Booklist

I’m using this space as a place to list everything I am/plan to read for this residency.

In Praise of Paths by Torbjorn Ekelund (translated by Becky L. Crook)
published by Greystone Books, Canada 2020
EAN: 9781771644952

The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins (Kindle edition)
published by Heritage Hunter 2017

The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane
published by Penguin books 2013
EAN: 9780141030586

The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes
published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 2021
EAN: 9781526604729

Care Work with Melissandre Varin

Thinking about the ways that we formed ideas about our bodies and who had influence, especially in relation to our identities, is always a headfuck. Doing this project has been a reminder of this so I wanted to try to include an action that felt more nourishing, gentle and caring than my other research.

I asked a new friend, Melissandre Varin, who I had met through an online performance workshop, if they would have a conversation with me about these body topics. I had attended Mel’s artist talk and I find the way that Mel speaks about bodies and their own personal experiences to be very candidly honest and at the same time generous and kind.

A white background with black braided hair of different thicknesses overlaid and layered over each other.
Image from Melissandre’s Installation Work
Continue reading “Care Work with Melissandre Varin”

Break Time… in resistance of professional hyperability

A meme of a huge muscly videogame monster from the videogame Diablo. The monster has rams horns on it's head and a bald round head with spiky slimy teeth and tusks coming out of the sides of it's open mouth. It's wearing some kind of tight leather wrestler style unitard and it#s holding a staff in it's right hand made of bones with a ram's head on top, in the left hand there is a scithe made of a horn and a metal chain wrapped around the arm. The monster's skin is covered in bulging muscles and veins, there are cuts across it's body with large metal staples in them. The skin is greyish yellow. There is a fiery glow around the monster and a silhouette of a creatur'es body barely visible hanging upsidedown on the top left. Overlaid is some white text with a red glow around it that says 'YES I TAKE MY VIDEO ART VERY SERIOUSLY... THAT'S WHY I POST IT ON...' Below that is the 'Vimeo' logo in blue and on the bottom left is a Vimeo Staff Pick logo which is a black circle with a white leaf wreath border and the text in the middle 'vimeo STAFF PICK', it has been edited so that it is distorted and wavy.
I’m a professional video artist and my favourite videogame is Diablo.

I have really enjoyed occupying this digital studio space and having a dedicated period of time working on a single project. The support from vital Capacities and Film London has been amazing and I am excited to develop all of my research and tests into something to present as part of the exhibition later this month.

I am battling my own internal ableist voices which are telling me that I could have done MORE, posted more, worked more.. I have been resisting the urge to be professionally hyperable.. (yuck). And in many ways I have failed because I am exhausted.

So now it’s breaktime! If anyone needs me I’ll be in a static caravan on the Yorkshire coast for the week and you can speak to my out-of-office autoresponse until then.

It’s coming home?

BTS of me and Hang Linton recording The Champs

A little BTS of the recording of the Champs cover we did a couple weeks ago. A treat to celebrate England getting to the finals tonight! Enjoy the game!

video description: Hang Linton sits in a home music studio with dark grey soundproofing foam on the white walls and white and yellow speakers in the background, wearing black headphones, a white tshirt and black twists in his hair. In the background is a wide but small window with cream curtains, it looks sunny outside. On the window sill there is a gold lucky waving cat. Hang sings with a twisted pained look on his face, sweating from the heat, the camera zooming into his face.

[2]

Black screen with white font subtitle at the bottom [sound of subtitles]
Screen capture of [sound of subtitles]
Black screen with white font subtitle at the bottom [music and sound fades]
Screen capture of [sound of subtitles]

These two images are the beginning and the end of the video work titled [sound of subtitles].

Fandom

Two people stood outside of a large footy stadium shot slightly from below so that the stadium looms over them like an ominous space ship. It's shadowy in front of a cloudy sky. The two people are brightly lit and gaze upwards, both visible from the waist up. The person on the left has a black bob haircut and they are wearing a green and red footy shirt. The person on the right has short brown hair and head band across their forehead and a blue footy shirt with white details. They both have their hands in their pockets, they look slightly pensive like they have seen something in the sky that is about fall down in front of them.
GAA MAAD Theatre Work by Aine O’Hara and Vickey Curtis

I recently discovered Aine O’Hara’s work online. Their theatre piece pictured above, GAA MAAD, is all about being a queer footy fan in Ireland and the rejection and abuse that comes with that.

