Archive for the 'Research' Category

Exhibition: A Map of You at Text Festival, Bury.

I am over the moon to announce I have been asked to exhibit some of my collage series, ‘Leftovers’ at the Text Festival in Bury, Greater Manchester. This is from the site:

The Text Festival in Bury is an internationally recognised event investigating contemporary language art (poetry, text art, sound and media text, live art). Opening on 29 April 2011, the next Festival will be its third manifestation and run into July.

Against the background of global stylistic multiplicity, the use of language spans many artforms and may even be a unifying field of enquiry, a new definition and a new field of international linguistic art practice and dialogue. The Bury Festival is the leading focus of language in 21st Century art.

The Festival specialises in experiments, in new experiences, in performances and exhibitions that mix artforms in ground-breaking combinations that challenge traditional language art boundaries and offer artists a forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas.

Art Monthly commented of the Festival:

“According to Foucault, the singularities that serve
to rupture and renew normative discourse
always emerge from the interstices – in other words, where nobody is looking. Almost certainly nobody was looking
in the direction of Bury for the emergence of this significant project…”

My work will be exhibited in a show curated by Philip Davenport called A Map of You, part of the Text Festival. Tony Trehy is the overall curator of the Text Festival. The show features truly innovative writers and artists from past and present. I’m very moved to be part of it:

Bury’s newest museum opens its fascinating space and collection to interventions and installations secreted as playful gestures and paratactic commentary. The show will feature works by Matt Dalby, Márton Koppány, Liz Colini, Peter Jaeger & Kaz, Bob Cobbing, participants in the Map of You Project and many more.

Curated by:

Phil Davenport

Commissioned by:

Text Festival & Bury Transport Museum

Ticket Prices:

Adult: £2.80; Child: £1.90; Concession: £1.90;Venue:

Bury Transport Museum

Castlecroft Road

Bury

http://www.eastlancsrailway.org.uk/bury-transport-museum-2/

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Performance at The Other Room – Video and Reflections.

Some of the words I ate during this performance:

flesh

blood

woman

kill

Scott chose and passed to me:

ordinary poet

This was my first participatory performance. I had decided to place myself on a table for two around the corner of the pub from where the other performers were situated as the position and size seemed to fit my purpose quite well. I asked the compare, Tom Jenks, not to announce the performance but rather to direct people to the other side of the room. I wanted the performance to seem more like it was just something that was happening, not a ‘show’.

I set up two dinner places at the table, one opposite me with wine, plates and books. The books sat on a meat tray. The selection of books I eventually decided to use were Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue, Plato’s Republic, an old Girls Annual from the 1950’s, and a large well bound edition of the Bible, which on reflection was probably too large for the table setting. There is always a humorous element to my selections, anything that makes those kind of connections and puns are always going to get a giggle and I won’t shy away from them. I don’t try to avoid the obvious choice for the sake of it. For one, if it’s obvious to me it isn’t necessarily for someone else. I think that’s the only reason to avoid a strong connection like that is usually just for the sake of it. Those connections click into place because of our cultural, social and political backgrounds which are things I intend to expose in this work and in most of the work I do. Not in any sort of bland and obvious way though, I hope! I am quite confident that there is enough innovation and experimentation in my practice and my approach that I can use things that are seemingly ‘obvious’ without fear of the work becoming bland or closed in its reading.

I decided that I would gesture to someone in the audience to participate in the performance. I poured myself some wine and looked up, Scott Thurston was the first person I saw so I gestured to him to come and sit at the table, without speaking. Scott as a participant was probably the ideal choice, although this was unintentional. Scott is a poet and a lecturer so is used to performing. Saying that, everyone would have responded differently, no matter what their performance background.

I poured Scott a glass of wine as he sat down, then I passed him the Orbach book. Scott seemed very at home he was certainly game, and played along in the manner of a very polite diner. This was different to the way I ‘play’ or don’t ‘play’ in this performance. The fact that Scott was there did encourage me to do a lot of smiling and being more animated than I usually would in this performance. I usually sit and concentrate quite intently at the books and don’t look up at all. I still didn’t look up very often at Scott, one of the reasons for this was for fear of laughing. When I did look up at the beginning of the performance once, I noticed large blobs of chewed up paper that Scott had spat out. This almost made me giggle. I always cut out each word meticulously, as much as possible, with a knife and fork. I found it satisfying to see that Scott had formed his own response to the performance. I chose some words that I found appropriate for Scott, because he’s male, to eat. I can’t remember what they were but it made sense at the time. This brought an element of interaction and communication to the performance that at first I thought of as too theatrical and cheesy. I have now decided that it almost made the whole thing more ‘realistic’ because of the falsity or ‘camp’ over politeness; the theatre of seeing people who don’t really know each other at a restaurant. Like an awkward first date, or ‘speed dating’ (or maybe not quite that strained!). It was satirical. And to eat abject and/or politically charged words in this context creates exciting juxtapositions.

This performance raised a number of issues. The composition was very different from when performing this alone. Previously, I have sat at a long table and have been posed in a way that resembles Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. I still wore the blue and maroon colours that Jesus wears in the painting but this was the only real allusion to the painting. Basically, the participatory performance was a different piece of work altogether.

