The energetic shock of yellow was out in full force last night. We welcomed at least 80 students, staff, and friends to a PV finale on Thursday evening. Karen Wood had made yellow striped bandannas marking out the quadruplet who would descend upon her red black and white tape installation to rip it up and down, removing it from the walls (video here). It was a very fun way to end the project with our visitors.
I’d like to think Karen’s invitation gave our visitors the chance to experience art work as a moving thing not a fixed point in time and space.
An ending A beginning Word seeds scattered to the wind – thank you Karen @kbwoodnews for the playful invite To set the double yellows free to fly with us / me Grinning Gesticulating Prancing new lines across the floor Circling @kz1y19 to talk about inside/outside Wearing old lines That lifted us up up and dragged us down down down Like birds on the thermals – The excitement in the air breathed in invigorates me too and still it’s memory fresh the vision new
Susan Merrick’s choice of materials Bring you a playful step closer to making the mystery of Imagination your own every day. In the space between, the rejected feminine elements are Laughing and whispering noisily across the gallery surfaces, Making their presence known, Pulling at the threads of things Like mischievous ghosts.
I feel like I am 15 again Susan is making everything fun.
I feel like I am 12 Playing ancient characters from storybooks.
The process of reclaiming material from all ages, epochs and ocean beds will never look right under the glare. Mud and guts of the world. Utilitarian pins and nails and things. Ashes in my mouth. Tear it down before it’s done. The art is hidden under the lights. All the surprising combinations blooming in the conditions set. Defying ideas Of what we thought we were doing. A garden under lights.
This is my first post since I’ve started on site. One day exploring along the river with Karen Wood so far and lots of conversations via WhatsApp and Instagram. Countless thoughts and feelings, ideas and wonderings.
And one of the wonderings is what the hell I’m doing.
It’s not really a problem, I always come to this stage, I just don’t always admit it. On a residency people usually need me to seem confident, in control, and clear about where I’m heading. This time I’m giving myself permission to be more honest.
Being openly yourself in a place you don’t know, with people you don’t know, as part of a collaboration that has no set way of working or fixed outcome, is an incredibly vulnerable position to be in.
Not knowing is a rich place where all the sensations of place, body and emotion can mix and swirl and flow. And after a while they will cluster and tell me what I need to do next. That’s how my process works. But again I don’t always say that out loud.
When I work in education we talk about the value of not knowing, and the importance of being open to being taken in new directions. We also talk about how that can feel uncomfortable, and that structure and mutual support is necessary, alongside documentation of the process, so you can look back, reflect on what you have said/made/seen and so realise that you do ‘know’ what you are doing. But that feeling your way forward, followed by a retrospective piecing together, is a different kind of knowing to what is often valued, or which can be easily articulated.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung
I guess what I have been doing so far is playing. Play is so often misunderstood. It is seen as something that children do, and children in turn are seen as less than adults.
I can’t say what is going in the exhibition in the Winchester Gallery yet. I can’t say what I will have learnt at the end of this process yet, I can’t say what I will take on from this to seed new projects and beginnings. But I know l that I will make what I need to, I will learn what is needed (within the context of the place and people that I am sharing the experience with) and that my practice will be all the richer for it.
This isn’t the post that I was going to write – it was going to be all about what I’ve done and why, with neatly made links and well chosen images. But I’m trying to keep open a space to play so that I don’t close things down too soon.
For now I have some loose clusters of ideas, some images of playful moments spent on-site, and a question that I am asking myself and the rest of the LOD2 team.
The key areas I’ve been exploring are:
Water inside and outside the body. Rivers of blood and water (including medical processes and sampling)
Play and its links with no. 1 (boats, dolls, toys, paddling, laughter and fun)
Flooding and burning as a result of climate breakdown (in connection with Andy Jones)
Seeing/being beyond boundaries (and its link with the damage done through our inability to perceive ourselves as continuous with the ‘More than Human World’ – see no. 2)
Linking with all of the above – embodied and artful ways of knowing and their place in preparing for an uncertain future
And the key question that’s occupying me at the moment:
Q. Is Dissent a privilege of the Insider? (having the freedom to choose to step outside rather than living there)