What might have come from this week?
Often a week of mishap wouldn’t effect or even warrant the need for discussion it at all, but when you loose a week to institutional bureaucracy and poor organisation, one can’t help but feel irritable. Neither the less, it certainly isn’t worth spending too much time wining about, so i wont linger in the detail of exactly what caused us to miss out on two unique opportunities to play this week. But instead, speculate on what could have been, what happened instead and what do we take forward.
On the Tuesday just passed, we (JOMO) were granted access the old Wellington Terrace foundation building (a building that hasn’t been used now for nearly a year) which situates itself away from the main cluster of buildings that makes up the woodlane arts campus of Falmouth University. This deceptively large building harbours multiple large rooms as well as smaller spaces all of which are entirely empty, ringing with the reverberation that only comes with an aged stone building, one that has seen many student spanning 50+ years of study, have their brains infested with the curiosity of creativity. Such a history that you can absolutely feel walking around from room to room.
A little while ago now, sometime in our second year at Art school – Staz, a long time collaborator and friend mentioned, whilst discussing the infamous Alvin Lucier’s – I’m Sitting In A Room, speculatively poised the idea – “Instead of one room, I’d wanna use all the rooms, the whole building in fact”. To anyone who has listened or witnessed I’m Sitting In a Room, such a statement is bound to get you imagination ticking. We discussed it for sometime that day and came to the conclusion that it might be possible to recreate this piece within multiple rooms, producing a unique sound – a reflection of the sonic shape of each room – for such an experiment to potentially ever work, it would require an empty building of multiple separated rooms. Already perhaps you can begin to imagine the opportunity Wellington Terrace could give us – regardless, what artist wouldn’t want an entire abandoned building at there disposal. On that very Tuesday afternoon we planned and plotted exactly how this could go down, figuring out exactly how it could work.
The following day we received word that we would not be allowed, for a variety of bureaucratic reasons, to work in the building that day or the next for that matter – in fact the time we were told we were granted in the building may very well all evaporate before we even unravel cables. Naturally this would disappoint anyone, but to add to this, an event we were scheduled to play that following friday was cancelled due the venue closing down. So if i were to believe in luck, it certainly wasn’t on our side this week.
I guess the point i’m trying to pose here is in regards to the intention of the work what happened instead or in-between. Setting up the equipment meant that the process had begun – perhaps the artwork had begun at this point. This line of thinking began after a group discussion with lecturer Andy Webster, where we spoke in depth in regard to the a essay he’d sent us by Beatrice von Bimarck in discussion with Irit Rogoff, who suggests the curatorial happens in and around the gaps between the intention of a collection of artworks. The intention was to use the whole of an unused building, potential to encounter new space, yet a translucent physical barrier of glass windows separated that us and the tools we needed to execute his spacial exploration. We knew exactly what were going to do, how we were going to do it, yet here we are waiting outside.
Unique in practise is this anxiety to the pause (waiting), the relationship of stopping and starting – has it started yet?. The worst nightmare for an artist can be when the work stagnates, breaks, runs out, or perhaps gets boring. Even more so is if the audience don’t know if its started yet. A life cycle of sorts, that undulates from the sensitive energy of performance to that of being unable to work at all. Its a curious subject the start and end of a work, what happens before after and during, does it happen at all. Like a lot of work post Fluxus, it was the implication that something could happen.
Subverting the lifetime of a artwork.
Silence – thunderous crash. (sound check) Has it started yet? Why are they still talking to one another? (Take a bow to the spectator or don’t acknowledge there existence at all)
What if they work were to never end? Did it ever start?