Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Description of what happened: Part one: The exchange

A development of the (in)visible exchange project through use of appointments, usher, persona, narrative, recycling and dark humour.

An office within a corner of a derelict factory, 55 Leroy Street, Bermondsey, Saturday 26th April, 2008. The office which had been modified slightly to accommodate becoming a temporary photographic darkroom in low light, was in a dilapidated state, with peeling walls. There was placed in the space a new ikea roller blind as blackout and a stopped clock at 4.58pm. A clock ticking sound was audible.

The office had been identified as a place of exchange, for privacy, interviews. People had been asked to bring an item of soft furnishing or clothing to exchange. They individually entered through knocking on the door, and were invited inside. They sat down and were asked for the item they had brought to exchange. The objects were discussed, such as why the item was unsuitable and had been brought for exchange, and full details recorded on a proforma, then unpicked via a selection of tools, deconstructing rather than the usual construction practice in a factory. Parts were selected carefully by one performer, the rest swept into the remnants pile on the floor, and the kept parts laid onto photographic paper and exposed and developed; they surfaced fleetingly through a photogrammed trace of the object, but the images were not then fixed, as is usual photographic practice. This was intended as a dual narrative with the story of the object momentarily shared. This performance culminated in marking this fact through the ultimate ‘death’ of the image created, leaving it to overdevelop and disappear. The photogram was then dried and framed in an Ikea frame, wrapped in bubble wrap for the participant to take home as their new, exchanged item, as a symbol of the future occupation of the building of contemporary apartments. The discussion then returns to attention to detail on filling in the rest of the proforma, ensuring it it is an exact and agreed record which is signed by all parties. The proforma is folded, as is its carbon copy, very precisely and methodically. The proforma, rather than being filed or copy given to the participant, is then shredded in front of the participant. Two strangers, the performers and the participant, then leave one another taking away with them only their memories of the exchange as the images, attacked by light, continue to dematerialise and will become entirely invisible in their final location, and the written documentation has been shredded and erased.

Description by harriet of the space-in-between project, a collaboration between Harriet Poole and Laura Bean, 55 Leroy Street, Bermondsey, April 2008

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Been accepted for East End Collaborations!

hurrah! (in)visible exchange that i performed at the nunnery (MA interim show in February) has been accepted for East End Collaborations run by the Live Art Development Agency - an opportunity to show my work to artists, tutors, promoters, students and get feedback and support on developing my work. please do come along! tickets on the website.

here's my proposal- will need to consider how to refine/adapt this piece once made site visit and in light of the space-in-between performance (also performing the photogram process but in a different context) with laura yesterday;

EEC Platform Proposal 2008

(in)visible exchange

Preferred space: Small, light tight closet type space or small space that can be made light tight and into a photographic darkroom. Ideally around 8 foot by 3 feet but can adapt to space given. Using an existing working closet with side bench or shelf as found would be particularly ideal (moving some items if necessary to accommodate myself and participant)- mops, buckets, screwdrivers, old equipment etc welcome in the space. Possible wall space or space for a display board would be good outside the room.

Duration of work: Durational, intimate performance for one at a time (approximately 10 minutes per encounter)

The number of artists involved: one (Just me). May need an usher depending on the space given- I can provide. This can also work with making appointments in advance/on the day- am flexible over how it is thought would best work with the other performances.

Description of the work: In (in)visible exchange, people enter the closet through knocking on the door, and are invited inside. Stories are told in the closet through objects from my own pocket, and if the participants would like to share, their own pockets. The objects are laid onto photographic paper and exposed and developed- they surface momentarily through a photogrammed memory of the object but are not then fixed. The closet idea is about referencing those tucked away spaces maybe under the stairs, amateur darkroom in the attic, child’s den, inventors quiet paradise to be able to sit and consider one’s thoughts, make new discoveries, or share secrets. The fleeting exchange of memories between two strangers is, as is the problem with photography, of the moment that has passed. This performance thus culminates in marking this fact through the death of the photographs created, as either to become treasured relics, art objects or to emerge carefully under the door of the closet denoting the end of a period of togetherness as two strangers then leave one another.

(in)visible exchange explores theories in the work of Roland Barthes and Tino Sehgal, the first for his theories of the ‘mortality’ of the paper based photograph as an ‘impossible’ record of ‘now,’ and the latter for the fleeting materiality of his art works. I am researching principals of non-matrixed theatre and audience participation through the subversion of time based media practices. I am experimenting with pushing the temporal nature of performance through marrying with the temporal nature of photography, placing the process of image making intrinsically at the heart of an intimate performative experience.


Harriet Poole

Foundation in Art (Chelsea College of Art and Design, 1994,)
BA (Hons) Fine Art (Staffordshire University, 1997)
PGCE Secondary Art and Design (UWIC, 1998)
PGCERT: Innovation in Education (Warwick University, 2006)
Currently studying MA Theatre: Visual Language of Performance at Wimbledon College of Art (2007-8.)

Live Art Performances:
Examples of work can be found on my blog

December 2007, Too many Cooks, One night event of a collective project in which I was exploring storytelling, video and participation, Wimbledon College of Art.

February 2008, (in)visible exchange in Approaches to what? MA Wimbledon College of Art Interim Show, Nunnery, Bow, East London. Closet performance for one at a time performed across 3 days exploiting photography through intimate exchanges and storytelling.

26 April 2008, a (de)constructed exchange, 55 Leroy Street: Further investigations. Collaborative project with Laura Bean, working with site-specific performance art to explore the fictive and real histories surrounding the derelict light-industry site at 55 Leroy St. We will be deconstructing factory processes whilst simultaneously exploiting photography in a performative manner. Audience members are to be invited to participate and surrender unwanted home furnishings/ clothing to help facilitate the performance and leave new traces of occupation.

