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As the intelligent reader (whom I love) I’ll let you deduce your own reasons.
Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds of my new home in the background…
2 performances, 2 exhibitions, 1 film and 1 whistling lesson (plus some blurb on aesthetic access) =Published July 9, 2009 Uncategorized Leave a Comment
So I said from the off that I wasn’t going to be the most regular bloggist in the world, but this, perhaps, is taking the piss.
Sorry. A month really isn’t regular enough, is it?
And I’m afraid I can’t even say that I’ve been hugely busy, busy enough I suppose, but not utterly swamped. The most likely reason for such slackness is down to the fact that it’s been sunshiney I suppose.
Taylan and I have continued with our work on Window. It’s all there, and I think we’re pretty pleased with what it ‘all’ is, we’ve just got to tidy it up around the edges (Window cleaning, if you will) and do some bits and bobs with timings. Book your tickets now if you’re planning on coming – there’s a distinctly limited audience due to the one to one nature (twice over) of the performance.
Other than that, I’ve been more a consumer than a producer of creative goods in the last few weeks.
I paid a visit to the Classified exhibition at the Tate Britain; interesting exhibition, tragic shame about the sponsors.
I also had a quick ocular rummage in Richard Long ‘s Heaven and Earth at the same gallery.
The installations that mark the halfway point through this show are truly remarkable spaces to encounter; after the very visual presentation of assorted photographs and mud paintings in the earlier part of the exhibition, the encounter with these pieces provide a particularly profound contrast. The calmness and majesty conjured up by the massive geometric arrangements of rocks in the vast gallery space of the Tate create an experience unlike anything I have experienced before in the heart of a city.
I’ve also given a couple of hours over to What the bleep do we know?, a film that apparently caused a bit of a stir when it came out a few years ago (though completely passed me by at the time).
It’s a largely documentary film, punctuated with a non-too satisfying narrative tale, which provides some very accessible explanations of a number of the most exciting theories in quantum theory. Then it ventures into a lot of twaddle about how we all have absolute power to create reality through intention, misquoting the science that it had so wonderfully represented at first, and subtly encouraging us to join the Ramtha School of Enlightenment in Washington (I’m not going to deign to link to that).
The best bit of the film is probably to be seen on the link above, but there are others worth a watch. All I’d say is though, if you do indulge, I’d recommend doing some reading around on the web for a bit of background before doing so.
Similar issues, though thankfully without the preachy preachy hokum were present in Obscurity, an outdoor performance for the Docklands festival that was contributed by the visually impaired-led theatre company Extant.
Though there was a nice message to the show, a sort of ‘we’re all part of the same elephant’ thing, it was the way in which the show lost nothing of its aesthetic by being accessible to blind people, the way in which the accessibility was an integrated part of the show, that made the most impression on your blogger.
No headphones and muffled audio description going on hear m’lord.
Christened ‘Aesthetic Access’ (I believe by Jenny Sealey of Graeae Theatre Company), this artistic integration of access still seems to be solely, if sadly understandably, the reserve of the disability arts sector.
New work / live art / contemporary theatre – whatever moniker you want to adopt for this particular occasion – is often heard to be hollering about the need to bring in new audiences. Yet how much new work makes any consideration for the disability community? And how many potential audiences are passed over because of this omission?
It needn’t cost, and it could add something to the work. There would probably need to be additional marketing to encourage these audiences, but as is shown by Jenny Sealey and Maria Oshodi of Extant, such access is not solely the responsibility of the producer or venue. With the right understanding of the issues involved, it can be a part of the show itself, giving a unique flavour to the event, and, of course, maximising the possible numbers of those attending.
Rather fortunately, the skies have typically been sunfilled, sunblessed and delightfully sunny this year when I’ve been able to take a short break away from the big smog.
On Saturday night, at my mum and dad’s house, a dead bird was spotted lying crumpled and half-eaten on the patio. I was asked if I could dispose of it. I took a small spade, picked up the deceased and embarked on a journey to the bottom of the garden; where the River Ouse flows and I hoped to find some kind of avian graveyard.
As I walked, I realised that suitably solemn words would be required to mark the passing of the departed; something vaguely Latin seeming to fit the bill best.
The only such word that came to mind was ‘somnambulist’.
When I got to the river, my intention was to fling the corpse into the middle of the stream, to where the current flowed fastest. Instead, as I swung the shovel, the bird fell off and landed, eighteen, perhaps twenty inches from where I was stood, just beyond my reach in the shallows of the river.
There we are, barely beyond the start of this relationship of ours; enjoying every fleeting touch, every little sign that we might be on the other’s thoughts, and then I sod off and disappear for two weeks.
