Sunday, 19 October 2008

new blog

hello this is my MA Visual Language of Performance blog sharing my antics which happened during 2007-8 , my new blog is hope to see you there! kisses hxxx

Sunday, 21 September 2008

last two days of the shed....and into the real world

a long gap since blogging- another family wedding, and much needed rest and restoration! the final 2 days of the show i felt i really got into my stride with it. so much tweaking and editing along the way taking on board feedback meant this piece was as good as it could have been at this point- i was very happy with it overall. i'd got mixed feedback about it as one show which could have been easily been two, but i think i'm going to still consider if i was to do it somewhere else, as one me it feels complete but the gap/link in between could have been worked out better. feedback from the thursday assessed show;
  • fantastic, engaging show
  • admired the personality shining through it
  • packed with ideas, how packed do you keep something? maybe learn to be comfortable with one object.
  • kooky, surreal show
  • loved the uniqueness of it
  • simplifying the signifiers, how to make things clear without being reductive, filtering. difficult to keep up in places
  • work is highly intelligent
  • emotional pull of death and family and nostalgia, too much?
  • grandfather walkie talkie story was perfect- able to visualise for self
  • self as uber self, slightly jittery?
  • needed more plants but understood cost implications for this

so my thoughts on some of this feedback? the feedback on the walkie talkie grandfather story is interesting as its without live self or visual artefact- makes me think about exploring more when to produce the visual- the photograph is the punchline each time so its possibly time to think about whether the objects were needed? how would this have been if it was just table cloth, doiley and cat lady photo??
the jittery self is interesting, and i think i have maybe come across different in each part and some points nerves were rife, the rehearsed and the chance- could play with this further. i also think that i could try stories which were less morose to try to add a more stark contrast to the death of the photographic image.

this will be the last post before i start a new blog- it feels right to leave this now and embark on the post-MA life ahead on a fresh page so to speak. its been a really intense year which was a massive learning curve working out where i wanted to be, but i've created a practice i really enjoy massively. i've benefitted loads from tutors along the way as well as peers on VLP and fine art. i really wish that i'd got into my own practice more in term 1 alongside the group project and that the group project was more intense over a shorter period. its also been a very fraught year with lots of personal issues arising, my father passing away in may,serious illnesses in my family (the latter is in remission i'm very glad to say.)

to the future- i have just done a 2 day isadora workshop which was hugely inspiring and lots to take further. the light is coming on slowly of my integration of some digital back into my practice- my duckie show will be testing out the digital phone ideas i removed from the shed show part way through :) i also got lots of information about working in live art at arts admin event for emerging artists on thursday at toynbee studios so can start contacting venues/promoters. and finally, i'm starting teaching again as well ripe with hundreds of bonkers ideas....its all go...... signing off now xx

ps new blog is

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

MA shed show day five: sheddism reigns ;)

i think i'm turning into a sheddist, i'm going to miss it in here and so will have to get cracking on getting one for my garden. but what will i do in there? haha we love sheds have just uploaded my sheds :)

confidence is growing and i'm much calmer and into it now-the little shed experince is definitley more engaging, i'm really liking the little memorial garden building up. some feedback below, the elements i have worked on are proving to be read better now. many people are saying that they need time to digest and mull it over as its so packed with ideas, so i'll have more to say then but some comments today;
  • great visual memory
  • loved it- i found it moving, reflective, and very memorable.
  • beautiful precision
  • very well done
  • very clever
  • it hit me where it hurts- in a good way!
  • wonderful piece
  • instructions a little unclear but the confusion made me think more about the experience i was in
  • very thought provoking
  • the image truly was magical
the clarity with instructions is still a bit of an issue- but i'm ok with that, i've sharpened it up a little but am leaving it now. the show needs an usher throughout but no one will want to do this for 1 hr 20 mins for a student show- this needs to be worked on if the show was to go anywhere else. a suggestion was made to have a third walkie talkie in the building, it would need to be on a different channel- to try out it out if i get a chance on this show, or if not, in the future.

