of my work stems from my body but I’m reaching across – through my body – to writing, drawing, video and other forms. I love embodiment and this seems to fit most obviously with dance but I think it translates across, enhances, and helps to work with and master all forms. Researching, experimenting with embodied processes across various disciplines is the most profound learning experience for me. We each have our own stories and ways of experiencing and understanding the world, so I’m reaching across – one person to another or many others – through various means to create a more textured experience for what I’m communicating and the people who receive this.

What do you love to do in your free time? 

I cycle with no hands, headphones on, listening to my Americana or rowdy af playlists on spotify. Dancing is a very centring and therapeutic experience. It helps me to think clearly and connects me with myself and the world around me. It helps me put time back in my body. I try to spend time exploring embodiment and dance twice a week or so.

What has been your biggest challenge? What influenced your practice? 

Biggest challenge? Beneath the surface of appearances, reminding myself that there is space for me to contribute ideas and shape things, and that I don’t have to fight for that space, even though discrimination and nepotism is still rife, I just need to keep making the work I make when I make it with the people I like. Despite the circumstances, I’m content and don’t want much more right now. I’m very responsive by nature: having time to think about things, choose what I respond to and deciding how and when I respond has been so valuable. I have so much energy and it’s been good to watch that and be more decisive about where I put that. Especially now, when awareness is growing of the systems and structures inflicting damage on the world and different people groups. Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile is surfacing in my feeds at the moment and I think this could be helpful for me now, to gain more perspective – possibly my biggest challenge. I’m drawn to and stimulated by so much. I think that’s why my practice is transdisciplinary. I’m trying to be influenced by everything less and less, to find what’s already with me. I think that’s more important for me right now.

Unanthemic, Newham Spoken Word Festival.
Image : Rob Harris

What does diversity mean to you? 

Diversity is unpredictability, adaptability, resilience and health. Diversity is the ability to better fight and resist the things that cause disease; the emergence of new kinds of beauty – I’m remembering basic GCSE science – ‘more alleles in the gene pool’. Something about what I learned all that time ago still rings true for me now: to thrive and survive we need diversity. Obviously a huge problem being discussed, still, is the lack of diversity of black, brown, indigenous men and womxn, LGBTQ+, and disabled people in resourced positions of power and influence. In one sense, diversity is seeing more of these different people in these positions. Culturally, I think here in the UK we are good at conceptualising and comprehending diversity but we need to get our hands dirty and work to be diverse, because diversity is a practice, not an ideology. It’s not something you think your way into, it’s something you do, a behaviour. Expensive and ineffective strategizing and consultations verify our cultures’ propensities to waste resources instead of implementing the changes they already know they need to make. We should challenge institutions in the ways that we can to implement meaningful and measurable practices to make change occur. Institutions exist because of us, therefore we can change them. Current circumstances since Covid remain civilized – I’m intrigued by what things might be like when we start to see the real impacts – when things become less civilized – but I’m long term hopeful.

If you could collaborate with anyone living or deceased, who would it be? 

Enzo Mari has been a big inspiration and I’d collaborate with him if I could.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m part of Constellations – a collaborative, socially engaged artist’s development programme with UP Projects and Flat Time House. I want to say something eloquent about this but essentially it bangs! I think we’re working in a very unique way. We told ghost stories under duvets as part of our research – some things feel unorthodox but I trust the artists on the programme and their brilliant minds. We’re exploring instrumentalising our collaborative practice beyond institutions and it feels like we’re making room for different kinds of outcomes that are grounded, accessible and familiar while maintaining a sense of humour, imagination and rigour which is a great balance for me.

I’m looking forward to using my Jerwood bursary to start a self-directed, peer supported research and development residency, with a view to creating a new body of work, exploring my origins in the universe. I’m thinking about and imagining Black Land Art a lot at the moment – what this might look like, how my body connects to this, when I might be able to research this and make some… Dance Art Journal – the writing collective I’m part of were nominated for a Dance UK award which was exciting. We have an open call at the moment you can check out on our website and socials – we’d love as many people as possible to be part of our new digital zine remembering performance. I’m performing a newly commissioned performance series, Long Play Liberation, for Newham Black History Month.