5th September 7pm – 8pm Import X port, performance by Traci Kelly


Import X port, was a live tattooing taking place in the workroom of the Morley factory. The tattooist’s gun will once more fill the space with the sound of machinery as it pierces the skin as a textile. Gradually a letter ‘X’ will appear, initially as an outline of intersecting lines, developing into an inky presence that will mark the artist’s body as ‘other’.

Samuel Morley was an ardent abolitionist and a respected member of parliament. The letter X will be symbolic of the mark historically made by enslaved people as a stand-in signature for an alien and unfathomable language marking the end of freedom. In the 20th century Malcolm X rejected the insertion of a European surname into his personal history. Unable to return to his African name, obliterated by white masters and no longer remembered or recorded through relocated generations, X became the mark of his non-compliance and insistence on self-determination for fellow ‘othered’ citizens.

X is the marker of citizenship, inextricably liked to notions of nationhood, conveying the right to vote. Histories of Morley’s work to abolish slavery parallel the radical protesting of the suffragettes to gain equal citizenship for women via the right to register a political voice through the ballot box. The forced labour of slavery and the forced feeding of the hunger-striking suffragettes expose the power drive of wealth and consumption. Histories of trade, occupation and resistance intersect in the marking of  X.

The performance took place on the 112th anniversary of Morley’s death