Previous work has seen me creating a photographic installation exploring invisible performances in a commercial setting. In Give me a new look in August 2007, I asked shop assistants at stores on Oxford Street to give me a new image based entirely on their perceptions and to photograph with a disposable camera the outfits for me, posed as though requesting them for my partner to see how ‘good’ I could look. Other work has included collaborations fusing my work with other arts practitioners be it creating illustrative or interactive visuals for sound art, music, movement, spoken word. I have had a range of visual commissions including for large scale visual-music-theatre work, Sedna Stories, composed by Kerry Andrew, and a collaboration with voice (acapella group, juice), ensemble and electronica artist Paul J Abbott which premiered in York, in 2005 and then Cargo, London June 2006. This work embodied the theatricality of Inuit folk tales. In July 2006 I created a visual score (film) for silent improvisation for Hausmusik (Claudia Molitor – Klangsieben and Sound Source series for spnm - Society for promotion of new music) In September 2006, I created a film played live to sound art performance Solar Noise Generation (SNG- Ash Sargant -!PLOVA) screened as part of Wormhole Saloon at the Whitechapel Art Gallery London. In March 2007 I created live visuals for Gobsmack, an experimental vocals night at The Spitz, London.

I am also involved in arts education, with a variety of experiences in directing, teaching and collaborating within local and international schools, colleges and communities, championing visual and performing arts projects.


Douglas O’Connell, Course Leader MA Theatre: Visual Language of Performance


Creating a staged light tight darkroom providing own equipment being small darkroom (box) tray, photographic developer, photographic paper, red safety lights, blackout.
Ability to lock door or shut it very firmly so light tight.
Depending on room set up as to whether would need a bench or a table and depending on the height of these- chairs or stools or standing- I can arrange these where necessary.
Access to water nearby and electrical sockets in the room or very nearby.
If possible I would like to view the room in advance of the event so I can plan for the right materials, and any slight adaptations to the performance if layout of room etc dictates.

Please note- I have a lot of experience in constructing make-shift darkrooms if the above sounds horrendously off putting- and I am able to do it myself. There is no Enlarger or other traditional darkroom equipment, processing troughs etc, but would put down suitable protective sheeting as applicable. Depending on how much black out was required would dictate how long I would need to set up; if time is short I could get assistance.

Friday, 25 April 2008

invisible theatre opportunity..

Quarantine in partnership with greenroom, Manchester

“How to be invisible…”

Summer School
14-19 July 2008

A six-day workshop on bringing the practice of everyday life into performance.

Over the past 10 years, Quarantine has made a series of performances in which we work with both trained and untrained performers (“experts in everyday life”) to create theatre where there is the smallest of gaps between performer and material, and between performer and audience.

From Monday 14th to Saturday 19th July 2008, Quarantine will host a summer school at greenroom, Manchester. The workshop week will share and expose some of Quarantine’s strategies for making performance and experiment with some new ideas.

The week will focus on ways in which the artist might absent themselves from their own work – perhaps creating structures, rules, provocations and tactics for an audience to respond to, rather than presenting fixed or finished material. The week also includes a series of presentations by other artists supported by and associated with greenroom. The summer school will end with a sharing of work to an invited audience.

The workshop is open to all, irrespective of artform background. We would like to work with a group that is diverse – culturally, socially and creatively, as well as in levels of experience. For more information and to download an application form please visit

The deadline for applications is Monday 19 May.

unfortunately can't make it but looks great idea!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Portable darkroom!!

From Nova darkroom website- a portable, travelling darkroom!!! like the fact it was you can set up a temporary darkroom anywhere..even a launderette..haha! and up to 3 people can get inside. could add an exterior layer to this (photos- stitching together relics of the experience within?)- make it more tent like. or the 'skin' becomes a projection surface? live feed? flickr/personal photos? like the idea that a tent wall has ears though..hmm...a private moment inadvertantly made public

this means if used a flash light to expose the image and premixed the chemicals..the darkroom could literally go anywhere inside or out - anywhere a participant felt maybe that was special to them for some reason....the mind boggles...on a beach, wood, could work with found material and photos..photowalk?

the only issue i suppose could be lack of projector without electricity- either battery operated or use photographic 'lanterns' where torch light inside casts shadow of photographic imagery on transparency paper?

anyway- whether i use this item or the idea of it -its great!!

tragic life stories- from cover imagery

this blog post in creative review website interests me in terms of how you are judging a book by its cover to buy it, and the generic use of photographic imagery (small, often open eyed child, scrawled handwriting) to convey the brand of 'tragic life stories' from the image above(taken from the blog post)- the brand of conveying an emotion, setting the scene for the tragic contents. the jilly cooper book covers have changed greatly, lots of sideways glances.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Home Suite- domestic performance

image from website

this Home Suite performance by the collective , i have emailed to go see- people have paid the collective to have it staged in their homes....hmmm...this makes me think of the idea i had for a portable performance coming from a suitcase/box- in a participants own home, staged darkroom and projections in a den/closet/shed type performance. or- i create a light tight portable darkroom tent which i take an erect in a participants home/garden/etc

am still unsure about whether my work is continuing to be one-to -one, the space-in-between will be good to try this out in small numbers- threes and fours, and how this changes to nature of the performance.

would participants have to have a particular thing in common, which is explored in the performance?- like uninvited guests at nrla- song dedications to someone you love

eg same secret to share- 'something you wouldn't tell your mum'
all got an older brother? and bring a photo of them and their brother?
story of 'loss of innocence'??
all bring a box of secrets/memory box?

how would i establish this commonality?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Theatre Materials/Materials Theatre conference- Central School, 17/4/08

this conference at central school of speech and drama was excellent- apart from the horrific scheduling which meant you could hardly see that much of it :( starting with an opening address by anne bogart examining her ideas about the theme of the conference. i have made copious notes about the whole day but am just extracting (she says) key thoughts that i found interesting;
anne bogart said that you mustn't over technolgize theatre as it makes it in danger of losing its spirit, and that its the materiality of theatre that wants to kill it. (temporality- as in my practice i sit between the fine art ethos of 'object' and the theatre ethos of ephemerality...)

