Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Darkroom @ Duckie 18th October 2008: Part two

demo photo taken and manipulated to reinforce the private nature of the encounters and just simply show idea of the sort of mobile phone photos taken at the start of the piece

performance installation of some of the photogram relics drying pegged up in the laundry room/second darkroom

with the red light on

unluckily, both the darkroom safelight bulbs blew and I only had one spare, simon the duckie producer gave us a torch with a red gel, this added a focused light and uplight some of the photograms to cast a shadow on the wall, happy accident :)

selecting a peg

setting up the lines
stair case bannisters covered in fairy lights where we sat for the conversations

Note: As with all my work, the encounters themselves are not documented and remain true to the private nature of the things shared/divulged. The relics, performances writings including this blog and the rather lovely posts about Lucky Conkers and all by Pogonophile and The Darkroom and the whole Duckie night , as well as from Laura who co-performed, are the documentation so far- do feel free to leave your comments too to help me in future work:)

Some reflections of my own and in conversation with laura;
  • overall, despite not feeling 100% well, this piece felt my best yet, simple, and edited to the basics of human interaction and simple photographic elements. i LOVED the duckie crowd and the site was, i felt perfect for the piece.i LOVED seeing the digital image of the two strangers reflected back off the photogram in the sink. mitch set up the piece extremely well in his leathers and harness, as some of the crowd seemed to really be expecting a gay club darkroom (!), and often laughed in good humour when they realised it was a photographic one! i felt entirely comfortable working with a score as framework but without rehearsed story elements- felt very me and made me think about why i went very much into a very constructed and scripted, (more theatrical, if i'm honest which i don't feel comfortable with) piece for my MA show shed- hmmm needs to be evaluated. [If i went back to shed which I'd very much like to perhaps there are greater possibilities with the participants alone in the shed and elements of chance, passers by in a more natural environment eg allotment? the great thing about duckie was a living breathing site-offering me a truly site-specific response, the sheds i brought into an unnatural environment and invented a narrative for it based on the very concept of sheds rather than the site of a shed. that said, the photogram potted plant garden i did love and all the little cat kitsch elements, is it just to admit it really was just two shows in one? ]
  • conversations and stories. with the previous incarnation of this piece Mitch saw at the LADA EEC Platform i was re-telling the same story about a matchbox that once lived in my pocket as a defining moment leaving childhood behind. i then asked the participant to tell me a story about what was currently in their pocket- this felt odd at the time, unequal exchange, and too rehearsed (in run-throughs of this piece people said my story was 'boring' or 'unreal' so i found myself colouring the story to make it 'more interesting.') the piece at duckie through working with stuff i normally walk round with in my handbag, i found to me a more engaging experience as it felt more real, the object directly triggering the memory as it occured to me in the moment here and now. that said, i did know i had a train ticket to my father's memorial in my purse but i wanted to leave it to the moment of sharing, if i felt it to be right, to choose this item and say what felt natural to me, responding to the direction of the interaction. i also found that if i had the same item in my bag that people were sharing eg wallet, i too got out my item and rummaged through picking out bits and pieces making a connection with our everyday paraphenalia: we don't know one another yet we have lots in common. these interactions given that they were actually between two strangers, felt pretty genuine, sometimes startling, and on the most part, comfortable.
  • two performers/hosts. fleeting overlaps and different experiences. this decision was entirely taken due to the fact that duckie wanted to have 5 minutes per encounter and that the idea i had proposed would be more like 10 minutes. i felt really comfortable in working with laura who knows the piece very well and was also actually quite excited about the idea that a score could be given with a few guidelines and letting the person feel their own way through it in their own encounter. some differences thus occurred, for me i didn't want to have more than one person at a time and laura felt okay with this where it was a couple, so she did this a few times.the other thing that i found very interesting was how much the human connection was of paramount importance to me, actually in the end, over and above getting a high quality photogram image which is something i NEVER thought i would say. and in lauras case, maybe because she knew how my work centered around the act of photography, she found herself repeating photograms where they turned out less effective. repeating actions and/or overlong conversations in the bathroom, meant at times we found ourselves left waiting for too long to get in there with our own participant, a couple of my own conversations were drawn out a little too much as a result and total number of the exchanges (26, with i think, 32 participants) could have been more with use of another bathroom OR how about the office and cashbox developing tray?? loses the seediness of going into a bathroom together though like you get in a club.
  • gender issue- the only females who wanted to come to the darkroom, even if they had a sticker, were a couple of friends/contacts we had invited.
  • use of space overall. this worked really well en route manoeuvring through all the different rooms and bumping into other 'couples' being the other pair in an exchange. i really liked the starting and ending in the thrust of the club, starting off as strangers and then sharing a secret moment to then depart still as strangers, the did that really happen? the sitting on the stairs when they were occupied with another couple added to the mystery and intrigue of the piece. we both liked the knocking on the doors.
  • technical issues. the chemical dilution of the second batch, i think i mixed up wrongly resulting in lengthy exposures. the sink plug leaked water, so i used a universal plug. did we really need to let the solution run away each time? could it just have been kept filled as a processing trough- filled up more for me would have given a more even development as i ended up with tidal marks from a shallow sink. this element i should have tested more.
to the future;
i think this piece has still got legs, which in conversation with mitch, he agreed.
  • find out places to take this piece in an art-club setting, eg bistrotechque, bethnal green working mens club
  • research more score based non-matrixed practices, see actual examples eg tino sehgal, fluxus, happenings, i know they were used but not actually read them
  • practice photo-technical issues more in future sites in a walk through
  • consider how my role in my work may be expanding, what if i have even more performers/hosts/facilitators that i am directing? what do i lose, what do i gain?
AND FINALLY, I was so chuffed that Pogonophile really got the piece although the photographic elements seemd to be less significant, as they had also become to me. Was it obvious the digital image was being erased after its light killed the photogram? And these 2 comments on his blog just made this event for me, particularly as i have never performed in a club before (am excited about how transferable this piece is);

