Another time in the same place at the same time in another place

gold survival blankets, found materials (tiles, bricks, wood, readymades), binaural audio.
site-specific invisible performance for an audience of one at a time (through headphones)
Devised on site by louie+jesse for Schiume festival at Polveriera Francese, Forte Marghera, Venice, 2012.

The Polveriera Francese is an old gunpowder store inside Forte Marghera, built in the early 1800s by French forces who occupied the area. The work, developed during a short residency on site, explored the Polveriera Francese and its setting physically and as a space of conflict, responding to the theme of the festival and using materials found on site. The piece was experienced by one person at a time, seated alone in the space, surrounded only by visual traces of a past performance. Putting on headphones, the visitor experienced the performance ‘invisibly’.

The ambience and acoustic of the Polveriera Francese as well as our performance were captured with binaural microphones in exactly the place where the visitor would later sit. This resulted in a disconcerting simulacrum between the real and the recorded, the character of the recorded space sounding identical to the ‘real’ sound of the space, giving a feeling of not wearing headphones at all, and at the same time bringing the ghost of the performance uncannily into the room right beside and moving around the listener.

The performance used the architecture of the building itself and found materials including wood, bricks and plastic readymades to explore the theme of conflict. In improvised scenes such as the French forces building the fort and their experience under seige for months, through radical responses to conflict from the period, contemporary echoes of modern wars and the displacement of refugees, our performance utimately questioned the system that produces conflict.

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Slow

Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester invited me as part of a collective of ten Manchester-based artists, to explore the concept of ‘Life Friendly’ in a two-week residency.  http://www.wearelifefriendly.blogspot.com / http://www.lifefriendlypractice.wordpress.com

I wanted to explore the benign potential of “slow”, thinking about giving ourselves, our projects and others space the time to germinate and grow organically, especially in the context of city living. Inspired by Chinese “thousand-year-old eggs”, my medium was experimental cooking and fermentation, a counterpoint to ‘fast food’. I focused on basics – making suggestions and models available to anyone, using low cost and easily found ingredients and simple kitchen utensils, and cheap low-carbon cooking methods. I wanted to make something that required regular attention and nurture but also did a lot of activity and development on its own, to reach beyond fast/instantaneous production in art to make something more considered in a more natural process.

During the residency on International Slow Art Day (www.slowartday.com) we held an open studios event where I offered visitors, gallery staff and the other artists in residence a small feast of slow-made food and drink, including 10-day sourdough, Amish Friendship Bread, cress and radish leaves grown in eggshells, and ginger beer; 3-day cheese and marbled eggs in experimental flavours; and scrambled eggs in tights. I also constructed a wonderbag from found materials which helped keep things warm while fermenting during the fortnight, and on the last day gave away grow-your-own cress in eggshells kits, sourdough starters and amish cake batter to enthusiastic new homes.

         

Photos by Squirrel Nation and Agata Alcaniz.

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A pinch of notoriety will do

Site-specific installation at the house where Quentin Crisp passed away in Claude Road, Manchester.

Commissioned by Chorlton Arts Festival, May 2012.

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Back Stowell Street

An installation/invisible performance (via headphones) in Morden Tower, Newcastle, on the old city walls. The tower was originally home to the hiring and firing committee of the goldsmiths’ guild: new arrivals in the city would pass through here to be vetted for a job or sent away. One side of the tower looks out onto a neatly cut lawn popular with early-morning joggers; the other side onto the alley (Back Stowell Street) behind the main drag of Chinatown. The piece was made using materials found in the alley during a week-long residency as part of Borders: The Space Between festival in 2011 curated by Situation Rhubarb. To listen to the 10-minute performance, a visitor would sit on the crates and put on the headphones, and the performance, recorded binaurally from the same spot, would unfold invisibly around them.

