After a busy weekend at Society of Bookbinders (SoB) in Kentish Town & Substance (SuB) (PABE Aspex Gallery Portsmouth Harbour) book fairs I was exhausted on getting back home Sunday nicht and much of Monday. As I wasn’t up to doing much (except sawing wood for my multi fuel Stanley cooker), a mindless activity, so I can chill, literally my fingers were like icicles despite gloves & scarf and all. During my wind-down time it occurred to me that the one thing I like more than making books (inc. writing and imaging and designing and getting print off and collating and binding variously) and doing Performance Art (PA) is the crack (as the lucky Irish 6 Nations Champs would say); the chat, the meeting and engaging in conversation about mutual interests with people.
So folk come up to my display of recent books at my table and peruse and maybe ask questions or make comments and I may answer then there’s the repartee + badinage. And I realised ‘that’s the thing which is most important, it’s making contact, touching the minds & consciousness’. Moments to remember. There were plenty of them at both events.
Particularly during & after my PA bits. People may comment and react to my books but it’s amazing looking from the ‘stage’ into the the audience’ faces and to see both their attention and silence at certain points. Neither audience knew what to expect although my handout (beautifully printed at r j printers in Maldon) did go some way to explain what I was about to do, then did. In both venues the audiences were very patient and forgiving and 4 folk said they really enjoyed it at SuB.
I love the image which The Ladies Of The Press took of Young Shrewd Idiot seated. It shows the attention given by the audience and the hanging Japanese kimono which features a bit later on. They also took a short vid of him ‘dancing’ with The Red Dress which I shall try to post soon (the tech is beyond me, I’ll get my mate Dave to elp me). It’s lovely because the dress was falling from the coat hanger (not part of the plan) and I tenderly readjust it back onto the coat hanger. Much more tenderly than am renowned for!
One woman (Renée O’Drobinak of The Ladies of the Press) who is obviously big into theatre came up after and said it had an Ancient quality, ‘like Greek’. I think she meant the overall drama but also the humour & pathos together in one piece.
The reaction was even stronger at SoB where several (fellow book people) said it (my celebration of my dad’s life using the words of Annie Lennox) was very touching. Here’s a short vid taken on Saturday which you can watch on Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/p/BgeD8TMjM2L/?taken-by=palaverdesigns ) . Some even remembered when I did ‘The History of Printing’ in a 20 minute PA two years ago.
I haven’t got any images from either PA gig as it stands becos, obviously, I were doing my ting and cannot be taking snaps. I saw some folks taking them so if any kind soul out thur can send me one I’ll add them to my blArt as they come. Thanks to whoever took the image above! Thanks Dave Kirby for sending it. “The Young Shrewd Idiot sits down with the Red Dress on his lap at Substance gig” is my title for it. The Young Shrewd Idiot is (of course silly old me wearing a mask which is taken from an oil painting that I painted from the mirror when I was at college. The painting is in The Shrewd Idiot (A4 at least) book. I wear 3 simple card masks of my 1968-72 faces watti dun. The 4th mask is a pair of very special ‘shades’ which I don when am doing the Iggy Pop number Shades. The fifth and best mask is my 3D Apulhed mask, the best I ever made thus far, thanks to you Verena giving me the recipe. Am hoping one day to make the 3 self portraits 3D too, altho not totally necessary I’d like to achieve that.
Special thanks to Dave Kirby at SuB & those responsible at SoB for inviting me to take part. I enjoyed both experiences, especially as I did not get caught up in the bad snow what fell on the South West (Southwester than Portsmouth!)
I shall have a table at the next Society of Bookbinders fair in Kentish Town on Saturday 6th April 2019. I will do a 15 minute set wearing the beautiful Apulhed Mask.
