Conscious a to be, various sites, UK.
Conscious a to be is a comment on our simple negotiations of space. It is about watching people use wasteland to cut seconds off their journeys. It is about making these invisible traces in the ground evident by laying bin-bag paths when nobody is around. These materials associated with waste give those passing through space a greater sense of the negotiations of their journeys.
Commemoration and Non-Place, various sites, UK.
Commemoration and Non-Place was a series of interventions into derelict sites in the East Midlands, UK. Flowers were installed on the Sterling Board barriers separating inside from outside. These temporary borders became symbols of transition and memorial. Anonymous strangers were observed as they tended to the flowers that fell from the boards, taking it upon themselves to care for a site whose history they know nothing about.
A Found Letter and a Satsuma, The Power House, Victoria Studios, Nottingham, UK.
A Found Letter and a Satsuma explored what it is to follow the directions for a journey that wasn't meant for you. One morning in 2002 I found a letter on the ground outside of my house. The letter contained some hand-written instructions which I decided to follow. The directions took me an office building whose door bell I rang upon arriving there. The person (a lawyer) who answered the door asked me what why I was there and I said I didn't know but was an artist and made work out of these chance encounters. She asked me into the building and I asked her for something I could take away with me. She gave me a satsuma.
A letter was posted to all the residents in the Victoria Flats, one November evening. The letter asked the residents to turn their lights on and off on a specified date and time. It also told them that I would be watching from a building close by. On the evening of the piece I sat and watched as the building started performing, with residents collaborating without knowing, and probably one another.
Flat Lights, Victoria Flats, Nottingham, UK.
Between You and Me..., Victoria Studios and various sites, UK.
Brackets feature in Between You and Me... as metaphors for the beginnings and endings of particular thoughts or actions, contained within on or a walk. This body of work saw notes left on several walks for others to find. The notes contained the thoughts produced during the walks, with way markers symbolizing the structures the allow a sense of stability during moments of lostness, uncertainty or adventure. These walk eventually found their way into gallery spaces, this time seeing the bracket replaced by benches and the thoughts written onto the wall. DVD players showing sunrises and sunsets echo beginnings and endings.
Architectures of Growth, Nottingham, UK.
Architectures of Growth was commissioned by The Future Factory at the Bonington Gallery. The piece was a durational performance exploring Nottingham's lace-making history and its demise, sited in the Lace Market area overlooking the space where the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery now stands. Over several hours, hundreds of roses were tied onto the railings separating the public from the building site where the gallery was under construction. The flowers were tied to the railings using redundant Nottingham lace which was transported to the site using a third-generation lace maker's barrow. In the weeks following the performance the flowers' petals wilted and died but the stems remained intact, held in place by the lace - by then discoloured and fraying. The piece explored how the value of objects and their association with site shifts and bends under the weight of change and 'progress'.
The Nottingham Bells, Trinity Square, Nottingham, UK and Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
In 1956 two bells were removed from their site in Nottingham and taken to the St Anne's School in Queensland as a gift after residents of the Victoria Hotel had complained about their volume. Dr. Pat Flecker, an amateur clock-maker, arranged for the bells to be transported over land and sea, eventually installing them the clocktower of the Australian school. The Nottingham Bells was an artwork that explored the history of this act of transcontinental community making. The Nottingham site where the bells were formally housed was due for demolition, so in 2003 I arranged for the sound of these bells to be rung from their former home, broadcasting the live sound from Australia. On my instruction, my collaborator who transported the bells to Australia in the 1950s, Dr Pat Flecker (at that time aged 83), climbed the bell-tower and hit the bells manually, holding his mobile phone which was connected to a modified phone system in the Nottingham site. I amplified this sound out into the city street where the bells once pealed, connecting two continents and two sonic histories, 45 years after they have left.
Walking Through the Field, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK.
