Nel | Current Affairs - Conversations about the body 2.0 by M I L K Collective
M I L K was founded as an art collective to articulate self-expression, using their own bodies as a means to convey their individual messages. The collective was formed by four artists; Gillian Rosselli, Martina Gruber, Tosca Marthinus and Neena Borrill in February 2022. The topic of gender identity and sexuality is prevalent in their works. This is done with the intention to bring awareness of what it means to exist as a queer person/couple in a predominantly conservative environmental upbringing and traditional setting. The conversation extends to how they combat various gender norms without compromising safe spaces.
The 4 artists spontaneously shared a studio space in Cape Town for the initial period of 1 week and embarked on a journey of multiple performances, photo shoots, investigating and exploring frameworks of diverse socio-economic-political circumstances and realities. The work evolved under the umbrella of 'Current Affairs 2022 – Conversations about the Body,’ as a show piloting their collaboration during the week of The Cape Town Art Fair. “The body of works M I L K creates and performs together with their bodies and the camera are personal reactions to situations they witness, in person or from a distance, in the past and in the present. Using their bodies as a language that communicates where words fail.”
They unify their ideas when creating a shoot. Their focus medium is photography; however, they explore other mediums as well such as mixed media, video, and sound installation. Their subject matter is comprised of objects or people in a simplified frame, all shot in black and white. They use manual in-shot techniques to manipulate or distort the final idea, without any post production. They use their creative liberty to bend the rules of commercial photography and aesthetic conventions to portray themes of psychology and social conditioning. Matching visuals to human emotions or states of psyche is achieved through camera techniques which blur the subject.
As artists working in different mediums and coming from different social-cultural backgrounds, they look at possible and extended areas of collaboration, cross-cultural, cross-national, cross-continental. Where does one individual end and the other begin? Where do we speak in one voice, where do we draw the line and where do we see possibilities and necessities to cross over and reach out and step into the other's fields, and occupy fields together? Where do we agree and where do we disagree? How does the practice of using our bodies across various fields and practices indicate boundaries between 4 individuals resonate with the current practices of a collective?