TIE THOSE STRINGS A LITTLE TIGHTER (GATHERING WINTER FUEL)
Live performance making photograms with fire, and the plants and vegetation of an abandoned garden connected to the gallery space.
London, January 2018, 7pm:
The audience has gathered in the gallery space. I enter the room, but quickly put my winter coat on and immediately leave through another door, into the gallery garden. No-one has really noticed this door before and no-one has been outside yet as the door was locked. The only light available is via the red safelights, everything is bathed in red. I verbally encourage the audience to come closer and gather by the door to experience my encounter with the garden more intensely. They stand in an arc, huddled against the cold.
I take items with me in my hands, it isn’t clear to the audience what these are. As I step into the garden, the sound of my passage reveals that the garden is wild and overgrown and that there is a struggle to access it fully. I take a box of matches from my pocket, I take a piece of photographic paper from a box and hold a photographic darkbag with me, and the rustle of the plastic is audible in the darkness.
I press and fold and bend the photographic paper up against the vegetation and plants. I strike a match for the photographic exposure and the audience get a momentary firelight glimpse of my figure in the garden, amongst the plants, making. I repeat this process of exposing the photographic paper in relationship with the plants.
I come back inside. I take my coat off and hang it up and the audience spaces themselves more around the room to stand back. I put on an apron and go through a different door into an adjoining kitchen area and I am heard turning on taps, filling vessels with liquid. I return to the gallery space. I pour water and chemicals from jugs, carefully, into darkroom trays on the floor. I wet-darkroom process the photograms I have just made. The images appear in front of the audience. I wash the images. I hang the images up by red pegs on a string along the gallery wall. The images drip onto plastic sheets on the gallery floor and the drips are audible and loud. I leave the space, and turn the lights on. The audience come close to the photograms and look at what has been created.
30 minutes + 3 x unique photograms developed from performance, unique.
EXPOSED Arts Projects, London, 2018.