Monthly Archives: February 2012

It’s really quiet and peaceful, so I took advantage of the relevant calm to play Limp Bizkit really loud.

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Hi-de-hi!

I don’t blog enough, but I want you to know I feel guilty about it, every single day, so even if you don’t know it, anonymous internet reader, I’m always thinking of you. And Happy Valentines to you, as well.

Last week was a rather fruitless time, settling back into uni, and trying to work out where exactly my work at Bank Street is going to fit into that. Last week, I tried out devoting two days a week to Bank Street, but that didn’t really work. The piece is intense, so whole days of devotion to it tend to drain me, and don’t result in anything good, I just get sad and exhausted and have to lie down and sleep. Rubbish!

This week, instead, I’m going to be trying out short sharp blasts of it everyday – so that it’s almost like a diary of work that’s all emotional and BLAH and workshopped, made at the same time as research, and work that is structuring and designing, and then on Sundays, heading to the peace and quiet of a deserted Bank Street for a couple of hours to pull the work of the week altogether, and to try some moments of performance out in the space… need to get up and do something! Thinking is driving me mad, I want to make something people can watch!

Massive parts of this work at the minute are putting together memories from bad times and trying to find ways of representing that. I’m also going to be setting up a camera in my room in the next couple of weeks to record myself, and my behaviour in this here room. I’m an idiot, when I’m on my own, I think most people are, so I’m hoping that can bring lighter moments to the piece.

I still need to come back to my audience, a little. I’m losing sight of them, I worry. But then, I guess once you start putting together moments to be shown, you come back to the people that are watching it. Yeh? yeh. Be fine.

What have I actually told you about where the piece is at the moment? Hmm. Let me check.

Hardly anything! Useful! Right, I’ll type up some of my notes from Saturday (some of the less terrible ones. they’re still terrible, but still), tell you some things I’ll be doing this week, and then some other things I’m excited about, and then we’re done here, and you can get down to a day of all things pink and red.

Some Things I Wrote on Saturday

One of the things I find most interesting about people experiencing depression is their ability to lead a double life – one which often takes place in their bedrooms, and is hidden, and another which is shown to the world at large. That in itself is not a big statement – duh, it’s how people cope. But I still think it’s remarkable, and very interesting. As such, I want to use the piece to present depression as an exhibition, the room of the depressed performer as a piece at a museum, and the performer, is ‘performing’ their depression. Meh. Mah. Hard to express. Piece is to run from 9 – 5 on both days. Almost like depression’s a job, I suppose. Hmm. Audience as a voyeur, but an invited voyeur. Scheduled time when audience can explore room at will, but most of time, room cordoned off. Hmm. I need to visit a museum or exhibition. Bedroom must be perfect, not only an accurate representation of how a bedroom looks, but also how it feels. Performer struggles to move. Audience see performer arrive and leave. Piece needs to have dry, black humour. Communication is the second thing to be exploring with it. 

Things I Want To DO this Week

  • Go to some of the marvellous museums and art galleries in Sheffield, and remember how they work
  • There are some bits and pieces I want to write and perform. Would tell you, but too shy. Press Releases, I’ve christened them.
  • I want to see if I can turn one of the emails someone sent me into… something.
  • I need to send a big email out about costume, and think through the aesthetic I want.
  • I’m going to take that above, and make it into a proper, better thesis
  • There are people I need to email, and ask advice and opinions from.
  • Maybe sort out a scratch. Maybe for the beginning of March. Deadlines are a terror.

Things I’m excited About

InXclusion in Leeds! (Indivisible, East Street Arts, 25th-26th April Wonderful: http://www.inxclusion.com/)

Flying Solo in Manchester! (Bryony Kimmings, Brian Lobel, Other Amazing People, Contact, February and March. A Joy http://contactmcr.com/projects/festivals/flying-solo/)

Last Saturday Live in Sheffield! (Me, Bank Street Arts, 31st March, Exciting. Sending out a call for artists this week)

 

Right. I’m gonna go and do some of that stuff. Or maybe sleep, cus it’s almost half two. Nonsense.

 

xxxxx

 

 

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Thoughts from my Exercise Bike

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Hello Hello!

