Here, Now

Jo Longhurst

Here, Now is a new moving image work developed by Jo Longhurst as part of her multidisciplinary project Crip. This ongoing body of work considers the existence of invisible disabilities or differences through video, photography and research.

Crip poetically and critically explores the concept of 'crip time'. The theory, which lies at the intersection of feminist, disability, and queer studies, elaborates how the disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill encounter time and space differently from able-bodied or minded persons.

Key to the development of Here, Now was the formation of unseen collective, a group of eight women and non-binary identifying artists living with unseen disabilities and conditions. The experiences shared through one-to-one discussions, online presentations and group meetings informed and activated Longhurst’s research. The collective members are a central feature of the installation.

In Here, Now, the history of documenting women held in psychiatric institutions is considered and challenged through explorations of agency, visibility, movement and performance. The artist’s research was informed by a series of 19th-century photographic portraits of women diagnosed as ‘hysterical’.

Importantly, Longhurst implements bindweed as a metaphor for her own disabled experience. While bindweed is considered an undesirable plant, it is known for its tenacity and characteristic of growing in an anti-clockwise direction.

From the bodily activations in Here, Now to the imagery in her Crip collage series, the metaphor of bindweed appears in subtle and overt forms

Here, Now is curated by Lisa Slominski.

Director of Photography (studio): Milo Van Giap.

Collective: Helena Boateng, London Screen Academy; Alessandra Genualdo; Alice Hattrick; Jo Longhurst; Marie-Claire Nonchalente, Submit to Love Studios; Liz Orton; Natasha Trotman; Ophir Yaron, ActionSpace.

This project has been supported by Arts Council England, Studio Voltaire, and Art et al.; and collaborated with the London-based art organisations ActionSpace and Headway East London (Submit to Love Studios); and the London Screen Academy.

  1. Studio Voltaire aligns with the Social Model of Disability. This means we are committed to making our venue accessible to everyone and to creating equal and equitable experiences for all people. Access information can be found here.

    If you have any questions or need assistance with your visit please contact us on +44 (0) 20 7622 1294 or email

  2. Jo Longhurst explores and critiques traditions of portraiture through a combination of photography, sculptural elements, moving image, performance and installation.

    Interested in both physical and psychological experiences, she questions theories of eugenics, representation, gender, power and control. Collaborative works with show dogs and gymnasts investigate the act of looking and being looked at; how we judge and are judged; and how we attempt to fit in – gently probing how cultural ideas of perfection shape personal and national identities, as well as social and political systems. Recently she has started working with images of bindweed - an undesirable, marginalised plant, which grows in an anti-clockwise direction - and 19C photographic portraits of female patients to explore the concept of crip time, a theory at the intersection of feminist, disability, and queer studies which elaborates how the disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill experience time and space differently to able-bodied/ minded people.

    She has published three books: The Refusal, for her solo exhibition at Museum Folkwang, Essen; Other Spaces, to accompany her exhibition at Mostyn, Llandudno and Ffotogallery, Cardiff; and On Perfection: an Artists’ Symposium, which documents an event Longhurst staged at Whitechapel Gallery. Her work has won many awards including the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Grange Prize, Canada’s highest award for excellence in international photography.

  3. Helena Boateng

    Boateng is a final-year film student at the London Screen Academy. She enjoys weaving stories together through Editing and VFX. As a sensory-seeker, she adores messing with sound and colour to evoke different feels in the audience.

    Alessandra Genualdo

    Genualdo is an Italian illustrator and painter based in London, where she works from a studio in Walthamstow with her dog Kira. Genualdo uses the female figure as her main source of inspiration. The women in her paintings are an autobiographical representation of the way the perception of the artist evolves through time, as well as a projection of the women she identifies with or aspires to; women in film, in music, women she meets in the street, or has come across in life. Genualdo’s objective is to portray her long-term depression in a subtle way – a way which relates to her personal experience, but one which a wider female audience might identify with. Her work is exhibited internationally.

