There was a full moon tonight and I awoke at 2am to take some photos of our nearest neighbour, some may tink am a bit nutty?
You’re not going to believe this but I am already preparing for my Book Launch at Colchester Arts Centre (CAC) scheduled for November 5th 2017. Apart from my books and artworks being there I shall do some Performance Art (PA). I know the things I’d like to do and with the ambience and assistance at CAC I am certain that it’ll be the best venue so far where I’ve done my PA stuff. I shall use this Bruno Mars Talking To The Moon piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9pXeziqdLc in my The Three Graces (see below).
However. Whatever I plan at the moment may change dramatically as I am about to go to Germany to spend time with my PA heroes Vest & Page (aka Verena & Andrea). This is a link to a trailer of their 2016 film, ‘Plantain’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS80Ki-T9bI Their workshop is phenomenal like their work and I shall leave it a different Performance Artist to the one I am now. Hopefully a better one, of that I have little doubt. The last time I did PA in the company of V&P I poured wine over my head, I had pancake dough plopped on it too, leaves and grass all over my body and the gathered onlookers were laughing at my antics which, I must warn you, only encourages me to do more!
photo ©jurgen fritz 2015
For those of you who need to know more about what PA is I can say that it is whatever the PA artist decides it is (Jurgen Fritz said in 2015, “Pete does what Pete does and that is what it is.”). PA can be very short, just a few minutes or very long, several days non-stop which is called ‘durational’ [or endurance, for the person doing PA and the potential audience]. You won’t have to ‘endure’ mine as am only planning on 3 pieces each about 15 minutes long.
I have also prepared the definitive Mask of Apulhed(man) and have been doing ‘research at Tate Modern where I saw the South Korean Geumhyung Jeong make her masks come to life. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/zm37m8/geumhyung-jeong-at-tate-modern-tanks-seven-different-ways Also went to see avant garde Flamenco dancer Rocio Molina at Barbican cos I want to put about 60 seconds of ‘flamenco’ into ma gig. This week I went to see Michael Clark Company do his tribute to David Bowie at Barbican. As there’s quite a bit of (purported) dance in ma gig am hoping their moves influence my body in a positive way. It was a good night of dance, a bit short at 90 minutes including a 20 mins interval but it was good to see how good Clark dances.
The link below will show you some very differing PA pieces with a go at describing the form that is PA in the first para. :
http://www.complex.com/style/2013/04/the-25-best-performance-art-pieces-of-all-time/pandrogeny Two of my favourites are Oskar Schlemmer and Laurie Anderson.
There are ‘purists’ who tend to prefer not to use music, dance, or spoken word and like to do intense, mysterious-meaningful actions which may be about political or ethical issues. I am not a purist. I like to use music, dance, spoken word and changes of garb. I like to tell stories through movement & masks in my PA, stories about myself and the state of the world as I find it now and how it was when I moved through the years I have lived. Not a lot has changed over the years, the rich get richer and the rest of us just have to muddle on doing the best we can. I need faith hope & love to carry on pushing creative outcomes which make people think and maybe even entertain for as long as I am able, I am just so fortunate to be able. Ability takes years to accumulate and it can disappear in the blink of an eye so I make as much use of my time as I can.
This is a cover I designed but did not use for the book.
So, at the moment the stories I shall focus on will be taken from the book I have just published called The Shrewd Idiot. I knew the idiot well and I feel for his inability to get things right in his life. At the time portrayed in the book (1969-73) he didn’t know his ass from his twits. He was in fact a very lucky man with many friends and some were very close to him yet he often went out searching for more. One thing I know now, after all these, was that he rarely felt or showed any sense of being ‘worthy’. He didn’t comport himself with the pride and feeling of value that many of his achievements warranted. Once he had achieved some good accomplishment he never rested on his laurels, he moved immediately on, to the next challenge.
When it came to his relationships with women, like many men, the one he was with was rarely the one he wanted to stay with and he was always looking for a better model. The idiot never understood that ‘a bird on the handle is worth two in the brush’ or summat like that. So, in almost all he did, and he did a lot, he was never satisfied. And one reason he couldn’t get his head together and think straight was cos he spent a lot of his evenings under the influence of alcoholic beverage. “Pissed all th’time”, some were heard to say when asked about his state of mind. In the Colchester Arts Centre PA at 2pm on 5Nov 2017 My 67 year old self will have some dialogue with my ‘Self’ from the early 1970’s, that’s if he remembers to turn up, sobre.
His drinking sprees will not be the subject of the PA, but his relations with women are in a piece called The Three Graces (about the 3 women he actually liked to be with…most of the time). Between 1969 and 1973 the idiot had relations of quite intense quality with 3 young women (these didn’t overlap…much) but lost all 3 because of his inability to show commitment. Actually he could commit. He committed to being Social Secretary at college, to playing football for the 3rd eleven at college and to ‘making art’ but that didn’t help his relationships in fact it very much undermined them. So The Three Graces is about the idiot’s feelings of loss after they had all wandered away from him.
Sounds really sad dunnit? But no, it was not only sad, it was uplifting, the idiot had to look at what he did and change for the better, which he did but it took decades and the help of a good woman to bring him through to a better place. Her identity is not evident in The Three Graces PA, but she was there for him as he managed to settle down, have a family and eventually stop savouring the evil brew.
The idiot eventually did be shrewd and now he has published some memoirs. And the whole idea of the book launch is to encourage folks to purchase them in the form of a beautifully composed book. There’s two or three to choose from at varying prices, but you’ll get to see them on November 5th.
Finally watch some incredible movement here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ms7MGs2Nh8 a Swiss man doing butoh PA in Japan