Monday, 8 September 2008

shed show day four: shedding light on stories

building up from a good vibe on saturday, today was the best so far in terms of me feeling really connected with my work again like the EEC. i have felt slightly on the periphery of it for some reason, which i think may have prevented me form really situating myself within it and with the participants. my role is becoming more fluid at points and i'm finding i'm more able to relax, i think my body language and eye contact is much better, and really am enjoying listening to people telling me their stories.

it really hit me why i make the work that i do and bringing to light the niggling issues i have had with the project and why that is so. i'm really interested in storytelling, being in the moment of the story and sharing this with others. i've had a huge issue with my stories on this project from the slick and well rehearsed versus the natural and fumbling, and to be honest, i'm now 'unrehearsing' telling more details differently each time, it feels more from the heart. the fumbling is good, its me, and it feels better to set up the situation for part two, a perfectly performed story would put people is the chance element i like in my work when working with participants and shed technology, in contrast to orchestrated elements based on domestic rituals and etiquette, such as the attention to preciousness in laying things out. the 12.15 and 4pm shows today i was feeling much more in the moment of my story with the audience, and the participants stories that resulted i feel were more open, one story struck a chord with me and my own personal situation- in 2 weeks we have a memorial to scatter my late father's ashes. the grandparent connection comes through with many and the choice of flowers seems to be reinforcing that, have also been chatting shed life, sheds from childhood which i like.
the sense of exchange is different here to EEC as the first shed story is set up differently, which through me talking to people about their stories in the little shed is allowing a greater sense of that personal, unpredictable connection to happen. there may be less of an equal balance between me and the participant, that the nunnery and EEC did have better, which i can revisit in later work. shed show does i feel work now as a whole show, but could also be 2 shows- the nature of the MA show stage is to put it out there and see and that's fine.

i think in all my work i like a part that really strikes a nerve. the erasing the cat wreath photo is my EEC shredder :)

for tomorrow;
  • continuing to play with the storytelling feeling my way a little with embellished details
  • try out different ways of opening up conversations in the little shed, how much do i ask people questions and how much do i let them just have their space
  • think about the plant labels- i like these markers like dedications on gravestones, perhaps there is more opportunity to play with this. i have asked for a moment from the story, a person to dedicate the flower to, or nothing if they so wished
  • sharpen up the instructions a little, although this can also encourage more of a dialogue when its not clear which i like- into the unpredictable

Sunday, 7 September 2008

day three MA shed show: saturday 6th sept: i'm shed happy:)

cats watching the traces left...i like this little memorial emerging, links the little shed to the first and summarises the finality of the image throughout this show, against the real life living on.


today was the best yet, which is good news that things are going forward and not regressing.
i need to sit and re-work the instructions to ensure the screen is up ok, OR just making sure people feel confident in asking for guidance- they need to hang the sheet by the eyelets, its been hung at funny angles meaning its not as flat as it could be. i have been thinking about the action i am doing outside the shed, writing on the name stick- been trying to make it more pronounced- but need to now think about this more.or is it important, is it just aesthetic- the apparent still image becoming real and durational,
time passing in front of your eyes.

i also recorded my story twice today (and only this, purely for review purposes) and then walked round with the dictaphone when just doing normal things and listened to myself, thinking about the normal and the style is definitely getting more relaxed and genuine.

the digital image isn't working i've decided within the tone of this performance, and i want to save the polaroid idea as an alternative for future work.

part two is working much more cohesively. i'm giving people longer to make themselves at home in the big shed before coming out to the little shed.

some feedback from participants today;