Syria? First alphabet- Ugarit ( The golden age of Ugarit. The most prosperous and the best-documented age in Ugarit’s history dated from about 1450 to about 1200 bce and included periods of domination by the Egyptians (c. 1400–1350 bce) and the Hittites (c. 1350–1200 bce). That age produced great royal palaces and temples and shrines, with a high priests’ library and other libraries on the acropolis. After the discovery of the temple library, which revealed a hitherto unknown cuneiform alphabetic script as well as an entirely new mythological and religious literature.
The art of Ugarit in its golden age is best illustrated by a golden cup and patera (bowl) ornamented with incised Ugaritic scenes; by carved stone stelae and bronze statuettes and ceremonial axes; by carved ivory panels depicting royal activities; and by other fine-carved ivories. Despite Egyptian influence, Ugaritic art exhibits a Syrian style of its own.
The excavators of the site were fortunate in the number and variety of finds of ancient records in cuneiform script. The excavations continue, and each season throws some new and often unexpected light on the ancient north Canaanite civilization. The texts are written on clay tablets either in the Babylonian cuneiform script or in the special alphabetic cuneiform script invented in Ugarit. Several copies of this alphabet, with its 30 signs, were found in 1949 and later. A shorter alphabet, with 25, or even 22, signs, seems to have been used by 13th-century traders.
Scribes used four languages: Ugaritic, Akkadian, Sumerian, and Hurrian, and seven different scripts were used in Ugarit in this period: Egyptian and Hittite hieroglyphic and Cypro-Minoan, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurrian, and Ugaritic cuneiform. These show clearly the cosmopolitan character of the city.)from– http://www.britannica.com/place/Ugarit
I felt privileged to be first speaker out of the blocks and did a rapid show of the several books that I have made following Joanna Drucker’s introduction to the history of the written word in her Alphabetic Labyrinth which really inspired me to make books of many different historical types and ultimately to do this PA piece (https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=alphabetic%20labyrinth) Since I started the project it has taken on a life of its own and led me to much new knowledge.
The PA took place at 3pm and I did give a short intro to what some of the moves meant.When I referred to the fact that there’d probably have been copies of the Kabir poem, which I use as inspiration for my project, in the shops that got blown up I felt myself starting to cry unintentionally. Doing PA does touch a chord.
Happily my Performance Art piece went down well [‘Thankyou Pete for an awesome performance’], even converting several folk who had been sceptical about its fitness for purpose. The attention to detail is quite startling. Whilst watching my PA I realised in the mime about making letterpress print I had forgotten to ink up the ‘chase’ so I went back and did it (in my mime) and sure enough one lady said afterwards that at the time she thought, ‘He’s not inked it up’, which shows the concentration of the audience. Apparently you could hear a pin drop, probably when I mimed holding the needle to sew the book sections together?
Some members made pleasant remarks about my little new binding of David Jury’s prints of my 6 poems in the Vessel. Well, not so little cos it’s about 20” x 18” and some were amazed at how I had managed to keep such a big surface area from bending. Actually so am I and I told them, ‘It’s beginner’s luck, follows me everywhere.’
In fact it is the result of many years of only sporadically making traditionally bound books, partly because I like ‘alternative’ but partly cos I was always frightened of being judged incompetent. The confluence of my increasing self-reliance and a perceived need to bring David’s beautiful rendition of my words made me so determined to overcome my personal weaknesses and get the darn thing done and done well. The book took a few weeks of research, seeking advice from DJ and ace bookbinders Mike Sullivan & Son (Robert), doing trials and buying the right materials. And taking lots of time and consummate care! So when I finally released the book from under heavy boards last week this was my reaction, “I have just taken the new ‘Vessels’ book out from under the weights and in my eyes it is dang near ‘perfec’. [However, remember the compere in ‘Cabaret’ who sang ‘If you could see her thru my eyes’, whilst looking at a gorilla!]I am over the beautiful waning moon I can see out my window this morgan. Wow. It’s taken several days of tears & sweat but I am glad to say it is good (enough for me, and that’s ‘good’.” Here’s an image of it.
