A quick interim blog post to bring you up to date as my final session funded by the re:view bursary is due to take place at the beginning of March.
Just before Christmas I had a meeting with my main mentor to bring her up to date with where I was in my work. It was, as ever, encouraging and enlightening, clearing away some of the fog that had gathered in my head around multiple projects and giving me a more concise path forward. We talked particularly about the piece of work I am currently researching for the Cicatrix exhibition, due to begin in July and tour throughout Wiltshire and hopefully beyond. I had been asked by the curator, Prudence Maltby, who I have shown with twice before to contribute the video element of this World War I centenary project centred on Salisbury plain. To cut a long story short, this work has absorbed a huge amount of time. It is an absolutely fascinating project and I am working with the MoD and the staff at Porton Down chemical and biological defence laboratories, researching the development of this highly secretive and contentious site.
Needless to say the red tape and security around my involvement has taken up much of my time. I watched a video by artist Katie Davies yesterday, where she had filmed the North-South Korean border guards, inside their security buildings, and cannot believe that she managed to achieve that when film footage of every bush on Salisbury plain has had to be gone through with a fine toothed comb by security here. Anyway, for more information on that go to www.cicatrix.co.uk or follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/cicatrixart
Back to the other major thrust of my work at the moment, a series of online conversations, sparked off by a scam e-mail,which explores our relationship with truth in a virtual world and where the actual power of that interaction lies. This has resulted in a number of filmed interactions in chat rooms which I hope will become the basis for a video installation.
An artist recently commented on the diversity of these two projects but actually, for me, there is a definite area in which they overlap. My research into Porton Down has unearthed an online world of perceived government cover-ups were, with little or no information to go on, people will still make a considered choice to believe a given ‘truth’ of conspiracy despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. It is similar, in a way to the choice they make to consume the supposed truth of an online scam romance even when the evidence is presented by authorities to the contrary.
And so, the meeting with my mentor proved positive and she, again, helped me compartmentalise work into two areas with a focus to create a solo show in 2015.
The next re:view meeting I had was a surgery with WW gallery http://www.wilsonwilliamsgallery.com/ which is something I had intended to do for a long time. I respect the work WW show and feel a compatibility with their interests, particularly their ability to show strong work with a thread of irreverence, humour and pathos. Again, we had a really valuable meeting and Debra gave me some concrete advice on the production and pricing of video, touring shows, working with curators, the importance of obtaining writing around my work from a respected critic and the need to set aside one day a week for promotion and following up relationships/submission etc. , all valuable information which adds another missing piece to the jigsaw puzzle of my practice.
One more meeting to go and I am compiling a long list of final questions for Judy Adam, curator of the recent and ambitious artSOUTH http://www3.hants.gov.uk/artsouth series of exhibitions and with whom I have had one previous meeting. Then it will be good bye to re:view.