  • liked the work sitting between art and theatre, still acknowledging me in the work
  • really liked crouching down on their own at the end reading the tributes/stories left- although spookily like being at a road side memorial where floral tributes are left or in a graveyard
  • reminding people of the KLF guy bill drummond deleting the song in front of the creators
  • the preciousness of my actions in the taking out the doilies smacked against the violent act of removing the image- liked very much
  • possible teenager big shed, adult little shed?
  • [asked people about the cat toy squeak] many said to get rid of it
  • possibly too much emphasis on the cat over the flower [i need to really think about this] to connect part one and two together more
  • move self around more outside and sideways on
  • unclear image was being deleted, could have been filed?
  • lighting is just right for some who said, others who were further away, too low [encourage people to get closer?]
  • tell people image is upside down [can't they work this out- or maybe if they are struggling to see it]
  • the photography questions the piece raised were superb
  • ideas were very clever and very well thought out
  • it felt like 2 shows in one with 2 sheds [needs consideration]
  • the project is packed with ideas which you only unravel over the rest of the day- so much to think about which has to sit with you,which was liked.
  • great sense of calmness in the story and preciousness with objects
  • the creaking shed door was quite horror film like- same sense of apprehension
  • the deleting a digital photo for some may explain that the piece is all about photography.[ hmmm- need to think about if i remove this, make sure the other areas are definitely saying finality?]
  • liked the narrative structure, better than other performance art which tends to take one tiny idea and magnify it
  • liked the warm, sweet storytelling.
  • liked how the darkness evoked many more sensory perceptions to come alive, eg sound of the cat musical toy, the smell of the nail varnish remover, possibly think about the scent of the flowers more to bring them into the present?
  • reminded one person of momento mori ideas- [links to sontag]
  • all the flowers seem to be quite simple, small and old age, was this intentional? [in part, yes, although the convenience of the size of the pot for the intended digging it up]
  • liked the cats lurking all over the piece
  • loved the death and memory references throughout- the cloth as a screen not only as a childs dens but also as a possible shroud
  • liked the doilies- they were like a web
ok- from reflecting on these thoughts and rest of this blog: action plan for the monday shows
  • i need to connect the 2 sheds better. replicate the activity more- will try opening the story with bigger, more pungent flowers in a vase, saying, these flowers remind me of my nan. on the day of her funeral....
  • frame things more clearly and invite more interaction with the walkie talkie
  • ditch the digital. people to start in the shed, and i knock and go inside, works better, more like the second part.
  • finality of image more to ensure the photography is making poignant statements- make it more temporal like the cat wreath erasing, people have to take down the sheet themselves so the image goes again, snatched away, and also, in part two, expose the image for longer so that the image goes entirely black inside the shed, nothing is on it when it leaves the shed.
  • offer more choices, more open ended, writing the stick or not- suggesting they could write a moment from their story?
  • put out on the table cloth the cat and the flower to suggest a link better, limit the cats coming out of the case but allow light to fall on the case to suggest more within.
  • action i am doing outside- bigger gestures of simply watering the plants [er, what to do when its raining?]
  • continue to stay just within the little shed at the end, let the person lay their plant back down in the 'garden' alone
  • really try to get an usher to get people in the sheds and door closed, however most people have finshed now and its proving problematic ushering myself
arrghh- all go, am so very tired still, but excited about this week. have got DUCKIE stuff to work out and pay and display ideas for emma hart after the MA...

Saturday, 6 September 2008

MA shed show day two: friday 5th sept: shedding the fear and taking the plunge

some of my documentation. unfortunately the internet couldn't be got to work in this building where my process work and this blog could be accessed so this looked rather minimal.i also didn't want to give away the final show visually so only the outside of the shed has appeared in the public display of the final show, the inside from a scratch show is inside an old sewing box, in the base drawer, like a suitcase or a shed, you open to find the hidden world within :) this is only presented for assessment.


ok- so today was a lot easier, pressure off, chance to get into the show more. i felt more comfortable with people in the big shed, more caring and precious about my suitcase, more comfortable in my storytelling.the cloud was lifting, phew! less objects in the suitcase definitely helped me be more precise and selective. i also found myself listening to myself better, matching the tone and fumbling more from the cat wreath to granddads story.

technical issue with the sheet- people not being able to put it up and see the image- need to add more instructions here, 'press the glass against the wall' and ask people what they can see before i leave the shed. the other issue that has arisen is the bookings- people are swapping/cancelling last minute- very annoying, however this has meant have had a few people just turning up which has been nice. i did one show for 4 people which felt much more comfortable, in a way this seems a more appropriate sized audience.