the object presence absence panel discussions looking at rich allen's case- at the performing bio-object- objects embodying emotion. good to meet rich and kasia :) there was also a speaker, nesreen hussein who was talking about a piece called body parts, 2001 that i can't find any images or references to online. interesting idea like the headless pier family you can put yourself into at the seaside- except this was in a gallery with bodies pushed through sections of a wall making an apparent unified whole on the otherside. raised issue of interaction- don't touch when bodies become sculptures in a gallery but people think they can as its a live body.

the part most related to my practice (and to help me as i'm currently writing my research paper) was the audience members body as theatre material panel discussion, described as being about participation, non-proscenium arch theatre, and how this is a big feature of my work i popped find rebecca and andrew (french mottershead (their own site is down?) we did the group project with last term) on the panel, nice surprise to see them, and to be honest much needed as the camp was very centred on theatre practioners dissolving the 'arch' whereas rebecca and andrew have an art practice in which it never existed.

there were questions the chair posed; (its was very difficult to work out who was who in this discussion so these notes will have to be rough and are only what i understood from the discussion-disclaimer! and purely written here for my research)
  1. why collapse the distance between the audience and performer- why not have the proscenium arch?
answers ranged from rebecca saying they don't collapse it, the only performers are participants transforming social rituals, added by andrew that the work is democratic.
a dance-theatre practioner talked about using participation as a form of theatre which embarks on a thematic exploration of body language, bored with audiences sat on chairs, and allowing for a more direct gaze with each audience member through collapsing the physical boundaries with strangers. thinking about what happens when the performer now does the watching.this was more at the softer end of participation they said, absorbing the audience member into the work, manipulating their body?
qs came up about why its happening, now. political and cultural climate of social networking, asking for feedback, cultural resonance of widening participation. we are being, and getting more involved in culture generally and arts practice is showing this trend?

participatory work is becoming both physically and mentally participatory. one person talked about the notion of performance over workshop- people pay more for a workshop than a show- should we do more workshops?!

2. What skills do performers who work in this field need that is different to normal performances?
punchdrunk- one-to one- intimate performances. this is a different quality of performance-perfomers need to be open and inviting and be physically close than projecting.performer is more vulnerable. performers needing to be clear with touch and what its means, be able to respond to confrontation.
others- why do it? its fun. it doesn't feel like theatre but a really special workshop, or maybe its the space in between a workshop and a performance.
andrew- often work with epople with no performance skills, so using skills from the everyday- people are already experts. exaggerating, subverting the everyday making people more aware.
others- have to be able to read people well, handle the unexpected, accidental, proposed, making it true to the dramaturgy.have to place a mental proscenium arch bach sometimes. you have to be able get people to trust you.manipulating the audience member, reversing the process, bodies entering a landscape (dancers)

3. How do you work with space? Where's the theatre?

the space dictates the text- audience takes same journey as actors in the text. difficult to go back into a black box once gone out to site.
rebecca- work in daily life, meeting places.
punchdrunk- site becomes a set as real as possible like BAC, theatrical, entering a world on a giant scale.heightened space. people stop paying attention to each other- masks, eliminate audience on mass as social presence- don't notice self but the space and performers- (unless unmasked in an individual performance where you become yourself again.)

andrew+rebecca- difference between interaction and being led down a corridor participatory- isnt this still like a seated audience? participation involves subjective engagement, collaboration, chance to re-invent.

[my note- is punchdrunk participatory? one way v two way street= with me it felt like a one way street- i wholeheartedly agree with rebecca and andrew on this interaction v participation debate]

much of this discussion seemed more about manipulation interaction, and a mis-use of the term participation. isn't this theatre puppetry?? also-sensory rather than mental alert. participation is about the individual.

my thoughts;
this panel discussion seemed to me, lack a balanced view across the subject and seemed to vastly mis-understand what the term participation actually means.but the focus of the panel discussion was about theatre..i would very much like to find out if there truly is practice that is participatory within theatre or its more about art practice (tim crouch- although actors read their script in oak tree , do they have input to change it?)

need to think about this issues discussed here. about finalising ideas about site of my MA show, level of participation and why. am in blog overload today!

pecha kucha- 17/4/08- D&AD 20 people, 20 slides, 20 seconds lecture

the falling man, 9/11

this D&AD (design and art direction) lecture was mostly fantastic- read this guys (not sure of name) blog and photos. in my current work (so many facets to research- doh!) wanted to see how people talk about slides, the kind of slides people choose to talk about when its up to them, what's said and what's just looked at. this night was for designers, presented by designers, i would very much like to now see david gale's peachy coochy performance art equivalent night....the presenters skills on few parts of this D&AD night were very dry

some of the the clear common things were;

plentiful use of flickr
photo of self as a child and/or own kids
nostalgic reminiscence for old atari console games
thematic- eg- blank piece of paper- wasn't sure what to do for their presentation so themed it like that, or one slide ended on a description that then led into the next
lots of talk about likes or loathes of second life
snippets of own design practice
bad logos/signage- hilarity factor

the most poignant image of the evening is at the top of this post. the last presenter, sanky from all of us, was very amusingly discussing and layering photos of bad signage over bad signage getting the audience really aroused for his first 18 slides, the air is very lively. the moment this slide comes up, a deathly silence comes over the room- like the blink of an eye when everything changed. those 20 seconds the slide was up, like a memorial service when silence is requested to remember the lives of those lost. someone clapped at the end of this slide. the power of the iconic image that needs no explaining, we all know what it means.

