Really great to see AIR taking part in the protests on Saturday – really loved the long banner! I was disappointed to miss the march, I had though I would be abroad, but even being in the UK, I am just too skint at the moment! The £11 singles I rely on to go to London seem to be getting sparser and the walk on fare is now around £75. It’s just not possible to be spontaneous these days!
BT kindly cut my internet off at home last week and for some reason I have also discovered a whole load of unsent emails that I thought had gone up to 2 weeks ago! MESS. The last week I have mainly been at home or looking after my niece. Time spent playing, reading and spring cleaning. I think I have just about halved the contents of our house. It’s an amazing feeling, but I am not done yet alas…
As I was planning to go to Japan for three weeks, I had packed a crazy amount of work into the fortnight before I was due to leave. Included in this were a number of lectures and talks that I had been asked to do.
During my first residency in 2004, one of the other artists was asked to go and give a talk somewhere in Edinburgh (about the residency). At this time, I felt I had escaped certain death – if they had asked me I would have withered on the spot. I had a really terrible blushing problem in high school – for a while I was nick-named ‘attack of the killer tomatoes’ so that might give you an idea just how red I went. I guess I have slowly overcome it, especially as going to University offered me a break from that identifier! My MA was probably the thing that really sorted me out once and for all with public speaking. But still, like most people (I imagine), I still find it pretty excruciating. I always feel I am giving a lot of myself away and I always finish a talk feeling a bit used somehow. Basically I would do well to man up and start thinking about it a bit more objectively.
This is something I have touched on before, but in reality, talking about your work, blog, practice, stuff etc is part of being an artist these days. It is a way of gaining experience in universities, as a visiting artist usually gives a talk as well as tutorials and it is often built into funded opportunities/exhibitions/residencies.
Increasingly, people ask to record my talks (audio and video), which makes me cringe a bit – or students dump a voice recorder infront of you without asking – and the latest is here: http://vimeo.com/21013498
In a way, it’s good to watch yourself back, but it’s also horrible. What struck me was how much is lost in a recording. I usually keep talks quite informal and rely on audience reaction – this doesn’t really come across somehow. Rich White also did a talk at the same event: http://vimeo.com/21038734. His was half read from an essay and half unplanned. I thought it worked better as a Vimeo clip – more formal,clearer and less emotional perhaps, although I am not sure I am using the correct words here.
So I have been thinking that the way I approach talks maybe needs to be more diverse; to be more planned, timed, and rehearsed if they are going to be used as an online resource. I don’t know, perhaps the answer is not to do them, or to not watch them back! No more for a while though, I need to build my reserves!