Sorry I’ve not blogged for a couple of days – I think living at Bank Street tired me out a lot more than I expected, and as  consequence, of late, mostly I’ve been sleeping. I fell asleep half way through a chat with my mum yesterday, it was a mess.

I think the best thing to do with this blog would be to let you know about a couple of moments of performance I’m going to be working on over the next fortnight, and also to tell you the other things I’ve got planned to think about. I’m also going to be doing a blog about my little performance night, ‘Saturday Night Live’ soon. It’s very much a baby, so I need to think about it a little bit more and feed it up with brain milk (ew) before I tell you more about it. But it’s going to be EXCITING and FUN and I can’t wait to share all the information about it with you.

Before anything else though, I really want to thank everybody that came down to see me over the three, four days I was existing at Bank Street, and my lovely lovely friends coming bearing cards and wine and food and their cars and duvets and cameras and batteries and lighting solutions, and telling me their stories and being an incredible soundboard to various ideas – some terrible, some possibly the beginnings of a piece! It was very daunting putting the first stages of a work in progress out there to people, and everyone was very warm, and supportive and lovely, and I appreciate it a lot. So yeh. Love and ting. I also really want to thank the amazing staff at Bank Street, who are really encouraging and wonderful, and kept the building toasty warm and well stocked in both tea and coffee all the time that I was there. It was very easy to feel comfortable and at home, and to settle into the building’s gentle daily routine.

So this week, the big event is thinking about the concept of the piece and really strengthening it. Another resident at Bank Street, James Price, once did a piece of performance which simply consisted of a set of rules, in itself a really interesting stance on audience relations. So I’m going to be playing with that this week, so that when I’m doing the piece, which is going to be about 7 hours long, there’s a really strong sense within my own head of what I can and cannot do, and why I’m doing it. Blah. I’m then going to put together a little concept ‘thingy’ and send it to a few other artists, some people that I just respect, and some lovely people that are going to help me with getting the piece shaped into a script. I forget, a lot, that Bank Street is all about support, and that there’s lots of mentoring available for me – this is a lovely example of it.

More excitingly, I’ve got some little moments of performance I’m going to be thinking about over the next few weeks – the use of the internet in my piece, of press conferences of the different, compartmentalised aspects of your personality; I’m looking at a Barker-inspired (The Castle) idea of carrying a corpse around with you, tied to your back; I’m going to be sending some emails about ideas for COSTUME (the only reason anyone wants to work in performance) and I’m going to be playing about with telephones, and with the structure of a working day.

LOADS OF STUFF.

Right. I’m going to get back on my exercise bike now. I want to detox a bit,  but I don’t want to stop drinking alcohol or caffeine, so I’m going to just exercise everyday and eat more lentils and drink loads of water.

x

In the all important last 15 hour stretch…

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Hello Lovely,

There are so many things to tell you, and like Aerosmith before me, I don’t wanna miss a thing, so I’m going to bullet point it. I am currently sat in BSA’s little library with a mug of Lemon, Ginger and Honey, surrounded by Mini Cheddar packets, covered in a blanket and warmed by a mini heater, as this is the best place to get the internet from. Bank Street is as calm and as peaceful as ever (except for the fridge. Stop making that noise, fridge. You’re putting me on edge), and surprisingly toasty warm once more (that’s a lie, I can’t feel my hands. But don’t tell my mum).

How do you feel for yourself?

Today has been brilliant in places and terrible in others – no mid point. The day began with a lovely peaceful awakening, some mid morning stress, a fantastic chat with John that really helped me solidify ideas, a filming session with Stu in which more things were cemented in my head by talking them through, three sets of visits, and brief adventure out of the studio before returning, talking over some things for SNL, going for Dinner, another brilliant chat with John, a massive brain block, and a sort of pass out on my little air bed. Feel really very tired – not in a bad way, but just a bit like my brain’s been squeezed – not sure if I have another day in me! But all I can do is try my best tomorrow, and make sure that I’m getting things down on paper tomorrow,and that I’m staying active and on my feet, and always talking ideas over openly and honestly with anybody that comes to visit.

