So March 18th was the last session at Salford that I attended.....since then the NYC residency has been postponed and my body has been catching up with itself to recover from the build up to going as I thought I would be!
Disappointed that I couldn't do the intervention I wanted to do because I wasn't leaving the UK but there are other opportunities to so this so the next step is, get back to Salford to continue with the engagement work with the students. Still wanting to do my French Knot workshop and see what we can produce in collaboration with one another.
The whole process has been a learning curve about my fear as an emerging artist. Confidence in ideas is essential.
Now is the right time to do what we have to do, so despite the current stress with workload outside the residency, I can't wait to get back to see what comes out of the workshop.
So after the collection of the belts came the experimentation!
I had a very trusty assistant in the lovely Level 6 Visual artist Amanda Twigg who agreed to assist me in my madness. Essentially wrap me in the belts I had so cunningly procured!
So we spent a morning experimenting.
I really wanted to understand the starting point of this enquiry about how all of these belts had come together from different histories and how it was restricting to be wrapped in these belts, no freedom of movement. It made me think about immigration and my image looks so shocking (see the following linkhttp:/
The images were very strong, and yes suggestive of the whole BDSM culture, but that was actually the last thing on my mind.
I was more concerned about how I had become 'sculpture-like' and how placing myself in different areas of the project space added to meaning.
What was interesting was how, given what I thought what little time I had to develop this idea at the time, just how instinctive my practice has become. Thats a good thing.
So we're getting the hang of this process,my process. Its very often interrupted. And I often have to look back.
Leapfrogging forward to last month, March when I was all started up again for the residency, what had happened between the first session (November) and beginning of March was that I was all set to be going to a residency in New York (where I should have been now!)
Ideas a-plenty abounded bout a piece of work based upon re-performance and collaboration/public engagement that I had undertaken in Japan a few years ago so time to put those plans into action and involve the students at Salford in this research.
Current enquiry surrounds the use and symbolism of belts and how this symbolises support, dreaming of cutting belts apparently signifies cutting away from the past, which would be the case if I'd gone to NYC. So felt this was symbolic really...
The work I wanted to do with the students related to a re-performance of an intervention I did in Japan regarding a Senninbari or 'Thousand Stitch Belt' - so this again would be another layer of my ego stripped back (See 'Death of The Ego' intervention in Tokyo at: http:/
So late March I would engage the students in French Knot workshop to show how textiles can merge with performance art.
Massive mind maps later...started thinking about other creative processes including that wonderful ' Oblique Strategies' (love Eno's brain!) How can the use of these cards add to the creative process?
Ended up getting involved in a conversation with a Level 6 student who cut the cards and needless to say whatever it was seemed to inspire her to move her work forward.
Next session - I realised I'd never done a French Knot before (on my previous Senninbari I had just done a regular stitch) so another first in this project....
Its made me want to use this not only as a piece for the outcome but also as a process to getting to and outcome - so the stitching is the 'meditative' process and will create the outcome as well.
It gave me loads of ideas on how to move the final piece forward, but I wanted to also explore the idea of the belts as well....put a call out on facebook for old belts from friends so that I could experiment with them.
Historically, in wars, getting the opponents belt from them once a battle was won, was a sign of victory.
This call out for belts also enabled me to interact with people and re-connect with people and made me think about their part in this collaboration, as well as their individual stories and histories which maybe I could play on in the final outcome?
For now experimentation with the belts loomed!
Ok, so you got me. This is my first blog of the residency. Its been fraught with stress for me cos I'm an artist who also does freelance film work and finds it hard to shut off from that / manage time etc... so the story so far is that I started the residency, ran out of time and money to continue, started it up again this year and due to work stress haven't been able to continue since before Easter.
I hope thats going to change cos I've got renewed excitement about the piece of work I want to come out with...!
First blog I'll leave you with this though that I'm telling this story about my AA2A journey retrospectively...beginning with some written meditations around process a la Marina Abramovic.
I'm all about process, collaboration and getting rid of the ego, and, yes, I spent my first day of my residency back in November exploring one of Marina's training processes to bring artists into the present. The trick? Write my name without taking the pen/pencil off the paper and make this activity last an hour / 60 minutes.
An interesting technique which definitely enables you to block out a flurry of activity in a busy studio of art students who may not quite get onto what you're doing!
The most I managed? 49 minutes or thereabouts but its a great process that slows you down, clears your mind and definitely brings you to the activity at hand in the present. Its also liberating to not care what those around think about what you're doing. Thanks Marina!