And for those interested here’s my work towards the day:
Visions of Joanna The Ideas behind and Script for S o B.
In a recent interview Yan Martell said he thought that art can bring about changed perceptions by altering your perspective, “to posit a different reality” [to that/those with which you’re familiar]. All my life in art this is what I have tried to achieve. I always looked for a difference. Now in my Performance Art I have discovered a way to animate my vision.
We all know about books. Many of us make beautiful books. But do we all remember the way the word was first turned from an aural thing into a physical thing? At first it was inscribed in clay then a variety of different grounds were tried. We are embarked on the digital age and who can dream of where that will take the book? I look at different book forms and try to create them and their makers using my body and some props and specially composed music. The bark mask is typical of my creative process. I conceived the idea and began to make it using materials I had saved from my work in my garden. As I moved through its making I allowed the mask to dictate to me some of its form hence some rather unusual asymmetrical results with the elements of surprise and a degree of shock.
I am standing still, wearing black vest & suit (no shoes), hold up the bark mask, looking at the audience. “I am the book”
“We are all aware that paper is made from trees. But in Gandhara they made scrolls from birch bark and buried them in pots. These are the oldest surviving Buddhist texts ever discovered. (pick from the pot show my scrolls and place as start of the ‘sculpture’ which will be feature of the Part 2.)
As my tribute to those early pots I made my own pot with words around the neck and scrolls hold my words and images. I need to mention Jackie Leven here. He sang a wonderful version of a poem by Kabir which I shall recite as I cannot sing”.
I use music specially written and played by Luke Walker for my Clay Jug.
“Inside This Clay Jug there are canyons…”
“I am doing my piece in 2 parts of 15 minutes each.
This first part I shall introduce a series of books to you and tell the background which is really the history of the book through my own book-making. Then in part two there’ll be no explanations just enactment.
I have produced a book, G BATCH, which explains the project and contains the first version of six poems that I wrote feature which throughout the series.
Whilst doing my Masters I was amazed by Joanna Drucker’s Alphabet Labyrinth book which goes into the way the first words were put onto a surface, the first writing. This was on clay tablets, which I made but not using cuneiform, just English. (Show my yellow one & place in sculpture)
I also made a clay poti, (show and add to sculpture) which is a book form used in the East. Tibetan monks like the Dalai Lama still read from daphne paper potis.
I shall be referring to my Leaf Books here. Which are in codex form. (show and add to sculpture) Later the letterpress was invented and books became more available. I did a collaboration with David Jury with my Earthen Vessel books.
Wear black vest & black ‘dance’ pants. Also I shall be using a shawl to add the ‘outfits’. For each part first pick up relevant ‘book’.
(with this movement in between each book:
Foot forward, back, move left, hands up
Move right hand out to right and back
Move left hand out to left and back
Foot forward, back, move right, hands up
Pull hand over hand to left to signify pulling back time)
The PA piece:I was going to recite this but I forgot:
‘Have a care
Beware, it’s best to be wise
If you go down to the woods today
You’ll never believe your eyes
Be careful what you do to the trees
The guardian is in his guise.’
Everyone knows paper comes from trees but did you know that in ancient Gandhara they created scrolls from birch bark? These were found hidden in pots and are the oldest records of the life if Buddha.
The Tree-King is slightly scarey and gives warning that we should care for and treasure the tree.
Performance Art has an unsettling aspect here shown by the Tree-king who sets the tone of the scene. Using an invisible cord I connect with past times and I trawl through different book forms from the past 3 thousand years; clay tablets, scrolls, pothis, manuscripts, letterpress and eventually codex. I attempt to create various historical book forms and their makers using my body, mime & movement with music created by Luke Edward Walker and mark Newby Robson. I shall exhibit and refer to several of my own books influenced by; clay tablets from Ur, pothis from Tibet, scrolls from Gandhara, illuminated manuscripts, letterpress pages and codex. Watch me become the book-makers and the books. Meet the scribes, calligraphers, printers and book-makers from bygone ages.
