Friday, 29 October 2010

This is Not a Performance, This is Real Life


Half way through Delineation, and I have reached the depths of despair, an achievement as great as touching the stratosphere, depending on which way you look at it.

Having asserted my intention to write in the space for the duration of the show, I choked after a day, then half a second day, and four hours of a third. It is a beautiful space, of course, as almost everyone I've heard walk past and into my personal space has agreed, and it is full of neat work by members of TBC Artists' Collective, but it is a group show, not a collective articulation, and here as elsewhere, group shows elevate some members to the detriment of others. If it does what it says on the tin (of artist's shit), then all the artists involved function as one. The result should be the light work of many hands. I put my hands up and say I did not understand the brief, the space, how the space relates to drawing, how I relate to drawing, how TBC Artists' Collective and the mix of its featured artists relates to drawing, how I relate to TBC Artists' Collective. I put my hands up and say I still don't know the answers to any of these questions, and I can hear people say, 'don't try to understand, just do', but there must be a reason that I have reached the age of 28 without ever having 'done'. It is unfortunate that it is the middle of the show before I decide to be honest with myself, but next to my name on the plan it says 'performance' and so here it is, a little bit of drama, a mini-breakdown.

The decision to write in the space wasn't really a decision, but a blurt-out that I then had to stand beside like a puddle of my own vomit. As a 'writer' I felt that it was the only course of action. 'Writers' don't put things into frames, they don't visualise, they write. Any participation in this show by a writer would have to be a written 'performance', or comprise the reading of a text. Any other ideas? Perhaps I could have announced a timetable of readings of work produced in or around the show. I could have done a lot of things differently, such as refrain from taking on so many administrative duties around the organisation of the show, whether I put my hand up because nobody else did or out of flattery when someone suggested I would be the ideal person for the job. Like many men, I am vain, and embrace flattery like a bee does a rose. I therefore end up being controlled by suggestions and steered and pushed this way and that like a child's remote control car. My uncle bought me a remote control car once, when I was about seven. My mother took it away from me and told me I could have it back when I was 21. Needless to say, by then I'd forgotten about it and couldn't care less anyway. In fact, I've only just remembered it now. I wonder if they still have it? They probably gave it to my brother.

Sponsorship and fundraising: fail and an albatross called The Delineation Workshops. 12-Pages: fail – no print-run; the cover is too conceptual and in the end contains an error; the piece of work I wrote was too long and took up too much space, and in the end had to be cut so brutally only half the original story remains. I am the copy editor of the group, having put my own name forward as such due to my horror at the profound dyslexia prevalent in the group, either that or its manifestation of the decline in standards of basic education in Britain, and my wish to maintain an accurately written face on anything associated with me, Mr. Perfect. On top of all of this I had to make work for the show (having been told I had to participate, and in harnessing that other great undesirable man-trait – pride – thought, what the hell, how hard can it be to make art), reconciling myself with the visual form and its abstraction of ideas whilst developing a line of investigation, and the skills to finish, that would make me sound as clever and appear as strong as all the professors and graduates that make up the vast majority of the group. I have set myself up for an epic fail that has inevitably materialised, perpetuated by unpaid rent, strained friendships, a crisis of dignity and a constant fear of being thrown out into the street that will of course result in me being thrown out into the street like a used, worthless, toothless, filthy, diseased whore with cum and blood no longer running down her legs but crusted and sticking them together.

Yes, I feel sorry for myself; yes, I accept that, and yes, I am a fool. It is on days like this that I see my timeline in two colours: red blocks for positive times and blue for negative. Today is a blue day, obviously, and it pushes all the other blues to the surface, drowning all the reds. During the lows, you don’t remember the highs, and vice-versa. Some people say I should just snap out of it. How about: fuck off. The only way to snap out of whatever-it-is is in death, and even then, who knows?

On Tuesday I set myself up in a small mostly enclosed space within The Crypt with a foldaway table and chair. On Wednesday I introduced a few old journals, some explicit photographs of myself nude that I have censored (at least the top one), and some small sketches. I put my current journal on the table and in the afternoon, began to write belatedly. It was exciting when someone came in and peered over my shoulder at what I was writing, not that I was writing anything particularly enterprising, just a load of new shit to add to the load of old shit written in the pile of old journals in the corner behind me. I faced a brick wall, and ignored my audience. My friends came and went during the private view, without my greetings. I failed to prepare for this show and so have been inconsistent, sometimes talking to people, sometimes not, sometimes writing down what people say, and when there are no people, such as in the cold light of the morning after the private view, there is only the most depressing space imaginable. Suddenly I feel exposed, and want to get away from people and from what I set up for myself for the public to pick at, without preparation.

Because I don't know what I'm doing, because I don't have any ideas, I should have put myself up as a material, to be used however members of the group envisioned it. I should have been used as a puppet, for the work, not the administration; the former could have been a success, though the latter could only have been a failure, because I'm not a professional.

TBC. Nice show. Sorry I spoiled it.




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