Saturday, 7 November 2009

Site visit for A Performative Interlude: Peckham Literary Festival with Neither am I

Following our collaboration in June this year, I have been asked by Neither Am I to develop a piece as part of their forthcoming night in a bookshop.

Here's the blurb,

"Neither Am I: Live In Peckham

Descend into the depths of the Peckham book scene for an anonymous ménage-a-quatre with literary outcasts Neither Am I.

Tonight, the masked mongoloids will ride their verbal combine harvester over the barricades of suburban ennui, book lust and rectal discomfort, taking in an early nineties house party and the secret nocturnal habits of Jim Davidson along the way.

Making their second appearance at the Peckham Literary Festival, this performance includes works from their brand new paperback anthology, which will be exclusively available on the night for the first time.

Plus, fresh from the video shop destruction of the Apollo, performance artist Harriet Poole will be at large in the shop’s cellar for a very special tete-a-tete with curious customers.

Entry free. Doors and drinks at 7.30pm. On-‘stage’ 9pm (doors will be shut before performance so please arrive in good time).

Thursday 19th November @ Review Bookshop, 131 Bellenden Rd Peckham London SE15 4QY/ Tel: 020 7639 7400"

From Neither Am I

This is the space downstairs at the rather lovely Review Bookshop. Upstairs its full of a wide range of contemporary books and quirky objects to peruse.

the events room- book readings etc

cosy alcove for a tete a tete....
view out of room-access is via a staircase

the alcove is lit with glass bricks in the ceiling. the ambient light from the street is orange and quite mysteriously calming. i want to sit here with the participants, in the dark with only the streetlight, in a falsely cosy one-to-one, performatively exploring the melodramatic romp of a trashy romance novel lived out through two strangers....its to be a far from glamorous foray of innane boredom, betrayal, playboys and stallions. oh yes.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Postal art collective: The Art department sketchbook intervention

more about this ferrari 2007 diary project here- the collaborative sketchbook project experimenting within the life and alternative realities of one insurance employee phillip gage who's lost his mind.......

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

(in)visible exchange at SPRINT, Camden People's Theatre- Review in Camden New Journal, 16th June 2009

Great to have something written about my SPRINT Festival piece.......This is taken from here (I have highlighted in purple bit about (in)visible exchange)

Scott Pearse, in writing about my piece and Chloe Dechery and Tom Marshman also performing on the same night, ends the review with;

"Such events such are what marks the Sprint festival out as a platform for original and inventive theatre. "

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Setting up for Performative interlude with Neither Am I @ The Apollo, SE24

front counter and backroom of the derelict-cum-community arts space in SE24

Performative interlude with Neither Am I, Live at The Apollo, 19 June

the sign on my t-shirt........

matches the expression ;) dressed as for work

ok... this event, which was part of Live At the Apollo, a derelict video shop in Herne Hill, SE24, was during a month long residency of art, film, crazy golf, exhibits and much more. It is a project which has been really engaging with the community of the local shops and passers by, as well as bringing in the more usual art audience. great venture on your doorstep rather than having to venture up to central or east london.

My piece was a collaboration with Neither Am I, a spoken work collective who perform their material anonymously, in balaclavas and darkness, lit only by their laptop screens from which they read their filthy, dark, and very funny material. My performative interlude was due to happen before Neither Am I came on stage, while people were drinking, and milling around, a kind of scene setter, that worked with the site and what was to follow. In the end, it actually continued after. As soon as Neither Am I had disappeared, someone had slapped their vid on the counter to rent, so i was back to work......

I wanted to embrace the ideas of redundant shop, redundant technology, and your worst nightmare of an assistant to have to deal with, the extreme attention to detail, and deadpan seriousness, relating to Neither Am I's style. the rough score for action was thus below...i played around with this a little. brash, rudeness to max. i found it strangely fine to keep focused, not flinching at all into a smile. drew very much on stand up/ Neither Am I dark ideas of non-sensical world's colliding, overly bureaucratic attention to precision, questions on the membership form starting normal, then getting more absurd. text taken from Neither Am I's book and others also written by them, eg, Are you that bloke I met in Corfu, Are you for real? Are you down with the kids? Do you work in insurance? I did feel myself possibly getting too Catherine Tate though (Am I bothered?) and reverted a bit to when I was the wicked step mother in cinderella when i was much younger (get to be rude and shout. a lot.) i liked overly pausing when carrying out menial tasks, being frustratingly annoying, taking my time chewing gum, drinking dr pepper very ceremoniously, etc. reminded me when i worked for safeway on the checkouts and how pleased i was when i was told by a manager someone had phoned up to complain about me for drumming my fingers annoying when they were finding their purse and packing their carrier bag........was this revenge?

i think this was, perhaps, a new direction for me, drawing on elements of the The Space in Between Project, but, for the first time...drum roll.....NOT using photography. It wasn't needed here: the act was enough to make the point, it wasn't a lament for the old technology, as in a lot of my work, more a thank god its gone, wrapped up with every worse nightmare of a shop assistant you would hope not to have to rent a video from.

