Saturday, 28 February 2009

One and other: Antony Gormley inviting fourth plinth live sculpture volunteers

am really intrigued by this one and other project for volunteers to become a one hour living sculpture in the 'most public space in our land,' in the ideas surrounding 'it is entirely up to you what you do,' spectacle, exhibitionism. shall i volunteer? who will volunteer? what/how/why/what would i do/pose/ wish to literally or sculpturally engage with audience? the expected and the unexpected, the 'portrait of our nation.'

Thursday, 26 February 2009

den show,scratch event in my lounge :)

decided to trial two of the 3 proposals in the end;
  1. in the den, asking the participant to get an object from the table outside, bringing it in and discussing it, putting the object in a pillowcase, and leaving its trace in a frame on the sideboard (objects on the sideboard are nostalgic feminine nan type objects including sweets in a side dish.)
  2. in the den, asking the participant to write a birthday/greeting/blank card from a shoe box in the den, to a female you once knew,discussing its story between the female and the participant, photogramming it, tearing off the card front and replacing with the photogram, leaving its trace as a photogram card on a sideboard outside. possible shredding of card?? use of walkie talkie to attract attention of participant placed under the table
here's the setting up;

preparing the table- nostalgic feminine type food/objects

various chairs/coverings experimented with......

the photogram appearing from the den left by the participant

upturned furniture

inside...blankets, darkroom objects

feedback from participants;

participant one: option 1:
  • didn't like pillowcase, try squirrelling the object away under the blanket. (did this for the second participant, worked better, more kid like)
  • felt ok with only one object, equal exchange, as i brought my connection into their story- previous work has been their object, my object.
  • liked that it wasn't fully light tight, can see pattern of curtains and photogram technique still worked.
  • possible sew/tack together the sheets for a little less likelihood of collapse of the den
  • the two participants were both small women, larger men may find it difficult to sit up, need higher chair etc
  • this piece had a more fun, less serious element than my previous work, more playful like a true kids den
  • maybe say 'pick an object or part of the object and see you in the den'
  • really liked the fan
participant one: option 2:
  • liked the shredding idea: symbolises what's gone in your life well
  • liked idea of using walkie talkies, keeping me in the den all the time and being invited in
  • questioning how people would respond to the theme of a female who was important in your life- preoccupation with death, how would i feel if i was asked to do this?
  • liked use of cards, choice of cards and presentation of these
participant two: fedback after experiencing both options:
  • liked second one better, more personal, able to directly work with own material for the exchange. felt was something specific to hang onto, something meaningful
  • a journey that had been on to take away with them, and continue to reflect on
  • felt wanted to now get back in touch with the person that was important
  • finds it easy to talk to strangers, nothing to hide, no prior knowledge to bring
  • liked the shredding, very cleansing
  • didn't feel like therapy, wasn't guiding/encouraging them to resolve conflicts, i was sharing similar experiences
  • option one- liked way thoughts went from one onto the next, started and ended in completely different places. this was also centred on an experience with a male, instructions weren't clear- although conversation went on to that
  • found it enriching finding out about another
  • chose to write the envelope rather than a card- the card was quite thick and couldn't see the photogram of it (poss longer exposure?)
  • always had to be a was important? means it will always be able discussing loss, death, conflict, someone lost contact with
  • the photogram didn't work so well, liked the fingerprint mark left behind by them though
  • walkie talkies- liked me bring in there already, playful element, meeting a stranger in the half dark
  • hot in there- no air, can i be i there for 3 hours?
  • liked to have greater difference in heights of furniture making the den
  • get older frames, charity show, with a history
  • would have felt ok if had recorded this, liked the idea of someone going back in the den and listening to our encounter on headphones
  • liked the locked box, very kid like, secrets locked away
  • suggested i do it in her home for a girls night in, she liked the idea of an evening happening in her own home with activities and relaxing conversation around it. we talked about the ideas i have for it becoming a more portable event, den made from anything people have in their homes, or using their own private spaces
refelctions overall:

it felt sooooo good scratching my work again, i didn't do this for First Thursday Private View, and really felt it, now very much refinding the energy, revalidating and reclarifying my thoughts and centering myself back on my work.

decided to go with option two, meets more directly with the thematic of the show, about sharing female experiences. it also felt more personally heartfelt, and in keeping with my ideas around working with memories and photography

i need to now really consider making the space taller for bigger participants, finalising the furniture, writing the score out, and really considering how and why to use the walkie talkies, and how to start and end the piece without usher. do i really think this works best with me in the den the whole time: does however adds to the mystery of dens, and the element of meeting with a stranger is heightened, you don't know who's inside and what their private world is.

the space in trinity buoy wharf is apparently fairly dimly lit, which is good, and no dj in the end so noise levels with me talking. will however need a table lamp to see the images. how will it feel outside of my lounge in the space? and in relation to the wider experience of the thematic of the show?

more to follow in revisions this weekend......

