Past work - What?
I made a deck of square, handheld cards, 27 in total. On the cards were a selection of short fragments of poetry which I had written. Altogether and in an ascribed order they create one choreographed text to be performed by reading aloud from the stack, each card being placed down in a pile having been read. The general theme of the 'poems' was love. This subject of love is broad and inclusive: ranging between romantic love, platonic love and general social compassion. Some of the cards were entirely void of text, indicating a pause to the reader which provides a rhythm and punctuation when the piece is performed. This reading was performed by me but in theory, its format at least suggests that it could be read aloud by a different person. On the back of each card, visible to the viewer as the texts were read aloud were a set of number and symbols, two rows of two: on the first row '2' and a heart symbol, on the second row below a teardrop symbol and the number '7'.
[what is the title of the work]. The title of the work is undisclosed really, its the title as it appears on the back of the cards, so the '2 heart teardrop 7' group of symbols laid out as they are on the back of the cards.
Past work - How?
I wrote the poems over almost a year. I had in mind to create a publication of love poems for Valentines day 2017. As the date drew closer it became apparent there was a reading and writing open call event in February that would provide a suitable platform for me to show the work, which then evolved towards a performance mode [perhaps you could describe how the performance itself went, what was the mode of reading] that fitted the event. The 'love poems' were written from autobiographical experience and imagination, they were 'heartfelt' in their conception but in producing them I went through a process of rationalisation, abstraction and distancing. For instance, most were written on impulse when I had an idea - perhaps whilst going about other daily activities, they were later edited to work together and for overall tone and variation. I also put many of the poems through a string of online translations, into various languages then back into English - so that the computer altered the texts and made the vocabulary and word ordering odd, sometimes jarring and overall less 'polished'. I used the outcomes of this translation process in ways that I found useful, it wasn't a strict rule-abiding process, I simply chose the instances where I felt the poems had been altered in a way that worked for me: the ultimate goal to create an alien, unpredictable and hard to place 'voice'.
[that is super interesting and well-worded, I really like the way you decribed the process you’re going through]
Past work - Why?
I wanted the piece to play with audience expectations, for the listener to feel disorientated and intrigued by what they heard. In doing so I wanted to subtly hint towards a subjective re-positioning with regards to peoples notions of romantic love and individual preoccupations with love-life; all this falling under the context of Valentines Day. The piece was an act of social subterfuge, using the slightly incompatible contexts of valentines day and the public spoken word event - there are differing sets of value judgements at play, varying expectations of earnestness and literary skill, academia and hetero-normative romance - I wanted to collide the two together to create a momentary disruption. In a moment where peers are discretely judging each others writing ability and art-world intellect, what does it do to bring in the non-vogue and seemingly uncritical emotion of love?
How does this work relate to previous works?
The piece was slightly different to my usual way of working in that the subject matter was purely sourced from memory, experience and introspection. Typically my starting point for an artwork might be a subject from mainstream pop culture, such as a supermarket brand, a wallpaper pattern or a girl-band: I start with a feeling of personal intrigue toward a publicly available artefact and then find ways to appropriate, manipulate or digest it. In this sense the form of the work relates much more to other works ive made - it's a 'collection of love poems', and the work came about from the desire to make something that could at least attempt to slot back into mainstream culture through the guise of a familiar form. The poetry anthology, the novella, the album, the music video.
[Why do you think you use pop-culture in your art as a starting point, what’s there that is so intriguing/useful? Is it perhaps also about communication and attempt to come up with a language that can be more powerful, less hermetic?]
[where would you locate phenomena that interest you, geographically? Is it totally dispersed (globalized like bravura clock) or is it british grounded (like the biggest shopping mall from 70s)?]
[I keep thinking about Seth Price, I’ll print a text for u]
What scene produced it?
The work initially came about when I was outside of the artschool, I was working many part time jobs and living in London, finding very little time to make 'art'. I wanted to work on something that didn't require too much time and space and that I could do in spare moments when I had a little inspiration, on the bus, sitting around at work, whilst cooking dinner. Of my friends who are still producing art in London a lot are creating their own environments to read and write together, for instance through a feminist magazine called SALT or a performance night event called 'Woodham Fever'. Peoples social life and spare time often crosses completely over into what is left of the art practice they are clinging onto since they left art school and found themselves with no studio and no money. So my general leaning towards writing and performance came from that. Since I've come to Piet Zwart, and particularly with this specific piece it slotted quite nicely into the quite active writing environment that is promoted at this art school. I supposed it does speak of a quite DIY performance and writing scene in general.
