The actual physical components in the Installation are arbitrary and can be interchanged, the space is purely social and is intended to receive the contents of my text and video work.
The space consists of:
- three pieces of carpet,
- a large legless arm chair,
- bean bag's made of sacks found in Hoxton ('Royal Mail' and '25 Coconuts')
- the pink chair (with recycling bag cushion)
- a wooden pallet, with carpet, a chair and small placemats
- a mobile tea tray with coffee, cups, and a kettle
- two lockers, which form benches
All 'objects' within the instlaation are intended for use, and throughout my collecting of these objects have been heavily used by members of the studio, all pieces are mobile and can be interchanged.
Despite altering these objects in some way to interact in an interesting way when assembled into my 'reading room' (such as painting the found chair pink and using blues and greys) all objects derive from the outer contexts. These relate to my purposeful placement of the objects in front of the window facing Waitrose. The colours selected have polticial conetations such as the blue referencing the police force and pink as an act of defiance within the context of leftism and feminist activism. These relate to how the 'subclass' is made arbitrary when represented via media and also rioting and activism as defiance. I use footage of police, particularly from the BBC documentary 'Painting the town Blue' 1997 a documentary about Merseyside police in Birkenhead. Many of the shots used feature the police locker rooms featuring bold blue lockers. I found and used very similar lockers (tilting them on their sides as functional benches) in my work to MATERIALIZE these images and issues. Similarly the sacks, one Royal Mail the other a Coconut sack relate to working class labour. the Coconut sack found outside a corner shop selling produce and the mail sack found near the Royal Mail warehouse. The skinless armchairs recalls a memory of walking through the squats made of the abandoned council estates of Birkenhead north as a child, appropriated furniture used by the homeless in their makeshift capsules under overpasses.
PUBLICATION: 'It's fun. It gives you something to do.' FREE to take from the Installation in 3D/XD Studio
'its fun it gives you something to do' will be given out for free in the Installation which is placed underneath the large windows facing waitrose, during the week of our occupation of the studios I will stand outside waitrose by the window and hand out publications. Readings of the publication will take place throughout the week of the occupation and texts will be shown outwards on the windows.
[exerts of texts from zine stuck on window]
SPOKEN WORD FRIDAY 10TH JUNE
As part of the Discussion space project, and relating to the nature of the space as a purpose-shifting area, I organised a Spoken Word event. Advertised over Facebook and via Posters around the studio anyone with any writing to share are free to read to the group, any subject or type of material is welcome from reading from books to own poetry. Also due to the 5 monitors in the space anyone is welcome to show shortfilms and talk about them.
Firstly Ruben Green reads a passage from the book 'The Argonnauts' by Maggie Nelson.
The book examines the binaries of gender, exploring the boundaries of hetero and homonormativity, the book follows Nelson as a she falls in love with artist Harry Dodge, who is gender fluid, as Nelson develops through her pregnancy it explores queer family structures. Ruben read an exert which relates to our studio dynamic, due to the way mine, Ruben's and Josh's practice has flowed into each other through the parallel Beck Road, Storage Unit and Discussion Space projects which all discuss access and ownership/purpose of space.
Katie Handley shows her video and performs spoken word piece 'Drafts'
She read aloud her own drafted messages to an ex-boyfriend, 'Drafting' is a millennial practise where when engaging in a text conversation one participant will plan multiple versions of a single message in order to get the point across in the best possible way and to save face while doing so.
in these drafts Katie links her ex to one of her Film works whilst saying 'you need to see how fucking talented I am and what you are missing out on' The video shown in the space simultaneously is a man getting attacked by a swan, a popular viral video. She is the swan here as she examines contemporary narcism and constructed identity through social media and virtual relationships.
Lucie MacGregor then performs her spoken word piece 'String Houses'
She firstly shows a short film, it features her setting up string houses in the woods in Huddersfield, her home town.