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

developing the mischievous, reclusive world of den.....

developing den for Not a F******* art show @ the electricity shop, trinity buoy wharf, 4th march 2009

the brief for this show, curated by an ex-student of mine, lora hristova who is currently in her third year fine art degree at central st martin's (and another who designed the website, sinem erkas, designer and D&AD new blood winner 2008) is thus;

"To coincide with International Women’s Day on the 8th March a group of sixteen artists will be exhibiting a diverse collection of work that focuses on the "fairer sex" without using the "f" word. A wide range of media from painting, sculpture, video and photography will ensure an exciting and eclectic mixture of work.

This exhibition aims to offer a platform for discussion for a variety of questions such as: How are contemporary artists portraying women in a post-feminist society? Can work themed around the female avoid being pigeon-holed as feminist? How is work viewed when gathered under the category of one gender? How do young female artists feel about feminism? What will male artists do when asked to contribute to a female exhibition? Is feminism still a dirty word?"

lora asked me to do this in response to seeing my MA show, shed in which i shared nostalgic connections to feminine objects. my initial thoughts were going back to undeveloped MA ideas about dens, and for thus having a darkroom den in the corner of the electricity shop into which objects and stories were brought and shared;

the portable den was originally going to be a portable NOVA darkroom structure, with some kind of nostalgic facade.cost was not what was first thought(!) this, coupled with the timescale for putting up the show is only a day for me,i started to play with ideas around the most basic, makeshift and highly portable kind of dens ( like a kid dragging easy-to-move things into the lounge) bedsheets, curtains, ironing boards, clothes driers, etc and away from other kinds using sofas and armchairs (this is also rather good for me to be able to carry there being a non-driver)

simple knotting together to join multiple sheets

bed sheets and lounge furniture

am thinking along the lines of den as a site of childhood, mischief, refuge, secrecy, hiding place, taking shed ideas but definitely positioning ourselves as adults going back to childhood, (and now considering how will this change my work.) this wiki talks about dens, and this article, The Nesting Instinct, discusses issues surrounding them. dens are a great things from my childhood, i used to like putting a tent up inside and hiding in there, as well as using sofas and having pretend tea parties, lining up and registering my teddies, and puppet shows behind and between upturned and sheet covered 3 year old nephew recently came to play in my flat, and we spent a lot of time in the duvet den in bed looking for dragons- he initiated. he lives in dublin and the following week i went to stay with him, and found we were now searching for bears :)

i like the idea of playing on exposure, in that the image is exposed, and the temporality of the den structure, that at any time, it could be pulled down and expose the inhabitants....

potential ideas, to scratch with participants in my lounge next wednesday;
  • in the den, asking the participant to write a birthday/greeting/blank card from a shoe box in the den, to a female you once knew,discussing its story between the female and the participant, photogramming it, tearing off the card front and replacing with the photogram, leaving its trace as a photogram card on a sideboard outside. possible shredding??
  • in the den, asking the participant to get an object from the sideboard outside, bringing it in and discussing it, putting the object in a box, and leaving its trace in a frame on the sideboard (objects on the sideboard are nostalgic feminine nan type objects including sweets in a side dish.) [Note: this is implying the den is potentially at nan's house, does this matter? how much am i implying i am metaphorically transporting/ 'removing' the viewer from the Electricity shop space external to the den as well as internally, this is an odd question for me as my work has become much more entirely site-responsive and this piece is very much not so above the notion of creating 'a den site.' I like the idea here of objects you know you shouldn't have (e.g. ornamental/grown up objects going in to the den, to be come our toys we then give our own identity to)]
  • in the den, asking the participant to get an object from the sideboard outside, bringing it in and discussing it, putting the object in a box, and leaving its trace in a frame on the sideboard (objects on the sideboard are child birthday party type objects including cakes, biscuits, sweets in dishes...or is this too off brief?? or go with gender stereotyping of foods- pink cakes etc, am i interested in that though? i like this as the consumption of food parallels the consumption of the image though, and if not used here i definitely want to return to this) [Note: this is implying the den is in a family living room]
How does the participant personally engage with each option, are some more engaging than others? How light tight do I really need given the image disappears? proximity- how small is the den? Do I really need a sideboard? How interactive/ collaborative/participatory is the piece, and think about levels of these, where are the elements of chance versus following score instructions? How to consider this piece in the private view- music and noise, the fabric walls of the den with ears listening in from outside, (privacy levels reduced, will this alter the nature of the discussion?) and the outside noise going into the den.....