    Alice Hattrick

    Hattrick is a writer and producer based in London. They are the co-producer of Access Docs for Artists, a resource for disabled and/or chronically ill artists, curators and writers, made in collaboration with artists Leah Clements and Lizzy Rose. Hattrick’s work has been included in Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art: HEALTH (ed. Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, 2020) and Mine Searching Yours (Forma, 2020). Hattrick's criticism and interviews have appeared in publications such as Frieze magazine, ArtReview and The White Review. Their book on unexplained illness, intimacy and mother-daughter relationships, titled Ill Feelings, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2021.

    Marie-Claire Nonchalente

    Nonchalente is a Submit to Love studio artist. Submit to Love is part of Headway East London in Hackney, home to a group of artists living with a brain injury. “I remember my art teacher, he used to play the saxophone while we were in his class. I dabbled in all things creative and I loved it, the sax symphony would fill my soul as I would make art. But life got serious and I went to university getting a first-class degree in maths. After that, I had my daughter and pursued a career in banking and sales. Only after my brain injury did I find art again, exploring my love of detailed drawing, ceramics, film and most recently the art of movement."

    Liz Orton

    Orton is an artist using archival practices, both real and imagined, to explore the tensions between personal and scientific forms of knowledge. Her work engages widely with found material, using text, images and performance to bring subjective voices into dialogue/collision with disciplines such as botany, geology and medicine. Before being diagnosed with M.E. in 2019, Liz was a Lecturer in Photography at London College of Communication, and an Associate Artist with Performing Medicine. She is the recipient of several awards including the Mead Fellowship, a UCL Challenge Award and a Wellcome Trust Arts award for her project Every Body is an Archive. She has published three artist books, and recently edited the collection of essays Becoming Image: Medicine and the Algorithmic Gaze.

    Natasha Trotman

    Trotman is an international Equalities Designer whose practice explores extending the frontiers of knowledge around mental difference, which includes non-typical ways of being, bodyminds and marginalised experiences, in addition to also reframing mainstream notions of equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This is done via an intersectional design lens; involving the forming of physical interactions through investigative play and policy design. Trotman has worked with neurodiverse communities and people with varied abilities, including dyspraxic and autistic persons, as well as those living with dementia.

    Ophir Yaron

    Yaron is an ActionSpace artist. Her artwork takes inspiration from different areas of her life and is represented through words, colours and pattern. Her work demonstrates a strong understanding of composition, mark-making and colour to illustrate her ideas. Yaron enjoys exploring a variety of materials, such as paints and inks but always with a strong foundation in drawing. Using words that are personal to her, Yaron takes inspiration from her life, the artist Gaudi and her favourite singer Jessie J.

    Lisa Slominski

    Lisa Slominski is an American curator and writer based in London. Her work explores activations of access and inclusion in the current art discourse and examines the historical framework of underrepresented artists with a particular interest in agency. Recent articles include The Spiritual in Art is Back, Again, and Artists Consider the Concept of Care for Hyperallergic. She is the co-founder of Art et al. – an inclusive international curatorial platform which focuses on international collaboration between arts professionals with and without disability. Her book, Nonconformers: A New History of Self-Taught Artists (Yale University Press, 2022) presents an international history of artists often identified as ‘self-taught’ advocating for a nuanced understanding of art often challenged by the establishment.

  4. Jo Longhurst, Here, Now (2023). Installation view at Studio Voltaire, London. Images courtesy of the artist.

  5. Exhibition ALT TEXT / audio description

    The boxlike exhibition space is painted in a dark colour – almost black but with a hint of green to it. It reflects very little light.

    The gallery floor is concrete and there is a grey metal bench to sit on.

    Hung on the wall opposite the open gallery entrance are six bindweed collages photographed on a white background, printed on a heavy matt paper and mounted in pale yellow box frames.

