The frailty of being human

The frailty of being human/ubeings*.

As I approached one of the most important (in my way of thinking) moments in my life my shoulder ached so much it jeopardized my planned ‘Performance Art’ at the re-newed  firstsite Gallery Colchester.

It pulled me up sharp. I had to really rest on Thursday and take it easier on myself Friday. I hoped the pain would subside so I could carry on my piece. This brought up the notion of frailty. Of course we live longer than a gnat or a flea or a butterfly once we survive the pang if birth but we are prone to disease, injury and mutual self-destruction (wars & other conflicts) as Gurdjeff used to call it until he too found that crashing your car did little for your survival and he did died on the second crash. We all will die anyway, crash or no crash, war or no war, it is our destiny. Tibetan thinkers don’t talk of death per se, they have the bardo of living (this here now) and the bardo of dying (what happens to us when we quit the body which has been our shell awhile). My ‘Performance Art’ is me railing against my fate, or actually, more accurately, accepting it and making a noise (even when the piece is silent which is rare) whilst I still can.

I hope you enjoy what I do. Bless you & Namaste.

*‘ubeings’ is my non gender biased word for our species.

a pete + optics

So, shouldering the task I turned up Saturday 7th November 2015 and ‘performance-artisted’ with my piece on being a cowboy called Outlaw Pete that Bruce the Boss Springstep song he wrote  especially for me (not).

19.04.2016 I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

Then I Explained Joseph Beuys to a Dead Woodpecker, below is Priscila Buschinelli’s photo of me Making the Point whilst holding the dead woodpecker (it flew into our conservatory and I got a friend to stuff it).

making the point

and I danced to Luke E Walker’s ambient ‘Sounds for Pete’s Clay Jug’

pete electric eyes sm

Having first led a crowd from the comfort of the foyer café to the Mosaic Area by ‘playing’ a Bolivian song on the woodpecker’s beak and calling ‘Follow me, I’m the Pied Piper’. And about 30 folk did! It was so good to see the corridor filled with curious people after once seeing a lecturer from Australia walking forlornly all lonely thru that same space to give her talk to about ten people in the gallery’s fabulous lecture theatre. WOW, the gallery has moved on since then.

To see 30 people walking 5 or 6 abreast meant so much to me. To see that wonderful gallery full of people & music & dance & Performance Art & 700+ pictures and sculptures by local folks and to be part of that was a real highlight as the place is moving from untouchable to accessible under Anthony Roberts ‘temporary’ leadership.

One woman said she thought the best part of my piece was when I laid (exhausted) on the glass on top of the mosaic and breathed out which made my breath appear on the glass. My favourite moment was when I laid down at the end and left a smudge from the make up on my hand like a stone-age artist left his mark on cave walls.

It was an honour & privilege to do my Performance Art at Firstsite’s first Performance Art day even though it meant I had to go to the Small Publisher’s Book Fair at Conway Hall on Friday and miss some Performance Art events in the Spill fest in London. It was well worth it to be part of the day which used the Mosaic Area & other parts of Firstsite to show off the beauty of the architectural features and the second event (sorry I missed the first) by Helen Stratford helen stratford (7) smactually got the crowd to touch parts of the building and learn to appreciate it more. She shewed us the leaning wall had a good intent. They don’t reach the floor so they look as if they’re floating. THEN! If you crouch under the gap tween floor and wall there’s a long series of windows! These cannot be appreciated because the public cannot get down into the field to the back of the building for legal reasons. This needs to be rectified. The building needs to be circumnavigated with access at all times the gallery is open, for many reasons. Get it sorted Colchester (Council)! (see footnote) So here are some images of folk feeling the gallery, and it felt good banging a beat on the gold cladding:

lee ashcroft refund (8) sm

Priscila Buschinelli with Stephanie Kogler watching Pete

There were 11 different Performance Artist events working their magic including a breast feeding mother dancing with her babe suckling.

kayla sinclair motherhood (7) sm

They were enjoyed by all age groups. Let me list a few of the Performance Artists who played their part in the day curated by Priscila Buschinelli, the organiser/curator & Stephanie Kogler, the Open project assistant, with ‘JV’ doing the sound tech which made the music & sound reach our ears so clearly.

Lee Ashcroft registered his disdain at having to pay to do a Performance Art event! He wanted a refund and asked what Mario would do? Bang his head on a box and coins fall out, which he did for a 20 mins ‘durational’ piece with his just reward but the action hurt so much I bet he wished he’d not complained!

lee ashcroft refund (7) sm

Phil Mill did a sound piece which was phenomenal BUT he needed something on the ‘stage’ to captivate interest, a focal point.

phil mill (1) sm

Che Kevlin did a sound piece with wonderful focal points particularly the golden mask which he made from an old card wrapping stuff sprayed gold. He created this ‘thing’ which played noise as he stroked it for his 20 minutes with a home made bow. No image cos someone had hid my camera.

Mel Donohoe did a most beautiful piece with herself dressed in a wedding dress under which a petticoat filled with white feathers lurked. She stuck dress pins in her arms from which she dangled the feathers to create ‘wings’ then she mounted some step ladders and raised her arms. A lack of wind prevented her taking off!

mel donohoe primary love (9) sm mel donohoe primary love (25) sm

The Murphy family of four dressed up as horses danced beautifully in costumes which shone & shimmered & glittered.

charlie + co (23) sm

And finally Holly Dot & Will did a totally irreverent skit on galleryistic etiquette which absolutely marmalised the way so many galleries don’t allow you to talk, laugh, touch, take photos and all the things you’d love to do.

holly dot +will (10) sm

I found the work infectious, the noises were glorious especially the sound of children laughing. As was the sound of clapter, especially when they showed appreciation for my own gyrating perspiring and making my mark on the glass.

I hope to do two more blogs this week about The book fair world and about Deb Guinane’s Performance Art at the spill fest in London on Sunday.

holly dot +will (14) sm

(footnote to Colchester council)

I’m not’asking am saying do it, because without that possibility the gallery can never function AND we (public/visitors) cannot access the car park so parking is an ISSUE and one which MUST BE PREVENTING visitors coming to the gallery. And whilst I am on about stupid things.Another thing which needs sorting is the road into Queen Street which normal cars can’t drive down from the high street. The stupidity is that they merely drive down the East Hill and turn at the Minories and go back to Queen Street and don’t say ‘We’ll put a stop to that’ NO, just re-instate the road so people can drive to the car park (Butt Lane?) then allow access to the gallery through the path at the back. Then folk can see thru the windows at the foot of the floating leaning walls! It’s not rocket science. Sort it!


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