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works in progress

I came to performance space to make two new works and to continue an existing work. i came to push myself a little - be a bit braver, hurt myself a little more, challenge my process.

after being challenged a few times in the last few days, i'm feeling a bit unsure about it all. but i'm still just taking steps forward and making inroads each time i do it.

it seems i have three new works, plus Give Me Something To Listen To and now feels like the right time to talk about them. especially when i feel a bit bruised.

Give Me Something To Listen To (Festival)

OK, so you all know about this work by now.

It has a shiny new booth i've made whilst i've been here and I'm going to take it out into the festival environment.

sitting with artists/arts-friendly peeps in a gallery, talking about music and why what i do might be art is pretty easy. But this work needs to be in a variety of spaces and situations, so it's time to take it to the streets. A festival is so joyous and open and usually has a great link to music (and booths), so GMSTLT is going to join the Hackney Wicked festival in Shoreditch on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August. I've also asked Notting Hill Carnival if I might join their fun on the same weekend (although I'll go on the Monday), so fingers' crossed I might have some fun there too.

it won't be as intense or physically intimate as the gallery style, but i'm hoping that the sentiment of sharing music and talking about it with strangers will still resonate.

artists i'm looking at: adrian piper, pvi collective, reckless sleepers.

Action of Making Ways (working title)

last week Huw Hallam, a musicologist, started an interesting conversation on his facebook wall about his difficulty finding ways to describe hearing things that weren't "visually oriented metaphores".

i joined in the task of coming up with words and enjoyed the group exercise so much that i decided to bring it into the space and make something of it. I didn't really know what it was going to achieve, if anything, but i think it has become a work. almost.

likely more dance/choreography than anything else, but there's something there.

i initially invited season butler to help with this work, as she is a writer as well as a performance artist and has an amazing command of the english language. she also understands the structure of writing and developing text (which i do not), so it was great to have her around to flesh words out.

it started with lists of ways of hearing, just like on the facebook page. although it involving all the residents in the discussion about language and the lists were hand written on a painted black board (a lot like the sound walls i've made before).

i enjoyed that process and quickly wished to extend it: season suggested neologisms, to create new words. excellent. so on another side of black box, a second list was developed - in conjunction with the writers on site. this time: practical tools for dealing with verbs (prefixes and suffixes) and a list of vessels. the vessels have partly come from the descriptions i made of what kind of listening i was talking about - reception and recepticals, partly influenced by a reading by gregory whitehead that arianna ferrari shared during the week.

now, with these means, tools and ways of hearing, i'm making a work about the action of new hearing - literally grouping the words from the object, extending them out into physical space and creating new actions for these words.

some of the actions i'll be pushing into quasi-dance include the aslan sign for hearing (which ends up in the action of gathering our existing words), my own peculiar ways of gesticulating whislt talking about ways of hearing (gathering and internal-types of gestures), and some that i'll likely workshop with arianna from now on.

arianna is a great artist to be speaking about these with, as she uses action to hear all the time in her work. it has been suggested that this work is the same old shit i've always done, which it might be, but it still interests me, so i'll just have to subject you all to it and see what you think.

artists i'm looking at: andrea fraser, pena bausch, paea leach and reckless sleepers. i could do with some more suggestions, actually

Sensory Overload 

this was the first work i wanted to bring to the space. i noted during the performance space symposium that most of the work about pain, body, illness, torture, etc, was focused on physical distress.

during my listening works, i usually finish them oversensitized and overloaded. i decided that i'd like to make work about sensory distress - to overpower myself with sound.

since then, i've seen this great video about prisoners' auditory torture and have decided to re-enact that enforced listening. the idea that headphones are strapped on really intrigued me, and then of course the insidiousness of the army and CIA's use of sound as a weapon and tool for abusing people's basic human rights.

i'm still developing the work, but at the moment, i'll be 'incarcerated' and have the same sounds plugged into my system as those guantanemo prisoners. i'm also trying to set up a catch-22 situation, influenced by mike parr's works, in which the audience can participate and stop one pain but only by inflicting another.

this one will be performed live at the end of the residency, whilst the others will be either enacted or recorded for display.

artists i'm looking at: mike parr, stellarc (interesting the australian influence on torture), tracey emin, lennie lee, deborah kelly. 

This cup is the new promise made of my blood 

i'm not sure how this performance is going to look now.

my initial idea was about appropriating blood-based performance art from the 80s as a reaction to HIV, as a way of reacting against the plight of HIV in african women being a very quiet issue on the artist front.

the motivation to make the work about this issue, though, has shifted from a desire to say 'fuck you' to the art world avoiders and more to say 'i hear you' to african women and and 'why is this still an issue?' the rest of the world (as well as a bit of an 'ahem. excuse me' to the art world).

but, i've been in contact with a couple of people who are working medically with treatment and prevention of the disease, with a focus on african woman (native and those part of the diaspora) and it might become a different work that focuses on the action of treatment and the duration of clinical trial.

i did a test performance in the space the other day, one in which i was naked and subjected myself to a slightly awkward action as a way to test the idea. i don't know whether it works as an action or not, but it was interesting to push myself in that way.

i realise that i'm not really telling you anything about that work at the moment, but i will. i promise. i'm just being coy.

artists i'm looking at: carolee schneeman, robert mappelthorpe, general idea, judy chicago, valie export, alfredo jaar, mike kelley, shigeko kubota, lerato shadi. (although i also want to look at artists who perform intimate every day actions over a long period of time like morgan spurlock, vito acconci, rebecca breitmore).


At 15 August, 2012 20:03, Blogger uair01 said...

Hi Lauren,

Yesterday your A3 sized poster of "Give me something to listen to" arrived. Carefully packaged and in prime condition.

It looks very pretty, like clouds in a summer sky. I am very pleased with it and will have to search hard for a place to hang it. (I'm very bad at drilling holes in walls.)

In "real life" it looks even better than the thumbnail on the weblog, much better.

Thanks, Petr

At 16 August, 2012 14:19, Blogger lauren said...

Hi Petr,

wow! thanks for the compliment and for buying one of the works. and i'm really glad you like it. "even better in real life" is a wonderful thing.


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