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The House at the End of the Pier

I made some model-size samples last month while developing a proposal for a site-specific domestic, edible installation in response to the giddying commercial amusements of Brighton pier. These pieces are made entirely of Brighton Rock, are incredibly brittle on a cold day or dangerously sticky on a warmer one – and left my kitchen smelling nauseatingly sickly-sweet for about a week.

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Publications and Origami

 

Following the mini-residency on LV21 lightship where I made Worm, Parcel and Serve last year, I contributed two pages (shown above) to a book published by Figure Ground in the form of a deck of cards showing artists’ responses to the whole collaborative experience. Copies of the book are on sale at bookartbookshop in London, or send me an email for a free PDF.

In February, my curious recipe for Liverpool Corpse Cakes was published in issue 17 of The Shrieking Violet, Natalie Bradbury’s award-winning Manchester zine. The recipe was created for the piece Try to eat everything last year in Liverpool.

The extended review of Ambonezenbosje (collaborative film project in the Netherlands, see below) by the artist Dinanda Luttikhede, was published by PeerGrouP in a newspaper “Location and Knowledge”. The text is here: http://www.peergroup.nl/oni.app/local/upload/soil.pdf

And finally, I participated in Manchester Artists’ Bonfire with Daeth is not ceratin. After reading my pledge, you might think I shouldn’t really be posting this news at all.

daeth is not ceratin

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Try to eat everything

Durational intervention, Liverpool, November 2011, part of Present in Public at the Bluecoat (www.givingintogift.org).

 

A hungry ghost in a white duvet cover offers a potlatch of free gifts made in China to Victorian sin-eaters: a gift from Bataille buys you time, or choose a violent death with Baudrillard.

“When you went to the funeral you always got a funeral biscuit wrapped in paper. I know a little girl died. Our Tom said, ‘Will we be going to the tea party and getting a biscuit?’ He was only thinking about the biscuit.” – E. Roberts (on pre-war rural customs), The Lancashire Way of Death.
“When someone died in those days [in Chinatown] they used to give out sweets. But as kids, you know, someone would say ‘Someone’s died’, and we’d all go just to get sweets. I remember going knocking at the door, ‘I’ve come to see the corpse’”. – M.L. Wong, Chinese Liverpudlians.
“Liverpool’s relationship with China is based on power, journeys and exchange.” – Museum of Liverpool, ‘Global City’ display.

This piece explored the equivocal feelings of receiving a gift and the power relationship between giver and receiver in both intimate and corporate settings: an unsettling encounter centred on gift-customs associated with death, in the complex social context of Liverpool’s past and present.

   

Photographs by Mark Loudon.

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Phi

mobile phone video, 14:35 min

This piece was made in August 2011 for a group show called ‘Broken Telephone’ at Exchange Project Space in London, as part of the Hackney Wick Festival. The show was an experiment in chinese whispers by POST artists (a UK network of artists who respond to place). The piece is a response to a response: the fragments that participants were given as source material for our pieces were 1. a trip to athens in 2010 by four members of POST, and a performance-video made there with an athenian collective; 2. a collection of literary and art references offered by another four members, in response to that video. This is the text I wrote for the group, to introduce my work:

“After sifting the ingredients, I think I am going to make a short video montage of the Greek riots last year (and ongoing), played on a mobile phone. The images will be sourced from youtube, eyewitness videos from the streets, but I will revoice the soundtrack using just the sounds ph- and p-, creating a close-up personal response to a highly mediated event, as well as a focus on certain key sounds in that situation beyond/nearer than the general crowd and sirens. I’m interested in Fiona’s ideas about the golden proportion, which is represented by the Greek character φ(phi) and is a neverending ideal, and the concept of constant movement in the context of direct action and social change, as well as the shadow side of that – the state doctrine of ceaseless linear progress and ‘civilization’. I want to also pick up on the Atrocity Exhibition references in regard to the way we experience and interpret ‘riots’, which seems suddenly rather urgent. I’m interested in putting these things alongside each other to explore and complicate ‘moral’ responses to street violence, which is something I am personally finding quite challenging in this last week. As for placement, it can go anywhere, it’s very small and will be fairly quiet.”

