I have not blogged in ages and rather than berating myself for aforesaid fact I will endeavour to catch up.
Since the artist residency with PS2 I had the rest of the summer, which ended with a wonderful, immersive, stimulating 2 day performance workshop led by Sandra Johnston and hosted by BBeyond, in Portadown, NI.
It was a really friendly, supportive uncompetitive environment and I learned a lot. Takeaways: A quote from a BBeyongd member Alistair used by Sandra: sometimes the hardest thing is to do nothing. The workshop experience boosted me up and energised me for start of school madness with the kids.
Then I participated in Together Elsewhere, a project run by Performance Art Bergen, which features 2 artist in different places in the world performing together over zoom. I worked with Bruno Schalter, an artist based in Switzerland. I stood thigh deep in Ballyalla lake, wearing a red dress, filming myself with a selfie stick. He was travelling between fountains in a town in Switzerland. We were both using watering cans as a tool in the performance. It was fun and interesting, although my phone died somewhere before the end, enormously frustrating.
It was an interesting experience though and though via zoom, very much a live work. We had prepared and had a few zoom chats to decide how we’d plan things- but at the actual time of performing it was a livelier experience than Id thought it would be. I loved how Bruno shouted a commentary all the way through as he journeyed from one fountain to the next. I stood in the stillness of the lake, squelching slightly as I shifted in the water, watching the pond weed frond and sway around my legs, watched only by my son, who sat on the bank, immersed in his phone, and a distant duck- who like my kid was on the whole unaffected by the proceedings.
Strangest and most discombobulating of all was how, when my phone suddenly ran out of battery towards the end, I was left, blank screened, in the lake, and in the silence of my surroundings. The connection to Switzerland and Bruno was gone. My reason for being in the lake, wielding my watering can and talking to Bruno as I squinted up into my selfie stick was no longer valid.
Here and Now.
Another lovely thing that has been quietly growing and developing is Here and Now, the workshop series I got funding to run, exploring all things performance. I have no photos of the workshops as we beaver away together in the cave like safety of glór studio, trying out exercises and performing to, and with each other. It’s a place of support and trust and taking photos would break that spell, at the moment anyway. I’ve been thrilled with the response to the workshops- I have had 5 workshops so far- we started in early July- and theres been an average of 11/12 attendees at each one. I now have a group of wonderful, interesting, curious creatives who are coming back again and again and getting more adventurous with their explorations. We have scheduled a performance evening, where hopefully a lot of the attendees will make a short performance. It’s for us, the workshop attendees, and for friends and family. I am looking forward to it. 3 or 4 people have come forward to say they want to perform so far. I would like to establish a regular meeting place where we can continue to work together long term. I need to think about where this could be done and how.
HUNG and GRASS
Next is Culture night, a performance at Milford House for Live Art Ireland, and then a residency at Milford House. I was awarded the residency at the beginning of the summer, but no funding for it. I applied for funding but was unsuccessful. So I have had to approach the residency in a more fragmented way. The period of 3 to 6 weeks that artists have been invited for will be broken down in a short stays of concentrated work and research. I will start the morning after Culture Night. For culture night I’m making a piece called HUNG.
Duration: 30 – 45 mins
A huge washing line hangs across an open space. The artists dressed in black evening wear, enters the space carrying a big tub of white washing. They start pegging it onto the line. After a few minutes they begin talking, a non-stop stream of words. The clothes on the line have messages written on them relating to the artists dialogue. The artist ducks and weaves in and out of clothes on the line as she talks, interacting with them. The performance finishes when all the clothes have been hung up.
The washing line message/s are a manifestation of the inner dialogue we all have, accompanying us as we go about our daily tasks. The artist outfit and the washing line are a visual spectacle, but they also evoke a task- something that must be done, a job to get ticked off the list.
As a parent caregiver I do a lot of laundry, which I detest but sometimes find myself taking reluctant comfort in. On days when some jobs on the list seem impossible, doing the laundry is a manageable task. Doing the doable and avoiding the seemingly insurmountable is a human trait.
I was able to get some time in glór studio today to prepare for the performance. I worked on the sheets, laying them out and getting used to their weight and texture. I tried out a monologue of free talking for 1/2 an hour. It was hard. I remembered how challenging this work is. I felt that familiar weight of disquiet and tension in my stomach that always lodges there in the days before a performance- the seeds of doubt, quietly whispering.
I worked on the sheets so as to be doing something: This sort of thing. It feels like too much- writing on sheets, performing the action, talking non stop. However those self doubt seeds are working hard, and I will sleep on it before thinking about it again, from a hopefully more objective viewpoint. Right now its late, I’m tired and everything feels stupid. TBC