Devising PART ONE of the space-in-between show- factory process+participation

ok- so want to get down here the structure of the idea for PART ONE (deconstructing factory processes- laura is working on developing our agreed structure for PART TWO-tea ) to then start rehearsing/walking through....

we know that my (in)visible exchange project at the nunnery formed the starting point but now responding to site, offering me experimentation with same process but different stories, context, objects, and working with another performer- laura, the project has evolved.

so- from my notes;

location- in the office- red light, table, 3 chairs, darkroom stuff, cardboard boxes

3- 5pm. 15 minute appointments. the office, 55 leroy street.

participants must bring a small item of home furnishings or clothing to us to exchange. they must surrender the item.

the idea being they will be exchanging an old history for a new one, exchanging archived material within the office- a site for people to go when they have a query, want advice, bring something back.

rough walk through;
participant knocks on door, hears 'come in' enters room, sits down.
laura and myself are either already working or begin working when person enters on some undecided ' office job.'
we ask them if they have anything to exchange
we talk to them about an item from our archive box donated by a former factory employee
we ask them if they want the archive object
via tools set, one of us deconstructs/ unpicks/ destroys item (needs deciding how with the participants- options matched to reason for surrendering it?), whilst other makes notes on an archive proforma the participants story they then tell us about the item- why they are giving it up?
after story ends- archive an agreed part, agree a photogram part- expose, develop
NON- VERBAL- sit and watch the photogram image changing
when image developed- we mount it into frame and pack it away
give out next appointment card/time to come back for PART TWO, and to see full archive back at 5.30

whilst story being told, photogram the item (who does this- us/participant) allowing for pauses and gesturing to keep the focus on the image at times and on us at others, fit to purpose and direction of actions, then mount i
t into frame and pack it away
give out next appointment card/time to come back for PART TWO

all photogramed frames from the room are piling up in the boxes. at the end of the 2 hours, these boxes and the tea items boxes are brought into the tea area for PART TWO.

  1. are we only photograming the participants broken item OR we could photogram them both on the same paper?
  2. make sure its not an illustration of barthes
  3. make sure that its not overly spelled out that we are exchanging, sharing an experience, fleeting materiality- save for the participant to still have to work?
  4. ensure correct balance between verbal and non-verbal communication
  5. equality??
  6. the nature of the former factory employee's stories- would be great to make them funny (hyper self?) and explore some of my new stand up ideas :) this would be a marked contrast to the death of the photogram in front of your eyes- nice contrast?
  7. this office needs careful consideration as walls are in poor state- Health and safety-ask linda
  8. maneuverability around space with 3 people in there
  9. temporality v art object- this was a huge area for discussion in (in)visible exchange- people will be given the option to take their exchanged item home- implying the history of the space has evolved by object left behind and the space-in-between history becomes part of some elses' history
  10. from our reversed factory processes, we are making a new product- our framed photogram, ready for the PART TWO and a comment on creating a piece of artwork as though to be hung on the wall of the new contemporary appartments- the site moving forward into the future from the past

provisional resources for PART ONE;
blackout material for the office- door doesn't close- gaffer, binbags/curtain,draft excluder?
lots of extension cables
black box
office lamp (or use overhead light?)
office table and 3 chairs (or 4?)
darkroom chemicals- get new?
safety lights
forensic bags
carbon paper
stapler, staples
cardboard boxes - how many?
frames x 10 (ikea?)
ready made reject pile of textiles
archive items pre-made
archive box

what are laura and i wearing? factory outfit- tabard?? or normal or jeans, tshirt type clothing?

to discuss all with laura tomorrow

jilly cooper novel- harriet poole

have bid on this one on ebay- so famous five..aha

like this cover - her melodramic romp

having used this book in my leaving speech from a photography tutor job ( ironically comparing my first day in the staff room at a college being surrounding by velour drapes and exquisite beings....)..i wonder if theres mileage in either stand up or my MA work. i have read it (avidly, i might add but not like a guilty pleasure or anything!) but ages ago so need to re-read.

from the back of the book;

Shy, dreamy, and incurably romantic, Harriet Poole was shattered when her brief affair with Simon Villiers, Oxford's leading playboy undergraduate, ended abruptly, leaving her penniless, alone and pregnant. Still hopelessly in love with Simon, she took baby William and buried herself in deepest Yorkshire as nanny to the children of Cory Erskine, a somewhat eccentric scriptwriter. Local tongues were just beginning to wag when a whole host of visitors began to arrive to disrupt Harriet's peaceful routine: first Cory's estranged wife Noel, hellbent on winning Cory back, then Cory's glamorous brother Kit, whose old affair with Noel didn't stop him making passes at Harriet, and finally, of all people, Simon...

From the Publisher (from
A light-hearted romp from ‘The Jane Austen of our time’ (Harpers & Queen)

A review
describes it thus; Roman Clodia (London)
Written in the 70s this is slightly dated now, but shows all the early sparkle and wit that Jilly Cooper may have lost (based on Wicked). A slightly different heroine, since Harriet has a baby from a failed love affair, but all the spirit, warmth, energy and romance is there. Perfect to revive and refresh your spirit.

the slightly different heroine sounds great :)

stand up workshop- a new departure- or always been there?!

image above-with thanks to flickr

my CSM evening in class stand up was cancelled...and still raring to dangle a toe into the murky waters of comedy to either help simply boost my confidence in my performance persona or develop some new humourous storytelling ideas...i found a one dayer on saturday 19th april with bull comedy, run by brian luff and georgina having walked into the room a nervous blob (everyone i spoke to about this said, my- you've got balls...)i then found myself sitting shiftily waiting to have to go up and simply say my name into the mic and get others to guess what i do for a living, at the weekend, car i drive (!), based on my appearance(usual floral vintage dress), body language and voice. this was really revealing- first guess drama teacher and second person said- no- she's pretty geeky, i think she's a librarian! also- nah, she works in fashion, or advertising.
pretty interesting, huh! i like the librarian idea...hmmm. alter ego? the point of this was in considering your BRAND- either dress neutrally so everyone has to visualise entirely by your voice, story/body language or set the scene as it was, through your walking on stage. we talked a lot about mic technique and had to practice coming on stage (running), on the wave of the applause as it was to keep the momentum high, and tell a joke- i was so nervous i told my what do you call a sheep with no legs joke, (a cloud *if you care*) which fell flat as it is asking a question directly you walk on stage...ooops.