"That's the added ingredient to Duckie, the extra something that takes it from being The Best Club Night Ever to a whole different plane altogether."

"For me, it was probably the best Duckie this year, with music, cabaret and individual interactive art melding into one exciting, affecting whole."

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

what not to wear

the event what not to wear at shed and a half gallery , shoreditch, on thursday 23rd and saturday 25th october has been CANCELLED. many apologies


Sunday, 19 October 2008

duckie thoughts and website

just a note to say, i will be reflecting on here my thoughts on The Darkroom @ duckie last night shortly and feedback would be welcome :) i'm feeling elated about the whole experience- a new departure for me- a much less rehearsed approach for the dialogue, just following a score for actions- feels good, i'm no actor, nor wish to be, engaging in real conversations being in the real here and now moment like the moment of the act of photography. and a huge thanks to the ever so lovely laura bean for co-performing my piece, mitch for the fantastic curatorial input and just generally great support, as well as the wonderful participants that we whisked off the dance floor to the labyrinth beyond, shared with us both so openly, a real privilege to have met you all.

...and on the website front it's in the process of being this space as they say....
and meantime, as today is my birthday and i'm eating a big chocolate bear with my name on it, and off to the delightful camille at the roundhouse.


Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Darkroom @ Duckie: The score

The score I set to follow of the 'happening' : Outline of an encounter

Mitch approaches a person in the main bar/dancefloor/outside area.

Mitch asks person “ Would you like to go to the darkroom?” and continues to ask until gets a willing participant and puts a sticker on them.

Performer approaches person wearing a sticker, gets out a mobile phone from her handbag, puts arm round them(?) and takes a phone photo of the two of them together. Performer plays back image and shows the participant the image. Mobile phone goes back in the performers handbag.

The Performer says/whispers “Come with me” OR lead by hand, and the two go to the edge of the bar near the club entrance, to the door marked “Private.”

They open the door and walk upstairs, across the landing and sit together a few steps up on the main (ornate) staircase. If there is someone already on the stairs they sit below/above.

The Performer asks them what they keep in their pocket/on their person, and if they’d like to share it.

They then talk about the item if they want to share, and the Performer may share an item too.

The Performer then gets up and walks to the bathroom with the participant. Performer knocks on the bathroom door. If there is someone in there they stand and wait OR return to the ornate staircase and sit.

They go inside and sit on the floor.

Performer gets out photographic paper and asks the Participant to put their item on the paper. Performer does the same if they also told their story.

Performer/participant then turns on the bathroom light/ gets out torch on a key ring and exposes the photo paper.

Performer then gets up and moves towards sink. She puts in the plug.

She asks the participant to put the image in the sink. She then opens a bottle sitting on the side of the bath/sink and pours it over the image. Performer gets out tweezers from her handbag, moving image around with tweezers to coat it fully.

They watch the image partially develop.

Performer then gets out their mobile phone and finds the photo of the two of them, and holds it over the image to kill it to black completely.

