DIY16: 2019 - VORTESSA (Lady Helena Vortex and Miss Giovanna Maria Casetta): GILF Island

Pack your cases, ready to embark on a Dark Romance of the ageing self, Exploring, releasing and adoring the inner GILF

Deadline for applications: 2pm, Thursday 4 July
This DIY is supported by Colchester Arts Centre

Project summary

GILF Island is born from a strong reaction to the mega popular TV show Love Island. All Pertaining to the ideal that desire and sex is strictly the domain of  the young. As women who age we are marginalised, our sexual currency is removed and we are left to mourn our younger desirable bodies

GILF (Grandmother I want to Fuck) Island is a safe haven to explore and join us on a process opening up an important dialogue about the socio cultural blocking that arises when negotiating the territory of the ageing body, accepting that we are still sexual creatures, with desire and passion. Learning to love our glorious ageing bodies. Reigniting our sexual currency, being seen and taken seriously as sexually powerful women rather than tired sexiest tropes of the ageing of the Femme Fatal casting off the assumption of how “We seem to be either ashamed of it or turn it into some sort of jokey, slapstick, seaside postcard, pantomime thing or a porny caricature. European women feel sexy their whole lives. Even older women behave like they’re sexually active and attractive.” Viv Albertine

We are inviting a group of artists who identify as older and have experienced, are attracted or relate to the GILF phenomena. To answer our call to look at the dimensions of romance and intimacy, desire and love, their political potential and subversive power. Together we will go on a journey exploring these issues, devising our own rituals, being  architects and high priestesses who darkly manifest romantic radical narcissism, the magic, offering a glimpse of what lies between the light and dark.

How to apply

Applicants are asked to provide a short statement stating why they want to be part of GILF Island and how this DIY will benefit your practice alongside an image of your island look. Please submit your proposal via the link below


Dates, times and location

Dates: Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September 2019
Location: Colchester, Colchester Arts Centre

The artists

VORTESSA  was born out of a necessity to explore and create work concerning woman who arrive at the wrong side of fifty, encountering  society which immediately marginalises them, removing their sexual currency, taking away their voice and rendering them invisible.  During their recent work it has emerged that older women need to be nurtured, looked after, learn to love their gorgeous ageing bodies, inhabit a safe space to do so and be valued. Founder members are artists  Miss Giovanna Maria Casetta and Lady Helena Vortex who have 35 years experience of working in Live Art , performance and film. met at LADA’s workshop in 2015 “Between Menopause and Old Age” led by Rocio Bolivia and completed a DIY “Help the Aged” in 2016 Casetta and Vortex are currently working on “Madness, Mayhem and the Menopause”  ongoing, processing issues surrounding menopause, desire and mental health.The GILF Crest Files was premiered for Deep Trash Romance CUNTemporary 2018 and as part of the GraceGraceGrace Book launch at LADA March 2019 and is an on going investigation into sexual currency, desire, power and the dark romance of the soul. Writing a Manifesto about ageing on our terms, which includes contributions from older artists especially those who have radical practices and embrace the punk aesthetic, we will not go quietly!

Giovanna Maria Casetta is an Artist and Educator, the constant theme running through her practice is the tension between the surface and what lies beneath. The fragility of the physical and psychological self and how our identity is compromised through societies unrealistic expectations of what we should be. Casetta’s recent work includes performing A descent into Glamour at Nuit Blanche-Brussels 2018  And the premier of Earth Works at SPILL 2018 which explores the private rituals that Casetta has devised to see her through the dark times,in a world which appears timeless, distant surreal, fleeting and overwhelming.

Lady Helena Vortex is a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm. Psychopomp goddess and performer, her practice invests in ideas of risk, dynamics of living, thinking, feeling, dreaming, distinguishing and identifying. Her personal mythology boldly exposed as she subverts traditions of representation, power and sex. LHV’s recent work includes

SPILL Open Festival of Performance (November 2018) ‘Well you tried it just for once...found it alright for kicks ‘A Rampant Lust-Fuelled Hormone-Induced Altered State, Looping Back To Lost Teenage Years. Book.  LHVX as one of the gang of three that is GraceGraceGrace reframes the live art practice in an anthology of those who identify as older, performing rebellious gender/ageing identity. GraceGraceGrace explore gen-age Book Published - March 2019

For questions about this DIY, please contact the artists.

Part of DIY16 - Call for Participants