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

dolls house mini world back again?

ahhhh, mini-me thoughts return. i own 3 metal cash boxes of varying sizes i have used as troughs. today in the hardware shop getting stuff for Private View, i found this really minute one. small enough to fit in a there something in the idea of a darkroom in my pocket, truly portable?? thinking lisa cheung and her gift work, out on the street, perhaps a mobile darkroom? in working on my MA show i was really interested in total portablity in fitting with the total temporality of performance ideas. before i decided on sheds, i was thinking about making dens in participants houses out of whatever they could lay their hands on- this will be good to explore in my work den, in Not a F******* art show next month. more to follow on this......

Setting up for "Private View"- First Thursday, Regent studios

here's the latest reincarnation of my secret-hiding-places-come-darkroom-den .......original site of cupboard at edge of studio

moved to edge of room near entrance

considering how to use the top surface- artist's paraphernalia- postcards, portfolio, comments book, built into the experience

now getting inside, looking out

and inside looking down. no shoes in here- letting your hair down :)

i really like this working cupboard, traces of its function, working within these

light leaks- needs eliminating- gaffer ahoy....

nasty nails made safe

how to sit, side on to each other? try this out in different body postures and proximities. i remember jordan mckenzie once saying to me in a tutorial i should try decreasing proximity to increase intimacy, i have found people saying that could be will this extreme physical closeness affect my work, will people actually let down their guard, be private in a private view?

making it den like- duvet and cushion inside found in the studio, although like the idea of using old duvet my parents gave me- 70s floral, fits with the stepping back into the nostalgic, memory lane ideas

the bar will be behind. opening shouldn't be too busy, keeping gangway clear

local hardware shop came up trumps with this cute pocket fan one pound bargain:)

presenting the relics

am keen to use this as an experimental platform, may switch between DSLR and mobile phone camera, see how each one works differently. vary how i approach a potential participant, how to approach those that know my work, treat everyone the same, is everyone to be a stranger?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

zine, open for contributions

am just starting out in a bit of a new art group coming out of some of the people in crystal palace artists group that was. linda duffy from the group sent me this; and to pass onto those that might be interested (are you a site/space/place artist that's interested? email at bottom)

Point of Departure (Working Title)

A zine (an abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine; pronounced [zi_n], "zeen") is most commonly a small circulation, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock. Wikipedia

Emerging and mid career artists, writers, placemakers, urbanists. The publication will offer a platform for developing and sharing creative perceptions, critical contexts and projects responding to or departing from places, spaces and sites.

Articles, graphic novelettes, photo essays, briefs for conceptual projects, discussion, further reading.

Production and Distribution
A series of 10 free, no-budget mini-zines, produced as 3-4 double-sided A4, black and white photocopies, also made available as downloadable pdfs via website.
The project builds towards a compiled version produced to commercial standard, distributed through specialist arts outlets and sold at a not for profit price point. Additional funding will be sought toward this stage of production.

Unfortunately we are not currently able to offer remuneration to contributors, as this is currently an unfunded, non-commercial project. We intend to seek funding to cover the costs of production, promotion and distribution of the first compiled version.

Critical Context
At a time of growing interest in work that is site-specific or responding to sites/places/spaces, it is useful to ask 'what is driving such work?'
In what ways is such work different to what has come before? How easy/difficult is it for emerging artists working in this way to find opportunities and situate their work within a broader critical context? What are the appropriate audiences for such work? Perhaps this zine could speak to such questions...
Furthermore, we ask how we value this kind of work. How do we create economic value for it? What value does it add to society (assuming it does)? How can the value added be remunerated? How might we consider these discourses and practices in the context of regeneration?