Developments with the piece

Settled on the one idea to go with. Know it will be durational, 10 – 5 every day for two days, with an audience that can come into a room, explore it and watch it, with a instructions and script for the piece written on the wall for the audience to follow, lowered ceiling, playing myself but a version of myself, played in the front room of Bank Street, so to some extent public performance (do i want to emphasise that further?).

Talked a little about the logistics of some of these elements. Have thought lots about set.

What I want to do tomorrow 

Dates are confirmed for the piece now – 20th – 22nd April. This gives me roughly 11 weeks to get the piece ready – ages, extreme luxury, almost three months, happiness.

But I want to make sure I’ve sketched that out in my head, that I’ve got a vague timeline, and I’m able to keep myself on track: there’s still lots of thinking to be done, I think tomorrow will be more thinking and talking, and scribbling thoughts down; but at some point that needs to turn into something, so I need to figure out when the thinking stops. So. Planning.

Lovely Kate is coming for me at three, so I’ll be packing up the room throughout the day, de constructing it on a very slow basis, a little every hour, with the walls being the last thing to strip.

I want to write down and get stuck on the wall every single performance idea I have had so far. I think I’m going to set aside 15 minutes of every hour tomorrow, and force myself to generate one performance idea every minute, for those 15 minutes, so that I’m generating ideas quickly quickly quickly. I might theme those 15 minute slots actually… hmm. I start work 10, here till three… 5 hours. 5 themes – the split, self creation, voyeurism, the bed and the ceiling.

I need to solidify the concept. Maaaaaaaaaaaaah.

What I’m gonna do when I get home!

OH MY GOD EAT SO MANY CARBS.

Sausages – mashed potato with mozzarella – a MOUNTAIN of vegetables.

Ignore the piece for a little while, at least until Monday

Do a Lush face mask

Ring my mum and chat for longest time

Cuddle my housemates all over their cheerful faces. I miss them.

Exercise. I don’t mind being a chubster, but I am in desperate need of some physical movement. Want to get a sweat on.

What I’ve learnt so far

The piece is going to be a lot more emotional for me to put together than perhaps I’d first envisaged, there’s a lot of me going into the piece, I’m exploring something that I need to explore, I think, as a person, and as an artist, it’s something I need to get past in my head. However, don’t want to go mad or be sad or feel how I felt at certain points today, so I’m going to work on the piece with much less intensity, I think: 2-3 short, sharp bursts a week, rather than long periods of work: though I think the past few days have been extremely useful, and the piece has come on in leaps and bounds, I don’t ever want to resent it, I don’t ever want to not enjoy it: and one of the hardest things about the last few days is thinking about it all the time (being in the building means that’s inevitable) and feeling guilty when I’m not thinking about it (like today when I ran away to M&S cafe with Jess). That’s not good.

 

 

No more blogging, padre. Need to sleep. xxx

Thursday Morning, Wednesday Night

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Hello Hello,

Welcome to Thursday!

Last night was lovely – very peaceful, and very thought filled: in particular, returned to the content of the piece, the exploration of depression, and feel… admittedly, confused about some things now, but have a head full of ideas for performance. I feel like the structure and the content are working against each other a little bit: not sure if I’ve come up with two separate ideas that need merging, or two ideas that need to be presented together (but then what connects them?), or if I just need to run with one of the two.

So what did I actually do last night?

  • Re read the Yellow Wallpaper
  • Ate an entire packet of Turkey Ham
  • Sketched out a potential room design (I can’t draw. painfully evident in a building full of art)
  • Discovered that there is a hole in my air bed. WOE
  • Re read some diaries from when I was very sad and depressed.

Revisiting things like that makes me go a bit odd inside my head, I think, and that’s a shame – it’s making it harder to think, and harder to engage with people when they’re so lovely as to come visit. But hopefully tomorrow I can turn that slight fuzziness in my head into a little performance, and then it will all be worth it.

I’m away from Bank Street today from half one until about half 4 – for which I apologise, something urgent and potentially exciting came up! But if you’re around Sheffield and you’d like to pop in, do feel free, I’d love to see you, and I’d love to hear your opinions about my two room ideas.

Ciao for now!

x

There aren’t any ghosts here. Disappointing.

