Shannah Olivia Cole


Ryan Daniel Wilkinson


Shannah Olivia Cole and Ryan Daniel Wilkinson are performance artists based in Yorkshire, making and presenting work across the UK and internationally. After having met and formed System whilst on undergraduate programmes at Manchester Metropolitan University, they have since undertaken postgraduate study and began to develop their practice.


Their collaboration was born out of a shared interest in the constantly shifting paradigms between artistic disciplines. Having formerly trained in dance and contemporary performance, they became interested in merging those practices and concerning themselves with what could be, rather than what already is established. They are interested in taking formalised techniques within their fields, braking those down and replacing the gaps with new meanings and methods.


System are interested in extreme physical conditions for performers, exploring movement that ranges from pedestrian to demanding, creating inclusive and extensive pieces that have duality in recognition and obscurity. Woven within Systems works is a vocabulary of movement and texts that tackle contemporary issues, they concern themselves with the politics of visibility (or invisibility) and the modes of which society have been conditioned to watch (or ignore) the bodies in front of their audiences.


System aim to explore a meaningful engagement with life and all that it encompasses. The work they make is born out of research, often a topic or line of enquiry, that is brought to the attention of real people, for real insights. System have explored and are still developing various methods for presenting their creations, trying where possible to hold their exhibitions, performance, happenings and talks in un-conventional and found spaces, encouraging accessibility for all. The spaces they use are places of assembly, for collective witness and with a hope forging a new social engagement that continues far beyond the moments shared.


The work that System make is unpretentiously concerned with interrogating the radical body, the body that is morphed by its external influences and taking everything they know about it and reframing it, performing it and challenging it. This practice is one of resilience, the same one that it is invested in the trudge through life as we understand it.


System are continuously working tirelessly to obtain funding for arduous research and development periods to generate new and current work.


System make work for real people, about real people, by real people.

Core Members