There are ways I could make more of The Last Supper reference in a participatory vein. One would be to set up a long table, like in the painting with a number of place settings and as participants to wear colours that would allude to the painting. I could ‘direct’ people’s actions by writing instructions. I don’t think I would prescribe my own conceptual concerns to others, but maybe that could work. It’s not really a collaborative piece, it’s people participating in a piece of my work so it would make sense for participants to be aware of my practice and intentions.

The other issue that was raised again was the fact that the audience couldn’t see the words we were eating. I used a camcorder and projector at the events to project the words from the plate to a screen. This was technically quite difficult because of lighting and the size of the texts I used. I am also unsure I want to have such a large backdrop, although it was visually strong in itself. I hoped that the venue of the Old Abbey would be so intimate that the viewers would be able to look over my shoulder to see what I was eating, but I also need to factor in that people will not usually come so close to a performer during a performance. I’m still unsure how to resolve this.Kraak

Matt Dalby suggested that the lone diner was more uncomfortable to watch. In some ways the forced interaction and politeness may be more uncomfortable but for different reasons. There is not the same intensity with two diners. It was far more jovial, not so serious.

I’m now less clear about the work in some ways as it’s raised more questions than it’s answered. Having said that, it has made me realise what makes each piece work. I’m glad I took the risk. This may become another piece altogether. I still feel strongly that I’m never really ‘acting’ when performing. Of course I must act differently in front of an audience but I still don’t feel I’m playing a part, no more than I do every day in any given situation, existentially speaking. I feel pretty authentic. I certainly don’t feel like a phony. I feel that different parts of my personality come through with each type of performance. For example, my music performances are quite aggressive, sometimes actually violent, which is one of the main reasons I need to perform musically. The eating words performance is intense but quiet and contemplative. The collaborative work with Jennifer McDonald usually starts meditatively building up to aggressive and destructive peaks and troughs. I love performing in all these forms.

Manchester Artists’ Bonfire 28.1.11 – A call for pledges

The blog is up and running:

About Manchester Artists’ Bonfire

Manchester Artist’s Bonfire
Islington Mill
Friday 28th January 7-9pm
After Party 9pm until late
Submission of pledgesDeadline: Tuesday 18 January 2011.

Rule: You must burn some of your artwork.

This January a plethora of artists working in Manchester will join in a mass art burn. Artists submit their pledge to take part with a paragraph of writing related to their thoughts, feelings, responses about and reactions to this event.

This defiant symbol of dissatisfaction will act as a catalyst for change. The Artists’ Bonfire is unapologetic about the more obvious connotations such as; strike, destruction and renewal but it is also open to new interpretations, be they political or personal or both.

The pledges collected from Manchester artists will frame the event and provide the context in which we burn the art. We join in a festival of flux and celebrate it on our own terms.

A collection of extended pieces of writing will be published online and in print post event ranging from new theoretical writing to reflective accounts of the experience, providing a unique cross section of Manchester’s art scene in words. All printed material will then be expected to make its way back to the bonfire the following January where we all start again and where it will meet its end- or its beginning depending on how you look at it.

To pledge click here.

Manchester Artists’ Bonfire

Rosanne Robertson from the Castlefield Gallery, artist Graham Dunning and myself are curating an event that invites artists to pledge artworks to burn. There is no other criteria than to pledge and burn a piece of artwork. After some discussion, we decided we wanted to keep in mind the political and economic climate of cuts, to raise awareness and questions about it through the process of the event. The artists are not required to make a point about these issues.

The idea came from a conversation that Rosanne had with Jennifer McDonald at the Doers, Drifters and Dreamers event at Islington Mill recently. The artists were both giving an item of clothing away in exchange for t shirts from past protests. Jennifer said it was a bit like what she was planning to do that evening, burning some of her artwork as she was going to India for 5 months. Rosanne thought it would be a great idea for an event where people could burn their artwork and discuss why they were doing it. Rosanne then contacted all the artists who were present including Matt Dalby (who also burned his Long Lankin sculpture), Helen Shanahan and Gary Fisher and asked if we wanted to be involved.

Dead Rats’ Lungs

I decided I would like to have internal organs inside the cavity of the rat so I made a clay mould of veins that would be inside the lungs and poured resin coloured with ink into the mould but it kept running out. It was unsuccessful as a mould but the object was quite pleasing as a drawing.

I want to have the outer part of the lungs in latex and have them breath. This will be a complex undertaking but I feel that my work is destined to be kinetic. I also intend to do some animation work with my objects. I tried a number of materials to create veins through the latex, such as wool, wire and thread. This was very fiddly but some worked quite well. the wire rusted slightly which gave a nice bloody effect.

Clay research – Germaine Richier

I wanted to learn more about clay as a material so I looked at the work of Alberto Giacometti and Germaine Richier. Richiers’ work is astonishing. This life-size version of a preying mantis that resembles a woman is so disturbing that I could barely look at it when I came across it. The texture of the piece is also exactly what I was looking for with clay. I realised I need to work on a much larger scale with the material and with much stronger foundations to support it. I will get some wood to make armatures. I’ve watched some youtube videos of people making them that has helped.

This crucifixion is so powerful. The vulnerability and pain is almost excruciating to look at for me. I am very moved by it.

How she did this cast I will never know…

Actually, I very much intend to find out! This is the first piece I saw of Richiers. These angry but vulnerable anthropomorphic creatures are so intense. Richier was certainly the pre-cursor to Louise Bourgeois.

This (below) is such a contemporary seeming form.


Louise Woodcock

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