Making as Performance

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I’ve been working with Dawn again this week.  I asked her to film and photograph some of the making processes I use such as the folding, starching, unfolding.  I think it would really help me if I could have a documentation of some of these things so that I can push things on a bit.

One of the things that has come out of the crits and tutorials is the nature of performance, that on one level I’m making a score to be played but that the physical making of the score is an act of playing as well.  I think I’m struggling with consolidating the performance aspect of what i’m doing… it just feels like they aren’t working and are perhaps too distant from one another.

Soaking muslin in a bath of starch, wringing it out and attaching it to the wall.

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This last image is of the completed dried cloth on the wall, which ended up being a total surprise.  I had previously made a piece just starching the folded creases on the floor by spraying a starch mixture and it had imprinted the texture of the floor to the cloth and I really liked the nature of imparting one material to another.  So my expectation with this piece, was that the brick would be imprinted onto the cloth here, but it didn’t work like that at all.  Instead, due to the weight of the fabric being soaked in a bath of starch (rather than sprayed) it pulled the weight of the fabric to the floor and even though I tried to push the fabric into the grooves of the wall it just sort of clung to it and then pulled itself away on the left side.  There is also the drag of where the fabric had started out on the floor.  It’s interesting that the whole piece still looks wet too.

Taking the piece off the wall didn’t feel as interesting, I think it works best being on the wall.  The imprint isn’t interesting me as much as the way it belongs to the wall.  I think it’s because it becomes something else when it becomes part of the fabric of the building – off the wall it is just fabric again.  There is a transformation that happens upon the wall that separates itself from all of the things we think about when we look at a piece of cloth – its functionality, its heritage.  But it is also inherently fabric, the way it drapes across the floor and clings to the structure, its transparency and fragility.  It is doing something different without transforming itself into something unrecognisable.

 

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