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Made in China’s Jessica Latowicki: ‘The arts do not fit inside the capitalist model of society’

Jessica Latowick. Photo: John Hunter

Jessica Latowicki is co-artistic director of contemporary theatre company Made in China with her partner Tim Cowbury. She tells Giverny Masso about the company’s latest show, Super Duper Close Up, which tells the story of a 21st-century woman’s journey through popular culture.

What was the inspiration behind Super Duper Close Up?

I’m interested in the representation of women in popular culture and what it means to be a person that identifies as a woman today. It’s about the anxiety surrounding how we explore and present our public selves. I became interested in the way language is used in this image-based society, which led me down a wormhole.

Why did you set up Made in China?

We were interested in what it means to make theatre at a time when people are more isolated than ever. We live in a capitalist world in which we don’t make things any more – we make ideas. Everybody has these weird, transferable skills. We are interested in this idea of information overload. We find theatre fascinating, because everyone is in the same room together focusing on one thing. It doesn’t have to be political theatre for it to be considered a political act. You have a whole load of people in a room focusing on a story and what it means, and [for us it’s about] what it means in terms of how we tell stories in a world overloaded with stories.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

There are a lot of challenges faced by all artists. Resources are being really squeezed right now. A lot of freelances don’t know if they will be able to make their next show. The arts do not fit inside the capitalist model our society works upon. I’m really lucky in a lot of ways – I grew up in a supportive family and had the opportunity to go to university. I believe that bridging the gap between artists and buildings is going to be very important. There’s this gap between these buildings in which there are people on salaries and artists who are freelance. It’s important for there to be more conversations between the two.

What are your future aims?

I’d love to make a TV show. I don’t want to publish my idea for it, but it would probably be about me and Tim. We set up Made in China together in 2009, after meeting on the MA course at Goldsmiths University and getting randomly placed together in a group project.

What is your advice to emerging theatremakers?

Don’t worry about the future of your career; worry about the future of the world you want to live in and make work for that future.

CV: Jessica Latowicki

Training: BA in Fine Art at New York University (2001-05); MA in Performance Making at Goldsmiths University, London (2008-09)
First professional production: Stationary Excess (one-woman show) for Made in China Theatre (2009)
Agent: None

Super Duper Close Up runs at the Yard Theatre [1] in London until November 24