The image is then deleted by the participant. The mobile goes back into the performers handbag.

The Performer turns on the cold tap and as it fills up, takes the plug out and holds the image under the tap to wash it.

Performer wraps and blots the image in a towel/flannel and puts it [in a small wash bag] inside her handbag. The two leave the bathroom, shutting the door firmly behind.

The two go to the laundry room. The photogram is taken out of the handbag to hang up on string with pegs in the laundry room with all the other ones.

The performer leaves the laundry room shutting the door firmly behind. She then walks down the stairs with the participant and stops by the door to the club. She gets out a business card form her handbag, takes off the participants sticker and sticks it on the back of the card, and puts the card in the participants pocket. She then opens the door back to the dance floor and the participant and the performer leave one another.

Event starts again.


Does the performer offer their story first or only if feels right to do so

How much do you need to gesture for the participant to move around the space, if performer sat down or walked in the bathroom would they follow?

How much developer to pour each time and how to sort out refilling. Using the idea of a bottle on the side of the bath OR perfume bottle? Test out half strength dilution in the chosen exposure lighting conditions.

Set up:

Black out bathroom, laundry room, Top landing (all single windows)

Hang up black curtain over the door to laundry room if needed and other glass door possibly.

Laundry room:
Set up red light. Hang up string for photo paper. Put pegs on the side.


Set up red light. Clear space to sit on floor. Check plug fits if needed. Sort out white lighting arrangements. Test exposure and development time.

Walk through whole piece with Laura and Mitch.

Get dressed up for the club!

Friday, 17 October 2008

on the eve of duckie thoughts....'the darkroom'

this week has been manic in sorting things for duckie...exciting though :)

laura bean kindly agreed to co-perform with me :) this means the issue of trying to get the work down to 5 minutes is not necessary as we can work between 5 and 10 minutes each. i'm also looking forward to those overlaps on the stairs, seeing each other in an encounter but trying not to overhear...

Monday, 13 October 2008

what not to wear- projection trials

idea of live feed of image of an forgotten/past outfit that a participant once wore projected live from inside the shed out onto the roof garden onto a washing of t-shirts- temporal image as design on the t-shirt. the image registers on front and back. image erased live.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

shed-and-a-half gallery upcoming show

i'm also doing a show as part of Photomonth 2008 on 23rd and 25th October at the shed-and-a-half gallery, which lives on a rooftop in shoreditch...

here's the latest information from the shed and a half gallery website:

What not to wear? explores the relationship between the redundant and the nostalgic through the dual narrative of a past-industrial site of a haberdashery factory and redundant items of clothing we no longer wear. The two sheds of the gallery are also important as both a site of secrecy, and where forgotten or discarded items end up.

This show is a three phase event. Firstly, in CLOTHING there are intimate performances for one at a time in a staged darkroom exploring photograms and clothing. The private view event, PHOTOS, is then intended as a cathartic and collective experience sharing photos of audience members wearing forgotten/embarrassing/lost items of clothing, mediated through photographic manipulation of the live projected destruction of the clothing’s image within the Shed and a half gallery rooftop environment.

The FINAL EVENT will be a short viewing of the installation relics in the half shed, as a single group that would have met off site collectively and then go to a pub nearby for an informal talk about the work and feedback.

Wednesday 22nd October
2-6.15pm one-to-ones, What not to wear- CLOTHING.
6.30-9 private view, What not to wear - PHOTOS

Saturday 25th October
12-4 one-to-ones, What not to wear- CLOTHING
4.30-6 What not to wear- FINAL EVENT. Installation viewing 4.30-5, followed by post show discussion in a nearby venue tbc.

Event details:

CLOTHING: A participatory performance for one at a time. Participants are required to bring an unwanted item of soft clothing they no longer wear to surrender- they will not get the item back.

PHOTOS- Participants are required to bring a photograph of them wearing an outfit/item of clothing they no longer wear to surrender- they will not get the photograph back. Photocopies not accepted.

FINAL EVENT: Installation viewing of the final relics of performance and post show discussion, near gallery, venue tbc

NB All events strictly by appointment only and participants must agree to bring item(s) required. Please book asap to avoid disappointment.

Booking: via email stating in the header which event(s) you are booking for to You can come to as many as you wish! Any further information please contact Harriet on 07900 563631 or email as given.

