Videos moved to YouTube

When I started doing the performance art in 2008, I made a few videos, most of which were intended to be ‘studies’ or proof-of-concept for conceptual art, rather than polished final products. As Rrose says,

‘My work is a life in progress’.

I put the clips onto Google Video. Recently I recieved notice that Google Video was disappearing, so I moved the clips to YouTube and have spent a bit of time looking at them again and reflecting. I’d like to share this one with you now, again.

28 November 2008 – In/Out of the Box. Presented as part of Showroom upstairs at the Coops, this piece had a video clip I made with soundtrack by Dr. T and a live component with performance by myself and music by Christoph. The lighting for the second part is a bit dark, but you can still see the action and hopefully the relationship between parts 1 and 2.

Actual peformance, including Part 1 (a video with soundtrack, as projected onto the screen) and Part 2 (live performance with live music)

  • Smash Box, what happened after the performance
  • Part 1, the final version of Part 1 video itself
  • Part 2, the initial study for Part 2, filmed on the beach

So what do I think, 2 1/2 years later?  I think the soundtrack to Part 1 works well to create the mood I was going after. I find the box image disturbing, as it is supposed to be. Little things I would change – more light in part 2 of the live performance, I’m not sure I like the journal entry part of the clip but I’m not sure what I’d replace it with. I like the music for part 2, as well. On the night, I wasn’t happy with the timings, but in looking at the clip again, I think it is fine.

If I do another photo montage in future, I will play more with the timings of the still images. Overall, I’m still happy with it.

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Hedgerow messages

Last night was the opening of Pretty Common Things, an exhibition and installation by Joanna Bond at ::the studio:: gallery. It was exhuberant.

First let me tell you the set-up, and then I’ll tell you what we did in the space.

You enter the basement gallery via an outdoor staircase the leads down to a tiny candle-lit courtyard and then a broad corridor, decorated with ethnic wall hangings, fairy lights twining among the silvery cladding on exposed pipes. Jo’s husband, Owain, had a DJ station at one end, with refreshments on a table at the other.

You turn a corner into a narrow hallway, which was lined with potted saplings, birch and other trees. Each one had a red tag with instructions to take the tree home and plant it in the Wildwood reforestation project or you could plant them anywhere. Other than that, the two indoor hedgerows were bare at the start, leafless mid-winter.

The exhibition space is a tiny white room off that hallway. The walls were hung with framed collages created by Jo, and stunning ceramics on shelves and tables. Tiny ceramic seeds were suspended from the ceiling. The collages and paintings featured hand-drawn images from the countryside and hand-drawn maps, with bits of textiles, strips of printed maps, and dried flowers incorporated into some of them. The natural wood frames enhanced the earthy colour scheme. Some had a circular motif, while others had structures like branching trees or streams.

The ceramics were arranged on natural wood shelves and stands. They were hand-built with a plain white underglaze and organic shapes set into the glaze. Jo had made a series of paintings on the countryside hedgerow theme, scanned them and cut them into leafy and circular shapes – a fall of leaves crossing the center of a bowl and spilling over the edge, a bumble bee in the middle of an asymmetrical plate, rows of tiny seeds  or a bird bedecking an espresso cup and saucer. Nature was embedded everywhere in the show.

By the end of the evening, there were lots of red dots on items that had been sold or reserved. If you have a chance, get down there and see them while you can.

The evening started with DJ music and then we did the first of two runnings  of a new surrealist game – Hedgerow messages.

We had a dozen or more people sitting in a circle in the exhibition space. For the first round, Orion (guitar), Pete (concertina) and Allen (fiddle) played music as people settled on cushions, then it became quiet. I gave everyone a brown paper tag  for messages from the unconscious and a writing implement. There were books about nature to use as writing surfaces.

I talked people through Theta State, a performance piece that encourages the audience to relax and be receptive. The music began again, and Jo recited a poem (really the lyrics to a song) that she wrote about hedgerows in the Welsh countryside. The musicians played in the background and carried on for a bit after the end of the poem. When the music stopped, everyone wrote down whatever came into their minds. Most wrote words, some drew pictures. As they finished the tags, they went and tied them onto the saplings.

The audience at the opening contributed to the art installation. As people wandered through the space, they were reading the messages on the tags. The hedgerows blossomed with messages from the audience.

After that, Jo introduced the issue of indiscriminate cutting of hedgerows in Wales and then sang the song with accompaniment.  Then there was live music from The Barefoot Dancers Of The Sea in the large hall.  More people had been coming throughout the evening, so after the live music there were quite a few who had not participated in the first game, so we ran it a second time with a different set. Again, the room was as full as it could be, with a few standing outside writing on their tags. The first time, Pete had led the music but the second time Orion led.  It was lovely!

We had upwards of 30 tags with messages from the unconscious tied onto saplings by the end like prayers, and some people did take trees home with them.

The final part of the evening was a true highlight…Milly Jackdaw told a story about listening to the earth, and Peter Stevenson (Mr. Fox) told one about rabbits running through hedgerows.