bark-mask the bark-mask covers most of my face, stand tree like to start. unmask
begin Luke Walker music
‘bow’ to Pot from which I take
Move thru the books-
clay tablet- use one of the clay tablets from poti or the yellow one shawl becomes ‘kilt’, sit upright like the scribes from ancient Ur. Become a clay tablet
scroll- Take a Scroll from the pot and unravel it, ravel it, unravel it– shawl becomes Tibet style robe, sit cross-legged. become a scroll
codex- show one of the Leaf Books shawl becomes ‘hood/cowl’. Sitting at a desk become the medieval monks who created illuminated manuscripts. Be a codex book. Here I lay down and ‘turn’ like a book then stand and do it standing, foot out front, to side, out front, down.
Show Earthen Vessel books
I become the printer using a letterpress method?
The David Jury collaboration prints first.
Show my new bound book of DJ’s prints.
Return to the pot, go down into child pose.
I think Sonia Serrao who organised the day did a great job and there was a really happy bustle throughout the proceedings. I met and made friends with a whole new bunch of people. My mate Dave Doughty came up with me and his being navigator got us both safely thru the streets of London. Had I been on my own I wouldn’t have reached the show.
I hope to be able to add more images to the one Sonia sent me when anyone who got a good shot sends them to me.
Now that’s over I can shoot back to London, this time on public transport, to see the Auerbach at Tate. And return some books to the Poetry library.
I’d love to go to Zurich to see my friends Vest & Page, but I can’t. If you can you’ll have to go next week:
Verena & Andrea dressed up in latex. As Vest & Page they are astounding Performance Artists
Fabriktheater Rote Fabrik, Zurich
9 – 10 – 17 – 18 March, 2016, 20:00h
YGGDRASIL, the second production of Kollektiv Phantomschmerz – in collaboration with the Italian-German artist duo VestAndPage and musician Marc Rossier – is the continuation of the search for identity started in their first production Highlight. Following the question “What do you know?”, now they inquire into “What do you believe?”. In a time of spiritual alienation, a journey between conscious and unconscious states ensues through a hybrid of performance art and theatre. Shows at the Fabriktheater Zurich (Doors open at 19:30)
• March 09, 2016, 20:00 – Premiere
• March 10, 2016, 20:00
• March 17, 2016, 20:00 – Post-Show Q&A
• March 18, 2016, 20:00
In a recent interview Yan Martell said he thought that art can bring about changed perceptions by altering your perspective, “to posit a different reality” [to that/those with which you’re familiar].
All my life in art this is what I have tried to achieve. I always looked for a difference. Now in my Performance Art [PA] I have discovered a way to animate my vision. What on earth is this PA some of you may say and how come you are doing it? RoseLee Goldberg, in Performance Art. From Futurism to the Present, says
‘…the very presence of the ‘performance artist’ in real time ‘stopping time’, that gives the medium its central position. In the first decade of the 21st century PA is at last being folded into the history of art, moving from the margins to the centre…PA continues to be a highly reflexive, volatile form- one that artists use to articulate and respond to change. It continues to defy definition and remains as unpredictable and provocative as it ever was.’
As I said I always looked for a ‘difference’ and PA gives me the opportunity to make a difference, as well as making books and all my other ‘art’ stuff. I got into it back in1973 when a friend called Chris Leonard asked me to do an Apulhed Mask Show in the drama theatre at college. I tend to do a piece of PA at the start of each of my 25 or more exhibitions but now I have caught the bug and my PA is as important a part of my output as anything I ever created. It panders to the actor in me, the show-off, exhibitionist and all that stuff we usually hide. I feel I can achieve the impossible in PA. The impossible not something like flying or walking on water but things I would not do as a rule. Recite poems, dance, mime, wear a dress, wear a Tibetan Monk’s yellow hat, all crazy things I’d avoid normally cos deep inside this shallow disguise is a normal man, I’ve yet to find him though.
