Sunday, 12 December 2010
or The Fact..
lurking there, among people's minds, and expressed through such "why?s as the one thrown at you, in your train journey..
i'm thinking, this train you were ridding is an achievement of an advanced species..all the technology employed to make it real is a distillation of "know How"..
and yet passengers, strangers, all belonging to the [intelligent] species called humanity which created that train, along with rockets and cpus.. is massively addicted and restrained (no pun intended) to this universal Why, shining like a gilded plate offered to you to place your smudged head on..
behaviour, behaviour, behaviour..
what one must/must not do is echoed and reproduced unquestioned, and all other "variations" imply absurdity (i.e. handsome young man with charcoal on his face in a public transport apparatus..)
so this it it then:
public ignorance and brainwashing are serving our performing personae through confusion and (apparent)absurdity..
what a lovely vehicle your charcoaled face is..like an olympic torch it sustains and transports the action from the albert place to manchester and surbiton..
to trains, trainstations, spaceships and disease-curing supermachines,
made by a kind still chained to its universal Why's..
we elude, flourish and survive in the tension (pun intended) our non-comforfmity evokes, as it is thrown in raw, honest, smack-bang against the predictable questions and predictable answers of humans boxed in trains and suits..
i will sleep better tonight,
knowing there is black marks of action written on your chest..
Sunday, 5 December 2010
"I rubbed charcoal on my face."
"Because it was there."
Within 40 minutes of completing my component of the group action (t/i/r) last Saturday, I had boarded a train at Euston heading to Manchester. I did not have a chance to clean the charcoal from my face - my action continued.
The interaction above took place on the train with a stranger and has stayed with me as thought.
It is not the over-arching, overly-repeated 'why?' that hangs with me, but rather my personal response - 'because it was there'. I rubbed the charcoal on my face because that is what occurred in that moment. There were other elements to my/our action(s) that were undoubtedly preconceived to a certain degree - but not the charcoal.
I was profoundly affected by the interactions I had with the other individuals present that evening, we all just let the moment unfold. There seemed to be no 'why?', 'How?' Definitely, but no 'why?'
How did I rub the charcoal on my face? This is the question that now sits in my mind and on my tongue.
Through rubbing my face against Kiki's face, wringing my hands with the charcoal powder from the floor and with intent - what intent? The intent to have a charcoal blackened face. How I rubbed the charcoal on my face is important to me. Is it important to you?
In focusing on How a moment is rather than Why seems to be what is happening in these group events. This focusing on How appears to have an organic continuation, bleeding out of the specified time and place, out into the wider social sphere, through individuals 'post' actions.
How was your body being? How, are you, now?
I am sitting at my office desk, at work in Surbiton - I have the image I am performing(?) written beneath my shirt, on my chest in black marker pen.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
A rhetoric that is understandable, yes, not esoteric, yes, but one that can deal with the issues we face.
times are hard, yes, making ends meet is hard, yes, but really what power do you think we, as artists, have?
As a friend of mine recently stated:
Art Heals, but can it empty a bedpan? Why should the arts survive the cuts?
Performing in public spheres, non consensually, will and should provoke a wide range of responses. I was punched in the back in Leeds doing a live art piece by Claire Blundell-Jones in which couples conveened and kissed for ten minutes then dispersed, this attack was homophobic, but, at least they are showing some sort of interest. What will you sacrifice? Where will you draw the line? In our work we bleed, we get hurt, we abuse our own bodies, we endure it and it is fascinating.
WE NEED A STRONG SENSE OF BEING A MOVEMENT and a MOVEMENT NEEDS COVERAGE and coverage is created by CONTROVERSY.
A CALL TO ARMS.
Is it really all about slavework? Not to me, part of it is about slavework, yes, but without that I wouldn't be able to create the liberating aspects of my daily routine. I wouldnt be able to produce and present work and events. Still the system sucks, but what can we do about it? Critique it, intervene in ways that create commotion and commentary (a bit like being arrested, beatedm abused), find a nuanced way to saw at the paradigm we operate under. Not a simple answer though. Never a simple answer. An answer with entendre. An answer with variable intended meanings.
recessions often purge the art world.
a good flush and some quality control.
Yes funding is dubiously splashed around to organisations, many of which seem reighteous and community led. But there isn't enough money for every one to get some, so there has to be some sort of criteria. "I make art, give me money!" doesn't quite hold up. IMPACT and QUALITY.
We can utilise the DIY culture prevelant in the live art scene.
We can make interventions and actions that question what it all means.
we can MAKE.
