Today (Thursday 7th Nov) I had my first exploratory session at the Uni.
I used the bus (see below), created mono-prints, stuck my bubble comments from Saturday up on a wall to consider them. I engaged with several people, had a tour of the Art School and got to have some short conversations with some of the other Artists.
It was an interesting set-up. I arrived and had planned to use the bus. This is an amazing creature. An ex-library bus that has been taken on by Test Valley and CAS and is used for multiple purposes! It’s name? The Bus of Many Things!! (This makes me happy and I sent the details to my Artist friend Louise Ashcroft, as she will love it!)
I also visited the other Artists in the Rotunda, a different space surrounded by water in which most of the other Artists were quietly thinking or creating. And the foyer, which is a corridor outside a lecture hall. These are all spaces that we will be exploring with our work and where we will be engaging with the staff and students of the Uni.
I used the bus as a mini-workshop space, setting up mono printing and creating my own very mini gallery space for the day. (Photos to follow). I had arrived this morning thinking about dissent and bodies. How do our bodies dissent? When they are ill? injured? suffering from allergies or infections? I have a rash on my face today from some make-up that my skin has reacted to. Is my skin dissenting? And is that dissent useful?
We also dissent against bodies. We shave, wax, pluck them, cover them, plump them, fill them, smooth them, hide them, enhance them. We dissent against the natural. (Or at least this is what the mainstream in western society shows).
We also USE our bodies in acts of dissent. Maybe through action or protest (physically marching, campaigning, protesting or rioting), through higher impact acts of rebellion, like hunger strikes or even suicide bombs, or through small acts of rebellion (growing our bodily hair when that is not the norm, or refusing to adhere to uniforms or costumes, not conforming to what is expected. Perhaps by stepping over the yellow line before the train comes, or crossing before the green man tells us to.
I arrived thinking about all of this.
I also created the Bubble version 2. Bubble 2 is a deflated lilo. I reinflated it slightly and taped it together to create a tunnel that I could place over my upper body. I took it up to the foyer area and sat under and within in. I used a chalk pen to write down my thoughts while i was under the bubble. I remembered the text sent by Laurence, talking of membranes, of umbilical fluid and of fluid as protection. It is. It is protection. Like my bubble. Womb like, muted sounds and sights, warm and moist (as I got sweaty). The writing on my bubble began to rub off onto my body as it merged with my skin. If we are all fluid anyway, then not only does the fluid protect us when it surrounds us, but it IS US also. If it is US, and you, and me and all of us, then we are connected and this too protects us.
Fluidity. Dissent. All one. Bodies. Water.