30 March 2010

The latest of my Guardian Performance Diary pieces – on the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow – is online. There are some questionable edits… but there we go. Why would anyone think that this sentence:

Ron’s absence – slipped away in the Glasgow night – only seems to further fuel the rumour fire, adding mystery to deliberate injury.

Is improved by being turned into this:

Meanwhile, Athey’s absence – slipped away in the Glasgow night – only adds further fuel to the fire.

The edit is shorter I know, and very likely clearer. But….


My video 100 People is part of What If… festival at Siobhan Davies Studios in London next week. Co-curated by Lucy Cash, Becky Edmunds, Claudia Kappenberg and Chirstinn Whyte with Gill Clarke from Independent Dance, the festival mixes live performances from dance and live art with screen work by myself, Cornelia Parker, John Smith, Miranda Pennell, Desperate Optimists and Oreet Ashery.


Art Review is now available online and is a real treat for people that like having to register and create passwords, reading articles in flash-pop-ups with idiosyncratic navigation and text that’s displayed in special way so that it can’t be copy-pasted. Probably should’t be so rude – the content is pretty great and the review by Mark Rappolt, of my recent Gasworks show, which closed last week, is a good one.


I also have work in an on-going series of Forest Fringe micro-festivals, the first of which takes place at BAC this coming weekend. My project is a series of four posters for imaginary events allegedly taking place in each of the four locations of the micro-festival (London, Bristol, Swansea and Glasgow), and as soon as I get myself organised I’m going to make a version of the poster available for download here.

We’re All Actors In This I Suppose

15 March 2010

Two fragments from last week’s Guardian coverage of John Venables’ identity relapse:

His deteriorating mental condition has seen him transferred into the hospital wing of the prison where he is being held in an isolation room. He is understood to have told fellow prisoners and staff who he is, making it more likely that his new identity will leak out.

“It’s an extremely difficult position for the authorities to be in,” said Harry Fletcher, assistant secretary general of the probation union, Napo. “If they go ahead with court proceedings, this could undermine his anonymity but the fact he is self-disclosing his identity means giving him another new identity becomes almost inevitable. This situation is fraught with difficulties.”


Ian Cumming, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who has worked with serious offenders in the prison system, said “the national demonisation of an individual was a heavy burden” that could explain why someone would find it difficult to keep their past hidden forever.

“Double lives are a burden for people,” Cumming said. “Just juggling two relationships is stressful and the secrecy takes its toll. People are not necessarily well equipped to do this sort of thing; it’s not their natural state.”


This from Tony Thompson on undercover police Officer A, in The Observer.

The constant strain of living a double life was also beginning to take its toll. “I couldn’t get out of role. Even after 18 months I was having trouble leaving the undercover persona behind. One time I was out swimming. Someone said something derogatory and my angry persona took over. It was an immediate reaction. There was blood everywhere.”

Before they were deployed, every SDS officer was visited at home to ensure they were married. “They introduced that rule after one officer refused to come out of the field. It turned out he just enjoyed being with his contacts so much that he was willing to give up his police salary and everything that went along with it in order to stay with them. Now you have to be married on the basis that, if you have something in the real world to come back to, you are less likely to want to remain in role. That’s the theory.”

Acting Surgery

Several plastic surgeons told me that actors do privately fret about rendering themselves unemployable by taking cosmetic work too far and limiting their expressive range. “I ask them, what expressions, what emotions, are you concerned about losing?” says Stephen Pincus, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. “They’ll say, ‘I have to be mad, or surprised, or I’m worried about my eyebrows, I don’t want to be a blank stare.’ I say, ‘I can paralyze your forehead from this point up, but you’re not going to be able to wrinkle a good part of the forehead. Is that an issue for you? If it is, we shouldn’t do it.’ ” Some of his patients go ahead with the treatment. “They’re more concerned about wrinkles than about the five seconds of emotion people might not notice anyway.”

Not a great article How Plastic Surgery Has Caused Acting to Be More Stilted, Stylized, and Masklike in New York Magazine – but definitely suggesting direction for something interesting and more radical on the same topic.

Email to Phil – From a Week Ago, Maybe More

13 March 2010

Hi Phil

6.44 here. awake before the alarm.

Just to say that things are rolling along quite well. I think this run we did the day b4 you left was useful in that it enabled us to think better about the bigger shape of the piece and what it needs.
We worked on a few sections and some new material got made, as well as existing (or previously abandoned) material coming info focus (or out of the cupboard) in new ways.