For further information contact:
John Hartley -; Linda Duffy -

some initial thoughts from the top of my head.......

i particularly like "briefs for conceptual projects" as i'm really into my new toy of using scores for my work that others follow, it started with my Duckie show laura took part in. So, for me, perhaps a series of scores using sites, e.g. starting with 'find a closet and make it lightight' then going through a series of actions, with direct instructions and some parts more open to interpretation. when i did shed, i really liked the way that my one single instruction was ambiguous, " Pick a flower that mean something to you." Some chose a flower and picked it up still in its pot, others literally, picked it from the stem.this reinforced the mortality nature of my work, death of flower more immediate in the latter action mirrored in the death of the photographic image in the exchange.

I also really like where briefs are given and people submit responses, i have been using that a lot with my students. perhaps the zine for me could be an entry on a score and the responses OR just an offer of artistic scores, where i exist as the author, is there a way for dialogue post the zine, maybe i should try the zine way as well as a learningtoloveyoumore way hmmmmmmm......this could also be a way to create some kind of documentation for my work, the old chesnut that continues to stump me as i don't document the personal encounters.....ahhhh.....

the question, "how we value this kind of work" to me also asks why we value this kind of work. i like making the familiar unfamiliar as well as a different of familiarity, an ordinary closet of mops and tools into a den of secrecy...its the same site but not as we once thought we knew it.

we'll meet up again next week, hope to thrash out some ideas, i think i should investigate others' artistic scores, back to tino sehgal et al......

Sunday, 1 February 2009

one-to-one performance and Etiquette, Oto cafe, Dalston

two things i've found/been signposted connecting with the relationships that can happen in one-to-one performances;

One archive: Lyn Gardener's blog post, 'I didn't know where to look' (how does this sit, nearly 4 years on? NRLA in a couple of weeks with back to back performances/performative events will be a good place to consider this in 2009)

"Traditionally, theatre has been a communal experience, but Lois Keidan of the Live Art Development Agency argues that in the age of the internet, the opportunity for audiences to have face-to-face encounters in real time with real people is enormously appealing. "It feels more real than real life," she says, "and because it isn't a mass experience you know that nobody is going to have the same experience as you have. It makes the event unique and it makes you feel special."

Laura Godfrey-Isaacs agrees: "Home has done salon series before that have concentrated on the communal, but this one-to-one season responds to people's desire for experiences that are more direct and unmediated, and less formal. It often results in something very charged because the audience member is crucial to what does - or doesn't - happen. It allows both the audience and the artist to take risks, because they are the only people in the room. They are the only people who will ever know what really happened during the encounter."

like these key things to think about more from the article in my constant thinking about why that style appeals to me: one-to-ones are unique, (and what is unique in my work?, ) you are the only ones who know what really happened,(the re-counting the encounter can be chinese whispers, and the complete privacy is to me, an unspoken thing, i don't re-count it in fact) more real than real life (what does that mean?) you and the audience take risks.......

One current, I must experience this: Etiquette, at Cafe Oto, Dalston, London throughout February 2009 and possibly beyond. A Lyn Gardner "One to watch."

excerpt from website:

"Alongside their innovative stage works (Doublethink, Five in the Morning) involving instructions to unrehearsed performers, Rotozaza here invite the audience to try it themselves. Etiquette offers the fantasy of speaking with someone without having to plan what you say, and the resulting thrill of disowning responsibility in a performance situation. Conversation is shown to be a kind of theatre whereby 'audience' and 'actor' roles are imperceptibly assumed and exchanged."

It is recommended by Etiquette company Rotozaza to watch this Godard clip which i quite like, in thinking about conversations with a stranger:

I like the idea that in Etiquette, the audience and performers are 'removed' and both are equal participants, you can do it between strangers OR between people that know one another,leave that up to the audience that turn up to choose. personally, i'd like to try it both ways, as i do in my own work, (I have said sometime intimate things to strangers I have not told my partner or anyone, and have learnt humbling things about my friends/family in 10 minutes than i never knew throughout my relationship with them, question: why does it take my work to do this??) although unsure if the headset dialogue is the same each time, spoiling the surprise.
The performative instructions for narrative action/conversation are given via headset whilst sat in a cafe. I have been thinking post The Darkroom at Duckie that my scores could be used by someone else entirely, like ideas in Fluxus of the blurring of performance and reality, and Tino Sehgal using actors to carry out instructions. In my application to SPRINT I have suggested there could be multiple encouters at the same time. Do I want to remove myself from the work in this way entirely? Or can I actually do this? More of a directing role akin to theatre??

In reference to participation in art, I will need to come back to thoughts from Art in the Social Sphere, the symposium I attended at Loughborough University this week, with excellent speakers: writer/artist Dave Beech, APG-er Barbara Steveni and gift-girl Lisa Cheung.