“so slowly”, Madonna says, but I’m not so sure it’s as simple as that. Two things on the subject of time: one, that i’ve not blogged for months, the past few months flying by as they have (although equally not flying by, given all that’s been going on); two, time and performance is something I keep coming back to (Deleuze’s ‘eternal return’, difference and repetition?) and is always exciting, again. But firstly things first, what’s been happening since July? Well the Context residency Taunton came to an end, and was a really great experience. It was fantastic to work with a freedom to do whatever I wanted, to experiment with new / revisited forms (photographs, objects and installed video), and to work in a different geographical and professional context. One of the pieces of work that I made – an ArtVoodoo procession and dance around the town centre on a busy Saturday afternoon – re-instilled a certain playfulness and fun in my practice, a playfulness which I’m occasionally fearful of losing amongst theory, physical intensity and the opacity of artspeak. But all things in balance, I suppose. September saw the development of CycloGeo, a cycling-based participatory project in collaboration with Caleb Parkin, commissioned by Sustrans Wales for their MicroFestival in Caerphilly, celebrating 15 years of the National Cycle Network. It was in the same groove with the fun element, creating a big interactive map (on a beautiful canvas map we commissioned from H. Ren) of Caerphilly, annotated with participants’ experiences of situationist-inspired adventures / games.
September also saw the staging of Æon, a durational performance event, produced with Tunnadine Fine Art at the Two Degrees Gallery in Montpelier, with H.Ren, Liz Clarke, Phil Owen, and Michael Jones and his guest collaborator Gareth Llyr. It came out of the Spotlight show we did there in April, but was created with all of us performing work simultaneously, in the same space, for the duration of the four hour event. It was a strange event to do – none of us really had a chance to view each others’ work, nor reflect clearly on our own (the audience all pretty much left at the end of the event). Feedback we got was positive, and what I saw and heard of other people’s work was very strong indeed. It’s certainly inspired me to continue my explorations of durational work, both in my solo practice but also in such simultaneous laboratory settings. There can be something incredibly powerful about durational work, in the time and space that such performance creates (I was a couple of weeks ago at the Performing Idea symposium at Artsadmin, and heard some very interesting reflections on this in the ‘Other Durations’ Symposium, about which I will write more later) that for me forms that essential transformative function of performance, a function that probably constitutes a large part of my artistic intent. I realise that this subject constitutes a longer and deeper reflection, which I will give it, in time (excuse the pun).
Also, on the subject of time, I recently made a performance for tactileBOSCH‘s ‘Seven Seconds’, part of the space’s Tenure 10 year anniversary programme, and also a preview for Chapter’s Experimentica 10, also celebrating its decennary. It was a curious but joyful thing to make work for this occasion, to reflect and remember some of the artists I’ve seen and worked with at both tB and Chapter, and to think on the impact they’ve had, along with the amazing producers and curators at both spaces, on my thinking, my work and the development of my career over the years. On a similarly reflective vein, I’m currently preparing work for InBetween Time in December, about which I’m incredibly excited, and which brings back similar memories of making work at the previous one, and attending the one before that. It’s moments like this, when one stops and thinks what’s happened, and what it happening around one, that one really appreciates the richness and wonder of life, of art, and of all the people one encounters along the way of both!