RoseLee Goldberg’s book entitled ‘From Futurism to the Present’ gives clues as to how long PA has been around. For me it began with Alfred Jarry and in a way his work has never met its equal. Everyone after that was re-framing what he did but don’t misunderstand me, there’s been and still are some really wonderful PA creators. And she is correct in saying that it has gradually entered into the thoughts if not building of the gallery. PA isn’t exactly easy to sell. So Saatchi for one may have had difficulty harnessing it for his collection. That’s one of the great appeals of PA, it hasn’t been strangled by the gallery, yet. I am in a lucky position. I am now an OAP, I’m retired from my day job and I don’t have to ‘do’ anything. But I choose to make books and PA cos I feel I have something, garnered from my 50 years trying to ‘make it’ as an artist bloke, which I can bring to the PA place. What’s that? Well it seems you can do PA almost anywhere. This week (ending 27Feb2016) I did a small part of my new piece in the foyer of my sports club cos someone asked me to ‘Do it here for me, right now’, so I did. And that broke a duck. I hadn’t dared do it like that but as I was asked, I did. And a link in the shackles dropped off (Ta Lara Ann!).
We all know about books.
Many of us make beautiful books. But do we all remember the way the word was first turned from an oral thing into a physical thing?
At first it was inscribed in clay then a variety of different grounds were tried. We are now embarked on the digital age and who can dream of where that will take the book? I look at different book forms and try to create them and their makers, using my body and some props and specially composed music.
The bark mask?
The bark mask is typical of my creative process. I conceived the idea of using tree related stuff to create a mask because we make books from trees and I began to make it using materials which I had saved from my work in my garden. As I moved through its making I allowed the mask to dictate to me some of its form hence some rather unusual asymmetrical results with the elements of surprise and a degree of shock. Purportedly the Tree Sprit brings with him a warning about the need to be Eco-Friendly. But as with all symbols and signifiers there’s a lot more to it than that.
And there’s more to PA than finding difference and exhibiting one’s prowess in becoming the book! PA is a forum for protest and complaint too. I have a gripe about the men, it’s almost always men, purportedly to be ‘world leaders’. My gripe goes back past world war one and forward to present day when these jerks ‘lead’ [from the back of course, in safe bunkers] the country to war.
“Putin needs to be given an out, a chance to climb down, to admit a mistake and a chance to heal the damage, before it escalates into a catastrophe. The ‘world ‘leaders’ are complicit. They are in danger of engaging in a 3rd ‘World War’. STOP. See the comparison between Ukraine 2014 and Serbia 1914. Be very careful.”
Since then I have met a Ukrainian who reminded me of the terrible incursion Russia has made into that independent country killing some of the person’s friends AND RUSSIA IS STILL THERE. Putin is also involving in Syria supporting Assad and bombing groups of Syrians who are combatting his (Assad) regime’s heinous measures against Syrians, 11 million of whom have fled. Stop the killing now your madnesses. my image of my Uncle John making snowflakes out of bombs (so they shot him 5 times)
I hope that this peace brokered with John Kerry and Russia is the ‘chance to climb down’ I mentioned above cos the war-path is a bad trail to follow. I won’t say ‘ask Blair & Bush Jnr’ now cos that’d be too obvious.
So, back to my PA at S-o-B this coming Saturday, a lot happened overnight! I awoke having decided in my sleep to actually make this PA easier to comprehend for the S-o-B visitor. A lot of PA uses few if any words. The artist just does the piece, no words nor explanations, it its purest terms. I have decided to give an ‘in’ to my actions. I shall talk thru the first couple of stages, explaining where (I think) I’m coming from.
