A huge amount of hesitation is going on at this point for me.  I’m needing to understand the context of live-art, the area I’ve stepped into.  I find I am doing live-art performances, yet have started before taking stock of the context.

My first live-art piece was the first appearance of the Lost Library at the Abergavenny Eisteddfod in 2016.  In the autumn of 2015 when I dreamt up the idea of making a part of  Abergavenny Library mobile and take from the building and onto the festival site. (Except this is not the whole truth.  Really I wanted dancers to respond to text/bring text to life, maybe even within the library, but I couldn’t find available dancers.)

My reasoning was to do with wanting text to become physical  to move.  (and not brave enough to do it myself).  Also, being told many times by people that I am not a performer.  Which has truth in it, but, but, but  But also motivated by the knowledge of losing so many libraries.  Along the way many elements came into the end result.  Being in the middle of it its harder to understand what others might have seen in their encounter with the lost library.  The ingredients of the performance where:

Time

7 days on the festival site

What

An old wheelbarrow filled with plants
A big roll of text from the book Border Country by Raymond Williams
Music coming from the wheelbarrow
A speech in Welsh and English translation attempting to explain the whole piece.

Who

Myself
a volunteer Welsh speaker to read the Welsh speech
a librarian.

Also

Musician composed three pieces using the book as theme source material
Art student adapted a 1950s wheelbarrow to take the roll of paper
Local gardening group grew from seed plants mentioned in the book.

 

Clearly  looking back, I had far too much going on!~

This was useful, yet incredibly stupid.  Less is more and how did I end up with all those elements mixed in?  Well, for starters, I had a long time to prepare, this I realise is terrible with something so site specific.   What would have been more useful would be to (get commissioned) and have a simple kit ready, a simple plan and then adapt as I go and allocate myself tonnes of time during something like 7 days in a row (almost, it was Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat) and by the Weds I was warming up and stayed up till the early hours painting a translation of the speech onto a roll of paper, as the Welsh was getting glazed looks.  The communication is important to me.  And the working from the seat of my pants works in this kind of environment.

Festivals are for flexing,  experimenting with an element of practice.   I did this yet in several different languages and the message was messy.


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Aim:

Make our peer mentoring sessions and exhibition preparations transparent by isolating the dialogue and transcribing it, to create a permanent record, an inscription.

By transcribing a season of our sessions the ideas of individuals and the formation of the artworks in the run up to the exhibition become visibly fluid as they are discussed and often tweaked/transformed through dialogue rather than simply the finished products which appear, as if fully formed in the exhibition.

These discussions are usually only recorded via meeting minutes, if at all and I’ll be transcribing them in their entirety (including mishearing’s and typos).

Definitions:

INSCRIBE:

1)  Write or carve (words or symbols) on something, especially as a formal or permanent record.
2)  Draw (a figure) within another so that their boundaries touch but do not intersect.
3)  Issue (loan stock) in the form of shares whose holders are listed in a register rather than issued with certificates.

INSCRIPTION:

1)  A thing inscribed, as on a monument or in a book.
2)  The action of inscribing something.

TRANSCRIBE:

Put (thoughts, speech, or data) into written or printed form.

 

Ingredients:

Typewriter
Cream paper
Headphones
Time
Audio recording devices
Peer mentoring sessions in London

Method:

Record peer mentoring sessions July to October (November if time) and type via audio transcription onto cream paper, mistakes by mishearing and typos included in final product.

Recording in person when I’m there, virtually over Skype when I attend that way and via a willing volunteer when unable to be there at all.

I’m questioning what is and isn’t newsworthy.
Is honesty valuable?
How transparent can our peer mentoring group be?
What value does focussed discussion have?

 

Recently I’ve been tweeting excerpts from my inscription via the groups Twitter account @Juggernautsart

 


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Ingredients:

40 minutes
Mute
Low Plinth
Black and white stripy blazer
Car boot items
Sign

Directions:

Stand on plinth holding one item at a time, using arms and body to show the item, interacting through gesture and eye contact with passers-by staying silent, with a simple sign at the base of the plinth reading ‘What’s your price for the item I’m holding?’   I wave at people going past in cars leaving the site, this becomes part of my routine and gets the most engagement.  (Gestures slowed).  Overhear one guy saying  ‘Wish I could get my wife to do that.’ And a mother explaining my appearance as best she could to a young child.

Result:

Engaging people through gesture and eye contact, seeking an honest interaction in a world that increasingly seems to be absorbing untruths in the media.

Unlike in the conventional retail space where prices are usually fixed – at a car boot sale we have the opportunity to barter.  Bridging the gap between the gallery, where a limited range of people frequent, to an event attended by many demographics visiting as buyers, sellers and those who just want to be entertained or social.


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Having worked with words and text for a long while, I’m finding I now need to seriously limit my use of them; only reading and writing what is essential.

Doing as much research through video and imagery, and doing things rather than writing about them.

I wrote around a month ago ‘This season I will mostly be wearing my actions.” As I was clarifying my practice.

I have held back from really diving into live-art.  I find when I look at LADA (link) and ArtAdmin (link) that I feel I don’t fit there either.  What I see there is louder and clearer than my work.  I feel I’m working with subtleties.

I having been thinking and mulling and procrastinating so much, because I’m really nervous of where I’m going.  I had a notion to do my giving out words silently in the centre of a tourist city (wanting as much interaction as I can get).  I have now sourced a black and white stripy jacket, I just need a plastic crate, black fabric and cartridge holder (for the jars of words).

In my last live-art appearance in Deptford I was silent for 6 hours.  This was far more engaging and exciting than I’d imagined it could be.  I’d reduced the text down to giving out one word and a lost library membership card.  But there were written instructions all around, but I don’t think these clarified the piece for anyone.

Distilling this piece further to only giving out the one word and having none of the other paraphernalia with me, just what I am wearing and something to stand on so I am noticed (and hopefully approached)

The lost library handle could go now..It’s moved on from being about libraries to minimising text and maximising physical interaction.

I’ve become disillusioned with text.  It doesn’t live up to its promises, but physical action and interaction can.

Text is no longer my most expressive material,  my feet are.

Now – this appears to be a jump from what I’ve been producing to now and that statement, but it’s been there throughout my life.

Being attuned to the environment I’m in through my senses but primarily my feet and physical gestures – AKA over-sensitivity – is something I need to face through my practice.  (not sure of this sentence, it’s sideways)

I feel connected with my direct environment.  I’ve been attempting to communicate an idea through the live-art I’ve been doing, though not very clearly to myself and others.

It’s now a good time to review the Dancing in the Galleries conversations I had much earlier in the year at Oriel Davies.

 


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