I’m really interested in fandom, the way we attach ourselves to specific teams, players, fighters etc but I especially love the way crowds move and ripple and thrash about together. It was strange and surreal to see a mass of static cardboard cutouts or screens of fans at home during the pandemic, as well as the fake crowd noise.

A sea of footy fans, almost all of them have their arms raised up and almost all of them are wearing red and white footy outfits. Many have large England flags which are a white rectangle with a red cross which they have added their hometown names, their own names or their own slogans to such as 'Tommo', 'Bollocks' and 'Redhill', which they have hung off the edge of the stands.
England fans in Germany in 2006

I also like it when they do close ups on the telly of disappointed and sad fans when their team is losing, even better if they are really dressed up for the occasion with face paint, a comedy hat and a flag wrapped around them, decorating their downturned face.

Football fans in blue and yellow sat in the stands of the stadium. Central is someone in a full body blue and yellow morph suit with a flag wrapped around their neck with their head in the hands, all the fans around them look sad and fed up too/
Three football fans all dressed in orange with spiky orange, blue and white hats on with 'Holland' written on them, orange sunglasses on their heads and orange bracelets and lipsticks, leaning on a blue pole at the edge of the stand in the stadium looking sad and fed up.

[1]

Screen capture of video with white font subtitle with black background. All 3 stills of video from videos are identical and are placed side by side. They are black and white images of clay covered hands shaping a round shaped pottery on wheel. The person is wearing long sleeved shirt that is rolled up at lower arms. The images have different subtitles. On the left image it reads [turning], middle image reads [sound of remembering fondly], the right image reads [soaring orchestra music].
Screen capture of 3 video with white font subtitle with black background
Screen capture of video with white font subtitle with black background. All 3 stills of video from videos are identical and are placed side by side. They are coloured images of clay covered hands shaping pottery on a wheel. These images have different subtitles. On the left video it reads [holding], middle video reads [sound of listening inward], the right video reads [♪♪♪].
Screen capture of 3 video with white font subtitle with black background
Screen capture of video with white font subtitle with black background. All 3 stills of video from videos are identical and are placed side by side. They are coloured images of clay covered hands shaping brown pottery on wheel. The images have different subtitles. On the left it reads [shaping], the middle video reads [sound of emptiness in the room], and the right reads [mysterious string music].
Screen capture of 3 video with white font subtitle with black background

[turning] [sound of remembering fondly] [soaring orchestra music] [holding] [sound of listening inward] [♪♪♪] [shaping] [sound of emptiness in the room] [mysterious string music]

Audio will be silent in my piece for the final outcome of this residency- I aim for the subtitles to show the endless possibilities of what the words would sound like for the viewers.

Video Testing

Video Projection Testing on wall

I have been experimenting with multiple videos using Premiere Pro and After Effects. It has been a daunting task to figure out the dimensions and creating subtitles! This is a snippet of what I’ve been working on today in the impromptu ‘studio’ space- a quickly emptied out space in a small living room wall where I pushed the sofa to the side to create enough space for the video projection. There are three videos playing at once, all are the same videos of hand throwing the wheel, shaping round-shaped pottery. On individual screens, there are different subtitles, on left there is an ‘action’ based subtitle ([turning] & [creating shape]) and in the middle, there’s the abstract subtitle ([sound of shifting relationship] & [sound of remembering]) and on right there’s a ‘music’ based subtitle([Dramatic theme playing] & [♪♪♪]). This video is originally from Craft / Potting / Bookbinding Practice Film from Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre located in London’s Screen Archives. I am going in the direction where I would like to experiment with the same video but with different subtitles to ‘alter’ the experience for the viewer – changing the perception of the event with the poetic language of the subtitle.

Screen capture of 3 videos playing side by side, each individual video shows a pair of hands shaping brown clay pottery on wheel. Each individual video has white subtitles on a black background- the video on the left reads [throwing],  the middle video reads [sound of emptiness in the room], the video on the right reads[dramatic theme playing]. All three videos are on black box.
Screen capture of 3 videos playing at once
Screen capture of 3 videos playing side by side, each video shows a pair of hands shaping brown clay pottery on the wheel. The individual videos have white subtitles on a black background. The subtitle on the left reads [gently holding], the middle subtitle reads [sound of listening inward], the right subtitle reads [soaring orchestra music]. All three videos are on black box.
Screen capture of 3 videos playing at once

This week, I am planning to experiment with multiple different videos and show these simultaneously at a more playful pace. Please leave a reply to this post to comment or ask any questions if you have any! 🙂

[_____]

I would like to share some subtitles I have collected in my notes on my phone.