The string houses are faint in the dense woodland, over the images are pieces of writings, her own poetry about the disconnection between the North and South and her relationships to home and London. the issue of displacement is prominent I'n my own practise as well as Rubin's and Josh's as we question living in London with the parallel Beck Road project.
After her film is shown once it loops on the large monitor, she begins to read poetry, her writings about the process of building string houses and its connection to her childhood, as she reads she allows the pages to cascade onto the ground much like the string falling from the trees in the woods.
Next I read an excerpt from my zine, 'It's fun, it gives you something to do'
I read a page which deconstructs the relations between poverty and media representation, it examines how our perception of lower culture is established by exploitative television shows. This except talks about television and the nature of exploitation,
Next Jessica Donnelly reads her poetry piece 'Grandma'.
She showed a GIF, (a graphic moving image) of her Grandma's bedroom on the large monitor and read a poetry work about her Grandmother's dementia, again ties were established between Lucie and Jess's works as well as Ruben's readings of Maggie Nelson as anxieties of the home and domestic structure are examined. Similarly my own reading comes to mind as we examine identity and home.
Lenart Kirbis read out some translated text and played a piece of music to the group. 'Firma Ilegal by Dubioza Kolektiv (I read the lyrics from this song) and than I played the last minute of Balkan Funk also by Dubioza Kolektiv. I pasted lyrics from Firma Ilegal into google translate and read what came up.'
I read a second double spread from my zine 'it's fun, it gives you something to do' and then a page from Naomi Klein's book 'No Logo', I focused more on the construct of representation 'No Logo' expands on how brand names such as Nike or Pepsi expanded beyond the mere products which bore their names, and how these names and logos began to appear everywhere. As this happened, the brands' obsession with the youth market drove them to further associate themselves with whatever the youth considered "cool".
Ruben Green reads a poem by Dana Ward, 'Kentucky of Mothers'
Josh Collings concludes the Event by reading some texts about Art Angel's Storage Space Project
Spoken Word event from the perspective of the Broadcast stream
A number of videos will be shown on the three monitors in the installation 'its fun it gives you something to do', four 10 minute videos explore our relationships with the media and the 'subclass' exploring austerity politics.
On scheduled days throughout the occupation week starting Monday 6th of June and concluding Friday 10th, other films will be screened on the monitors, documentaries and films by other filmakers and artists which relate back to the issue of austerity and identity and the purely functional and social installation will provide a space to discuss and breakdown our relationships to eachother in austerity britain, exploring class relations especially relating to our roles as artists and as creatives a notoriously upper middle class commodity.
The first video uses sousveilence footage taken from social media websites, facebook and youtube, it examines how the general public represents police forces via low media, I used footage from my hometown of Birkenhead. When editing I purposefully zoom and crop images, this establishes a exploitative objectifying gaze from the viewer.
'it's fun' 2 features videos from the Croydon Riots in 2011, overlayed is footage from hit early 2000s web series and later Channel 4 TV show Devo, I watched this when I was a child, my mates in school quoting his catchphrase 'have u got 20p mate?'. Devo is a 'chav' from Yorkshire, the series follows him wheeling and dealing, stealing stuff, smashing stuff up. I was interested in the representation of the low class, and how this comedic representation overlays the reality and the complex sociological and economic conditions and deep trouble in modern working class identity which causes riots.
'its fun' 3 features the persepective from above, all footage used derives from mass media, one news interviews with those involved in the Manchester Riots, as well as interviews with kids on the street around Manchester city centre where the question is asked: 'whats a scally', a common term used up north to describe those who the daily mail would brand as juvenile delinquents. The scally identity is explored and the media bias is strongly prominant within the material.
When established in the Installation screened on the 5 tv screens amongst videos from BECK ROAD and STORAGE UNIT projects which run parallel to this one a dialogue of identity is exposed. Class mobility is a strong discussion point when watching amongst the vistors who sit in the space, the strong regional Yorkshire, Mancunian and Scouse accents bleed abrasively through the studio, the exploration of this continues in mine and Lucie's collaborative practice concerning regional identity.