Finally I had a wonderful experience as I awoke at 05.10 hrs today. I looked down the bed and saw a stream of light along the length of my body. A bit like the white line down the middle of the road illuminated by those old cat’s eyes. I knew I was in bed not on the road. I looked up and saw the curtains had a slight opening in them and the halfmoon was peeping thru the gap sending a beam of light over my body. As I stood up it was down my bed and up over my pillow. I love synchronicity, Jung is one of me six ‘wise’ men in the poems in my Clay Jug. Let’s hear the Captain sing one of his most beautiful songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjazg_lTfJA See you on the end of the rainbow in Kentish town on Saturday 5th March.
a dramatic sky signals a busy time getting ready for this new season of events
Once I wanted to be a writer, now I write.
Once I wanted to be a Performance Artist, now I perform.
Once I wanted to be a maker of books, I make books.
Once I wanted to be a father, then I got children of my own.
Once I wanted to be a lover, then there was you.
You can make it if you try
And by and by if you don’t give up
You can become your dreams
Sometimes we encounter obstacles
Have faith in your vision
And what you wish to become
Once I wanted to be an astronaut
Then I realised
I am flying thru space
On a small planet we call Earth
One day my spirit shall soar above this temporary home
I’ll look back at all the beautiful things
I will smile
Then I shall let go
And travel speedily
In the blink of an eye
To the next great adventure
God knows where
Thanks for all that I have been
For all what I have seen
For what I was able to do
That is my experience
I sure got lucky
I lived my life in peace
That’s what I wish for all
Peace on Earth
Forever may be.
Forget those historical rights
Aim to live together
For the good of All
Look after what you can.
Pete Kennedy 14.02.2016
I’ve chosen to feature the Clay Jug in my piece for the Society of Bookbinder’s bookart day on 5 March at Kentish Town because has many aspects to it; book, binding, etching, woodcut, letterpress, pottery, prose & poetry so I’ve chosen it as my main focus. Sonia Serrao, who has kindly asked me to be there has requested I do it as a two part presentation, 15 minutes in each.
Here’s one of the books I made what I’ll be going on about.
I have separated it into a short intro-talk with my books as the objects revealed and then they become my props in a new piece of my Performance Art (PA). I am aware that the S-o-B members who attend won’t necessarily be au fe with PA and I promise my piece will be very ‘book’ related. There’ll be music by my young friend Luke Walker which he wrote specifically for my Clay Jug story. I will ‘explain’ the PA piece in my intro and I have been working on the choreography, still am, it’s quite ambitious inasmuch that I wish to use my body to ‘be’ various forms of the book since Sumerians made cuneiform tablets. Which should be easy cos some folk think me as “dumb as a brick.”
And another one which my cat has taken over as his bed!
Also, I felt I had to take something new in the bookbinding sense so I am working on a new binding for the collaboration prints that David Jury & me worked up in 2014. I’ve done a ‘dummy’ which has a few teething problems that I hope to iron out between ‘rehearsals’.
Robin rehearsing his PA
Finally, as well as the Bausch Co. there’s another dancer and mask wearer who inspires me toward my PA, Leonard Cohen, here he is with his old age mask, watch it til the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuCpTi0EtbU
‘…it is the very presence of the performance artist in real time, of live performers ‘stopping time’, that gives the medium its central position. In the first decade of the 21st century PA is at last being folded into the history of art proper, moving from the margins to the centre…PA continues to be a highly reflexive, volatile form- one that artists use to articulate and respond to change. It continues to defy definition and remains as unpredictable and provocative as it ever was.’ RoseLee Goldberg in Performance Art (PA). From Futurism to the Present.
As the new year gets going the great news is that I shall be doing a short performance art piece at the Society of Bookbinders in Kentish Town in March.
London and South Region of The Society of Bookbinders
Book Arts Day
Saturday 5th March 2016 (10:30 – 4pm)
(£10 members SoB, £15 non-members)
The day will comprise:
An illustrated talk on Book Arts by Sarah Bodman
A book arts fair presenting a variety of emerging and established book artists (many works will be for sale).
Demonstrations by a selection of the exhibiting artists.