This video contains footage taken by: AlexMavros1000, apolitistosteki, baznr, cjpapachristou, eossyriza, GiaNtakos, greekalert, Greekriots, notosportnews, PiZKei, pallerio, Perseus999, selectorjohn, nikos794, socratesjr76, and y2b4m1.

Phi was selected for the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, screening at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in January 2012 and Future Perfect Asia Gallery in Singapore in July 2013. It was also selected for a one-day screening event at Nottingham Contemporary – ‘Radical Footage’, March 2012 and for the OVNI: Oblivion film festival at CCCB in Barcelona, May 2012. In 2014 it was shown in London again on a monitor as part of a group show Jupiter Project I. It is collected in OVNI archives at desorg.org

Installation view. Photo: Lillian Wilkie.

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re:PAIR – ambonezenbosje

Above: Andrea Lenders who grew up in the 'Ambonezenkamp', with a photo of her
family there. Cinema in the woods. Below: Renee van Rijn and Reinoud 
Bekkema, local residents, in character. Preparing the scene for filming.

     

In June/July 2011 louie+jesse returned to the Ambonezenbosje in Groninger Province in the Netherlands for the second part of an ongoing site-specific residency project (see “histoires concretes” for part one) curated by PeerGrouP. This time we worked more closely with the displaced Moluccan ex-residents of the area and the current local community to make a series of short films, three of which were previewed in an installation in the wood at the end of the residency, as part of the Festival Hongerige Wolf. Preview clips and further info to follow.

This piece was reviewed by the Dutch filmmaker Dinanda Luttikhedde for the P.A.I.R. publication 2011; the following is an extract from her review:

Continue reading

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if we stop now, they’ll crush us like bedbugs!

site-specific installation with 4-channel audio and intermittent tv, radio and telegraph signals (via timers).

In June, louie+jesse were hosted by Wyspa Institute of Art for a month-long residency in Gdansk Shipyard, curated by the Birmingham-Gdansk project Postindustrial Revolution (www.postindustrialrevolution.eu). In this postindustrial space of working dockers, business developers and strong-jawed socialist heroes, we began to explore the role of women activists, in particular the nurse Alina Pienkowska. We were inspired by the moment when the historic 1980 strike began, and the authorities cut all communications to the shipyard except in the clinic, where Pienkowska, surrounded by ringing phones and urgent communications, became the key liaison point between the strikers and the rest of the world. This moment seemed a coalescence of potentials waiting beyond the threshold of now, a space neither today or tomorrow but between.

Amongst the (proposed and current) landscape/soundscape of the shipyard, we created a stand-alone alternative space where the unsound of strike and extraordinary communciations alongside carefully chosen materials and textures provided new layers and contrasts with the setting. A clean, clinical, overlit and eerily still interior, primarily inspired by a hospital room, it also referenced concepts of gentrification and the ‘Young City’ plans for the site; the generic hotel which now occupies an old clinic building on the shipyard site; cleaning up a messy historical narrative to suit a new regime; and the role of art(ists) in all of this. Encroaching on the silence and clinical atmosphere were a number of communications devices of different kinds, and personal touches of Alina Pienkowska (and other less documented women activists of the time, who played a key role in the strike). The audio was an insistent and subtly varied hum evoking a sterile interior acoustic, occasionally interrupted by elements of outside – resistance, state violence, and the future of the shipyard. The contents of the room included a polystyrene mattress (referring to the ad-hoc sleeping arrangements of the strikers) on an immaculately made metal-framed bed with a hospital sheet and complimentary toiletries from the shipyard hotel, a plastic plant (found in the shipyard), a rubbery linoleum floor, alina’s change of clothes, net curtains, and an overwhelming smell of TCP.

