Hi, my name is Gordon Douglas and I’m a performance artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. I work closely with organisations towards developing understandings of collaboration within institutional performativity.
My a-n Artist Bursary is dedicated to developing a new portfolio website, and investing time into thinking about how my work is documented and made public beyond the live moment.
To give a little context, over the course of 2018-19, I am working with CCA Glasgow on a ‘performative audit’ of their open source policy, a governing document that allows for the use of all unprogrammed spaces in the building by the wider community. The resulting outcome will be a series of events under the heading An Opposites Programme. I will be blogging about this over the course of the year here. I will also be working with Travelling Gallery towards developing a solo show which will tour Scotland.
A lot of my work exists in a somewhat private dynamic, thinking about the individual performances enacted within collaboration: the kinds of performance required to maintain togetherness; the social contracts we submit to when joining a group; and the nuanced and problematic relationships we mask by saying we’re collaborating. Because of this, a lot of the work is sensitive to the people I’m working with, and is a major ethical concern of mine when choosing how to document a period of work. The research has stemmed from a performance art history not only because of this specific attentiveness to its reproduction through documentation, but through the belief in this performance existing in the (sometimes illogical) networks of production we navigate on a daily basis. Because of this, documenting the work is incredibly difficult, and devising a website to host this has always brought up problems.
Previous attempts hoped to rectify this by seriously limiting the accessibility to work, but due to upcoming international opportunities for producing and presenting new work, I believe it is now urgent to revise and seriously consider how I portray my practice online so that I may share research with people who are unfamiliar with my work.
I recently applied for support from the a-n Artist Bursary scheme to help develop a new web presence for myself that is more accessible than my current website, but still appropriate to the manner in which my practice deals strictly with its documentation.
Over the bursary period I will be working with web designer, Ben Callaghan, towards an outcome for this. We previously worked together on the development of the website introduction-to-performance.xyz, as an online archive for the course elective I devised for students of HND Contemporary Art Practice at Edinburgh College. I found through working with a web developer that both the habits in which I organised information and considered documenting a performance work expanded in a really exciting way. Through discussion, we spoke about how the work, and the accumulation of content/opinion/research, could be perceived as a score, or an invitation to re-play the curriculum. The discussion between education, performance, document and knowledge became incredibly fruitful, and helped me work through some of the problems I have with representing work online. I have chosen to work with Ben on developing this new alternative ‘portfolio’ drawing from these ideas and how we might think of my performance work, its ethics, and its relationship to the idea of a future. The bursary will pay Ben a Designer’s Fee for the website, and for a masterclass in maintaining the backend of the website– increasing my literacy in coding and hosting domains.