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born into the coven of sick witches
Abi Palmer is an interactive artist and writer, particularly interested in the relationship between linguistic and physical communication. Experiments including poetry, immersive theatre, and sensory intervention have led to a number of one-to-one performances and installations, including 'Alchemy' (Winner: Best Wildcard, Saboteur Awards 2016), 'Nobel '(Saboteur Awards ‘Dynamite’ Commission, 2017) and 'Aquanautica', an underwater-themed immersive book launch, /‘post-apocalyptic queer dystopia' in collaboration with Sidekick Books.
Abi’s experience of disability (psoriatic arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) has a direct impact on her work. In 2017, her essay ‘No Body to Write With: Intrusion as a Manifesto for D/deaf and Disabled Writers’ was published in Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press, 2017). The essay explores the method of using physical intrusion as an extension of metaphor in the rising disabled poetics movement. This essay, and a conversation with Lunar Poetry Podcasts on the topic of accessibility in the arts, serve as a jumping-off point for her current project ‘Sanatorium:’ a 10 month R&D period exploring the disabled body on land and in water, funded by Arts Council England.
A key aspect of Abi’s work is collaboration: forming conversations between performer and participant, movement and language, and across a wide range of different disciplines. Abi's work has explored Philosophy of Science, Marine Biology, Contemporary Dance and Mineralogy. In 2016, she collaborated with mycologist and poet Nathan Smith to develop a series of new literary forms, 'Mycolyrica' based on the growing structures of fungi. In 2013, she worked with her brother, artist Ollie Palmer, to develop ‘Nybble:’ an installation that transformed contemporary dancers into a human computer, at the V&A Museum, London.
In 2015, Abi co-founded The SHINDIG Collective with curator Wesley Freeman-Smith, a year-long project to develop risk-taking conversations between a team of scientists, artists, dancers, film makers, poets and musicians. Experimental salons and participatory scratch nights followed, including the geometrically-influenced 'Dancing in Code', and immersive ‘choose-your-own-narrative’ event Tall Tales Labyrinth. The cut-up zine 'SHINPRINT #1' serves as a DIY manifesto for the project, celebrating influences from Dada, Fluxus and Oulipo movements in developing absurd, playful conversation between performer and participant.