Let me fix my weave

What a year it’s been… As many of you will know, much of my time and energy this past year has been taken up with helping to set up the The Kim Fielding Award, and we’re proud to be midway through the 2015 awardee’s project. Do keep an eye out for the public outcomes of that – part one of our 2015 artist, Uliana Apatina’s project opened at Coed Hills Rural Artspace in September, part two will be presented in Cardiff later this year. I’ve also moved back to Bristol proper, which is really wonderful – its not til being away that I really appreciated how much a part of me this city is, and I of it. It’s been great to connect so closely with friends old and new, and to feel consequently inspired and empowered to do exciting things.

In November last year I performed I Fall To Pieces at Experimentica in Cardiff, which was a really rich and humbling experience. The performance is a sort of dance: four hours of continuous improvised movement, in which I am naked, with my eyes closed,  with white emulsion poured over my head. I’m accompanied by a Patsy Cline track, which plays intermittently, and am lit by a slowly pulsating led rope light, over nightfall. The piece is a meditation on death and loss – not just the physical deaths of loved ones, but the metaphorical deaths of possibilities, opportunities and relationships, deaths that occur on a daily basis throughout our lives. The audience at Experimentica was wonderful, really attentive and receptive not just to my piece, but to all of the work in the festival. One of the things that sets Experimentica apart from other live art festivals is how central the artists seem to be, with daily breakfast chats (chaired by the excellent Phil Owen) reflecting on the work of the previous day. Really generous, and rich and delicious conversations, and some lovely (re)connections made with other artists.

In March this year I was pleased to re-present A Lexicon of Labour Movements (the performance and bookwork created by Clare Thornton and I) with artist HRen, at the Work and Art symposium at UCA Canterbury. It was a great day, with some super people and some really interesting conversations about art and labour and money and the like. Art and money have long been sticking points (I’ve I blogged about this before), ever more so in these times of austerity – to quote the splendid Lily Tomlin “Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get worse.” And things have got pretty bad. Having been trying to make money out of art for the past few years, Ive found myself broke and worn out. So I’m going to try to liberate myself from the need to commodify my creative and emotional labour, and return my art to being something that I love rather than something that I need to flog (which I’ve never been very good at anyway). For the next little while I’ll be paying my bills with other things that I love – lecturing, editing, gallery invigilating and working with food. We’ll see how it goes…

In the meantime, I’ve been developing some new live work from I Fall To Pieces, to present in Bristol and Berlin in the coming weeks. I’ll be performing it at Arnolfini on 24th October as part of IPA Bristol, and at the opening of tactileBOSCH’s Black / Blue at Rosalux, Wedding on the 30th. It’s great to be spending studio time making (fixing my aforementioned weave) rather than just sending emails, and exciting to be working with such splendid artists. Bam!

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