Archive | November, 2010

That In Between Time

Search Party perform at Mayfest 2010

Search Party – photo by me at the Forest Fringe Microfest in Mayfest 2010, links to flickr.

I am finally able to let you all know proper details about the very exciting piece of work I heard I got last Monday. I’m going to be working this week, from Wednesday through to Sunday with the New Work Network as a ‘creative correspondent’ at In Between Time. In Between Time is a festival of live art – contemporary art and performance, often intimate or focussed on the audience/body* – happening in venues all over the city of Bristol. Artists involved that I’ve blogged about on here before are Search Party, Duncan Speakman, Action Hero, Tim Etchells, Blast Theory and there’s a raft of other exciting artists and new work that I’ve not yet had a chance to see, so basically this job is somewhere around Best Thing Ever.

What actually is a ‘creative correspondent’? Well mostly that was up to me, the New Work Network had a very open proposal system, the proposal I got accepted under (and the one that I’ve since fleshed out) placed a lot of emphasis on acknowledging my presence in covering the material through social media – and as thus the importance of the other voices that I might report or enable through my coverage. Because of this I will also be sharing as much as the content (audio/video/images/text) as possible (allowing for artists to opt out) via a CC remix license – meaning that anyone can use the content in their own creative and critical reactions. Likewise I’ll be making sure the interviews I grab are with festival goers as much as organisers and artists – reflecting all the conversations around the festival, trying to level the playing field in terms of critical response (there will be no star ratings, horrible reductive things that they are).

If you want to follow the material I’m going to be pushing highlights to my personal account, but to keep people from feeling overloaded I’m going to be sticking to the New Work Network Twitter account for the majority of material – so if you think you’re definitely interested, follow @NewWorkNetwork, or if you want to get a taste for things first, follow @hannahnicklin or check out the site (when it’s up) to see if anything catches your eye. And please, do play with the material I put out there – whether it’s data (I’m going to try and geo-tag pretty much everything I can) or media – any creative or critical reactions are not just welcome, but vital to complete the voice of the correspondence. There will be a submission page on the site when it’s ready, and I’ll remind y’all about it when the site is up.

For people not at the festival, the site will be where most of the content goes up, so you can follow there, and I’m going to be putting it together tomorrow. All going well with domain pointing (the one bit I don’t have control over, so hoping it’s been sorted) it should be found at www.IBTlive.newworknetwork.info

For those who are going – contact me @hannahnicklin if you want to talk to me at any point, follow me on the map (I’ll hopefully have up), and keep an eye out for QR codes and pull off short urls which may guide you to little pieces of material across the city, tweet streams and video and images projected on cafe and venue walls, or bus stops and darkened streets…

The hashtag to follow is #IBTlive10, so I’ll hopefully see you there, online or IRL.

*actually, most artists I speak to don’t even really define live art in the same way, and most people not in the live art community that I speak to have never heard of it, so one of the questions throughout the coverage is likely to be ‘what is live art?’

I Didn’t Applaud, Was That Right?

google search for iran girl shot back

I am so tired at the moment. I am so tired of being angry, of feeling each stupid, ill-thought-out, privileged and destructive decision of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition hit me like a punch to the stomach. Have you ever been punched in the stomach? I haven’t, I spoke to someone who has though, and I think it’s an adequate metaphor.

I went to see Tim Crouch’s The Author, today. I had tried to avoid reading details about it, all that I knew was that it was an interactive-ish play with two lines of audience facing one another, and that it was about writing, and accountability. I also knew people had walked out, fainted, thrown things in reaction to it.

And I was apprehensive. I was apprehensive about doing it wrong, it wasn’t clear how much of it was a script, and how much of it wanted audience input. I knew that it asked for some, but had also read one of the performers bemoaning ‘wrong’ interruptions.

I was also angry. And tired. Which I normally am these days. And I knew that if someone stood up and tried to imply that I did not hold myself accountable to the world, to all that people do to other people, that I did anything other than spend every second I am not (and also some that I am) trying to earn a living or make art; protesting, writing, coding and shouting about the wrong in the world, I would react with violence. Like the image of the Millbank protester kicking the window. I would speak out of turn, and shatter their words.

“I looked at the performers on the stage and I saw that they had imagined me, badly”*

I sat down. The door closed. And as @danrebellato said, it was cleverer than that. It asked you to lean towards it, but it didn’t exploit.

It described some shocking things. But not with the aim To Shock, rather with the aim To Show. Shocking if you have never forced yourself to look, certainly. But it also talked about what looking means.

Here’s something about me: I have never, and will never purposefully watch a youtube video or recording of someone dying. I won’t even watch people breaking bones, or hitting a hard bail whilst skateboarding. Might not sound unusual to some of you, but for most people my age it I am an anomaly. It’s not that I don’t admit the horror or the pain, but rather that I won’t abuse someone’s embodied life by cheapening their death or injury with disembodied mimesis.

This person is not a symbol of the Iran riots, this woman is called Neda, and she is dying, bleeding to death, struggling to breathe, suffocating. She’s not 500,000 google hits. Continue Reading →