i also felt people with the framework of being asked to tell a story, enjoyed being in the little shed more and had something to say more- not that i am judging what people say just that they felt they has something they wanted to articulate.
the pick a flower worked brilliantly- some people brought the plant in the pot and some took a flower form it- i liked this as some had chosen to ensure that the flowers life was not at risk and others, to be brutal, had decided to take it for their own gain and in doing so, mean it would die quicker, the latter meaning the plant labels truly becoming its gravestone, and also fit with the idea of a wreath laying live cut flowers which then die.this choice for the participants was opening up and making the work become more participatory as I was worrying it was purely interactive following my tasks.

the digital group shot is going ok- although some people have said its not obvious on such a small screen i am deleting the image- need to make this more obvious, and its also feeling a little disconnected from the whole show. hmmmmm. i decided that i would keep things the same for saturdays show and use sunday to review the whole event to date before embarking on a plan for the rest of the week for the show to evolve further.

day one: thursday 4th sept: shedding tears

first night of shed was extremely mixed and felt a lot better about it the day after: sheer exhaustion, both mentally and physically, and the pressure of assessment nearly tipped me right over. plus I was more nervous than i'd been in a long while wanting it to go so well so badly with doug, rebecca, andrew, gerry pilgrim, emma hart, all there who hadn't seen my final performances before and who i wanted to see it work well. in a small intimate space of up to 6 people you can't escape the pressure! I also suffered from the fact that i'd not run the show as a whole once the sheds were built but in parts. trying to find people during the day proved near impossible, the other MA students caught up in their own work and everyone else at work.this meant the fluidity between the parts to make a cohesive whole was not there yet. I bloody realised at the private view!! doh!

there were technical issues- the halogen light not working so in the darkness the second show people couldn't see the camera obscura image, and i ended up with a shed full of soil where people had dug them up, and all fairly mundane reasons for selecting the flowers- i liked it cos it was pink, meant conversations were very limited; i hadn't asked people to dig up a flower that tells a story, just dig up one, in the darkness this was difficult- i didn't think this through enough, resting on EEC and nunnery work. a lesson learnt for this side of things.

but- as is usual practice with me, i decided to think that the whole evening was not great, and in reflections and conversations with those that came, i have realised that its only harsh editing and tweaking in parts that is needed. and the fact that the second show was actually better than the first, I opened up to be me more and be more playful. there is a hell of a lot in my show, but that's who i am and i have a lot to say and share about photography, and being in the moment, woven around the shed idea.

rebecca told me to tell the story from the heart more and relax, and tie it together more. agree, yes. i think this will come. doug said to ditch the digital element, wasn't sure as i wanted the modern disposability of photography to come across, so decided to keep it in and play around with it. others said they liked the surreal nature of it, the charming and engaging story telling in the second show. gerry said it was a lovely performance, really unique quality. emma talked about the 'punk rock' shock of the image being erased hitting you in the guts, and the brilliant exploration of the performativity with photography, also that i was in her present, but not in her presence with the walkie talkies, plus how much she enjoyed the pfaffing and the pacing, felt really natural.emma really enjoyed the first shed, she said she was really gripped, the second shed she felt she cared less about, it was unclear what she was to do, it was too dark to collect a flower- needs greater attention for her or ditch it. we talked about possibly replacing the digital with polaroid if to use that section of the show at all, how that technology fitted, its now redundant, and nostalgic and how you watch the image develop in front of your eyes. possibly come back to that.

my thoughts were that i needed to be clearer with the instructions as people were a little confused, and that i must ask people to tell me a story, and to pick a flower as it has ambiguities of choose or physically remove. i also got frustrated with the paintbrush painting on the developer not giving a sharp image, so ditched this for the second show of the evening. i also had a mad moment in the first show in asking people to unwrap and place my objects which i didn't do in the second show- they are my objects, my story,it wasn't needed and was very time consuming. i have also suffered from feeling i really need to make this show slick- it doesn't suit my style, and to be honest, i feel it would put people off telling me their story- things going not as planned, that's the element of chance in a Happening, and its very shed like.

taking these things on board- the plan for Friday's shows was this;
  • try out different things with the digital image- taking it. think about my presence in this, the atmosphere created to then feed into going into the shed.
  • ensure i ask people to tell me a story and pick a flower.
  • participant to pour the developer into the tray
  • keep me in control of my suitcase objects.
  • less objects in the suitcase