I finally made the WTF performance today. I’d tried making it on Thursday and tried to do it on instagram live, thinking I could save it afterwards. I got through about 20 minutes, cramped in the hallway of the house, from what I could see, live streaming. Then the phone rang and the tripod lurched and the whole thing went to shit. It was not working. Just as well actually as I was talking as I worked, and I was already not liking the trite crap coming out of my mouth as I chattered on in an inane, conversational ‘lite’ manner.
The next day, today, was Friday, and the last chance I’d have to get this performance made in the next 9 days as the kids are off school a-bloody-gain for another week. It was D day. As it wasn’t raining and space was proving a major issue inside I decided I’d do it outside, in the most neutral space I could find in the garden, and without the talking. No need for it. Why did I think I needed to talk anyway? The actions would do the talking. Also I wanted the sequence of the feelings and their subsequent exercises to do the talking, and not be trying to remember my place etc. So I spent some time writing out the feelings onto pieces of card and the exercises too, and put them each into a bowl. This way, I could dip in and take out one of each, show them to the camera and do the movement. No talking, and the sequence would take care of itself.
So, I got it done, it was easier than Thursday actually. I had gotten to a point where i’d stopped caring about the outcome of the whole thing. I just wanted it done. How ‘successful’ it would be, how it would look, how viewers might interpret it etc quite rightly was of no importance.
I wanted to see if I’d get a flow state going, and I did a few times, a little bit. But really it was just little snippets of flow, as I was thinking the whole time about the ridiculous fact that I felt illicit, like I might get discovered or caught out whilst in the act of performance. And indeed I was nearly at the end, but thats another story. 2/3s of the way through , or what I thought was 2/3s of the way through I stopped to check I was recording, and I literally had 1% battery left. So I recharged the phone just enough to continue recording, and apart from a surprise garden visit from my in-laws, I managed to finish all 56 feelings and exercises. I edited the footage and the completed piece is just under 60 mins. no talking, no colour (B+W) just movement, showing the feelings cards and the exercises to camera, sounds of birds singing, my breathing, heavy, when I’m close to the camera.
I feel a bit of closure now that it’s done. It was hanging over me and I was stressed out about how to make it within the perimeters available to me. I felt an obligation to make the work, an obligation to those who’d contributed, and I wanted some level of evolvement from the last performance I made. This was a more meditative, inward work, comprising of the 56 contributions people had posted online or messaged me in response to my callout for a feeling. A lot of the feelings I’d been sent were sad, angry, stressed, anguished even. I didn’t want to trivialise them.
While I was making the work I was aware in the back of my mind of a lurking knowledge that today was 30th April, the last working day that I could receive notification about yet another open call I’d put a lot of work into submitting to. I was glad to be busy. Sure enough, later on this afternoon I got the old ‘on this occasion we have not selected your proposal for inclusion.’ email. I was wrecked, and the email felt like an inevitable part of the fabric of the day. I wasn’t hit sideways like I have been before. I felt calm acceptance. I’d known deep down this would be the email I would get, as sure as I’d got a similar one a couple weeks ago for a similar submission which had also required a lot of time and work. That’s ok. It’s good to be able to be objective about these things, and If I had a graph I could illustrate how much time I have in my day to spend on art, and submissions, and proposals, and how much time I spend thinking about them. I actually am going to find a way to make these aforementioned graphs and post them here. Along with todays video.