Had a busy weekend of performance. Weeks of domestic drudgery (slight exaggeration here) and frantic laptop tapping and then it all comes at once.. Well a lot of hunched down in drizzle or freezing cold painting also during January.

We had our inaugural p(art)y Here and Now performance event last Saturday 3rd Feb. It was in essence a great success.

Here we all are post performance. It was held in Laura-Janes Breakthrough Dance studio, in the Quinn road business park. We had an amazing turn out- well beyond my hopes in terms of numbers. All really nice, interesting, up for it people too. I had some of my Here and Now workshop gang, which was so nice for me to see them again and have them take part. And we had people I didn’t know that Slavek, L-J and John had brought along. What stood out for me was working as a team. I am so used to organising everything myself- so to have Laura Jane, Slavek and John as collaborators was so nice. We had John and Slavek making audio soundscape performance, another artist Anthony using a guitar, people singing and talking, and screaming and yelping at points, and people performing physically using their bodies, and various props including paper, earth, stones, wool, etc.

I was knackered afterwards, from the build up, the 75 minute performance, and the post performance clean up and talking. I am looking for feedback now from my collaborators and from the attendees also, so as to find out how to make the next one even better. I think overall the fact that we were able to create a group participatory live performance with 19 people, on our inaugural attempt, in Ennis, Co Clare- not exactly a thriving home of Live Art- is brilliant.

Next was an early start the next day to get to Milford House, Tipperary, for Becoming Tree workshop and performance. Described as:

3 hour experiential artist workshop and documented 1 hour durational collective performance. Be-coming Tree invites artists to participate in a workshop and performance at Milford House coinciding with Imbolc festival celebrating its patron Saint Brigid. Through discussion and embodied explorations interacting with the land, trees, the house and one another, we will explore the porosity of boundaries, the frictions and intimate entanglements that manifest  between ourselves, our environments and more-than-human beings. An exploration in cultivating reciprocity on all levels: inside, outside and in-between.
A collective performance will evolve, taking place in the grounds and/or house. It will create a human-bodied woodland where the audience is invited to intermingle, adding to a sense of co-existence and mutuality.

We did indeed participate in a 3 hour workshop in the morning. I was tired from the day before but found the workshop to be good- the facilitators were good leaders- calm and self assured. I as conscious of arriving last minute- a lot of the other artists were on residency in Milford for a few weeks- and leaving the next day- but this is a constant narrative in my situation. Better to be there for a brief time than none at all.

The performance was interesting- I summoned up my energy to the forefront and pushed myself to be able to interact, be present and really make the most of the experience. I was unsure how to dress/costume myself for the performance, having not realised it was to be fully documented and filmed in order to produce a short film from. I ended up borrowing a set of black outdoor trousers and hooded jacket- which I paired with a large sheet of black industrial sized plastic. I was quite taken with the black plastic as it is something constantly I see shreds and twisted remnants of in the fields and hedge grows here locally. It’s a ‘non-natural’ material which features in the Irish countryside everywhere. Therefore a fitting accessory for the nature of the performance in my mind. I did a lot of crawling about during the performance and now have swollen scratched palms and fingers from nettle stings and scratches to remind me of the experience. Lots of nice artists attending also, which is great to make new connections.

Becoming Tree post performance shot- photo credit unknown

Performance shot by Mariya Hoyin

During the performance I was conscious of the wind, the smell of the woods, the little bugs and spiders, the budding tiny ferns and plants peeping out of the ground, the other artists moving and brushing against and the sounds they were making. The uneven ground and the vibes and leaves and stones and plants. The crackly shiny black plastic and the sounds it made. My knees and hands on the ground. The audience. Towards the end I lay on my back and held a branch which was in the ground beside me in my mouth. Someone piled branches on my legs. I sat up and looked directly at a girl who was with her parents watching the performance. She looked to be about 9, and was a round little thing, hopping about to keep warm and not be bored no doubt. We looked at each other and I wondered what she thought about what she saw. My silent interactions with her really made me think about the notion of audience and performance, as I drooled away, branch in mouth.

The next morning I worked with the artist Olivia Hassett to make some text shots together and for each other. This was great and we got a lot done. We hope to make more performance together in the future as we have a lot of parallels in out practices.

test shots for buddha concept taken by Olivia

black la

We made some test work together too, which I will document in my next post.

Finally I listened to Atlantic Tales by Pat Flynn, featuring me, a surreal experience, while I trained this morning.

I came across better than I’d anticipated, thankfully.