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Open for Proposals:
Changing Rooms Commission 2022

In 2021, over 10,000 chain store branches disappeared from Britain’s high streets – with major retail giants, including Topshop and Debenhams, closing their doors. As shopping continues to morph into an online activity, the country’s high streets are at a critical juncture. 

The inaugural StreetLife X Aesthetica Changing Rooms Commission reflects on the shifting fortunes of brick and mortar shops, inviting established and emerging artists to transform the disused changing rooms of a former branch of Dorothy Perkins in the heart of York, UK.

We’re looking for a dynamic artwork that engages with the fitting room as a space for social, cultural, political and creative transformation. They are sites of intense emotion, self-scrutiny, social and antisocial acts, intimate contact and a hunger for privacy.

We welcome art that pushes the boundaries of form and technique, or that works across and between media, including Painting and Drawing; Video, Installation and Performance; Photography, Digital Art and Installation; Artists’ Film and more.

The winning artist will be awarded £5,000, two free passes to the Aesthetica Film Festival, including Aesthetica Digital, a profile on the Aesthetica website and an exhibition in the StreetLife Hub, running throughout November 2022.

At Aesthetica, we’re committed to supporting new work and nurturing artistic talent. This year sees the launch of the Aesthetica Fringe, running alongside the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in venues across York, UK, this November. We are delighted to be showcasing five new commissions, including the Audible Sound Installation, the Listening Pitch and the Aesthetica Fringe Exhibition.

Artist Jin Chai Ching Ho joins us to share a new sound installation. Sounds We’ve Never Heard Before provides us with a meditative experience at York’s 600-year-old Bedern Hall. The one-hour piece presents the audio of five natural materials: metal, wood, water, fire and earth – asking us to think about how we understand sound in a world that has changed the way people listen. 

On 5 November, we’re inviting festival goers to watch three new films by this year’s Listening Pitch-winning filmmakers: Sparsh Ahuja, Omi Gupta, Jade Ang Jackman and Ross McClean. This innovative collaboration between Audible and Aesthetica celebrates original stories, demonstrating how listening helps us to understand different points of view. The event will also include a screening of 2021 winning documentary Blind as a Beat by mother-daughter directors Liz Jackson and Jessi Gutch, plus a live hardware performance post-screening from duo Human Capital, who will create an evolving soundscape in real time.

Elsewhere, group show Unite. Create. Transform. looks at the here and now, featuring nine works that disrupt the status quo. Artists include Kit Monkman, Baff Akoto, Jenn Nkiru, Natalie García Clark, Bart Price, Pernille Spence, Zoë Irvine, Seb Agnew and Omar Torres.

Proposals for the Aesthetica X StreetLife Changing Room Commission are open until 12 noon on 29 September 2022. Submit your Application.

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs from 1-30 November 2022. Book Your Pass.