Saturday, 12 April 2008
It's not just your general public that are idiotic. Within Brum, we also have a select idiotic art public. The mind boggles. More about this later. I don't want to taint this blog with grumpiness; nevertheless - some things have to be said.
My nerves were ringing about quarter of an hour before I was to get in my cabinet. David was resplendent in his gimp suit, atop a silky mattress, his supine body tied down with delicate strands of ribbon. Presentness is grace as I recall the line from an essay. I, on the other hand felt like a clumsy oaf, with my entourage of ridiculous objects, which would not stay in place. The volume on my amp was wrong, and needed speedy adjustment before the performance began proper. Even so, as I was later told, you could barely hear the sound. No matter.
I adopted the mummy pose which I was to hold (supposedly) for the duration of the private view. Once the lid had been put down I understood immediately the painful position I had put myself in. The pressure was distributed on the tips of my skinny elbows, maybe the funny bones. Within ten minutes my arms were fizzing with pins and needles: as I was supposed to be lying 'in state'; any movements I needed to make to alleviate the pain had to be tiny. Same went for my feet - though I had a little bit more leeway because I was wearing my boots.
Then there was the breathing. This was the weirdest part and required the most concentration. At times I felt like I was suffocating - at others I was breathing regularly and unusually focused. The music I had used in my sound piece got me hyper at some points - though anyone observing me would have been at a loss to see this, obscured by a cheese face mask as I was.
This was my first attempt at a durational performance and it took me to many different, unexpected places. Pain was evident, though not foremost in the piece. Second was the awareness of myself in relation to the people around me. I felt twice removed. Hidden by my mask, then segregated by the cabinet. This was where the problems began. I can allow for people being naive, but there comes a point where sheer ignorance kicks in. For those who really should know a lot better. On more than one occasion, someone left a drink on the cabinet - and in the crucial moment which made me decide I wanted to get out, someone (not mentioning who - needless to say I think you're a CUNT) left a can of Strongbow right above my head. It was left there for about two minutes, which is a cunting long time when you're trying to concentrate and not move; incredulous and really really angry, I wanted to scream. Then my breathing became really difficult: it was time to get out. This spoiled the experience for me. Otherwise, the performance, however successful others deemed it - was rich, giving me time to reflect and think hard about future performances of a like ilk. Still I am baffled by certain individuals behaviour. People in glass houses don't throw boulders. I have only to think of when I scattered Greg Cox's sculpture with a kick at Candice's show at Moor St station. I don't want to come across as a pedant, I am amongst the ignorant: but on Wednesday someone wore the crown of foolishness so well you'd have thought they were born wearing it!
A very big thank you to Charlie and Cujo for curating such a good show, and for giving me a chance to reconstruct my badly ailing practice. There may still be time.