I’ve recently been to hear Dr Elin Jones (Welsh historian) talk about women in history who should be more famous than they are, as part of the Abergavenny history society’s programme of lectures. One of the women had ‘letter writing’ as one of her occupations – is the modern equivalent email and online messaging?
Alongside thoughts of historical women who’ve been more or less left out of historical records I was thinking about the financial strain on local theatre’s like Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre. Lots are losing funding hand over fist. Back in the at least one of the world wars the theatre was used as a dance venue to lift spirits (something to mull over). I repeatedly try to find solutions to these cultural losses.
One of the key practical elements to my practice that has continued over the last few years is exchange between individuals and concern on the erosion of our culture through reduction of cultural infrastructure. I find myself wanting to declare war on the erosion of our culture. Which is happening piece by piece, and since 2010 things like libraries, theatres, public loos (enabling more people to interact / get out more) are bit-by-bit eroding our future. Art and creativity is essential, though those of you reading this don’t need to be persuaded, I know!
One of the women had ‘letter writing’ as one of her activities. It is almost a lost thing. We perhaps do it via email, online chat now.
I am really interested in how people encounter things. How they circle things. How they move in a gallery, in a shop, walking or skipping along the pavement, up steps. The wonderful movements of confidence and the counterpoint in the mundanity of life.
I am beginning to feel more connected to my surroundings. The Clydach Gorge project has helped me first of all realise this and then define it. (Currently etching alongside developing performative ideas for this)
I went to a session at Oriel Davies led by Simon Whitehead called Dancing in the gallery I only found out about the session the very day before, but dropped everything to go. And I was glad I did. The session had a mix of artists, performance artists, dancers and curators and there was a site responsive piece of dance happening in and around the galleries while we were there, who came through our session during the talks. I have a better understanding of how performance can fit into a gallery setting and the logistics and opportunities that come with it. My approach is in thinking about performance inside and outside, mostly so far not in gallery settings and I am interested to see how performance might be in a gallery. The description (by Geoff Boch) of Katy Coe’s running practice, she’s a solo figure who runs a continuous circuit. She sheds excess thought and (at the Hayward Gallery MirrorCity) had a live phone in her pocket which fed back into the exhibition space ‘venting’.
Simon Whitehead’s performance at Oriel Davies involving the furniture and often a level of exhaustion. The deciding how to react to interested visitors. To speak when spoken to or not? To adapt movements in response to others in the space?
nt of notation used in professional dance. Especially of notation used by Amanda Eyles as assistant to the choreographer, video about Woolf Works: https://youtu.be/M0ADxUspPW8 used in the Woolf works by choreographer Wayne McGregor, music Max Richter.
I am fascinated by how the complex movements can be written in notation. This notation is only useful with a thorough understanding of dance that comes from being a trained dancer/choreographer.
I have been looking at etchings on the Tate website and soon found myself engrossed in Peter Doig’s first print portfolio, which includes Red House. The way he uses trees to interrupt interests me and the silhouetted figures are at my preferred scale. What this brings to mind is people in a gallery looking at paintings, for instance in the Turner hall at Tate Britain, there’s a balcony there where I’ve spent time looking at visitors encountering the artworks. This then reminds me of artists referring to the white cube actors the black box. Then the green room backstage, the dark room, which is actually red in when in use. I digress. What might the Red House represent, if I had to name a function? I would say a place of exchange. This could be of words – of passion – of both, even.
Mixing up imagery of the roadworks with people from the past watching on – like 1900’s images, the figures the scale of Lowry paintings, looking calmly on to the changes we’re making.
The words are so often not available for what I mean so I must be my exploration and do it.
I have encountered barriers to my exploration in embodying text through movement, my own limitations. My adventure has been diverted around a perceived barrier.
I have recently been meeting and talking with many other creatives
a) who are interested in setting up peer mentoring (at the ICA late January),
b) are socially engaged (the Artes Mundi 7 conference in Cardiff)
c) through producing video conversations around their work ART BUBBLE in conversation series.
and d) have an interest in dance practive dancing in the gallery talks at Oriel Davies, Newtown on Friday.
I have had an enormous amount of input and I am again bursting to let it out.
My work is arranged in pockets of interrelated thoughts.
Lost Library – embodying the value of libraries in society through performers moving statistics.
Clydach Gorge project – in progress, early stages. I’m etching in response to the area, but feel my enquiry is leading me elsewhere – responding to a midsummers night dream and Ric Hool’s poem the first cut is the deepest on site through movement. The Shakespeare may need to be set in a cave – challenging, and Ric’s on dug ground on site ideally. The etching, I think this is still a valid media to work with, I just haven’t got natural with it yet.
254 words to 254 mini paintings to taking those paintings on walks and snapping them on a mobile and posting these location shots on Instagram with accompanying narrative texts. #paintingwalk. The ongoing story of each word is unfolding gradually.
Text to physical notion being explored through multiple projects, including developing public talks on the development.
I have been considering many other artists work, in particular Marina Abromavich, due to her attentive ability and how she describes being both in control and going with the flow. The mindset. Fiona Banner’s elements of text set in, for example urban environments and the choreographer Wayne McGregor who works with the royal ballet and has developed a notation system for movements. I’m currently watching his (Virginia) Woolf Studies on YouTube.