An imbricated drawing ontology: Economies of pattern, chaos and scale extrapolates material from participation in a project titled ‘A line made by walking without marking the earth’ (2011) which fed into ‘Walking through the field’, part of my practice as research (PAR) Ph.D. titled ‘Site-specific performance and the mechanics of becoming social’ (2018). ‘Walking through the field’ is reworked in this text to present an imbricated drawing ontology that is composed from, and understood through, a process of layering materials generated whilst walking, sharing personal histories and being tracked by satellites. A chaotic assemblage of personal thoughts and memories is layered with the ordering capabilities of the satellites which track movements in space to create drawings from the traces, lines and patterns these technologies generate. The methods used to bring together these traces, lines, patterns and memories seek to articulate a sense of what social scientist Doreen Massey refers to as ‘throwntogetherness’ and speak to what Massey might describe as an ‘ever-shifting constellation of trajectories’. An imbrication of micro and macro events of space and place speak to a purposeful disruption of stable definitions of site, connecting a multiplicity of people, events and specificities to create an imbricated drawing ontology.
Drawing Breath and Remaining Visible, Loughborough University and online.
Drawing Breath and Remaining Visible features in the exhibition Drawn to Time and was selected by guest curator Susan Kemenyffy. Kemenyffy invited submissions in response to the theme of ‘temporal drawing’, suggesting that temporality is not only inherent in drawing, both as a process and as a product, but is also its fundamental condition. The exhibition consider that to draw is to draw inescapably in and of time. If to make a mark is to capture the trace of a gesture, then mark-making reveals the movement of time—of the living present becoming past, and of the past contracting into the present. And so, we asked: how can we explore the time of drawing? How does time prompt us to think differently about drawing? Submissions were invited from anyone practicing drawing in a traditional or expanded way and we received over 370 drawings from artists across the globe in response. We would like to thank all who supported the exploration of this theme and to extend a special thank you to Susan for her committed and attentive approach to the selection and curation of the exhibition.
Thought Acts, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK.
Thought Acts was commissioned as part of the Liberated Words festival of digital poetry and was shown at the Arnolfini, Bristol, UK. The film captures a journey through the English countryside on a day when the sunshine animated the words on a performance script as it shone through a train window. The piece features in the book The Poetics of Poetry Film by Sarah Tremlett for Intellect Books.
Liberated Words From Berlin, Pound Arts Centre, Bath, UK.
Commissioned by the Pound Arts Centre Bath, UK, Liberated Words from Berlin was a video made in Berlin, Germany that explored one's sense of disorientation whilst traversing a landscape whose past and present make demands for our attention. The piece features in the book The Poetics of Poetry Film by Sarah Tremlett for Intellect Books.
I Will Tell You That I Love You and Mean It, Fringe Arts Festival, Bath, UK.
I Will Tell You That I Love You and Mean It featured as part of the exhibition A Given Structure Bath Arts Festival Fringe. A series of envelopes were installed in gallery space for audience members to pick up and open. On the envelopes was the instruction to call me, and in the envelope eas my mobile phone number. Over the course of the two week festival audience members proceeded to call me and tell me that they loved me. I told them I loved too, and meant it.
Love at First (Site), various sites and in Ways to Wander, Triarchy Press.
Love at First (Site) features in Ways to Wander. This book is your invitation to experiment with a whole range of different ways to 'go for a walk'. Rather than picking up a map and following a footpath, the book offers 54 intriguingly different suggestions, tactics and recollections, all submitted by artists (most of them involved with the Walking Artists Network). There are plenty of ideas you can just go out and try, but others are more performative or explore the psychological, cultural and philosophical aspects of walking Pop the book in your back pocket, leave it in your rucksack, share it with friends and take them on a walk, use it in creative workshops, read it as if each instruction were poetry, engage with each page as visual art or as a performance activity, let it remind you of places you've been or walks you'd like to do. When the moment takes you, be inspired by the variety of inventive and reflective ideas mapped out here and then simply... wander.
Hello, I Love You, Embrace Arts Centre, Leicester, UK.
Hello, I Love You was commissioned as part of A Better Tomorrow at the Embrace Arts Centre, Leicester, UK. One by one, participants were led up to an empty seat where I had placed a card offering the invitation to call me on my mobile phone. Upon answering the call I proceeded to attempt to fall in love with my participants. We discussed love and loss, places and memories, sharing confessions and personal histories. Each participant spent 10 minutes speaking to me, connected only by our conversation and the rope that we both held. The performance explored the duration of intimacy and what it is to exchange secrets with strangers.