Monday, 25 October 2010
Friday, 22 October 2010
(Outside) of Actions
Wrapping tube lines in awkward movement
Tying tyre flesh in yellow
Feet thinking fast and past you,
Toes poise in anticipated pausing, but push on.
My threaded thoughts tangled in your cellophane wind.
M168 sings like winged feet through lips embroided to the throat of your chant,
I follow the encased, suit,
to St Pauls and back
You are patient. And its raw in a cheap because its wholesome way.
I wrestle my tire on a grated triangle, fucking my knees, it loosens and thrusts.
The swinging is aggressive and exhausting, I swing in time to you,
Your blinded and barefooted. Limbs in circles. Everything is open and bleeding.
I see you as/on/the/we/are triangle,
submissive and medative
I lift my circle high and watching lines of genetics map out from yours, achingly open
so astride now I watch the spit being pulled out by the city
And I try and balance, us.
You move towards me but not to me
You struggle towards me and to me
and I'm thinking about how my skin felt fighting this city
Dragging possessions and possessing circles,
teetering. Taken then falling.
It was mine and you left it,
It seems so silly now.
I go and see a film night about home.
I wonder when this ends.
you offer to carry us but I'm passive aggressive
but it is mine.
I think about swapping sides but I don’t want it between us.
Pounding pavements rubber bruising swelling into love, nestled on hips.
You are my stilettos and that is not for sale, not now.
He said, delivering letters they said, carrying on your shoulder causes stress.
I don't think its stress just pushing on knotted thoughts and releasing,
What it is is solace in motion.
is a home,
but wedged between us its cushioned and interrupted,
On marking yourself gently [the tattoo and it’s under/line], you put solace in motion; and even after the ink had dried there was still a bleeding of edges. Of edges, of lines, of crossing lines by making and breaking lines; with blood lines we see a flow. To cut is not to stop, is not a negative, causes a positive, an opening causes a space.
You show us the yellow thread, threaded into the performance as another line, made as it is unmade, unravelled and uncoiled. Unravelling features here through threads and body’s and still more perhaps but implicitly so. A line is made when the yellow thread is pulled taught, when put under stress. The line almost connects us to you through space but only almost. I see the haunt lines and have seen a brief history of this thread, have even been caught up in this thread with you in our action. I know that this thread is well travelled, has been to Berlin and back, has already performed us and you in our group action and so the thread has its own movement memory which makes the connection even tighter.
And then the tyre that you are not too tired to hold onto for a little longer and a little longer and we know it might burn as you tire. The tyre was not turning, was not the agent of the body’s motion, the body performed the action, the traction, the tyre stays still as the body rotates on it and you have powered the reverse. And on it stood the body majestic and ethereal as you turn slowly, very slowly, very occasionally holding the wall as the tyre swerves under.
Watching you carry the tyre and the stick, after the performance [as/is another performance] both of us lost and complaining of the cold; finally find solace in a watering hole [aptly named ‘The Hermits Cave’]. We talk about moving and staying still and the edges of the performance and your life really do bleed here; it tells me that you are not trying to bluff us when you cut and tire. Fundamentally you are asking [us] whether to stay or go, to move or to stop and so this jarring is necessary, healing not harming. But be careful [and I am full of care here] because stopping is not standing still just as stillness is still motion. Movement is still within stillness, and one would not exist without the other.
The last image of your performance, well after the performance was over is of you pulling your tyre and your stick out of the boot of a car. You look portable, holding all of your objects like a shell, looking to find the bus route [home]. You are both vulnerable and strong, lost going into an invisible battle with your tyre as shield and your stick as sword. How can we console an image like this, a vehicle without its body? Only tyres left tired and burning, still not knowing what to carry what to hold onto yet still moving.
Victoria Gray, 2010
Monday, 18 October 2010
Monday, 4 October 2010
Sunday, 3 October 2010
cotton wool wadding
Gray's actions and materials are simple, precise and although almost clinical retain an overriding sense of femininity.
The stuffing was suffocating and silencing, its controlled and meditated manor quietly screaming.
Gray's removal of her dress was clinical and neutral in form; its precision and moments of stillness generating meaning. Holding the dress over her head it became both a flag and a triumphant statement, but also a shield and obscurer of identity. The darkness and weight of the dress furthered this sombre sense, starkly contrasting the blandness of tights and body. The tights grew out of this invisibility and became strong and flexible. When stretching and opening the tights physically, Gray let us into the work, artist and concepts of the performance. As with Gray's persona when performing this was gentle yet incredibly poignant. The containing and consumption that preceded this, again secretive, inevitably let the audience in. Stuffing and chewing the tights from a distance, in isolation, yet choosing to poo them out her mouth when surrounded in close proximity by the audience.