It was so hard for people to say goodbye that we ran past the publicised end time, and a group went out for dancing afterward == I didn’t go, still being on the crutch 😦

It was one of the loveliest evenings I have had. Together with gallery owner Ruth Hogg and Hannah, Joy and other artist friends, Jo created a truly magical environment. Thank you!!!!

new/old video clips

I’ve been playing around with some new/old stuff and decided to post the Book of Changes video clip to YouTube, instead of just having it on Dropio for people who happen to stumble upon the page in the Conceptual Art Scrapbook.

Here’s the page about the piece https://msjacob.wordpress.com/conceptual-art-scrapbook/book-of-changes/

And here’s my YouTube channel, where I’m hoping to get more poi clips and maybe some music soon http://www.youtube.com/user/msjacob1234

Axons in the Cambrian News and Radio Ceredigion

We made the papers! See the blurb about Axons and Dendrites in the Cambrian News this week http://www.cambrian-news.co.uk/whats-on/i/4020/

If you are interested in mind, body, and spirit, listen to Amanda Painting on Radio Ceredigion at 9pm. This Sunday she is featuring a 15-minute interview about our performance. Radio Ceredigion is the local radio station for the West Coast of Wales on 96.6-97.4 and 103.3 FM.

Axons and Dendrites

It is hard to describe the evening tonight. We had Dr. T on guitar, Ailsa on cello, Becky on hang, Mick on sax and mixed percussion, and I conducted via dancing. A visitor, Dan, was on cymbals. We also had Jo and Martin, who did some dance and contact improvisation movement in the latter part. The result was magical. It was a very meditational, spiritual-sounding effect.

What does this mean? We held an initial exploratory jam for the Axons and Dendrites piece. We wanted to see how the musicians would work together, and whether they could interpret the concept. We ended up doing one continuous jam from 8.30 to 10.15, when we had to start closing up. This is only the first step in developing the piece, but I am very happy with it as a first step.

The performance will consist of back projection images, with musicians in front and dancers in front of them. I have a full set of images of neurons, to which the musicians and dancers will respond. I also have a draft of the prose piece that will be read out as an ‘extract from the journal of Rrose Selavy’.

The next step is to group the images into three or four sets that will correspond to the movements of the piece. The next time we practice, we will focus on developing different themes to work with in each movement, and how to achieve variation and balance among the voices.

There are one or two more dancers who are out of the country at the moment, so next time we hope to have the whole group together.

I’m totally chuffed!  It was a great session and the real performance will be captivating.

Oh yeah, and we had a lovely jazzy music jam at my flat with Ted, Mick, and Becky.  Cool evening, indeed.  🙂

New piece added to Conceptual Art Scrapbook

I haven’t been putting too much new info onto the Scrapbook lately, but have been working out some ideas over the past two months.  Today I have posted the biggest idea so far, which is tentatively called Synesthesia 2.

I’m looking for people who might be interested in exploring this idea of cross-modal, inter-media collective improvisation.  Do click on the link and let me know what you think.

Surrealist and Conceptual Art activity Jan-Feb

Hi there!  Lots of activity on the site and off for the past month.

The symposium on performance and philosphy provided much food for thought. http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/tfts/research/research-centres/cppr/making-and-thinking/ It was held at the National Library of Wales, featured an array of international and local speakers, and was sponsored by PSi Performance & Philosophy Working Group, Supported by the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies’ Centre for Theatre, Performance and Philosophy.  Fantastic!  I hope that Lone Twin will return to Aber and put on a performance, as it was a bit of a teaser just to hear them talking about it.

Lots of activity on the Surrealist Games section, including a synthesis of Da Vinci and Ernst plus circus skills – see the conceptual piece Decalcomania Writ Large (could probably not be implemented in its current form, but there are some other options).

In/Out of the Box videos from the 27 November 2008 Showroom performance have been mounted, thanks to thispace.

A few more ideas in the real notebooks … if the Synesthesia activity works well, there is scope for doing a 4-way synesthesia performance with improvision in word / dance / music / image.  But I need to take it one step at a time, see if it works in a smaller, less formal context.

I’ve been doing some painting of more postcards from the bottom of the ocean, but they haven’t been photographed for the web yet.  Maybe this weekend.

Gutted that the animation workshop session on Monday this week was cancelled due to snow.  I was ready to construct the ineedart piece using live roses to be  Rrose’s signature piece.  Hopefully next week.

Blubyrd was brilliant last night at Open Platform at the Arts Centre.

Showroom was brilliant last week as usual, just getting better and better. Just one of many high points was Ralph Colmar‘s video of Bristol, based on something like a poetry version of exquisite corpse.  He’s one of the artists in residence at the Aberystwtyh Arts Centre.

And…please do go to the Studio for their opening 27 February 2009 at 19:00. See websites for thispace  www.thispace.org.uk and ::the studio:: www.the-studio.jimdo.com for more info.

Cheers!