the best bit was smashing the vids. making others do it, and then taking over. the story of their actual video choice became incidental- death to it all. titanic was still in its cellophane wrapper inside, which made it feel even more strange to be smashing it, it also being now a literal smash hit.boom boom.

the audiences responses were very funny, i enjoyed playing with them. repeating the questions back, extending the boxes on the form to add further ridicule, checking all the semi colons in the right place. some people visibly flinched from across the counter, and there was a steady queue for customers.nice. i liked segregating my end of the counter from the bar end, the relaxed from the stressed.

the performing a character was very interesting for me, i just fell into it somehow, and developed as the time progressed and in response to the 'customers.' how much am i interested in this work, is this a one off or is it a new direction to run with alongside my other, natural self work, is this becoming too overtly theatrical, a direction i may not want to go?? (someone mentioned Punchdrunk in connection to this piece.) i think the thing here is how i played with the occupied site whereas much of my work has been conversations in the private site. here i was bringing to life the ghosts that served videos, matching the narrative mood of the event to take place afterwards.

it was also interesting to allow these photos to be taken, people had publicly chosen to 'rent' a video, and so it was ok to document this, it was not a private encounter like my other work, and the work wasn't about the demise of photography.



The videos are stored out the back, the boxes in the display rack near the front door. H maybe chewing gum.

• Person queues to enter the shop, and arrives at the table in the entrance.

• They are given a NAI programme and asked if they would like to select a video and take it to the assistant at the counter. ‘There may be a delay, apologies, staff sickness.’

• They arrive at the counter and H asks them for their membership card.

• When they say they don’t have it, H produces a clipboard, opens it, and then proceeds to complete the form with H leading the questions and form filling. H checks all details are correct, and asks person to sign form.

• H asks person to step into the backroom with her to get the video. H gestures to the person to sit down with her on the floor.

• H puts on gloves and eye protectors, opens a tool box and H ‘does the deed as quickly as possible,’ ie take out the hammer and smashes it completely. Offers person the chance to assist.The smashed VHS tape is neatly swept up and put into the VHS box.

• H then folds the two copies of the membership form very neatly, and quickly shreds their membership form.

• H picks up the VHS box, takes the person outside and back to the counter.

• H gets out a temporary membership card from under the counter, asks them to sign the card.

• H puts the card on top of the box, and hands it to the person, saying ‘enjoy your film, if you are returning it, please post it through the drop box.’

• ……..or if person bails out at any point, H asks them to politely bugger off and return the video to the shelf. Membership form shredded out the back.


the temporary membership card that became the business card to take away with the video.on the back was mine and Neither am I's web address.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Performative interlude with Neither Am I Friday 19th June

Neither Am I: Live at the Apollo this Friday

Friday 20th June @ Apollo Home Entertainment, 29 Norwood Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24.

Neither Am I and their verbal puppet-show of minor-celebrity satire invite you to a splurge of high-end theory, low-end humour and middlebrow celebrity at the second live wordbath from south London’s most infamous literary nobodies.

Featuring a rag-tag assembly of world-famous authors, amateur wordscratchers and journeyman yarnpeddlars, the randomly selected and completely anonymous Neither Am I Performance Squad will be unleashing a hivemind monologue of verse and fable using only their voices in a virtuoso rendition of under-the-counter material and over-the-top delivery.

With the assistance of performance artist Harriet Poole, this one-off event will summon the ghosts of rom-coms, chick-flicks, soft porn and low-budget horror to frolic between the exhumed racks and display cases of the Apollo video shop.

Are you a member? Neither Am I.

FREE admission. Discounted bar opens 7pm. Neither Am I on-stage at 8.30pm.

Certificate 18: This spoken word performance contains strong language, long sentences and extended metaphors of a graphically sexual nature.


Saturday, 13 June 2009

Postal Art Collective- The Art Department- Sketchbook 1- Third intervention

so.. continuing with the postal sketchbook exchange (see some previous posts on this, here, here and here this month i'm experimenting with moving away from the negative printing of images, and recreating one of the particularly peculiar images (why someone would take a photo of a hand holding nails, and then why they would make it precious by including in a photo album?) ...not sure about this as an idea, but interested in seeing how E.Brass might take it on. I do feel we are still working quite physically independently in the book, although we are perhaps using similar devices, next month I feel I want to literally start taking it apart, layering ideas, expanding sections, storyboarding etc more. testing what's possible.....

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

SPRINT! Comments and feedback welcome.....

well...its been a while on here as realised have been running never walking, assembling thoughts in my notebook and not on here so hence back blogging to follow. sometimes its good to do that, the ole ' in retrospect' dialogue.