Gary’s final action reflected what was to become a poignant evening of action for the emerging artists of the UK performance scene. Gray choose to use the remnants of Colm Clarks performance, becoming the third line of milky residue. This attentiveness towards others work set the president for the subsequent group action which was felt by all involved to be a turning point in collaboration and unity between up and coming artists and organisations.
Saturday, 2 October 2010
it feels very powerful to use such a concept to release pressure from "society" whether that is inner (self) or external..
Friday, 1 October 2010
A site where empathy can be created between the performer and the viewer. A site of universality and of extreme difference. Each of us - most of us anyways - can sense things, can feel pain, can feel pressure and when a performer is feeling/sensing/hurting within an action, there stands a chance that we - as viewers - might feel/sense and how the performing body might respond.
Body art/live art/action art becomes interesting when the performer undergoes acts of physical endurance, acts that the viewers might usually carry out within their day-to-day lives that are magnified in and examined by the action of the performer. As the artist uses the body, performs actions with it, to it, on it, so we can begin to understand something of the human condition, something of the cultures we produce and something of the way we interact with each other. We can use these endurance art actions to pick apart our everyday lives.
I've become interested in exploring the exhausted body and the body at its limits in my practice and in my writing. As a student I performed in a play entitled "To Begin" (Dir. Dr A. Fenemore 2007); part of the rehearsal process for this play was to workshop rhythms made by jumping, hopping, and skipping as an ensemble until we could no longer continue. The endurance practice became a competition amongst cast members to see who could stay in the game the longest. From time to time, I would observe rather than participate in the practice and what stood out to me was that the performer wanted to maintain the rhythm, to repeat it again and again without deviating from it; the body, however, would not let this happen, exhaustion would impede it and muscle pain prevented the performer from sustain the action with the same conviction. It was noticeable that the playing of the game was exhausting, but the competitive nature of the cast meant that we played it for long periods even though we were aware of the pain it was causing.
At the last ArtEvict I performed in Jamie Lewis Hadley's piece En la esquina tecnica, in which we wrestling chopped each other in the chest until one of us couldn't take it any more (me, inevitably). I read this performance as a comment on pointless violence, masculinity and competitiveness. The competition and the pain were at odds with each other; I wanted to stay in the game for as long as possible but I knew it would hurt further.
Thursday, 30 September 2010
I spent some time in a very conservative and religious town in America when I was a teenager.
During my stay in America I was baptized by submersion and supposedly reborn as a Christian.
In the mind of the baptizer, or the believer as they are known, the spirit is supposedly taken on a journey of life, death, and resurrection. This is an ancient historical ritual and
although I do not interpret it in strictly the same sense, my baptism does undoubtedly represent a self transitional journey which affected my physiological being. I believe this to have been a profound experience which has gone on to influence my art.
I went back to Japan during the summer of 2007 and I found a job as an archaeological excavator. I was digging the ground everyday under strong sunshine.It was 35 degrees and to make matters worse the excavation site was surrounded by metal sheets which contained and amplified the heat.
My colleague told me about this performance art festival called “NIPAF” that takes place twice a year. That is how I first encountered performance art (or live/ action art or whatever it’s called)
I saw many performances by Eastern European and South East Asian artists during the festival.
In a spontaneous moment I had a chance to make a performance of my own. In what was my first ever performance I sat on a square of flour and started washing my body with mud.Because I didn’t have anything to change into, I had to travel home on the train covered in mud. The experience of standing on a busy train caped in mud for over an hour made me aware of the importance of duration and the transitional events that can take place in various spaces and times.
Since my action is inspired by the superstitions of other cultures and the psychology behind superstitious behaviour, I have been strongly led towards ritualistic and cultural beliefs from diverse array of cultures across the world.
In some cultures as a result of superstitious beliefs, when a pregnant lady goes though childbirth all the doors and windows are opened, and her plats and all the knots in her clothing are undone. This is done to release the tension from the room.
It is believed that the knots of intrinsic energy are untied thus creating a more relaxed and calm environment. The ritualistic action I recreate in my performance tends to be about releasing the restriction from the compressed society I create within myself. I am using the superstitious behaviour to abstract the reality from the truth and to sublimate the truth with illogical beliefs.
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
bean wants a building and stands on chair/takes picture..
cristina and vago work on filming..
data from past show is transferred back/forth via sticks and disks..
ben and ki ki sort out availabilities..
we sit and watch the project grow like a tree..
a leaf falls on our table.
we sketch the near future:
a blog [this one here] for all to place part of themselves in words and effort..
we ride bus route 76 to our next project..