Where does it fit?
The work can probably mostly be identifiable as a piece of artist writing written with the intention with being performed or read aloud. However it does have an inbuilt ulterior motive to be confusing and hard to categorise, which is a common and deliberate tactic in my work. So it perhaps might look, alone as an object, like a self published home project of an amateur poet, or perhaps even some educational cue cards for someone learning to speak the English language. With this in mind, it still wouldn't look that out of place in an art bookshop on a shelf of artist made zines, which at times might be an open all-welcoming destination for such works. Whilst the object itself aspires to be professional, with its graphic design elements and glossy laminated surface, the level of execution is self consciously amateur and tacky - it possesses the awkwardness of the under-dressed guest who doesn't seem to know anyone at the party, and doesn't speak the language convincingly enough.
Present work - What?
I am currently writing a PowerPoint presentation about Nigella Lawson, the UK Food Writer and TV Cook. The working title is: The Tools of the TV Cook and Food Writer. It is going to be about how she puts to use a network of platforms (books, TV, her website and social media) to share her craft with her audience; the specific way in which she approaches these media in order to safeguard her primary passions as a writer and home cook. [what is the mode of presentation? Are you going to talk in public and use the PowerPoint in a traditional way, as a support for the speaker?]
Present work - How?
I have been watching a vast amount of youtube videos featuring Nigella Lawson, both Q&As and her television series which can be found uploaded there. I am transcribing the things she says that relate to her practice and analysing the structure, language and grammar. [are there going be any visuals accompany the text?]
Present work - Why?
The intention is to look at the practice of Nigella as an analogy for artists and their own practice. I hope to use it as an educational tool in the future. [what do you mean by educational tool?]
What are the similarities between these past and present works?
The works are similar in the sense that they both use my public speaking and my writing skills as a medium. The works both deal with words and thoughts which could be interpreted as the whim of the creator, me. They both use my experience, intuition and bias as a resource, though both make attempts at distilling the process and removing any overt references to the self. Both works are visually quite sparing and more based around words and their delivery, the use of images are mainly diagrammatic and digitally produced within a basic program such as PowerPoint.
What are the differences between these past and present works?
The Nigella piece is very much more educational and clear in its tone, it could be used in a classroom or lecture setting. Its performative elements could be played up or down depending on the needs. Whereas the '27' poetry piece is definitely more overtly a piece of creative writing in its style, it is perhaps a bit harder to place though is happily accommodated by a spoken word environment.
Who could help you with this piece?
A fellow student, perhaps a second year, perhaps Connie Butler could help me with my line of argument within the powerpoint talk because she is smart and we chat about celebrities often.
Future work - what could it be?
I have an ongoing desire to make a text / performance about a few of my interests that are broadly speaking all publicly known brands or cultural relics: Wetherspoons the UK pub chain, Waitrose the UK supermarket chain, Sugababes the girl band and Richard Simonton the godfather or the gay body piercing subculture in LA. These are somewhat unconnected, flimsily associated subjects that have an enduring appeal to me. I want to produce a substantially sized artwork about them that can operate in the way a daydream moves between subjects. It may be either read aloud or read in written form, performed with gestures and actions with one or more people. It is intended to be a flexible and useful piece of work for me, that can be shown with or without me, that can adapt and fit to different situations and demands.
What makes it necessary?
I need a way of channeling my thoughts and ideas into a vessel where i can store them and then pout them out into other containers when it is demanded of me. I have spent a lot of time talking about these subjects, reflecting upon them, investing emotion and thought. I want to galvanise this activity towards a productive outcome because I aspire to function partially as an artist. For a long time I have been telling people I have been 'writing a book about the Sugababes'. There is now an expectation now amongst my peers for me to fulfil this task. I make the statement because the statement contains the right balance of pop frivolity, irreverence and intellect that I aspire to.