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By: Tamarin Norwood
Loose ends of a Live Art Residency at the Chisenhale Gallery
# 5 [23 June 2011]
Just spotted a roundup of my project so far on the Chisenhale website – an outline and three documentary videos here and an extract copied below. I found out yesterday that my book will be distributed through the gallery, which is good news. I have yet to actually begin the book, but one thing at a time...
Norwood took her lead from the tension between the material form of light in Kerbel’s work and its functional role as an illumination of other material forms: a tension which arises in her own research into the dual material and referential qualities of language.
Through experiments with torchlight, words, pictures and scribbles the children learned to differentiate between the material and referential forms of language and, following Kerbel’s spotlight protagonist, learned to use pens ‘as pens themselves’ rather than as pens ‘serving to illuminate form’. With their expanded graphic vocabulary of emotive gestures the children produced films enacting the dramatic escapes of playground chalks from their boxes to become protagonists in their own right. They learned to read their films as graphic musical scores and produced real-time soundtracks using instruments made from recycled materials. The school project closed with an afternoon premiere featuring the completed films together with outtakes and behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors (the chalks themselves) and the scriptwriters.
# 4 [20 June 2011]
Here's the 1:1 scale map I mentioned, from "On Exactitude in Science", a text by J.L. Borges:
"In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography."
Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658
From Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley Copyright Penguin 1999 .
# 3 [15 June 2011]
While I was preparing for the Chisenhale residency I made lots of videos of felt tips moving over paper.
I posted one of the videos (also posted below) on my other blog "What The Matter Is": I'd been failing to find a camera small enough to attach to the pen nib, and this camera angle was an unexpectedly good compromise.
Nicola Dale made the fantastic connection between the dance of the pens and the movements of figure skaters on ice. She wrote: "if you can't find a camera small enough, could you draw with your feet on ice?" Thank you Nicola - it's a very helpful link! It reminded me of an installation I made in Liverpool for a 2009 exhibition, the video component of which I've posted below.
I didn't strap a video camera to my ankle but I tried to do the next best thing, filming continuously down at the ground as I walked around the city. I drew maps of my route as I went, and the final video shows the footage of the ground synchronized with new footage I made by navigating the maps on paper.
Ice would be better still - it would keep track of the tracks and save them up for an aerial view, perhaps. It brings to mind Borges and his map on a scale of 1:1.
Maps, diagrams, lines, words for things.
# 2 [9 June 2011]
Here's a photo from the Family Day workshop back in April, with explanatory video below..
The Chisenhale press release outlines Kerbel's work KILL THE WORKERS like this:
"Following the conventions and mechanics of stage lighting and dramatic genres and forms, Kerbel has written a cue script for lights in the vein of a mythic odyssey. Desiring to be seen as light itself, rather than as light serving to illuminate form, a single ‘spotlight’ becomes the key protagonist on an epic journey of conflict and transformation to become one with the ‘worker’ lights, and to realise his dream of ‘open white’."
I wanted the children to use pens as protagonists - 'as pens themselves' - rather than as pens 'serving to illuminate form'. Rather than making the pens write and draw whatever we human beings want them to, the children decorated and dressed the pens as people and monsters and animals, and had them dance on paper stages. I've kept all the dances, rolled up in a tube by my tableleg. Some of the dances were fights, one was a football match, a couple were friendly conversations. You can just about make out which is which if you study the scribbles.
In all this I'm interested in the tension between the material form of the light and its functional role as an illumination of other material forms. It’s a tension that comes up in my own work in terms of the dual material and referential qualities of language, and keeping the dances rolled up on the floor is something I want to think more about.
Speaking of which, I still have the wire from the London Word Festival scrunched up elsewhere on my floor. The wire scrunches are left over from the conversations Alex and I had in British Sign Language and sculpture: the time and gestures of speaking made material and kept in a corner getting dusty.
# 1 [9 June 2011]
I've been working with the Chisenhale since April this year to prepare a workshop event, a schools project and a publication as part of my Live Art Residency with the gallery. The residency responds to Janice Kerbel's exhibition KILL THE WORKERS!, a "play for stage lights" which has brought a new perspective on some things I'm currently working with. Lines, mostly, and their pens.
The Family Day workshop was in April and the schools project was in May, but because of all the work involved (and the rendering and exporting time) there are bits and pieces I'm still thinking about and putting together. I want these bits and pieces to contribute to the publication I'm now starting to prepare as the final part of the residency.
I thought I'd start this blog with a bunch of existing images and videos from the project, to help gather all the ideas together in one place.
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