So..SPRINT last night I loved. the downstairs space i loved playing around with, and the dynamics of the foyer- precision, image making, generating engaging conversations. Initial feedback verbally was very positive, as I left the participants, I had comments form them such as 'wonderful, thank you.' and 'awesome,' but in my book, only one comment, which was about the way i present myself in a blurb, intentions to be cryptic? this is a long standing problem i have, how much to say, what is too much, and how the theatre audience blurb needs to be considered differently to the art why? I think the cryptic idea works well, maybe it should be more so, should this have been an entirely unannounced, invisible thing? I remember at Duckie how I was trying to insist that The Darkroom wasn't announced, taking people off through the door marked private etc etc but that the compere insisted, it was part of the vibe there to keep the energy high about the events happening. I thing I need to spend some time looking at this, I also met at EEC 2009 the critical writing guru Rachel Lois Clapham of Open Dialogues whom i should contact. I think it's also hard for me as i do rely on comments becoming documentation, as i don't record the work visually (apart from the relics)- maybe I need to find another platform for gathering?

I need to digest the event for a little while (I'm currently thinking abut what is interaction versus participation in the context of my practice now and in the future- create more open ended work??) , before posting my thoughts, and have another show on Friday (am I mad?) meanwhile, thoughts, suggestions, questions, from the participants or otherwise most welcome, now or once digested too:)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Rag Factory show (in)visible exchange: set up and reflections

photos are the set up and behind the scenes. due to the private nature of the encounters, this aspect is not documented.

Kiss Me Miss Me at Rag Factory. (in)visible exchange. An experiment in using scores for action handed to others to facilitate and personalise, taking place in and around the public and behind-the-scenes spaces. Following on from The Darkroom at Duckie, I wanted to try out handing over a score to see what happens, to people who have enjoyed my work. In my experience, most Live Art practice is devised and presented by the artist them self, with the more directorial role collapsed into the whole work process, and thus owned and facilitated live entirely by them. With this idea of handing over the art score to others, it raised interesting ideas about how much I was to direct the piece, it was not to be theatre. How much to guide and set the tone, and how much to let the facilitators find their own way? The whole handing over the work to others centered on the fact that what we keep in our pockets is often a universal thing. The work allowed mechanisms to enable the exploration of that real human connection coming from what at first may appear to be trivial, empowering a positive yet temporal (heightened through the elements of photo mortality) sense of exchange between what had first appeared to be, two complete strangers.

Co-performer-facilitators were Kerry Andrew, Lucy Thane, Madaleine Trigg, and Katherine Maxwell-Cooke. My role here was setting up the piece in situ, and then running through a score as an encounter with my performer-facilitators (as the build for the show was behind schedule, needed to spend most of the day making the space. This was exhausting, and nerve racking, I had very little time to negotiate the flow through the space even if it had just been me doing it, but I had the added pressure of having to then ensure my facilitators were ok. )

I found this method very interesting, and very mixed. I am extremely grateful to my facilitators for taking part. Some of my facilitators had rehearsed this in my shed at home, and we'd been through Q&A, and this meant that some were feeling more confident, had felt they were able to get into their stride with it well, others the time was very rushed, and so i feel i was at fault with expecting too much from people, they simply hadn't had time to establish themselves. To me the preciousness and secrecy was extremely important,and this element was upheld to a greater and lesser degree depending on how comfortable/relaxed the facilitator felt with working in that way, which meant my feelings about it ranged from being elated to a little sad. One person said they didn't need to do the work to have an intimate encounter with a stranger, they enjoyed talking to strangers all the time, which for me has shown me that they didn't really understand the nature of the work like i thought they did. They also felt it was my work, and should remain entirely so, what do i think of that, is that true, it comes from the way i read photography, no? Should I have done this experiment? What had been gained by using others and what lost? My basic rules were a scored sequence of actions e.g. the photographic, but it was up to them what they talked about with regards to the contents of pockets, and I didn't want them to share that conversation with anyone, it was to remain entirely private. Should I have set more 'boundaries?' Does this mean I needed to adapt a directorial role for this piece if I didn't feel comfortable with some of what happened? I also felt extremely exposed and detached from the work, meeting participants when they exhibited their photogram at the end, and having an odd, quite removed conversation with them, when normally I don't ever see them again, let alone in a post-encounter situation. Very weird. Maybe if I had had encounters alongside the others it wouldn't have felt so clinical for me. Isn't this piece about building up trust, a network, a sense of community between the performer-facilitators? i remember a friend who was collaborating with someone in an extremely intimate way spending a lot of time doing yoga and massage together, learning to understand each other more physically and emotionally.i think some kind of equivalent level of personal engagement could be of benefit, learning to understand the ethos behind the work. quite what that looks like i will have to think on.......

I need to talk more to the facilitators and pick their brains about it working on a larger scale, or if it could. i think i was aiming to work towards an entire site full of nooks and crannies engaging people in hidden encounters, or the idea of a large communal sharing with multiple facilitators present in the moment....what they might look and feel like i don't yet know..........