anyway, the rest of the morning analysed a range of comedians styles and brands, and how brian felt the best type of acts were confessional, anecdotal, observational, as well as tips and techniques for writing material.
we talked about tools/formulas to try out;
  • comedy lists- like cheese shop scene in monty python;
  • use of opposites; mad man v sane man, noisy v quiet man, big v small. old v new- it was important to think the more extreme opposite the better- eg ancient v latest modern.
  • PAIN- people love watching other's pain- so getting to build to this is good. laughing at other people's torture.
  • substitution- remove the most important item in a story and substitute it for the most extreme opposite- eg big train; taking out the buffalo replacing with jockeys
we were then asked to develop a story based on something we wouldn't tell our mothers. having talked about my nan's unfortunate cat floral tribute at her funeral to others recently, i though this might make a good subject to start with, to develop using the tools we had discussed. we had to take it in turns to come on stage and tell our story. am debating whether to record mine and post on here..hmm, would be good to see what i looked like- i think this has always been my problem- i get so nervous and feel like am really shaking but to others this might not be roughly went like this;

brian as compere bigs up the crowd, and brings on a chair at my request (partly as i asked for it due to wanting to be more intimate and was feeling faint!), announcing me, and everyone applaudes. i calmly and slowly walk on, sit down and take the mic, sit still and look across the front row. i then say;

my nans' last request was to have a cat wreath for her funeral. nanny had 14 cats....

and then i go onto talk about this story, embellishing with intricate details, using lists, subversion, opposites, building the story with an unexpected twist. and people seemed drawn in and laughed with the story. i felt even light years away form my nunnery story telling- i love humour and had found some tools to tailor it to suit me.

the feedback was really great and i loved sitting there telling the story. the story worked, it was quite bizarre, eccentric even. and i feel that i found a potential brand i like;


stand up gave me a very confident voice for my obsessive loves with subversive-ironic-star-martin-parr and minute-attention-to-mundane-detail-douglas coupland!! i have been thinking for a while about the jilly cooper novel, harriet poole (i used this in a leaving speech from a job 7 years ago)...might be good material for some kind of ironic playfulness? brian luff did however say i reminded him a lot of the comedian josie long- so need to be aware of this; any thoughts? (i'd never heard of her); i also think that photography is very important to me so incorporation of this would be different;

i need to think about what i got out of this and the direction it takes me- i now have a real interest in stand up and think it would be good to persue two different practices, with tools and formulae for story telling to feed into my live art MA work. i can see the georgina starr photo still clearly in my head in either worlds, projections of photo (flickr is a great source of ideas for a performance slide show lecture style set) . i also think the funny thing is so much about the relationship between what you say, the way you say it, body language, timing, and non-verbal- devloping ideas purely on gesturing with body/objects to generate humour could be funny (mary poppins bag pulling out the very long lampshade )

i have (nervously) booked a stand up open spot in a pub ( 5 mins) in august and entered a competiton in june. but i won't post where yet...yikes. that'll be the test i guess.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

second visit to the space-in-between- second photos

second part of performance- new photos

so...then tried moving the projector to a side space- kind of alcove, where from the last art show 'tea' had been repeatedly written on the wall. laura had idea about having a tea party- when linda came down to see what we were up to (the curator) she said that London tea stores used to be based at this site once- so a great coincidence! this time i was in it so laura could see what it looked like- laura filmed me and the resultant projection-live self walk through and will put on this blog too. when i tried this exercise- packing and then unpacking the table contents- i was looking to be precious about the items- carefully folding the table cloth and doiley etc- like my Nunnery matchbox items, very precisely put down onto the photographic paper. and again another box!

liked the tracing paper- softening the image. we talked about back projections and shadowplay like in Complicite's work, but decided we wanted us to be seen live.possible thoughts about side panels partially obscuring the audience view. possible trials with other surfaces- suspended or held and folded so image projected disappears as object is packed away (emphasising the temporal quality of a projection alongside the imminent departure of the projected self packing to leave) tablecloth, doilies (could be good as has holes in it for image to be partially trapped and partially free to go through)

anyway- drafted a structure today looping a 5 minute performance idea based on live and prerecorded self- laura mentioned possible idea to frame it of domestic rituals.

we have realised how very differently we approach work- being poles apart in our pre- MA backgrounds (me-fine art, laura, theatre) we are meeting well half way! i can't leave the visuals alone trying to see how they can perform with the body and narrative and laura wants to be devising narrative with the body and then think about the visuals!! this show is a good learning experience for us both :)

we are also both hugely interested in process as performance- trying out the deconstruction and reconstruction ideas, photograms process and ideas surrounding sharing a work-in-progress.

more soon...

second visit to the space-in-between- first photos

ok- have roughly mapped out part one to be a deconstruction of items through stories from former factory employees and employing photogram techniques and forensic archiving within the office. (more to follow on this structure and content)

so today centred on the experiments for the second part of our performance- first ideas are to be exploring contrasting the ideas of the 1964 news article found on housing slums and a plea to the council to rebuild,and the future occupation of the building as contemporary appartments.

also now thinking rather than spending the whole show trapped inside the office- now coming out into the space (and widening viewing platform rather than door frame), we will be involving some kind of interactive projection between live and mediated self- in photos here we are experimenting with (laura unfortunately excited about special effects in the first photo -haha! although have to say the time delay was interesting until laura did a mexican wave..arrgh...) prerecorded footage packing up household items to leave whilst simultaneously live self is unpacking having moved in, projecting at different scales to see the visual effect, including at same scale so they overlap. this proved difficult in mirroring exactly the pack/unpack sequence(but in reverse), getting the timings and actions right.
the edges of the image also lost projecting onto window. liked the siting of this like a kind of third window along this wall, but the projection is faint due to backlighting. was important to film and then site the projection of the film, in the same place to ensure matching of scale, angle, back onto the space.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Press release- The Space-in-Between show

so here's the press release for the show laura and i are in on the 26th april.

please do email me to make an appointment for the first part asap-
numbers strictly limited!