A spoken word performance by book artist Pete Kennedy.
A mini exhibition of Sónia Serrão’s personal collection of artists’ books collected over the last 20 years.
Sarah Bodman is an artist and researcher at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), UWE Bristol, where she investigates contemporary book arts. She is also Programme Leader for the MA in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at the Bower Ashton campus, editor of the Book Arts Newsletter, Artist’s Book Yearbook andThe Blue Notebook journal for artists’ books, and writes regularly on artists’ books for ‘a-n’ and Printmaking Today.
I have chosen to do a variation of my Clay Jug piece because it resonates ‘book’ and I have several book projects I’d like to show anyone who turns up to see. It was originally done tward my MA in Art & the Book and I have ‘danced’ it at IPA in Glastonbury & Bristol where it was very well received. The books that grew into the project were greatly influenced by Joanna Drucker’s wonderful book on the Alphabet. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/790760.Alphabetic_Labyrinth I experimented with:
use of clay tablets like cuneiform,
poti like the Tibetan book form,
scrolls like medieval manuscripts and
the idea of knowledge being found in buried or hidden pots.
I use the music that Luke E. Walker created for Clay Jug to spark my movement thru this piece. Here’s a link to Luke’s music on soundcloud:
I also recite the words of Kabir and, maybe, Osip Mandelstam). I also intend to show a couple of my most beautiful unique copy books that I did to house my six poems generated from the project. PLUS David Jury’s version in letterpress with a surprise package.
I am also developing a piece which I did at IPA several times in Oct2015 based on the words of a song from the wonder-full cd named still calm melancholy air brush hush by Colin Lloyd Tucker called Brush in which I have his words written and show them with movement as the piece progresses. I mime making a painting and in the end, in some venues, I actually brush an image onto a surface which can be paper and/or glass, perspex, wood, anything. I am looking to do it in shop windows, particularly art supplies places.
It fulfils my desire to follow in the footsteps of zen masters who write their thoughts in beautiful calligraphy and do drawings too. I may use Colin’s beautiful ambient music before I appear ‘on set’ but more & more I am working tward not having beautiful distractions as I move thru a piece, I am working tward playing the music in my head as I move.
Designed as a solo work where PK plays two combatants, Tommy & Gerry. This is a commemoration and hopefully a reconciliation, of the horrific battle of the Somme July 1916. Tommy has a helmet like the one worn by Brits in WW1, but this also could be a cooking pot or wok like those we used to wear as children when playing war games.
My aim is to try to stop all wars on planet Earth, no pressure then Pete! My request is that the world works towards de-powering those perennial ‘leaders’ who create wars and create a planet where war is but a dim distant recollection. Can you Imagine that! Here’s Lennon my working class hero singing his song in a set which has all my favourite foibles in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2hvkPyiAFE You see John dressed in apparel almost certainly designed to antagonise the obviously ‘privileged’ audience his band played in front of dressed in his red suit and black round specs.
And Lady Gaga, almost outdoing Lennon with her glasses pays tribute to one leader (Obama) who tried not to wage war and her favourite song writer in her version of Imagine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urjyP95H6vk
I was hoping to do it in June at the book fair at BALTIC (Artists’ Book Market BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 June 2016) but haven’t been selected to do an intervention this year. So, if you have a venue in the North east area and want to see one or more of my pieces near the weekend of 18-19 June please let me know.
Going back to thoughts https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/a-lifelong-friend/ on my old friend for 60 years Trev*, initially it would trouble me that my words don’t reach people like him but, on consideration, I have spent 48 years developing my words & ideas which he neither followed nor kept up with my path, why should he? I don’t understand his zone either, he was an accountant, I don’t do money, ask HMRC they’d confirm that. *Good news is Trev got in touch and said he enjoyed my last blArt.
Here’s the first viewing of one of the Apulhed Comix c.1977 that never got published in the 1970s. By 1979 I had created Happy Apulhed, a much more friendly, less eerie character.