– a reprise of Tom's depression, with Tom stood amongst trees at the front, with advice from Claire seated on the sofa at the back – telling him to make it more moving/cloying/personal.
– this flowing into a section with the women on the sofa at the front, the guys arranged around them and not causing too much trouble – physically a kind of absurd Carpenters cover-photo/sickly Manson family Shang-ri-la intimacy…  and in the text the women talking about how to make the world a better place.. (wouldn't it be nice if each morning when you left the house a rainbow was waiting at your door etc)
– some bodgy dances with palm trees – re-running Fire! FIre! with conga-line chase.

– a very nice version of Jerry/Tom 'do something funny' which extends the text part in the beginning to become a whole routine trying to get him to say names of 'funny fruit' – Jerry bullying quite like some kind of Sergeant Major of Comedy.

– reprise small things from Terry (good tone, but maybe not correct to return to this content) leading to strange story from Amit concerning various corrective surgeries she claims to have had (legs straightening, toes grafted for fingers). This feels pretty good actually, and leads to something like the old 'don't touch me' routine from Amit, Jerry and Tom.

– something like a version of the old pushing and shoving line with Terry and then Amit talking about big questions of the world, finally stopped/ interrupted by Cathy.
-probably some other stuff too. it;s a bit of a blur.

yesterday we ran:

cathy continues
tom depressed

Terry 'questions' with pushing line
Amit joins in text
Cathy comes in across – "I hope that…" (very stroppy version about her dad etc)

Richard – H. Attack
Let's Kiss

Small Things with group 'backing' (Jerry doing you. John interrupts. Claire interrupts. Tom interrupts)
FIRE FIRE (conga line, trees come out in the back end of it)
Sukiyaki – more trees and dancing
ends with Tom at front in trees.

Tom depressed reprise
advice from Claire
Girls on Sofa – "wouldn't it be nice"
interruption from John ("Naieve")

Amit rolls on alone with "wouldn't it be nice"
other people clear away slowly

Noble Watts

Richard H. Attack x 2 – other guys imitate

Whistling Song

Terry Small things reprise

Amit – surgeries etc

Tom & Jerry try to take her away

Tom & Jerry – do something funny – funny fruit & dance

Jerry says Thanks and goodnight.Rich (doing you) "end/lights out/kill it"


That was one hour 35.We had small audience – Vlatka, Wendy and Sarah. Good responses, useful comments.And it was quite OK… but really very many things blurred, not in right place, just not good etc. But a step on from last week for sure. So today pushy postmortem. We try to reorder, reorganise and run again at  1.45
look fwd to you being back in the fray next week

hope things are well



Oven Gloves / Narrative

6 March 2010

Then I lost touch with them because I had to go back to the army and I deserted again and I got caught stealing a truck load of metal and I got sent to borstal and from borstal I went back to the army and then I was arrested for stealing a car. I was on a licence from borstal and after I done my prison sentence they revoked my licence from borstal and I done a further eleven months.

From an interview with the Kray’s driver Billy Frost, at the site Spitalfields Life.

This, from the same site, is an interview with Lenny Hamilton, who for reasons that might be evident is rather less-well disposed towards the Krays.

Two geezers grabbed hold of me and then I saw it. I thought they were pokers but there were steels that are used to sharpen knives, Ronnie had them on the gas and they were white-hot. They had wooden handles and the first one Ronnie picked up he dropped because it was so hot, so he went and got an oven glove. Then he picked one up and came over to me, to frighten me, I imagined. He singed my black curly hair. I pissed myself. I was terrified. Next he started setting fire to my suit that I only had made two weeks before.

Vlatka Gigs

5 March 2010

Vlatka has more than a few shows at the moment. Details below.

Metamorphoses: Error. Ofri Cnaani, Tamar Helpern, Vlatka Horvat
Braverman Gallery. Tel Aviv, Israel.
18 February – 1 April, 2010.

Take Space For Example: Vlatka Horvat, Sebastian Stumpf, Steve van den Bosch
Annex14 Gallery. Bern, Switzerland.
26 February – 27 March, 2010.

T-HT@MSU Award exhibition
Museum of Contemporary Art. Zagreb, Croatia.
26 February – March 28, 2010.

Golden Parachutes. Berlin, Germany. Organized by David Horvitz.
4 March – 9 May, 2010.

The latter has a downloadable ‘reader’ including an essay by someone called Tim Etchells.