Here is an update from SWARM about their Dance of Urgency Through the Streets of London.
On the 17th of August, a group of 60 individuals assembled into a human swarm and danced through London’s Soho and Waterloo streets. This SWARM felt incredibly powerful, as if imbued with an ancient knowledge of human connective powers. The temporary glimpses of queer utopia narrated by José Esteban Muñoz would be such an accurate description of what happened that evening.
Our start on the Soho Square was joyful, as the group slowly gathered people would chat and meet each other. A palpable tension could be felt, braiding together excitement and curiosity. Once everyone had arrived, and received their personal speaker (all connected together through bluetooth) we gave the group context on the reasons for this London SWARM regarding the PCSC and PO Acts limiting the rights to protest since the pandemic. The information smoothly switched to a warm up, giving people tools allowing them to playfully remain interested physically in the dancing. We then departed. London’s Soho streets were busy, but we could feel that the warm up totally disinhibited everyone who now all felt in their power and able to fool around. Public spaces became stages and playgrounds, street signaletics transformed into magical runes to be rediscovered, and urban topographies shifted into holy altars where the SWARM divinities would perform. The sound waves played by our DJ Sara Dziri lifted the bodies up and carried the SWARM for 2h.
The streets received us with positive signals, many interactions welcomed us from people briefly joining our dance, laughing with us, or documenting our magical apparitions. Instead of banners we brought small cards, which made our dance ambiguous at first glance. We handed them out to those who seemed curious, with a QR code that led to a text about swarm, as well as readers from Netpol, Green and Black Cross and Liberty on the new acts and how they affect protest movements. We also merged with local dancers and musicians here or there. The SWARM traveled in the urban ecosystem without changing its structure, only fluidly passing through, igniting sparkles of joy and excitement, subverting the established order of a normalized public space. The police surprisingly stayed out of it.
We routed from Soho Square to Leicester Square, St Martin in the Fields Church, Whitehall, Charles 1st execution site, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and eventually crossed Westminster bridge to end up at County Hall.
A round of emotion sharing and a fruit-based catering rounded up our SWARM. Each swarmer experienced gratefulness and queer joy. We used our right to protest and manifested an alternative vision of what public spaces can be. The SWARM is now in pause mode to restore energies before moving to Athens and Marrakech.
Community Builder for SWARM
Photo: SWARM Movement host their first Street Swarm through Central London With Art Rave Group, Riposte, and London LGBTQ Centre, in London. This also acted as a protest Aganist the PCSC Act and Public Order act as the bills continue to crackdown on Loud outdoor events and protests particuarlly within Westminster. , United Kingson, 17/08/2023 Ehimetalor Unuabona/Alamy Live News