Press Release 55 Leroy St: Further Investigations 55 Leroy Street, London SE1 Saturday 26 April 2008, 3 – 6pm, with a live performance at 8pm

Laura Bean & Harriet Poole / Linda Duffy / Dave Miller / Lucy Rimmer / Caroline Smith / Sally Thompson / Senaka Weeraman

55 Leroy St: Further Investigations presents further explorations into the physical traces left by the previous occupants of 55 Leroy St and the associated real and imagined histories. Further Investigations takes place on the afternoon of Saturday 26 April 3-6pm. It is a series of experimental projects presented as work-in-progress. Audience members are invited to participate, to discuss work with the creators and to feedback into the creative process.

Laura Bean and Harriet Poole are working with site-specific performance art to explore the fictive and real histories surrounding the site at 55 Leroy St. They will be deconstructing factory processes whilst simultaneously exploiting photography in a performative manner. Audience members are invited to participate and surrender unwanted home furnishings / clothing to help facilitate the performance and leave new traces of occupation.

3- 5.00 By appointment - please email to arrange.

5 - 5.30 Performance open to all

5.30 - 6 Installation

Linda Duffy explores physical traces left by time and people on the surface of the building and presents a visualisation of the documented history of the building.

Dave Miller is using the space at Leroy Street to experiment with networked collaborative stories. The Leroy Club was a legendary venue in the 1950's comedy circuit, where many famous comedians started out. One of these was Buddy Rivers, who's returned to do this benefit performance to help save the venue. He hasn't done standup for years and fears he's lost his edge, so now uses computer programs and Internet searches to generate his jokes. Join in the show at the Leroy on Saturday 26 April 3-6pm or online at:

Lucy Rimmer creates images capturing the microscopic traces left by time on the windows, floors, walls and ceilings of the space at 55 Leroy St. Experimenting with photographic techniques she takes away the context and scale of the building itself and forces us to look in more detail at the many layers that constitute to the history of the space.

Caroline Smith performs Spank at 8pm.

I tell stories. I remember. I embellish. Sometimes I lie. Spank follows the journeys of two women as they reveal stories from private and public sources set apart by two centuries. It investigates notions of 'faction' and what is filtered out historically within a theme of female trauma and the body. It is deeply personal work, yet also rooted in its cultural context. Spank reacts to the location and has been performed at Tramway in Glasgow (NRLA 2008), Albany Theatre, Antenna Studios, Stephen Lawrence Gallery and Royal Naval College in London. For more info, visit:

Sally Thompson
explores a series of interconnecting theories and ideologies that overlay and provide a context for the evolutionary process of change evidenced by the building’s documented histories.

Senaka Weeraman presents a survey of the current condition of the building, capturing its state at this point of transition between industrial past and residential future.

For further information contact Linda Duffy on 07905 408 121 /

Travel Underground: Elephant & Castle, London Bridge, Tower Hill, Tower Gateway National Rail: Elephant & Castle, London Bridge Bus: 1, 42, 188

55 Leroy St: Further Investigations is a project by The Space In-Between.

The Space In-Between is an umbrella for a series of experimental research and development projects. It aims to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations that extend artistic practice and provide opportunities for artists and creative individuals to share new work with interested audiences.
For further information contact Linda Duffy on 07905 408 121 /

Monday, 14 April 2008

Piecing together the most interesting bits and bob of my work and ideas... VERY WORK IN PROGRESS!!

georgina starr image from- ikon gallery book- 1998

as the diploma stage assessment starts to loom upon me- need to start to draw connections from the space-in-between performance and nunnery show towards ideas for the final MA show goes.....

so.....just flicking through my blog and free flow thought into the laptop... just posing a few notes to self about current loves/ likes/ exciting connections to keep a floating around;

in rummaging round my bookshelf found an old interest of mine- georgina starr (does this image above draw together my practice ideas ?)- i feel this image could be very emblematic for my work- many people have both talked about the chaos of thought i live in ('hyper harry world' or 'hurry harry' being names i have given been on occasions) and amount of kitsch and ornamental, old camera type bits and pieces which surround and define me in my flat.

perhaps its all becoming a mish mash of mine/participants stories articulated through personal objects (toy cameras, etc) photographic processes and imagery (projected, printed)??

maybe my performance is a series of chaotic, subversive, participatory, real/fictional stories? in a staged darkroom of sorts at WCA or site-specific (attic, den, shed, office, tent, makeshift kids dens wth a sheet between sofas, closet type space- maybe at participants home??!!) All the technology-the darkroom pieces and toys etc could all come out of a nostalgic box/suitcase and all go back into it, leaving not a trace behind, keeping it site-specific temporal and also am liking the idea- of a portable performance...mmmm....

so here's the rough rambling list;
  • georgina starr- animation, musical, installation, personal stories- theatre/art blurring
  • nic green- cloud piece BAC, feb 08- playful, surreal use of objects in storytelling, loss of innocence references, projection
  • julia bardsley- exhibition installation and performance-pinhole photography, boxes, self and mini-self, toy animals, non-verbal live self (where in trans-acts- mediated self narrates, use of chalk to write words)
  • uninvited guests- from nrla- working with participants material gathered via email then they take part?
  • martin parr- favourite photographer- visual wit, subversions, irony, makes me laugh out loud- look at this for selection of imagery
  • douglas coupland- inextricable detail to the pointless, mundane and everyday, use of humour, look at this style for storytelling
  • spalding gray- hyper self, richard pryor, stand up- intensely personal into the public
  • playback theatre- although not interested in the therapy emphasis- the performance structure in the re-telling of stories
  • mini-me, miniature world toy ideas (ways to explore the non-verbal?)
  • about personal stories or presented as personal- authentic/inauthentic. are the stories intended to be humourous?
  • telling stories using my toy cameras, old slide projector and digital cameras, digital projector- some kind of traditional/digital face-off akin to the cd/vinyl arguments.Or maybe present and re-present the same story using different technologies, how the technology alters the story? maybe the arkos player is one way to tell it?
  • photography as process- darkroom processes to carry out the storytelling and found slides/others photos to initiate it- venture into toys as pinhole cameras?
  • possibly me 'becoming' the camera in a story like a child does with their toys?
  • use the girl guide story again for this performance? but try out with photogramming the mini-me model, find a model sized tree, park bench and the matchbox? non-verbal??
  • intimacy- unsure whether the work is continuing to go in the one-on-one direction or for a small number?