'I felt such calm sitting there and talking to you that when the time was over, I felt we could've taken the conversation different places. I didn't want to leave. And ending the piece on the line ' I love you' left something tender, honest and personal with me'.
(Participant, October, 2013)
Host(s), European Arts and Theatre Festival, UK.
Host(s) (was commissioned by the Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival and East Midlands based Arts collective Hatch. Over several hours, 50 audience-participants were hand-fed food that was cooked on site in Nottingham's Cobden Chambers Arts space. In exchange for the food that was cooked and offered, personal histories were shared and confessions were made. The performance asked questions about trust, intimacy, hospitality, care and the relational dynamics of strangers.
'In Host, everything is experienced face to face, knee to knee, and with some unsettling moments of food-related participatory
intimacy along the way'.
(Wayne Burrows, 2014)
Bites of Passage: Thresholds, Permeability and Hand-Fed Food for Thought
Bites of Passage: Thresholds, Permeability and Hand-Fed Food for Thought discusses two performances created between 2013 and 2014 titled Host and Host(s) that explored how openness and trust are gained through the promise of hospitality. These performances saw strangers open the borders that separate the inside and outside of their bodies to allow hand-fed food to cross their accepting thresholds in return for personal narratives. Openness suggests potential passage into or through something, and here there is literal openness as the permeable body opens to receive the food on the spoon. The body as site becomes accessible once trust has been gained, and an emotional openness plays out as audience-participants both mentally and physically open up to their host.
The article explores social thresholds through the analysis of performance using Marie-Eve Morin and Jacques Derrida’s writing on the conditionality and thresholds of hospitality. Morin comments that the threshold ‘functions both as the place of closure and the place of openness’ (Morin, 2015: 31), and, underpinned by Nick Kaye’s positioning of site as a process rather than fixed location, these movements between being open and closed frame processes of becoming social with strangers. Doreen Massey’s ideas on social ‘throwntogetherness’ are interwoven with this framing as intimate personal details are exchanged through the collision of trajectories in social space. Massey proposes that ‘we understand space as the sphere in which distinct trajectories coexist’ (Massey, 2005: 9). This framing of coexistent space converges with Marc Augé’s positioning of place and non-place to propose an interrelationality that opens new dialogues and modes of participation.
Host, Little Wolf Parade, UK.
Host (2013) was a performance commissioned by Little Wolf Parade. Working with artist Julian Woodcock, I hand-fed a series of participants in exchange for personal histories. Food was cooked on-site and traded for thoughts in an effort to better understand the dynamics of social intimacy and proximity. Over several hours we discussed embarrassing accidents in Majorcan markets involving dodgy locks on toilet doors, ballet, Brixton parties, what is revealed through hotel windows and many other things. Host explored what it is to trust your host and dare to share that which we keep hidden.
'Steve Fossey is Trying to make more sense in the form of an introduction, beginning, and score of a dialogic performance arranged around the reflections on his project. His following up the ‘Following pieces’ (1969) by Acconci brings us through various flâneurous drifts on the production of private and public spaces and places to a rather unpretentious confession, a handing over of the sense-making to you... the reader' (Greil, 2012).
Trying to Make More Sense, in ACTIVATE VOL. 2/ ISSUE 1: Figure of the Sensible, University of Roehampton, and University of Northampton.
Finding Forms in Dialogic Space, Northampton, UK.
Composing the Material of our Inner Voices: Creative Listening and the Dialogic Self, published in Leap Into Action Companion: Critical Performative Pedagogies in Art & Design Education.
This companion to Leap into Action: Critical Performative Pedagogies in Art & Design Education extends the research and the argumentation addressed in the monograph and provides (further) practical insight into how one might apply performative pedagogy in class, including what performative teaching and learning looks like day to day and what technoparticipation entails. This publication operates as an instruction manual on the sophisticated deployment of performative strategies in practice. Each contribution embraces an easy-to-follow presentation style that starts with a contextual introduction outlining a specific innovative pedagogic performative strategy. The strategy is then laid out as a set of instructions (think Fluxus for teachers), with self-reflective discussion to conclude. This echoes a three-stage learning process: Anticipation, Action and Analysis, a reflective model of practice for you to use and adapt to suit your own practice trajectories.