CARLY ROSE BEDFORD & GABRIEL .A. MAHER
NON-PERFORMATIVITY AND THE … ‘IT’S JUST KABK’
Maher and Bedford will discuss their research process as a case study in itself. The phrase “It’s Just KABK” is a remark frequently uttered by students meaning, “damn, this thing doesn’t work!” As such, it becomes a metaphor for frustration and carries with it a concept of “non-performativity.” The term non-performativity is a concept developed by scholar Sara Ahmed primarily to refer to institutional speech acts that do not bring into effect what they name.  This term is used to frame and analyse the case study in relation to dominant and formalised institutional structures, formalised research processes and informal encounters with students.
The case study charts the microcosm from which the research trajectory began—as an investigation into their own pedagogic practices which centred around queer and intersectional feminist frameworks—to the macrocosmic entanglement of a school-wide phenomena they encoun¬tered during the research process. They foreground how IN_FORM_ALITY—as in, informal encounters and processes— became the most “productive” method for navigating the research trajectory. They discuss how and why the “failure of formality” prevailed in the research process and subsequently, how the “failure of formality” manifests within the structures of the institution that do not bring into effect what they name.
GABRIEL .A. MAHER and CARLY ROSE BEDFORD are co-teachers in BA Interior Architecture & Furniture Design at KABK. They share a writing/pedagogical practice that entan¬gles lived experience with theoretical research. Together they teach and hold workshops on positioning, queer methodolo¬gies, pedagogic approach and spatial/material practice as methods for critique.
With a practice in Interior Architecture and Social Design, MAHER’s work centres on critical and analytical approaches to design and research and, in particular, the effects of designing on bodies and the shaping of identity. These deconstructions are articulated in a visually analytic way and materialise as critical tools for dialogue. Maher was designer-in-residence at Iaspis, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Program for practitioners in Visual and Applied Arts, Design and Architecture as part of the in¬ternational program, in Stockholm. Most recently, they were nominated for the Hublot Design Prize (2018) and won the iphGenia Gender Design Award (2019).
BEDFORD is a multidisciplinary artist who uses per¬formance, sculpture, research and curation to look at sites where power is produced and naturalised under the premise of normalcy. Working with “material perfomativity,” Bedford creates nuanced propositions that enable enactment of queer thematics without always reverting to representations of the body and identity politics. They have shown works nationally and internationally at institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo (2017) and the Stedelijk Museum (2019). They have re¬ceived support for their work from Australian Arts Council, Ian Potter Foundation, Amsterdam Fonds for the Kunst and the Mondriaan Fond, and recently won the MK award.