It’s not very good is it? It might not even be good enough. My apologies…
Nevertheless, I’m afraid that that might be the way that things might have to be in Casa LSF. Tempting as it is to spend my days peering down the superhighway into the Elysium of your eyes, I don’t think it’s gonna happen as much as I want – busy times mean busy tims.
In the time since you last read something virginal on this page, I’ve concluded my investigations into whether it is actually quicker to get things done by doing them yourself. I’ve discovered that the answer is no, or at least not always, point in fact being my website which launched last week – if you haven’t paid it a visit yet, please do – otherwise I’ll feel like I’ve been wasting my time.
Then there was that trip to Liverpool I mentioned last time; a trip that incorporated an interesting performance from the personable José Torres Tama on the Friday, some remarkable encounters with the work of Michael Pinchbeck over the Saturday and Sunday and a fascinating 2 day workshop around issues of internationalism and cultural exchange that had been put together by Lorena Rivero de Beer.
This latter is a tricky area to negotiate, not least because of the rather obvious issue of the environment; in a time when we’re supposed to be omitting emissions from our lifestyle, is jetting to the other side of the world to show our art always something to be admired?
But admire it we typically do; the worlds of art and theatre, typical of most industries, grant increased status to the international artist; and though I abhor the idea of doing so, I find my attention is still more easily drawn to the people flown in from around the globe to a festival of work than to the ‘local’ contributors, artists whose work, we assume, has been made for local people.
Personally, I find that whole system a little bit suspect – the dichotomy created between a local artist and an international one can easily prove to be an instance of art world foolishness where hype doesn’t necessarily match the reality.
There are a multitude of reasons why it is assumed that an international artist’s work is superior to a more regional oeuvre. They will have a different cultural perspective, they will have cost more to bring in (and are assumed to be worth that extra money), they are more ‘professional’. All of which may well be the case… but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the local artist’s work is worse. And it certainly doesn’t take into account the myriad of less positive reasons why the international artist might be present.
Speaking with people who had lived in Liverpool for a while, I could understand how their relegation to the realm of “local artist” as soon as the city became European Capital of Culture may have been a little galling.
I haven’t done any international work for a while, and have never been a member of the jet-setting artistic set. I’m wary of positioning my slightly negative attitude to this matter as any kind of moral stance, and I’m trying not to place myself within an ethical pulpit. I suspect that I will be going abroad again to do my work at some stage, and I surmise that when such a time rocks up on my doorstep I’ll probably be rather pleased that it has done so.
Nevertheless, it does feel a very important subject with which to be engaged, and it will be interesting to see how Lorena may develop the work that was undertaken over the weekend (which in itself was an extension of substantial exertion by Claire Thornton when she was New Work Network Associate last year).
Parallels between internationalism and engaged art practises can be made. Aside from the fact that both were tackled in some depth by the members of the New Work Network last year (here and here), it seems that meaningful and durable encounters are central to an experience of a valid and two way dialogue with the community / culture that the artist is working within.
In other news… The weekend just past gave me an opportunity to re-show my piece A Pound of Flesh. Hosted by the wonderful Stoke Newington International Airport, the day provided a vibrant exposure to a fruity cocktail of work.
Elyssa Livergant’s performance of A Kiss from the Last Red Squirrel was aggressive and thought-provoking and provided some of the most interesting discussion in the table tennis interviews that acted as interludes between each performance. Against a backdrop of immigration, cultural heritage and questions around domestic transition, the piece challenged the nature of the relationship between audience and performer in an intelligent and, in my opinion, entirely necessary way. Others will disagree, and there were points in which lines were crossed in the performance; but that what was demanded by her subject matter. There was also something strangely invigorating to be confronted with a piece of theatre that challenged our relationship to performance without setting out to shock for the sake of it.
Taylan Halici continued the tour of his one man show Introduction to floodlondon, which, amongst attempts to drown himself and touching insights into self-hope and failure, allowed us to witness his division into two distinct entities – Time Taylan and Space Taylan. Expanding the performance space exponentially, an encounter with Time Taylan can be commissioned for a moment of your choosing. Check out the first few such visitations on the project’s webpage, and if an idea for another one takes your fancy, give him a yell. He’s a very approachable chap.
And then there was Mamoru Iriguchi‘s Pregnant?!
A tale of a pregnant man’s encounters with maternity, rabbits and foetal protest; it’s a feat of imagination and projection wizardry which really needs to be seen to have the necessary justice done. If you haven’t had a chance yet, keep an eye out for it, it’s been whirling it’s way around various London venues for a year or so, and demand doesn’t seem to be diminishing yet (next outing is at Camden People’s Theatre I believe)….
I’ve also been learning to whistle.
Not from scratch, I’ve made some attempts before, but I haven’t made an effort this concerted for something like the last fifteen or sixteen years.
I’ve been making some progress, and am working towards a small to middle-sized repertoire of songs.