When I was doing Apulhed comics at college in the early 1970s my old mates back in Burnley could explain my work was beyond their experience by saying, “Pete’s gone off to college and is full of new-fangled ideas, he’s just a bit strange but we can tolerate that because he’s…” Now nearly 50 years later I have further widened the gap. Not vindictively, just by osmosis, as a result of my endeavours but it still begs the question- If my art cannot reach ‘normal’ folk, am I missing the mark?
Nonetheless folk from all over the world do find my art interesting. yesterday I had hits from Vietnam and Sweden and my total views is fast approaching 10K. Some write and say I write well or the blog is good. But more, I feel that when I do any more Performance Art (PA) I’d need to be able to communicate or ‘get’ to the public’s minds whilst neither condescending them, nor demeaning my ideas of course. There would always be an elephant of surprise and an unsettling feeling in the outcomes I produce to keep the onlookers’ attention. Don’t want youse all falling asleep now do we?
I have been looking again at Verena & Andrea’s (Vest & Page) stuff in the vids on their website. http://www.vest-and-page.de/#!selected-works/caf0 They show by their astounding work that by comparison my work is a mere blot on the floor left by a PABaby in his swaddling bands. (‘Swaddling’ is an age-old practice of wrapping infants tightly in blankets or similar cloths so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further restrict the infant. At the moment I feel constrained as if by swaddling bands and only by ‘getting’ my work out there’ will I change my garment, or maybe relinquish [most of] them.) The good news is I’ve been invited onto the Book Arts Day for The Society of Bookbinders on Sat 5th March 2016 in little old London town to do some Performance Art. Right now I’m working on a new piece, ‘Brush’, using words from Colin Lloyd Tucker’s beautiful song ‘Brush’. My friends, the Townsend Twinsare helping choreograph the movement. I may also include a new rendition of Clay Jug after the beautiful poem by Kabir.
And ‘PABaby‘ is maybe another pseudonym for me as it cover the fact that I’m old enough in calendar years to be their grandpa yet in terms of my experience in the field of PA I’m just a baby. In fact whilst at IPA in October a lot of my work brought me, and indeed some observers, to tears. In my case because I was going back into my early experiences and re-living them and also seeing that at 64 years old I weren’t about to have certain experiences again and indeed the inevitability of the changes old age will bring also weighed down on me. I got my crying in first. Some watchers cried in sympathy, some because I touched a chord and others just cried cos they were incredibly tired after 8 days of full-on PA practice with a group of strangers to start with who fast became close bonds. I still find it so daunting to think of what is out there in the Performance Art field. But it’s silly to compare. It’s like comparing a little village’s pub band to the Rolling Stones but there again the greats do look at the new stuff coming thru and like V&P are very encouraging. My mate IEPW told me that David Bowie liked Arcade Fire so much that he requested to sing with them and they accepted his offer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6c9Ejfu-iU
When I heard of the death of David Bowie I thought to myself, they should have a day each year to celebrate him, maybe his day of dying would be the best day for an annual remembering of his creative, original and inspirational, trend-setting (in its purest form) life. Undoubtedly he did set trends.
The Dalai Lama has said, “Usually I don’t consider birthdays something important. In Tibet we consider the death anniversary more important. I think that’s quite wise. A person who made good contributions in life, then after [their] death, remember them in some anniversaries…as a Buddhist monk I believe every day is a new day, every day is birthday. The particles of our body momentarily changing, always become something new. Mental thinking, because of new knowledge & experience, also changes. So every day is a birthday. [If] we use our day in a proper way then the months & decades, whole life becomes meaningful. If you can help other, do it as much as you can. If you cannot do it, at least, restrain from harming others. That’s the essential of meaningful life.”
I’ll drink to that, nowadays my chosen drink is water.
The activities of Pete Kennedy, Performance Artist Bloke, Book Creator & retired artist.