Susan Merrick

Artist and Interpreter. Power Language Access

Friday 20th Nov – Performed in Unperforming 6!

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On 20th November I threw myself into the wierd and wonderful world of contemporary responsive performance art. Not only did I get to immerse myself with the performances but I too performed.

In the spirit of loving life and embracing the real I took my Mum, an open minded Yorkshire woman who is embracing life after 70, a wonderful friend of mine and my partner in life who finds my hippy ways infuriating, irrational and occasionally liberating 🙂

Who came with me is important, as each person that I connect with, that we connect with, can change how we view something. Can make us hide, or open up, discuss or shy away from. Having a mixed group forced me to face my fears of ‘what’s the point’ and allowed me to just do.

The evening was held in the amazing 43 Inverness St Gallery in Camden. Around 100 people of all ages and backgrounds crammed together to make both audience and art. Together we experienced a woman eating green jelly to the shouts of a recorded drill sergeants orders, a woman in rubber encapsulating herself in a giant balloon and looking in the verge of suffocation. We felt pain as one artist slowly took us through the creation of a broken backbone with the easily found commodity (for us) of toilet rolls…. A dark symbol of individual disability, the broken state of a country and the damage done by capitalism and war. The awkwardness of the artist with her bum out and hanging over her skirt as she looks directly at you asking, ‘don’t look at my bum, please don’t look at my bum’.

There were rants which shouted down almost anything seemingly middle class that you could shout down, along with shouting down the futility of doing so from a middle class perspective in front of a very probably middle class audience.

Spontaneous imaginary supermarket journeys and stories that glue together the normal day to day of our lives with the ridiculousness of the day to day liveness.

As human beings we are hard wired (says Dr Hannah Critchlow, neuroscientist) to connect and share ideas. This for me is what gathering as artists does. Unperforming brought together people not for arts sake or for status sake, but to share ideas, test visual or participatory acts and sometimes simply to make people laugh.

Some of the evening made me laugh, sometimes uncomfortably. Some of it made me almost cry, but not necessarily know why. Some of it passed me by completely, but ultimately it made me want to connect and explore.

 

 

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