Central to the work are theories in the work of Roland Barthes and Tino Sehgal, the first for his theories of the ‘mortality’ of the paper based photograph as an ‘impossible’ record of ‘now,’ and the latter for the fleeting materiality of his art works. Poole is researching principles of non-matrixed theatre and audience participation through the subversion of time based media practices. She is also experimenting with pushing the temporal nature of performance through marrying with the temporal nature of photography, placing the process of image making intrinsically at the heart of an intimate and participatory, performative experience.

About the artist:
Poole's approach to photography is to experiment with both the low and the high tech, from pinhole photography and photograms, to holgas and film SLR, to digital SLR and live feed and pre-recorded film, and found photographs and slides. She has a wide ranging style and use of technique that fuses the photographic with the performative; her work in her MA has put the spectator as participant directly in the process of image making in a staged darkroom in gallery and non-gallery spaces.

For further information on the artist's work please see

duckie night out- 27th september

ok- so really enjoyed this night- great vibe, really good and not so cabaret/live acts, bit like a party in your living room with your student union old music- neneh cherry, kate bush, suede...dress code seems to be mixed- some dressed up, live acts were if it was part of their act, few burlesque ladies, mostly jeans wearing cute boys with beards and stripey jumpers ;) met the guy daniel who designed the duckie flyer, he lived the shed camera obscura idea for REAL as a kid- his auntie had a gypsy caravan with a knot hole....lovely

performance wise, i think anything would go down here- more provocative the better, innuendo and brash reigns. revisited the upstairs for noise levels- it was coming through the floor but not banging so voices still were completely audible for conversations in the upstairs space. was thinking about the idea of starting with me going and asking people myself from the dancefloor, if they wanted to go upstairs to the darkroom, then taking the photo, publicly of me and them, with the mobile phone picture on the dancefloor, before proceeding upstairs together for the rest of the encounter as per previous post. andrew thought it would be good to have a flyer on the door saying you may be propositioned to go to the darkroom tonight and so that people are aware, i could go round asking people is they wanted to go with me, if they say no move onto the next. thinking about this, i could waste a lot of time with this, a badge system may work better- wear it if you are up for the darkroom?

the other issue as i've been working on this over the last couple of days, is the issue of it being 5 minutes per encounter- i don't think in cases where people opened up and talked, that this would be possible, 10 minutes more likely, which gives issues for the 5 minutes set- some encounters may well be this or less though- does it matter? another performer? that would be good with the idea of bumping into each other/brushing past one another in both using the space- people appearing and disappearing into rooms, knocking on doors- soliciting connotations...just to think about for now...hmmm...

outfit? possibly my gun metal grey and black dotty netted dress, fishnets and heels and big pink rosette :) a dressed up self

Sunday, 21 September 2008

developed from the EEC platform- thoughts on duckie show

the laundry room to possibly peg up the photograms to dry as a performance installation

sink to develop image

staircase to sit and share story sat on

club itself- to the right is the private sign on the door you go through to get upstairs

ok, so here's the first post, post-MA!!!

i have shows coming up- see my website here which includes duckie at the vauxhall tavern, a gay cabaret and club night, on the 18th october

i was asked to do this show by andrew mitchelson from the live art development agency after the EEC Platform for Emerging artists in May (although this is not part of the live art development agency but a project andrew was asked by duckie to curate)

in chatting with andrew, am going for creating a piece which is max 5 minutes per encounter responding to this site, had wanted to go with sheds on the city farm next door but too costly :(

use the mobile phones idea here taken from my shed MA show at the beginning of september, and the forced conviviality references, as its very club technology, works in this atmosphere of strangers encountering one another.

very rough thoughts...(am going to duckie on 27th sept to see how i think this would fit in)

meet the participant downstairs by the private sign in the club, me/them take a mobile phone photo of the two of us. go upstairs together. we sit together on the main (ornate) staircase a few steps up- in the ambient light coming through the windows. i ask them what they keep in their pocket/on their person to share with me that they'd like to say something about- eg in pocket/bag/ worn. i ask them to NOT remove/produce the item in question. when we have talked about the story of it, why its' of personal significance. we go to the bathroom in red light, close the door and sit on the side of the bath/floor. i then ask them to reveal the object and lay the object onto photographic paper, turn on the bathroom light and then develop the image in the sink/bath.developer is in some appropriate bathroom beauty/ cleaning product container poured onto the image and let drain away down the plug after development. i then ask them/i turn on the mobile phone image of us together and hold over the image to finally kill it to black completely. the digital image is then deleted. the photogram is taken to hang up on string with pegs in the laundry room with all the other ones (performance installation) , the participant then is taken to the stairs to the club and leaves.