The artists on this year’s residency, decided to present their practice through leading a one-day workshop each. We dug 20 centimetres into the ground to form the letters measuring 23x13 feed. Each letter extended into the sea with trenches to invite the tide into the letter forms. The letters created a dialogue between the beach and the sea. With a tight deadline to complete this intense manual work, the piece was created with the intention of only existing for a limited period of time; the period before the tide came in and washed away all of the physical reminiscence of the manual work. Sisyphus, King of Ephyra in Greek mythology, was condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. With this myth in mind, ‘COME BACK’ was a reflection on human labour and its ephemerality. The piece sparked discussions around how human built infrastructures that are formed by natural elements like water, cement or sand will inevitably be taken back to its natural form by natural phenomena. The artists have one month to create work, learn and set up an exhibition. ‘COME BACK’ is the first one-day-experiment.
The day started with a 20 min writing exercise with the theme of arrival. After 20 min we regrouped and swapped our writings. We were invited splice up the texts. We gathered the cut ups and together we created five new text compositions. As the theme arrival was given to us, we individually connected it to our own arrival on Stokkoya. The technique is borrowed from David Bowie and William Borroughs. We reflected on the cut-and-stick exercise we used in this workshop and identified the workshop as being a collection of intruments to push us out of our comfort zone unfamiliar to our own practices. The final work was a three track audio file featuring a spoken word reading, layered over sound scape recordings of sand being shovelled into a wheel-barrow; a direct reference to the previous days work: Come Back.
Hugo Brazao held a worshop, which aimed to explore and study the landscape by using different materials and colours that would respond to it. The group was encouraged to solely use materials that had been collected from the local surroundings: wood, metal or plastic that had been left lying around, leftover from constructions or fishing activities. The end result was a group of three sculptures made in short periods of time and that were “With”, “Against” or “Of” the landscape. The first sculpture, ‘AGAINST’, held a vertical unnatural shape that contradicted the landscape behind. The second, ‘OF’, confidently defined the space and stood proudly as an easel.
The final piece, ‘WITH’, was dependent on the landscape, working in connection with its elements to generate tension.
This final workshop combined drawing and performance and began with an exercise that involved two members of the group spelling out the alphabet with their bodies in short one minute poses while the other two members were drawing it. The second part of the workshop was based on developing longer poses inspired by situations the group had experienced together in previous days. All artists experienced both being the performer and the observer. Discussions centred around our presence and social interactions as live sculptures and of performance as humorous, physically demanding and intimate experiences. We reflected on contemporary societies demands for individuals to meet expectations and succeed.
THE ROYAL TOUR
To mark the end of the workshops and the mid-point of our time at the residency, there was an event organised for the launch of a 12 page publication documenting the half-way point. A limited edition run of 21 print copies was made available at the Stokkøya Sjøsenter and Strandbar on the 15th September 2018.
The publication is vailable to download and print here: DETOUR.PDF
Furthermore, the midway point was marked by a performance organised as a tourist excursion. The group of people turning up for the Royal tour were taken around very familiar, natural, pristine landscapes on the island. But, instead of being told about the geological formations, the fishing history or the wild life of the island, the spectators were given historical facts of different places in London. The performer, that sat on top of an unsettlingly high chair, pointed up into a picturesque green cliff and told the audience “the man standing on top of this column is Lord Nelson(…)”.
The absurdity of the performance both confused and interested the audience. This work was particularly important in the group’s research exercises as it directly related to the final piece’s concept, referencing story-telling, myth creation and misrepresentation, in a humorous almost absurd way.