Working in our individual studios, we meet three times throughout the day. Here are our individual reflections and thoughts from the day’s actions, thinking and events.
Day 1: Lists
It’s a lists kind of day after a frantic morning which followed a sleepless night. Sometimes lists are useful (in reflection I should have written one before bed to prevent the whirring noises in my head interrupting sleep). Sometimes not. Often, I lose them or write too many, or they are too long and therefore never achievable.
I did complete one of the items on my list today – to write a list of all the paintings that might be included in my forthcoming solo show.
What else is on the list?
I think tomorrow I’m going to rip up the list and focus on painting.
To cycle to the pool and have a swim takes me app. 2 hours. This is the best time of the day, apart from the meetings with the artists.
In a way it feels familiar to switch on the computer and talk about art. I did it during residencies abroads with my partner, friends and family. But to go into it with unknown people is different. The digital detox for the second half of the day doesn’t work because I am feeling more like writing and researching then making at the moment. Tomorrow I will switch my schedule and head to the pool first, see how this works for the rest of the day. Today I went to my archive and looked for more pics for a work I am doing anyway at the moment. I’ll stop this because I want to really concentrate on the residency…
Opening the studio doors, seeking calm, wishing for bright skies, fresh air, a connection with the garden outside.
In preparation, I had cleared my work space, put on my new denim utility apron, gathered a pile of books and ephemera I had been collecting, and started to arrange them on the floor.
There were a selection of sound effects on 7” and 12” vinyl:
- BBC Sound Effects No. 3 ‘Applause: Enthusiastic in theatre’ ‘Background atmospheres: Wind eerie or sinister’ ‘Baths: Water running in, & out’
- Songs of British Birds No. 2: Side 1 ‘Fields and Hedgerows’ Side 2 ‘Riverside and Marshland’
A lot of cross sections and diagrams: depictions of flattened cargo containers, plants in domes, a placard showing the backstage at the pantomime including the spotlight angles and rotating scenery mechanisms, a minimal 3D paper cut out, a diver from the Jacques Cousteau era with a dome helmet.
There were themes of travel and learning, a swissair world route diagram, the British Ladybird Survey 1987, Meteorological Office weather advice pamphlet, another pamphlet, of poetry titled ‘The shape of bricks’
I started to note all the similarities and differences, and ponder their collaborative possibilities within my work…
Day One: Figuring
Trying to figure presence, trying to figure object, trying to figure an invisible gas that is only known by the membrane that holds it. Taking things slowly. ‘Making do’ with breath until another day. Periodic table. Helium. Body based practice. What are their edges, where do they meet. Today’s experiments: breath, body, stool (the same age as the body), balloon, camera. A snapshot. A trial. Time spent walking across a small space, considering presence, playing with shadow. Helium:2 protons and 2 electrons, atomic number 2. Objects and their shadows making a bonded unit.
Thank you to peers who nurture.
Plans were made, to-do lists are ready but when it came to it – I just needed to sit and not think. Even sit and not think, and not do at times. Being in the studio away from the computer, not thinking, not doing much – just being. It felt wrong and hard at moments and I’m grateful for the group sharing session, listening to the group and being listened to. This has helped to re-jig my thoughts, throwing away the to-do list. Tomorrow feels fresh and new.
I did do a drawing, embodied thinking through ‘doing’. I finished off the details for a piece of work (tick this off the to-do list). I decided I could not make a performative reading – walk by looking at google earth (erase this from the to-do list).
But for most of the day, I was just in the studio, present.
Following our morning ‘grounding’, I have an impulse to make a watercolour of my laptop screen, as it appears after leaving the Zoom meeting – multiple windows open, a fragment of the screen saver backdrop (an epic Big Sur digital vista of orange, terracotta, purples and blues) visible between the blues, greys and whites of folders, header bars and margins of open documents. I’ve been thinking of webs, spirals, shells, labyrinths and mazes; of finding routes across and through keyboards or other surfaces. The network of tiered and overlayed verticals and horizontals seems to reflect this back to me. It takes longer than anticipated and the result’s underwhelming, but hints at possibilities ….and I think perhaps I’ll begin each residency day with a new version; reminding myself to lessen expectation…..see where it might lead.
With Mythos as an audio backdrop, I begin some ‘pattern-finding’. Space Invader motifs emerge, in what could become a PacMan-esque maze.
I cut out cardboard shapes for a 3d model; deconstruct an A4 folder; start a few different versions of components – extracting shapes from the form of the laptop, with a view to fit them back together in a reconfigured, inside-out bodywork.