…Is the title of a performance piece of mine from the late 70s. It’s actually an anagram of my name and refers to the ‘fragmentation of self’ examined in the piece, being somewhat influenced by my day job as an Art Therapist at the time.
Stood in the lecture room at Cleveland College of Art and Design last Thursday I was contemplating the route that had got me to this place. Ostensibly I was there to talk to the students about the Rink project, but it also offered an opportunity to do a historical self-appraisal. Have to say that’s not something I’ve done for quite a few years so it was with some trepidation that I trawled though my back catalogue. Funny – I had taken the precaution of preparing a fairly lengthy powerpoint in order to prompt myself (no tedious bullet points – just images and video clips) plus I had backup notes.
In the event I stood there and it all flowed out… for two hours non-stop. Phew.. I could have actually continued for another hour at least. Didn’t look at the notes once.
I got to the point where I was describing an early performance of mine; reduced down to the performance equivalent of a white canvas. Me, a film projector with no film in it, beaming its rectangular light towards my singular presence on a high stool. I remember doing Coventry Events Week with that piece, deliberately going on with nothing prepared; putting myself in the ultimate improvisational situation. Afterwards a couple of people came up and said it was the most powerful performance they had seen all week (and no it wasn’t the opening day ha ha). Doing that piece there was always the danger that nothing would happen – that nothing would occur to me. In the event something always did occur. The adrenalin kicks in of course despite the fact that your mind is blank two seconds before going on.
So it was with my talk. I quite enjoyed it.. I’m sure I rambled but it afforded me a rare opportunity for public self examination.
Ones work twists and turns through time, but I could see how it has developed. That water shed performance piece, a performance stripped bare, at first sight is a million miles away from the Rink project.
In fact I regard it as quite close.
The only difference is that my cast has expanded somewhat. Now, instead of myself and the room as the subject, I have a room full of other people’s rooms as the drama. All the stories I have acquired are now mine to scatter and reform. To mould into another space. Perhaps I have acquired some skill to listen and to interject from using myself as the subject. I do find I am drawn to invent something else out of this that doesn’t exist. That’s the creative act I suppose.
Specifically, the Rink project is getting more focused. There have been problems (nay let’s call them challenges… erm no… opportunities!) as to how we make the piece work in the gallery – but these are now resolved and have actually suggested another dimension.
There will be a light-tight entrance and wall built in the gallery to show the main video, and in the main gallery there will be an arrangement of monitors. This gets round the issue of light levels for projectors. It also means I can make a lot more use of the walls now that the lights won’t be down low.
There is the offer of the loan of a scooter from the sixties and I have other elements like my white stratocaster and hopefully Kip Heron’s trumpet to incorporate, which I hadn’t initially envisaged. Such objects, alongside the main video installation need to be treated with caution though. They could change the nature of the show, which is not what I want. I have decided that if I use them (and I think I will) they will be wrapped in white organza… a fabric light enough to see through but sufficient to make then a little mysterious…
I’m quite looking forward to my journey into the unknown again.