FILM SCREENING, TUESDAY 7TH JUNE
I wanted to use the space to show a film, on the big living room telly me and Ruben Green decided to show 'Husbands' the 1970 film by John Cassavetes.
'They have difficulty coping with the death, and everywhere they turn or flee in the city, they can't seem to run from it. They spend two days hanging out, playing basketball, sleeping in the subways, and drinking, including one lengthy scene at a bar in which they have an impromptu singing contest. Harry goes home, has a vicious argument with his wife, and decides to fly to London. The other two decide to go with him.
They check into an expensive hotel, dress in formal clothing, and meet three young women at a gambling casino. They go back to their rooms with the women. Gus pairs off with Mary Tynan (Jenny Runacre), Archie with Julie (Noelle Kao), a young Asian woman who seems not to speak English, and Harry with Pearl Billingham (Jenny Lee-Wright). However, their efforts to hook up with these women are awkward and unsuccessful. Flight (even to another continent), has not save them from the disappearance of their youth. They discover it has gone, never to return.'
NOTES ON FILM
TRANSCRIPTIONS OF GROUP DISCUSSION ABOUT HUSBANDS
STORAGE SPACE, WEDNESDAY 8TH JUNE
On Wednesday 8th June, myself and Lucie MacGregor used Josh Collings' collaborative Storage Space to do a number of performances relating to both of our practises,
We firstly filmed 'Conversation' a spoken word piece, where both our figures are obscured by hoodies, I wear red for Liverpool and she wears blue for Huddersfield. with our phones in our hands we read from local headlines of Merseyside and Yorkshire. Responding to our feelings of 'otherness' due to our regional accents. When reading the headlines the topics devolve from stabbings and robberies to bees being released in town centres and local celebrities top bars. The piece examines media portrayals of northern reality, both our current work centres around disconnection and displacement and anxiety over modern reality and our shared otherness is portrayed through this work.
After filming I burnt a dvd disc of the film, when entered onto the large retro living room telly I have as the centre piece of the Installation the video glitched wildly, an error in my encoding and translation into the dvd form the text and our bodies gitter and repeat whilst the audio remains untouched. This was the perfect mistake in exporting as our bodies appear trapped in this media representation glittering and glitching in place, the two hooded figures, trapped in the metal holds on the Storage Unit.
OPEN STUDIOS THURSDAY 9TH JUNE
Thursday was the day of Open Studios,
Initially in this project i wanted to use the format of broadcasting as a medium for the general public to communicate. I contacted a number of Community Centres but from their feedback realised in the two week period i would not have sufficient resources nor preparations to exsersive these media workshops.
I used the Open Studios as a guinia pig, as I defiantly intend to use community centres in this way in my practise next year and over the summer in my home area of Merseyside. Due to the exploitative nature of artist communities in areas such as Assemble in Toxteth and SuperFlex's TennantSpin project in Liverpool, where artists use a community and then leave thus exploiting them for arts sake I established that i needed to plan further my influence and involvement in community practise and realise deeper how I can work with them in a mutually beneficial and generally non-problematic way.
The audience of privileged art students was not my IDEAL audience for this workshop during the Open Studios but it was a starting point for the near future, during the Open Studios I use the streaming service of YOUTUBE LIVE to broadcast out the images of the studio, visitors to the space interact live with the feed, they write messages to the audience and act and play infant of the cameras gaze.
Self portrayal, representation of identity and narcism are all elements which are projected during this process.
Audience members comment on the feed, asking questions such as 'What is this?' 'What are you doing?" as Studio visitors reply 'HELLO!' 'WELCOME TO OUR STUDIO!' the glowing light of the webcam and computer monitor resonate with images of teenagers bedrooms and are reflected in my video showing on the 3rd monitor which re-apropriates footage of Channel 4 actors playing 'Chavs' in a bedroom set in the TV series Devo.