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Hello Handsome,

I meant to blog earlier, but a combination of tempestuous internet and a brief crash (too much coffee, not enough chocolate) resulted in me not really getting it together until now.  Stuart Gresham (you remember him, he’s lovely, he took the photos before) came down today, and took lots of photos of me setting up the room. Gallery rooms are so incredibly white and bright in a way that is almost instantly jarring, so the feel of these photos doesn’t tell you much about the feel, of the piece, but you can see where I’m living at the moment, and that in itself is nice. Might have to whack some coverage over the windows and some nice silk scarves over the lights:

I’ll give you my to do list for today… suitably cryptic I hope, but enough to let you know that I’ve not just bee sat around reading vogue all day:

1) Curtains 2) Unpack ‘Bertha’s Room’ 3) Name the Rooms 4) De construct cuddly toys 5) Read – Wide Sargasso Sea, Invisible Man, Bobby Baker,t.s.eliot, 6)Photo ‘my room’, and plan alternative photo shoot

I’m almost there! A good strong push over the next few hours, and I think I can really get somewhere.

I think today has been useful, if a slow starter (and it’s not done. There’s a lot I’m hoping to get done tonight with things a bit quieter and darker and peaceful… and there being wine. mmm. anyway) – lots and lots and lots of ideas, and a clear shift in emphasis into the visual aspects of the piece.  I’m looking forward to reading tonight, to working with written stimulus and turning it into little moments. I think I need to come back to the mental health issues that were the starting point of the piece though, it’s important to me that I don’t lose that focus. Going to have a big think about how I can work on that tonight, it’s something I’m very nervous about. Going to start with a big read of Bobby Baker’s ‘Redeeming Features of Everyday Life’, and take it from there.

It’s important to me that tomorrow I spend lots of time doing things, and trying ideas out in the space, particularly as today has been so heavily based on sitting and thinking, writing notes, putting together moodboards, and collages and the like. It’s not got to be pretty – it’s the second day, so it should all be very rough, but I want to see how things look.

 

Tomorrow, if people come to see me, I’ll have tasks to complete with them. It’ll be fun. Bring a prop, and I’ll pop the kettle on.

 

 

On the Problem of White Walls, and Yorkshire Weather

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MORNING!

Well, it’s not any more, it’s just hit midday, madness.

After various escapades with buses and keys and doorknobs and mattress pumps and ramen noodles and scarves I am finally here, sat on a bean bag in a gallery room in Bank Street, which, unless I’m much mistaken, looks and sounds very much like a student bedroom. It’s as cold as a student bedroom as well, but in the spirit of making myself at home, and taking good advice on board, I’m wrapped in a duvet, with a mug of coffee in hand, and feeling very cheerful.

The plan for the rest of the day is to keep making the room feel more like a bedroom. It has a sense of someone living in it at the moment – but it’s a very temporary feel, sort of squat like. There are lots of reasons for this – no actual furniture, an air bed rather than a real one, and also bare, white gallery walls, and no curtains, but these are things I intend to rectify with the help of lovely friends, and more stuff. One wall is going to have all the photos in my photo albums on them, I think, for comfort, and because so many of the rooms I have seen have pictures on the walls. Think its a student thing. But also, it’s nice.

The two big walls in the room are going to belong to an installation each – I’ve nicknamed one ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ (because that room in particular is designed to excited the curiosity of those that enter it. deep.) and the other, ‘Bertha’s Room’ (after Jane Eyre’s infamous mad woman in the attic). Hopefully by the end of the three days, both walls will be covered in photographs, images, ideas, spider diagrams, bits of text, all manner of magic. I’m very excited.

In addition to this, I am FINALLY, and to my utter delight, going to get to work on your photos – I’ve been itching to start working on them, and now at long last, I can start using them, mostly to write today- I worry that anyone that comes down will mostly see a girl, say on  a beanbag, writing.

Tonight will be even more dull still, as it will mostly be a girl, sat on an airbed, reading various books and stealing images from them.

However, there will be little performances in the space on Friday (Friday’s the day to come. Friday afternoon, methinks), and fun time activities tomorrow.

There will be more blogs later on today, especially blogs about the exciting meeting that happened this morning – which took up most of the morning, to be fair. Not that I’m complaining. All manner of excitement. Come and see me, lovely people, nice to chat, nice to look. Bring Starbucks.