    The crip collages are standard sizes: three are A3, three A4. The frames tessellate to create an irregular zig-zag shape, top and bottom. Each collage is different but made up of multiple prints of the same image, which give the impression of a plant tendril growing in a twining fashion towards the light. The edges of the prints curl slightly, leaving shadows in the collage that suggest movement and a sense of three-dimensionality.

    On the wall to the left of the door is a projected moving image, which runs for 5 minutes 29 seconds before looping seamlessly again, and again. There is no audio. The video is 16:9 proportions. It is projected centrally and fills most of the width of the gallery wall. There is a separate ALT TEXT / audio description of this work.

    As you turn away from the moving image and head to leave the gallery there is a vertical column of barely visible artist text in grey vinyl italic lettering on the wall to the left of the doorway. It reads:



    moving slowly
    under siege



    covering ground
    looking for light

    Here, Now moving image ALT TEXT / audio description

    This work features eight figures of various ethnicities and skin tones. Their ages range from 17-60. This moving image portrait runs for 5 minutes 29 seconds before looping seamlessly again and again. There is no audio.

    A block of a brick pink colour fills the projection area, fading slowly into a blurry black twisting pattern. Blocks of colour – pink, mossy green and off-white – flash onto the wall before an in-focus image of hair braids appears, fading quickly back into the abstract pattern.

    A close-up image of a young face with closed downcast eyes emerges but doesn’t gain focus. It fades into a blurred scene with a recumbent figure in a pale-yellow t-shirt and dark trousers. They are lying facing away from the viewer against a grey backdrop.

    The pace of the video is slow: out of focus bodies lie or stand almost motionless, their backs to the viewer. Figures appear one after another – horizontal, then upright – the images overlapping each other, then fading away.

    A cropped out-of-focus image of a pale face with closed eyes transitions into a landscape of pale green bindweed twining in long strands up the stems of tall grey reeds. The reeds fill the frame, swaying slowly in the breeze. The image in the crip collages is taken from this landscape.

    The video motifs loop and repeat, each time slightly different – hair falling across the screen; closed eyes; upright figures juxtaposed with those lying down; blurred bodies coming in and out of focus, slowly twisting toward and away from the camera.

    Rapid blocks of colour fill the projection area, intercut with shots of bindweed being buffeted in the wind and more figures wearing dark trousers and t-shirts of various cuts in olive, dark green, and maroon. The footage is presented at various speeds, the bodies twisting rapidly away from the camera again and again. One of the figures is dancing, her body merging with the landscape.

    A figure lying semi-curled up slowly unfurls across the top of the screen. She is wearing a light green T-shirt and dark trousers. Her eyes come sharply into focus and look directly at the viewer, blurring and re-sharpening again before a rapid cut into a block of colour and a double coil of windswept bindweed.

    One by one, the figures reappear and turn to look toward the viewer. The figure in pale yellow lies totally still, slowly opening their eyes to hold the viewer’s gaze. They have a snake tattoo on their lower arm.

    The video cuts to an image of a hedge totally covered in bindweed in full bloom. Clusters of small white flowers pop from the screen, and fine tendrils wave gently in the breeze.

    The video cuts back to a figure dressed in a white t-shirt and white jeans. She is standing on the far- right edge of the screen facing outwards. Tattoos of wildflowers and a butterfly are visible on her upper arm and wrist. Her eyes slowly open and turn into the empty grey frame. A single large white bindweed flower rapidly fades up onto the wall, then disappears.

    The young figure appears again, slowly twisting toward the viewer. They hold our gaze with an open confidence. A moment later, the same action is repeated, but they are twisting away, cut through with the white flower still, blocks of colour and a flash of moving bindweed before the work loops back to a long solid block of pink light.

Studio Voltaire
1A Nelsons Row
London SW4 7JR

Open Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm.

Registered Charity No: 1082221. Registered Company No: 03426509. VAT No: GB314268026