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Stuff going on and sweden thoughts

Stuff going on:

4 school residencies going on: Artist in schools, St Annes. Blast Artist ptnrshp: Clonmoney School and St Senans School. TAP Artist prtnrshp- Scoil Chriost Ri. All 4 of these school partnerships taking up a lot of space in my head and the planning and organising needed to go with them. Lovely teachers and kids, especially the kids at St Annes who are great kids, and sometimes to me seem distant, absorbed in their own world for a myriad of reasons.

Finished organising dates for an online drawing workshop for kids for DLR Lexicon Dublin. 3 sessions, starting mid March.

Making 4 drawings for show in glór around the lockdown book reading club 35th May, run by Moran Been Noon.

Scheduled to perform for Imagine Belfast under 2nd Collective Call out for 26th March.

Taking part in Ogham, a 3 week residency ( I’m going up at the beginning and the end and responding remotely otherwise) with Catalyst Arts, with 2 other artists, sculptor Stephanie Tanney and painter Brian Kriel. Kind of strange and wonderful stuff.

So I have a tight band of apprehension and anxiety about getting everything done and trying to live up to my own standards in between. I got back from my Sweden trip last Monday. I can still remember details of everything but I know this won’t stay with me for much longer so I wrote down an account of the performance on the flight home, in the back of my Performance Artists Talking in the 80’s tome of brilliance. I wrote about my experience of the performance action, thinking about what Aine Philips had said in our mentorship sessions, to always write down and account of youth thoughts as soon as possible after a performance before you forget. I’d brought this to read on the way over etc, knowing that it might serve me well and keep my mind in that space of performative awareness.

So here is my account as scribbled down, mostly unedited:

Nobody Home: Performed in  Gävle, Sweden, February 12, 2022. Post performance, as usual struck by the post action low, feeling bereft and ridiculous and sad. And mortal. Questioning the point of the whole thing. And why it has to be a performance with people watching. And which parts were for the performative nature of the whole thing and which parts were me. And if this mattered or changed the authenticity of things, as if authenticity mattered. Beforehand I was nervous and annoyed that Marten had not been able to get more paper- (there was less paper for the space than I’d wanted- Id wanted a square space in which to move in but we ended up with a good deal less and I was unsure how I could move within this) he’d said the shop was open till 8pm but when he got there it was shut, fucks sake. I was stressed and cross that everything was not in order and not perfect by any means and I didn’t know when i was to start. It always comes down to the understanding that I don’t like myself, I don’t feel good in my body and the need to push past that. I refuse to allow this to govern my actions. This has to be overcome and managed, in everyday life and in art. Am not sure if it can be utilised, well it can in some ways like in my piece for Revision, endless talking. For example, when I look in the mirror and or see a photo I am usually pretty dismayed, and also annoyed by how this reoccurs on each occasion, as if it is, as mentioned, not productive. At least not productive yet. I have taken steps to manage this by shaving my head and getting big dark framed glasses so as to exist within myself authentically (theres that word again) and confront my physicality in a daily calm way. The performance was as usual, not easy to produce. I crawled into the room slowly, allowing myself to occupy the space and command attention of the area I occupied. I paused every few seconds and held the position. When I got to the paper I stayed down, squatting, and kept my gaze downwards for the first 1/2 of the actions. I am not sure of the music I chose, Pauline Oliveros, will have the same pleasure for me now after having had made these actions to it and used it in this way. Certainly whilst occupying the stage room before the performance ( nasty brown leather sofas, corridor smelling of toilet) and head the opening notes of Bye Bye Butterfly playing, it, the music, changed in significance for me. On the paper I was rolling and stretching and crawling. Now and then I would pause and knock on the floor, 2 or 3 times, and listen, ear to the ground. There was no answer, therefore the title of the work. Marten (pronounced in Sweden as ‘Morrten’ I now know) had asked me beforehand were people allowed to talk and move around, and I said yes. But as this began to occur, maybe 20 minutes into things, I could hear laughter and talking and people standing to the side of the paper where I was, with their backs turned to me, on the floor, looking at the art on the walls and it felt disrespectful and was also making it very hard to focus, as I was finding it challenging to continue working while this was happening, even though it was me who had directed that it could be so. This then got me thinking about my need to be nice and my penchant for being agreeable and my past performances in front of much smaller, intense, sympathetic audiences who were also artists and therefore wholly respectful and appreciative of the energy required to push put a performance into a space. So this, these recollections, the noise, laughter, nearness of people engaged in other activities, all served to distract me and made staying focused much harder. I decided that I was not finished and that I would continue and allow the performance to evolve in this way, as I was at the same time amused by my dislike of the talking and walking around. I felt I needed to allow it. I kept going but felt like it was time to finish soon after. My ability to know what to do next had diminished and also the paper was tearing up off the floor. I scribbled hard, intensifying the action and providing myself with an outlet for my frustrations, and got up and walked out. (this time up and onto and to the right of the stage) Afterwards I felt stupid and cried a bit. I was absolutely covered in charcoal. Marten came in and said one of his mates had said it was a religious experience watching or something like that. I asked him to get me a drink and fins out was there a shower on the premises. He returned with a bottle of beer and I trailed after him, belongings in hand and beer in the other, down to the kitchen area where there was a shower. I had my shower- it took ages to get the charcoal off with the bottle of hand soap I’d nicked from the toilet- and felt a bit better. It was a new action for me and I am glad I tried it. There was a good piece of journalism n the local paper about it also. I must try to get it google translated. Also, see Stelarc, p 442 (of the book I wrote this in) on the past and memory. Also- the feel and taste of charcoal in my mouth afterwards.

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