As I have said before one thing leads to an other….
In my last foray I met up with Sinead O Donnell see last column.
She invited me to go North in February to see, be part of, help with, a performance week she was curating with others in Belfast. There was to be a Canadian Performance artist one of whom was Paul Couillard. The various Performances, discussions, and collaborations were around the theme “Chaos” A Condition or place of great disorder and confusion and to be held/seen in Belfast’s Catalyst Art Centre, Black box, theatre space, and other Not for Profit Art Spaces.
“A unique Opportunity to observe and participate in new approaches that re consider the role of Performance Art in Belfast and Beyond.”
I had intended going but a family health issue caused me to change tack. I ended up in San Francisco minding our grandson who needed to be away from infections. This Irish Granny volunteered one month.
Paul Couillard had wanted items to be given in Belfast to create his work. I wondered, in this day and age, would I be able to give him something online and so help in a collaboration of sorts.
I was glad to work on this in between baby snoozing, walks in buggies and all the nappy changing…
I worked on a script (see below) and also presented him with instructions on how it could be done. However, but after several e mails and good communications I realised my text was the GIVEN – how he used it was up to him. Once this was accepted and understood I waited for the report on what he did. It was interesting.
SCARS by Hilary Williams.
The Beauty of Deforment. The loss of perfect tissue.
Cicatrices, Keloids, Hypertrophic.
The pride of gained scars.
The earned merit in a living world
Ageing scars equal gained experiences.
Shaped like a small croc along her wrist
Flying through the undergrowth skin snags against the rusty barb.
Running home a glove fills with blood
No stitches, no A and E.
Hilary Williams San Francisco Thursday Morning 9.45am 2010.
I presented these series of text/poems (above is one of five). Paul did not use them verbally but explained to his gathered audience about who and where I was as well as our various communications on the work. He then striped to the waist outside Ulster University grass area and invited four people to come and trace the word SCAR on his body which they did. Another artist (Elvira Santa Maria, from Mexico, who now works in Belfast) traced another word AMOR. He asked her why, she said it means love with an e and without a SCAR. She did it over his chest area where he had had open heart surgery. I really felt that my scars and memory plus his actions and the other language all ended up making a really memorable piece of work. So even when I got the e mail and the picture I felt I had done some international collaborative art, from a distance, whilst minding our grandson.
The achievement was good but so also was that my charge had improved in health and we now await the news to the affect that he may or may not need a lung operation.
He may have a small scar, which he might show someday to his friends and talk of the ol’ granny who came to mind him.
I tear my heart open, I sew myself shut,
My weakness is I care too much,
And my scars remind me the past is real
I tear myself open just to feel
Lyrics by Papa Roach.
The afternoon that Paul was performing I spend alone in the Japanese Garden at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. A lot of peaceful Zen and warm sunshine. My afternoon off thinking of my own creative effort, that was in action on its own elsewhere. Not bad wha??
I am back in base camp today, in Dublin. Flew the miles home, awake all night, what day did you say it was??
Now that I am back home, I wanted to take a moment to tell you a bit about how I used your “object” in the SUBJECT OBJECT piece. As an electronic text, your contribution seemed ephemeral to me, and I did not feel I could do justice to your words simply by reading them; although I don’t really know you, they come across as authentically your own.
So, taking the liberty of their ephemeral nature as an opening, I chose not to use the text you had sent by directly reproducing it. Instead, I explained to the assembled audience a bit about the nature of our email communication, and then stripped to my shorts, and asked any four audience members to come up and trace the word “scars” onto my body – wherever they felt was appropriate. I did this outside, on the grass lawn near the buoys by the University of Ulster. As this gesture finished and I was beginning to get dressed, Elvira Santamaria said that she also wished to trace the word, even though four people had already done so (one for each section of your text) – and instead of tracing the word “S – C – A – R – S”, she traced the word “L – O – V – E” (and then, when I asked her what the Spanish word for “scars” was, the word “A – M – O – R”) across my chest (where there is, indeed a scar from heart surgery)
I am enclosing a photo of the gesture, taken by Rainer Pagel…
I hope all is well with you and your family.
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