Thursday 13 October 2016


There was a day two of PARADOXPARADOX, but I never made it in. My son ended up being kept in at the hospital for observation after a mild asthma attack - he's totally fine, and by all accounts was bored for most of it, but obviously that stuff came up higher in the priority list than art, so I dropped out for the day.

I was back for day three though, and it was a weird one, and very different to the first.

Coming back into the gallery after missing a day was quite strange. I'd not seen any images or video of what had transpired without me, so walking in as a fresh set of eyes was amazingly weird. There were constructions and artefacts and images, and so many small footprints, clues and hints as to what had transpired during the day I missed. I was first into the gallery too, so for a while I was completely alone with the remnants of the previous day, which was really nice. I took the chance to do a few walk arounds with my camera and capture some of the points of interest, which I'll try and put up at some point (at the moment it's all still on my camera as I'm using it quite intensively and haven't pulled anything off it yet).

In terms of my experience on the day, the vibe and surroundings had definitely changed. The first day had felt exploratory, at times uncertain, and had that 'blank page' problem that we tried to wrestle with as a group. After a few days it seems that we'd collectively started to settle into the space a little, and were already surrounded by materials and starting points, which made everything flow much more easily I thought. I had far fewer (but still one or two) occurrences of "hmm, what now" than on the first day, and my work felt like it came together more naturally with others in the space.

I did a lot. Some with projectors and screens, but happily I was comfortable also not working there too, and used a lot of paint and texture too. The morning was a really exciting group collaboration that utilised big transparent hung surfaces which were painted and projected onto from a few angles. This was a lot of fun to work with, and looked/felt great to both construct and also just inhabit too (I spent a long while laying on the floor in the middle of it, watching my autocoder working on it's own and project imagery all over the thing, while watching what the sounds of the space were doing to it).

Towards the end of the day we built towards a really intense thing that I'm still getting my head around. A sort of shrine had come together, with a central seated podium upon which various people were masked, experimenting with voices and drones and resonance. For a long while, Jess and Rafa (the Protovoulia instigators) were seated here, unable to see, creating hypnotic drones that were really really altering the mood of the space - in a good, interesting way.

We decided off the cuff to wake the session up, and a few of us snuck up on them wielding metal, buckets, slabs of material and general noisy stuff. What was interesting was that although the original intention was definitely along the lines of "won't it be funny/interesting to make a lot of noise unexpectedly", what actually happened was that neither of them flinched or reacted visibly while we made a catastrophically loud noise around them.

This quickly turned into a really fucking intense ritual-like session, the noise became uncomfortably loud but rhythmic, and oppressively resonant in the echo chamber gallery. I also quickly turned up the projection we had running, so it became static and noise, which added to the whole thing.

It reached an endpoint after a fair while, and the noise stopped, leaving everyone looking really dazed. I dialled down the static, and the noise was left as a soundtrack of undulating subtle bassy tones.

Unspoken, the group dispersed, and interestingly began to start clearing away the mess in the gallery. Dismantling constructions, whitewashing walls. It was extremely strange but very interesting to see how we responded together - after the violence and intensity of the outburst, our natural collective instinct was to somehow start regaining order and control of the space.

There's a lot more to this in terms of what I've been thinking and feeling, but my plan is to not write too much until we wrap up and I've had a bit of time afterwards to ponder it all. Outside of the intense performance weirdness I've also found some interesting directions in terms of where my own work sits too, so there's been a lot of practical insight gained for me (which again I didn't expect).

OK, some photos. I've taken a lot, nothing's edited, but these give a flavour of the day. These were just off my phone, I've also got a ton of video and SLR images and I did a lot of timelapse stuff too. This give an idea thought.

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