Thursday, 6 August 2009

reflections on final 'Flux Salt' show, and to the future.....

well exhilarating final show morning on Saturday 1st August (see previous post for programme,) the energy and enthusiasm was incredible,feedback very positive. see here for photos.many people stayed with us for the whole 2 hour group show which was wonderful.

here's the final Flux salt video, despite feeling like it took a while to warm up, there are great moments in it I really like, especially the salt scorn and the salt apology, as well as Salt of the earth. Thanks to all the participants and Irene Schuller for filming it and Helen Schoene for the photos. Maybe it didn't feel as exciting as it wasn't new for around a third of the audience who were in the scratch (and hearing a gag for the second time is never quite as funny), but i think the outfit is perfect ( many people said I would make a natural teacher hoho..if only they knew......) i was concerned that those that don't understand the particulars of the english language might not get it, but the fact that i broke down definitions for each of the proverbs helped people said- the definitions had been part of the internet score I had 'found.' the contrast between my dead pan, formal demeanour and the silliness or over-the-topness of the actions made a great contrast- my stand up concepts coming up here- playfulness of a child with low tech props and games, whilst presenting a rather impersonal and clinical adult who seems a right ole jobsworth. I think it could be interesting to consider taking this piece to other salt mines or other sites connected to salt, how it would translate in other cultures, be adapted to local context, and considering other cultural associations with salt. i was pleased i managed to move away from the personal more into the universal but by speaking not in the mother tongue of the site it couldn't quite be so...english being one of the most commonly spoken/universal languages however so it does fit in that way :)

Flux Salt from harriet poole on Vimeo.

Here's also the mini salt experience, the installation of my time in the salt mine: Elvis' Love me Tender was chosen as part of the installation was about my grandfather who ate too much salt and died just after Elvis in 1977 and is a song my mum loved then. i like the idea of the installation experience of the process in creating the work, sharing the process is very important to me- in previous work sharing the process of photography.

Mini salt experience from harriet poole on Vimeo.

the atmosphere for the whole morning was fantastic, fabulous energy as we moved between people's work. I enjoyed doing the Bob Watts two inches piece, and the shaving of Geoffrey's head in Danger Music #2 hat. rags. paper. heave. shave. , by Dick Higgins , but feel it would have been great to have been able to rehearse or at least run through the sequence a bit more in advance of the day to have got it a little more fluid. still it was fun to do and I loved experiencing Geoffrey performing and being in it with him, his attention to detail, particular choice of objects and colour was quite something :)

i think there are some interesting questions I have been asking myself now, what the fluxus art-life relationship means to me, what's the idea of spectacle of life becoming art, dark humour of subverting the norm, the gag in such works, and how could i use this? what's the audience's position, how do i want to work with and situate them? i really liked the simplicity of fluxus- editing down an idea to the basics of what it needs to communicate, essential bits to get across what you want to say (an issue with my MA show was it was too complex, too layered, two shows in one) and working with gags suits this.

some other reflections;
  • this course was total artistic re-invigoration for the soul- i loved the simple structure giving lots of personal freedom. starting afresh in a space where people don't know my artistic history so now preconceptions or expectations, and without my particular photographic materials that had thus defined my work forcing a new way of working to emerge. very exciting. felt good to have made two strong pieces- Why did you do that I'll remember what we had, and Flux Salt that were not about photography and were very well received, rich, interesting, quirky. with the latter, great to have found a way to make my work much more universal away from the personal- fluxus ideals really helped in this :)
  • would I name the piece Flux Salt again if i took it to another salt related site? was it needed- it suited this as it was a fluxus course, and i liked the idea it referenced a history but maybe the need to associate in the name (although could be in given literature) is not there.
  • what does Artist as nomad mean to me? i love the idea of no fixed abode definitely, i feel my art practice is mobile, site responsive and i love finding my artistic self within that context. i love the fact that the site was a studio, a playground and for final performance- total immersion in the site for the whole process. i found it very hard working at Wimbledon on my MA in a white walled studio space- sitting and listening. it was looking all the time within the salt mine that totally fuelled this whole experience. maybe an artist residency is my next project?
  • I love the community aspect of fluxus- the sociability of it, the spirit of it, the chance element, the score. interaction, participation, all to look at for the future- being in the moment with the participant, albeit in a new way. however the shift here from private one-to-one to public spectacle, and manipulation of the audience, singling them out (very stand up style) is something to look at- is it just i am diversifying my practice, another way of working alongside the private or is this a new direction?
  • universality connections to previous work- sharing what we keep in our pockets has been a theme in my photo darkroom work, and here what salt means to use, its use in the english language.
So.. to the future? I'm definitely thinking about the spirit of fluxus, and how installation has offered me new ways of working to share the process accompanying performance (maybe looking back to Julia Bardsley?)...i think lots to consider....

hugest thanks to geoffrey hendricks and helen schoene for their support and guidance throughout.. this unique experience was just incredible for me, especially at this point in my practice nearly a year on from my MA. i may build fluxus into my daily routine...get a residency in a site..redefine the work i's a big high five to the whole damn beautiful experience...LOVED IT x

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