i am wondering about the participation element which is really important to me for ideas of exchange- is this through dialogue/action in the performance or my material partly comes from others' photographs? maybe its like i re-tell the story in the participants family photo? and then they tell their version? or vice versa? mmm i quite like that .....without me ever being told about the original story (concerned about this with people i know...) who are the audience? how do i find them? mailing lists?

in the uninvited guests they ran the same structure performance containing a different set of participants stories each time which came from a group of those present- not everyones stories were used. idea to consider- extend the audience capacity? or people are invited to watch an exchange? hmmmm...not sure about that.

last point. i like the way georgina starr is sat surrounding by the objects in the above. enough now.

and yes, doug, i do need to edit ;)

Friday, 11 April 2008

East End Collaborations 2008

Submitted a proposal to take (in)visible exchange to the East End Collaborations 2008 run through the Live Art Development Agency. This would be great opportunity to show my work, network and get feedback.The event is 24th and 25th May.

AV Social at Late at Tate Britain- 4 April

This video I took from
Black Out Arts installation at the Tate Britain interests me as, like in Ceal Floyers' virtual lightswitch displayed with projector and the image, and Anthony mccall the process work and the technology to make it -in the projector, objects, beam of light- all becomes the work. I like these ideas in development of the space-in-between piece- the nature of the technology becoming part of the narrative.

From Black Out Arts website;

North Duveen Gallery (far end) - 6pm-9.30pm
Rod Maclachlan and Jem Noble from Blackout Arts unveil their latest audiovisual installation at the AV Social. Rod's live-camera alchemy transforms his simple, kinetic light installations of dust, chop sticks, mobiles and houseplants into large projections of elegant shadow-play and dramatic abstraction. Jem treats the sounds collected from the installations using light-sensitive theremins, contact and mini-condenser mics. These sounds create an evolving, reactive soundtrack for the shifting forms."

Thursday, 10 April 2008

the-space-in-between- first performance planning visit-EVEN MORE photos- of office ceiling

Ceal Floyer- Light Switch- 1992-99, Tate modern collection. The images below reminded me of this artwork- i like it for its visual illusion (Tate website )and witty qualities- appearing before you in the correct siting on a wall is a picture of a functional device that as its virtual is in fact functionless. wit, satire, i think laura and i have agreed we are both interested in this in the project!

the depiction of this image from the Tate website clearly show the device to create the image is part of the work- the technology is not hidden, in fact the projection is given considerably less weighting in studying the image as its so small- when i was prompted to remember this artwork by my photos on this post i did not even remember the projector but the simplicity of the idea of the light switch projected through light, onto a location in reality (the wall) it might exist (although problematic as this is an art gallery where light switches of this domestic one switch kind are not really used)

projecting a feature of the office ceiling- a smoke alarm or speaker i think- back onto the ceiling. these 2 photos make me think about framing- not in through the lens terms like here but in the performance- how much of the image does the audience see, why and how do you ensure that? eg use of door stop limiting how much a door can be opened, peep hole. the bottom image for example has no real functioning item with it- its abstracted- does it lose its context too much for example? my age old (in)visible question...

possible other thoughts- is there anything in the (purposeful) bodily interaction with virtual office features to push the redundant nature of the space (nothing works anymore) or is the image merely within our possible performance to establish a sterotypical context and offer an aesthetic juxtapositon to emphasise the now derelict office?
in working into this project laura's current research ideas of past and present lives i think we will be working with imagery in a way that fittingly contributes to this notion

the-space-in-between- first performance planning visit -more photos

another google found image through typing 'office' (quite like this method of finding images as we have no idea what the space here actually ever looked like through the years) looks quite date, generic, devoid of bodily presence however signs of life- the signage don'ts- the token pieces of pleasing artwork-nice touches. thinking about the content of the image, which parts to use within the site to create meanings/interesting aesthetic

ok so virtual sterotypical office now projected in delapidated, redundant office- bright and colourful, cheery with plant and picture on the wall contrast to the actual dingy, dirty, dusty space

joke action - although this may be the participants means of gaining entry to the performance- and also the issue with the projection is on the door rather than inside

love this image again with the old vent in this stifingly small space and virtual generic artwork. the angle of the projector allowing parts to become dominant and others receding into the wall. we were trying out the moving the projector back so far that the images were life size for consideration of how this might impact on other exhibits in the final event

use of corner and across the window- getting to know the size and layout of room in relation to the scale of projection

again the matching of architectural forms and the non-descript generic artwork blurred further to obscurity through the damp, torn wall paper.

the-space-in-between- first performance planning visit

google found image of textile factory worker (relating to actual history)- issue of being on office door when this activity would have been in the main space

is this site of projection more relevant- onto peeled back traces of deconstructed layers of old surface patterned wallpaper yet the image is an opposing one of textiles production? the way the image now behaves- changes to the projection through surface colour, texture, contour making the projected image in site more fragmented, delapidated, murky and less visible in places, and thus emblematic of a redundant manufacturing activity?

although this is again projecting in the office i like the architectural matching of real vents with virtual window frames, the light cast from the projection defining through shadow the form of the vent, the tear in the wallpaper across the virtual textiles worker's face- how things are breaking up against the rigid lines of machines and repetition of the processes of the industry

site visit- some thoughts-

ok so apart from the fact that 55 leroy street was bloody freezing and nearly lost the circulation in my feet (!) it was a very productive visit in our site investigation, experimenting with both our known histories of the site and inventing fictional ones through moving around the space recording our thoughts. on here are first trials of projected images i had brought with me of offices, factories now cast across the dilapidated surfaces, looking at the interplay of surface and site now affecting the reading of images- not considering the performance body yet as a physical interaction with it (we are devising the performance first) but investigating what the temporal virtual photographic projection offers this space to suggest possible kinds of projections/ interesting locations of projections within the performance. all of the investigations were with multimedia projector merely for convenience in this trial- if the images are nostalgic/bygone era then possible old slide projector that reinforces this? in this small factory space it would be difficult to conceal the technolgical apparatus so making it part of it (old history-old projector, new, fantasy future identity- digital projector??)

the first thing that occurs to me is the odd feeling i have with looking back at these photos i took- composed, constructed images merely as documentation- subjectively framing a trial (to look at surface image qualities) not as an end product i have always been used to creating (although i do like these as images i must not get sidetracked!!!) - this is the first time on the course this has really sunk in how much my relationship to photography has shifted; how its has become a tool to help me devise performance work (to show me what i looked like in the body sculptures of the objects and atmospheres workshop), and also a temporal process within work (photograms, projections, etc)

more photos to follow...