Music-related: [Music and sound fades] [Soaring orchestra music] [Music intensifies] [Mysterious string music] [Somber Music] [Dramatic theme swelling] [Dramatic string music builds] [Music gets faster] [♪♪♪] [***]

Action-related: [humming] [screaming] [breathing] [footsteps approaching] [crying] [wailing] [chattering] [sighing] [sobbing] [yawning]

How can these ‘objective’ subtitle be poetic in its own way? Below are some I’ve wrote.

[Sound of shaping context] [Sound of shifting relationship] [Sound of still silence] [Sound of emptiness in the room] [Sound of seeing] [Sound of communicating gently] [Sound of listening inward] [Sound of whispering sweet nothings] [Sound of worlds shattering] [Sound of remembering fondly]

Body Work, Breakdowns and Burn Out: in resistance of Hyperability

A grey background with a 3d diagram of a silver car body. Over the top is the title 'CAR BODY CONSTRUCTION' in red text. Around the diagram are the names of the different car body parts with black lines pointing to their corresponding section, these include 'roof panel', 'panel trunk', 'centre pillar' and 'scuttle base'.

Getting towards the end of this residency and my body feels close to a burn out. Working while your six month old wakes you up every hour during the night like a sleep torture program has been.. hard. My insides are starting to jolt and shudder.

I have been considering the way we describe the shell of an automobile as a ‘body’, an external casing which holds in all of the car or lorry’s guts. There are auto body repair shops for when you damage your body or car and truck body builders for when you want an upgrade.

Researching this also led me to a strange trend of body builders (the weight lifting type) posing with their cars and this amazingly comical article to help body builders choose the best car for them which says ..

‘As bodybuilders, you cannot survive without a car. A good and big car will not only look proportional to you but will also serve your needs adequately.’

A large white expensive car stands in what looks like a slightly mountainous desert. On the bonnet lies someone in a bikini and heels with an expressionless face
via guagemagazine

And of course there is the ‘sports car’.

These automobile bodies can be symbols of wealth, power, authority, capitalism, work, burn out or protest. During times of social unrest and resistance, the news and media is often littered with images and videos of burning cars (ACAB). When our physical bodies become exhausted by the pressures of capitalism and the inequalities of structural oppression, we also burn out and break down.

three British police vans parked in a narrow street at night. They are parked at angles and not in a straight line. The left van is on fire which is bursting out of the front window and sides. The bonnet is covered in graffiti which says 'kill' and 'ACAB'. Smoke is billowing and filling the top part of the image, it is glowing orange and red from the fire and blue from the van's lights. The vans in the middle and on the right are not on fire. Their headlights and blue emergency lights are on. A silhouette figure of a person is visible in the foreground on the right from behind.
police vans burning at a Bristol ‘kill the bill’ protest earlier this year via theguardian

I like to think of myself as a monster truck; big, slow, colourful and garish, with very little functional use other than for fun.. a performative body that rests a lot and comes out bouncing and blazing for a show every so often when I feel like it, only to inevitably and predictably crash and burn at the end.

A pink and cream ice cream monster truck with large oversized wheels and a big soft white whip on top with a cherry.
Dragon Ice monster truck, a compact monster truck with a blue dragon body design with scales and teeth and spikes and big wheels. There are colourful logo stickers on the black undercarriage. It is doing a small jump over a very muddy ramp in a stadium filled with people in the background.

HUGE

I’ve been researching bodybuilder poses, the reasons for them and the way they accentuate the muscle definition. Scrolling through Google images at these magazine covers, there are obvious themes that arise. The women are very rarely as muscly as the men, they are often used as props to the central male figure or they are overtly feminised and sexualised in bikinis with big flowing hair. I couldn’t find any magazine covers with any variation of this apart from Renee Campbell, a bodybuilder who is trying to challenge the standard look. There weren’t any covers of her but the photos from an article on CNN definitely had a different energy and aesthetic.

The positions range from intimidating to comical, one of my favourites is the one where they look like they’re pushing an invisible shopping trolley. When I look at a lot of these images and bodies all at once, shiny, bulging, smiling, angry, tanned, flexed bodies, it starts to make me feel weird, they remind me of rotisserie chickens just spinning on repeat. But they are also somehow very fascinating and impressive.

The limitations of mobility that pushing your body to this size causes makes me wonder if they are really hyperable or if they are just a visual symbol of hyperability.

Renee Campbell via CNN