The work’s title is a quote from Henryka Krzywonos, a tram driver involved in the 1980 strike, who cried it at a key moment when the workers were about to concede after a couple of days, their few unambitious demands being met, and three women activists urgently persuaded them to remain and fight on to win far greater rights. Kryzwonos’ words echo on, warning against complacency.

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worm, parcel, and serve

I was invited by Figure Ground (www.figuregroundprojects.blogspot.com) along with 20 other artists, to make a site-responsive intervention on the decommissioned lightship LV21 (www.lv21.co.uk), which is now moored at Gillingham in Kent. The ship is an imposing structure, all hard metal and functional parts, with no frills. But when in operation, it was manned by a collaborative crew of sailors, who spent up to 80% of their time cleaning and tending to the fabric of the ship, and much of the remaining time cooking and eating together, playing cards, and making things. Occasionally they all got together to do a tricky job, like recalibrating the anchor cable. Now, the new owners of the ship are once again lovingly restoring and repairing it. This piece introduces these soft bodies and a sense of personal care into the hard functional space once again, a chain of sailors’ sleeves hugging the capstan, following the original path of the anchor cable around the mechanism and out through the bow. The sleeves were stuffed with their own jumpers, and all sourced second hand.

      

 

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histoires concrètes

A dispersed series of sitespecific sculptures made from local clay, forming a chorographic trail, alongside a 23-minute sound work composed from local field recordings.

histoires concrètes is a project realised by louie+jesse in PeerGrouP’s P.A.I.R. (www.peergroup.nl) – a temporary residence for artists, it consists of two six-metre containers where we lived and worked for one month (Nov/Dec 2010). Situated in a remote rural location – between fields, wood and mudflats, near the village of Finsterwolde – during a harsh winter, we nevertheless were visited regularly by members of the local community and curious tourists who all shared their stories. The site of the Ambonezenbosje is an area with a rich history, which has housed german soldiers, poldermen reclaiming land, and migrants from Ambon island, among others. Our creative research combined this larger narrative with the local narratives of the present community.

The final piece formed an unconventional map of the local area, inviting physical experience of place and exploring both the limitations and potential of ‘history’ and communal narratives. Made from local clay soil, the sculptures embody the different processes evident in the landscape, and changed radically daily with the weather.

  

Audio piece (with poem by Aly Freije):

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seaside postcards (Junket, 2010)

These one-off postcards were made as part of the large-scale installation Junket (Exeter, 2010 – more info below), and displayed as a set on a rotating postcard stand. They are a combination of found postcards of old masters, and found photographs (all from the site as usual), weathered and treated. The postcards are all unwritten on the back, just printed with information about the (original) image (e.g. Mona Lisa, Le Louvre).

mixed media, 2010, series of 20 different unique cards (5 of which in white plastic frames), average dimension: A6.

 

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Junket

Junket was a large site-specific installation inside and outside a warehouse on the Exeter quayside,  part of a short residency organised by Surface Arts (surfacearts.co.uk), for the group show D.I.Y. in September 2010. The warehouse was previously part of a plastics factory and currently used for storage by a local charity. All plastics and other materials were found on site. The piece was arranged as a journey through three installations/environments, and was inspired by the live soundtrack on site: squawking gulls against the hum of the electricity plant next door.

         

 

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can i interest you in an amazing new experience?

Lidl vs. Netto was the theme of a group show in the bleak suburb of Marzahn on the outskirts of Berlin. This installation was made specially for the exhibition, which was held in an old showroom, now converted to a studio/gallery under the name of Akademie der Wissenschaft. The piece comprises a found fold-out carpet sample book displaying scores of near-identical designs, a very bright strip light, and a soundtrack (via headphones) of subtly circular muzak accompanying insistent unending questions from adverts (such as ‘what is the ugliest part of your body?’). 

Made with Louie O’Grady as louie+jesse in Berlin, August, 2010.

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