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

more on ideas for the space-in-between...

ok- so now laura and i have decided to go for it with a short sharp collaboration, very experimental (the nature of the site for everyone wokring on art projects over this month), testing out some of our research ideas and different styles of performance/exhibition and just see what happens. the draft we have submitted for the press release is;

Laura Bean and Harriet Poole are working with site-specifc performance art to explore the fictive and real histories surrounding the site. They will be deconstructing factory processes whilst simultaneously exploiting photography in a performative manner. Audience members are invited to participate and surrender unwanted home furnishings/clothing to help facilitate the performance and leave new traces of occupation.

26th April 2008

3- 5.00 By appointment- please email to arrange.
5-5.30 Performance open to all
5.30-6 Installation

The idea being we can play with the 3 hours event in 3 parts- part one- explore the breakdown of goods produced by light-industry businesses/ home furnishings 'from' future housing occupation, through participatory performance (more non-matrixed),in which we are subverting the norms of manufacturing in generating temporal photograms. part two- devise a performance we are both in (live/mediated?) and watched by the audience, and, part three- create a final installation with experiments with projections.

more to think about- tomorrow we spend the day in the space playing with site, ideas and technology.....yipeee

from the local studies centre- on the-space-in-between....55 Leroy St, Bermondsey

News article on the st, 1964

1976- Annette Display wigs ok, so my trip to the local studies centre in borough wasn't as useful as I had hoped in that small businesses had very little written about them and very few photos existed of the site/street- would need to contact the businesses direct for records although most out of business and impossible to track.... I have a list of the nature of the light industry firms including the following (from Linda Duffy, thanks, from Post Office records );

1893-1900 – Sowle Thomas, wheelwright
1908 – Million Advertising Novelty Co Limited
1912-15 – Simmons W F and Co under-clothing manufacturers
1916-17 – Newey Brothers Ltd hook & eye manufacturers
1928-9 – Barclay, Roberts and Co Ltd trouser press mfrs
1937-39 – Stanley and Woodward Ltd coathanger mfrs
1947-9 – British Novelties (Model Manufacturers) plaster figure mkrs
1970 – nº 51/55 Frederica Display, figure manfrs.
1973-83 – nº 51 Annette Display, Wig Co. Ltd
1983 – No 55 H&M Fashions, ladies’ fashion mfrs
1988 – nº 55 Stacey Ltd. Ladies fashion manfrs.

The ~H& M Fashion may be of interest- is this the current high st retailer? Like the range of businesses listed.

Am also interested in the fact that the article above is talking about reportedly appalling housing conditions on the street with 'dangerous, dilapidated landings,' when this currently dilapidated site at end of April is being demolished and becoming contemporary appartments- there may be material in this.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

objects and atmospheres- non-verbal workshop with geraldine pilgrim (part 7)

george segal

body in space exercise- out of visual create a narrative- reference-george segal sculptures

exercise- text as a visual landscape- not developing character (although appearances yes, feelings not so) but body in a site. physical placement of the body of one person by another within the space- floor/wall, (addition of an object in my turn.) the person in position once set has 30 seconds to think about how their body is placed and a possible site it could be in....then the rest of the group asks questions to which the placed person responds to begin to tell a story.

my photograph above of the position i was placed in- (you can't quite see my thumb is extended upright from my beyond hand) i was asked to look at a chair beyond and then another person in the group placed the camera in my site line- at first, intriguingly with the camera lens pointing towards me and then with me looking through the viewfinder.

rough recollection of the questions posed to be and my responses....
  • where are you? i'm in the attic
  • where's the attic? my parents house in croydon
  • why are you on the floor? i'm listening
  • to what? my parents arguing. i'm waiting for them to stop.
  • what re they arguing about? me- mum has grounded me and dad disagrees
  • whats in the attic? dusty old trunk locked full of my secrets, bare boards
  • where's the key? in my pocket as always
  • what are the walls like? old peeling floral paper one side, breeze block the other
  • whats the temperature like? its cold, breezy
  • what are you looking at? through the lens at the boy in the house next door. he's undressing.
  • is there a window in the attic then? yes
  • what's the boys name? orlando
  • what's your name? harriet
  • how old are you? 16
  • what are you wearing? my escape outfit
  • what's your escape outfit? pink shoes, jeans
  • why are you escaping? i've had enough
  • what happens next? i'm giving the signal to my brother who is next to me that the arguing has stopped and they have left the room for us to escape.i'm going to take one last photo of orlando before i leave.
this exercise i found a very insightful way to consider where you can visualise being taken to through placement of body and engaging in conversation to build a narrative. you imagine that everything is moving around this frozen body.questions were to centre not on the feelings but on the sights, sounds, smells. the gaze was crucial to the narrative. elements on this may verge on past life regression(!) which the activity was not intended too- i suppose the choice of being in croydon(not sure why i said this) made me want to take an exotic sounding name for the boy next door- orlando which was the name my brother was almost given and was the name that popped into my head. one person in the group after they did their story said 'where the hell did all that come from?'

in relation to my current investigations- generating stories through visuals- centering on the sensory elements and the what happened next - this was very useful exercise. i also was struck by the use of the camera- the story would have been completely different with the camera lens placed towards me (who was to photograph me, why etc)

thinking about it now- i feel a little confused about separation of character from landscape- although not centering on description of feelings clothing, age shapes an identity? as well as the fact that i was wearing my escape outfit....