A blog detailing my time not spent in the Antarctic.
Well it didn’t get in. Why they didn’t want a pencil drawing of a space station from a 70s sci fi series I can’t imagine. The whole disappointing debacle will cost me about £200 (entry, framing, cost of two days in London) so I think I will now stick to my previous resolution never to do that sort of show again. Though I have to admit it was exciting checking the website for the winning numbers was exciting (Next time I might buy 200 lottery tickets instead). I discovered this disappointing news in Victoria station trying to find the slow train to Whitstable. I found it, with help, and the resulting adventures will be revealed in a blog coming soon to this site. But for now my non-journey to the Antarctic has come to an abrupt and suitably disappointing end.
BATH & LONDON
Oh dear another long gap between posts. The days just seem to be slipping away from me. I never made it to the Hunterian, a domestic plague of frogs descended upon me and I was still finding the little buggers in my pants for days. I have been to Bath since then to see the space at ICIA. its a sort of foyer leading up to the University’s postgraduate lounge. Dan and Owen have given me a 3D virtual model of the space so I can plan out my ideas. So far I have managed to accidentally turn it inside out and somehow got stuck in one of the walls. I have a rough plan of what I want to do which mostly involves sticking up the tracings I made from the Antarctic survey website and making people use toy telescopes to find my tiny sculptures. On the way home I was starving but didn’t want to ask the woman next to me to move. So I made a deal with myself that I would wait until she had finished her soup before going to the buffet car. She turned out to be one of those people who takes tiny, tiny sips interspersed with long pauses and even stops to do the crossword. The soup level didn’t drop significantly in an hour. But once made, a deal can’t be broken.
On Monday we went to London, (me and Annabel) to do something I haven’t done in a while. We were dropping off work for one of those open competitions you have to pay for the privilege of entering. We know one of the selectors (well Annabel does) so I was hoping that it wouldn’t be as much of a lottery as these things usually are. Mounted in a hurry using masking tape (not a good idea) one of the drawings slipped repeatedly to the bottom of the frame and we had to make two emergency repair stops. The second in a diy shop full of bemused looking men in overalls. Firmly glued in place with carpet tape the never to be moved again drawing made it to the handing in depot on time.
“remove you wrapping first”
“where is your second form?”
“if you get in this number will be posted on the website on Friday”
Later we went to the Royal Academy to pick up a friend’s rejected work. Down a urine-scented ramp we found several disdainful students and a few faux cheerful artists negotiating more paperwork. We sneaked a look at the list of rejects.
I have not been at the Antarctic for over a year now and tonight I will probably meet Simon Faithfull at his book launch at the Hunterian. The book being launched is about all the accidents he has ever had and is a sort of follow up to LOST. If I do talk to him I will try not to mention the Antarctic. I've also planned my first visit to Whitstable and started to think about possible ideas for the commission. I've booked into a Guest House called The Pearl Fisher which I liked for obvious reasons but also because I imagine pearl fishing in Whitstable to be a rather unromantic and thankless task. My current ideas are a plan to make a military invasion of Whitstable or to put a friend on the stage (secretly) She sings, dances and can play wine glasses. Pearl fishing might be more fruitful. I heard yesterday that Jon Ronson couldn't make the conversation with me in Bath, which is frankly a relief, but Dan is doggedly looking for someone else. I will take any suggestions (alive or dead) I've always like Pam Ayres.
The photograph today is a black flagging in Mexico at the height of the swine flu panic, some people are very brave.
Well I've been commissioned to make something for next year's Whitstable Biennale. That's it really, the brief that is. Make anything I want. I have a few ideas but as usual nothing firm. I quite like the idea of not doing performances and documenting them meticulously and was partly wondering if I could wangle some funded long weekend breaks. I'm really looking forward to taking the, apparently very, slow train to the coast before it is upgraded. I was watching Schlesinger's Terminus last night and having fun spotting the actors, they always touched their nose a real giveaway. Afterwards part of the dvd extras was a really boring but lovely hand tinted (I think) film about trains going from Stockton to Darlington. I think it was called Great Trains a title that was definitely trying too hard. Anyway I was also asked to write a biennale blog so when Alex Pearl is not in the Antarctic grinds to a stop I will leap once more into action. At the moment my possible titles are: Alex Pearl's 100 dirty weekends in Whitstable, or Performances I didn't do hopefully I'll come up with something pithier. Speaking of which, the publicity for the next incarnation of Goodbye to most of the daydreams in Bath, suggests that on the opening night I will be found in conversation with John Ronson. It has the proviso 'TBC' which probably covers the likelihood that I will run screaming from the room leaving Mr Ronson in conversation with himself (far more interesting)
On the way to London I saw the wife of a friend at Ipswich station. I had a sudden horror of having to make conversation all the way to London, of there being signal failure and being stuck for hours in a stifling carriage. The horror wasn't born out of a worry that she was boring but more that I was boring and I would be embarrassed by my lack of social grace. Suffering from severe performance anxiety I ducked my head rapidly and scooted along the platform.
My plans for the day involved meeting Sue Jones in a Cafe and then going on to Cell Project Space to catch "Look! no Hands" a group show involving: Athanasios Argianas, Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth and Simon Faithfull. The premise of the exhibition was that each artist used video to mediate performance.
I arrived way too early for my meeting, but not early enough to go somewhere else or do anything useful. Undeterred I filled my time drinking coffee and checking my emails until I realised that most London cafés don't seem to have toilets. After that I moved on to tea. I had texted Sue and, although we had met before, I thought it best to use the blind date technique of telling her I would be wearing a red jumper. The cafe we had arranged our rendezvous was blisteringly hot and by the time she arrived I was sheeting sweat and attracting worried glances from the waiters. I was now suffering from imminent bladder failure coupled with severe dehydration but I don't think she noticed. My biggest fear (apart from wetting myself) was that Sue would ask me to develop some sort of performance for Whitstable but she didn't.
After the meeting I set off for Cell swankily using my iPhone to guide me. I had checked the website but had been unable to ind out if it would be open. I won't go on but it wasn't and I turned away with a small smile.
I've posted a review on Reviews unedited
As I left the area I popped into a little Gordon Dalton show at Keith Talent and was disappointed, not with the work but, rather because it was not what I had set out to see. I felt instantly guilty about the disappointment and went round four times (it was a small show) reading the press release. Apparently disappointment is an integral part of his sculpture, suddenly the central image of a shark costume swallowing the artist's legs made me feel better about things.
Later in the new Whitechapel café I saw Sue again talking to two friends. Feeling embarrassed and not wanting to interrupt, I sidled around the tables pretending not to see her.