This week Cate Field, Hilary Champion and myself ran a short symposium at UCA Farnham. The afternoon was a culmination of our research so far, an opportunity to show what we have been doing and where our research has led and is leading us.
Speaking to people about my work is a really useful although nerve wracking part of my practice. It is the only way we can get feedback, an essential way to see our work from other perspectives. For me it is also necessary to take a step back and see what I have been doing as a whole. It is quite easy to get consumed by each individual piece of work or research, without keeping an eye on the overall trajectory. Preparing to speak about my work to a group forces me to take that step back and to consider what is working and what may not be.
I began my talk by giving out postcards with semaphore poses on – and numbers on the back. Then importantly by heading out cups of prosecco 😉 I then asked each person to stand up and create the pose that they could see on their postcard when I called their number.
This action introduced the topic of power. Specifically power in communication but also the power we as Artist are given when we hold a space (although this space generally needs to be considered an ‘appropriate or designated’ space for an artist to hole… Gallery, lecture theatre, theatre or stage…. Or street where theatre is normal…). I am really interested in the power relations between artist and audience and how this can be reflected within the relations in communication and translations.
Speaking about my work I covered the pieces that have led to my current work of semaphore and also the screen work of my Trump translations. All of my work employs a way to either communicate or obscure communication – mixing both visible and invisible methods as my approach. Frequently the messages are completely hidden, known only by me or a handful of others. I fine this at times necessary when it is not the broadcasting of the message itself that is key (although sometimes it is too). It is the hidden nature of the message, it’s existence without being spoken or clarified. Potentially some times there will not really be a message at all. Just the idea of a message or the remnants of one (especially when I ask others to signal the message and the poses develop into the participants own form).
The power held with the message process, the translator, the communication system and how it is used, this is what interest’s me.
Tonight I am taking my live action ‘semaphore aerobics’ to the Leyden Gallery in Spitalfields. Here I will be using this visual translation to coerce others to join in, to interrupt the evening and the gallery space, to become visible and noisy and then invisible and quiet again. This evening is part of the Deaperate Artwives takeover. Together we are a collective of Artists who are creating work around and/or through our lives as parents. The interruptions I will be creating reflect the constant interruptions we have in everyday life, but that as an Artist and parent I feel constantly. These interruptions are usually seen as an interference and distraction. But interference and distraction is a part of life, so I feel should be considered as something that we embrace within our work as artists, not ignored.
If you can come along – do!! It should be an interesting evening!