Goodbye 2011. An ode to overproductivity (and the future of obsession)

Dear 2011,

We did so much together. Sometimes I thought, you know, that we really had something going on. Sometimes I hated you so much. Together, we were a whole thing. But even though I know you’re not that far away, I feel like there is an invisible line drawn between us, a veil.

Some say that you were all about dictators and protests. But I know we had more going than that. We finished my MA, writing about revolutionary carnivals, pedagogy and the performance of fame, posthumanism and west coast spirituality. They all died, all those that are gone now, they all died. Then we rode a bicycle around inside the theatre, toasted turmeric for the cabaret crowd, fell in love, swept up all my transgressions and took London for a ride.

And now I’ve got the Hutch. We did that too, you, me and the bunnies.

But I have to tell you. This year and me, that’s right, yours truly and 2012, we’re gonna be BIG. Couldn’t have done it without you, but there’s no looking back now.

Me and 2012 are already obsessed with each other. Obsessed with everything we’ve got time for, with each other, with all our friends.

There’s the Stockholm Independent Art Fair with BasementArtsProject in February, followed a week later by everything that (in)Xclusion contains. Then the Hutch opens it’s doors all day on Saturday 24th March to celebrate the beginning of Spring again. There will be so much singing this year.

My newest obsession: One Day : Day One.

Goodbye 2011.

Hello world.


Itch fight – you’ve got to have Residence…

This week just gone (gone, fshwumm, vanished), I was well excited about a performance scratch night that my good friend and constant-future cohort Jenny Duffy was hosting at Leeds Met. The event is part of a series of fund/profile raising performastunts for the inaugural Lift Off Festival, a degree show project that Jenny is managing as a part of her enviably hip bespoke Live Art degree.

Since moving to Leeds in September, I’ve seen the BA Art, Event, Performance gang (or AEPers as they call themselves – I also call them that, but have no right to) regularly participate in, collaborate on and produce work that tips the cutting edge of the region’s spectrum. Whilst I was too hungover to blog about their Holus Bolus Art’s Birthday Party in January, and dazzled with educo-jealousy by their undergraduate conference in March, I still feel like I haven’t really seen the best of what the AEPers can do.

And after Wednesday, well, let’s just say I’ve seen that a very few of the AEPers can do some good. This is a blog post, and not a press release, but I’m not really into hating. Also, a scratch night is supposed to  a supportive forum to experiment, not the rotten tomato splattered stocks.

So, to start with the GOOD: Indivisible‘s ‘Third’, a stark and provocative, laid back and trussed up, stabby and desperate piece that sprang comfortably around the Live Art playground. The gentle, hulking form of Adam Young dragged a diminutive and rope-bound Becki Griffith‘s across the floor to the corner of the stage, leaving her to lure the audience with nothing but a piece of paper and a fiver from her pocket.

Indivisibles Becki Griffiths being dragged across the floor by performance partner, Adam Young.

After twenty minutes of watching her struggle, fall and be hoisted back into place by Adam, eventually Becki’s perverse and increasingly frantic hand gesturing dislodged one of the less sadist audience members from their seat, and she was relieved of her props – satisfied in her task, but still bound to her position. I liked that, it meant something.

Ryan Kitto’s one-on-one performance, ‘Contact’ was, as I told the usher waiting outside, probably one of the most erotic things that has happened to me for the last two years.

Semi-pro boxer Ryan emerged in pants and mask from behind the black curtains of the mustily fragrant intimate space, knelt before my seated, trembling self and proceeded to paint patterns on my face with paint-brushes dipped in water. Ryan’s bloodshot eyes seared with vulnerability, I could smell his taut determination to move me through is delicate brushstrokes. Er, swoon.

I barely had time to gather my skirts before Carrieanne Cara Vivianette’s ‘Frequented Tune’ began in the theatre. Evidently a skilled performer and storyteller, Carrieanne rushed the audience through a pacey and abstracted retelling a Native American myth, splashing a bowl of red and blue paint around with agility and precision…

O no! I’ve run out of space to mention any of the stuff I didn’t like about the evening. O well, maybe next time. Actually, I’m hoping next time that more people show up (especially people from the actual course that the fundraiser was in aid of, tut tut, bad AEPers), more of the performers have the respect to inform the organizer’s if their piece has changed at the last minute, and that every piece reeks with artistic merit (rather than sweaty, uncharismatic mundanity). Itchy fingers crossed.

In other news, I want to set the sort of thing up that Residence is doing in Bristol in my basement in Woodhouse next year.

You have been warned.