24 Feb: installing water-logged

The past 5 months have been fraught with a myriad of solutions for the transfer of live stream video and audio from beneath the wharf to a container above. Ollie Blair has been the brains of the venture; his patient manner and diligence to work thru all the obstacles has been unwavering. I should also mention his critical eye; he laughed out loud at my idea of covering torches with socks! Thank goodness I listened. And thank goodness for Uli who lent his electrical know-how!

Today's install went oh so very smooth. Michael  Ballinger arrived with the boat right on high tide and together with Ollie, he installed the camera directly under the container. A few rocky moments of reaching, not over-reaching, showed up on the screen I was monitoring. The most tedious part of the day was taping the cordage: 4 hours later, I realised that once again I was on the ground, sometimes on my belly, face down on the asphalt!

The wind picked up throughout the day and yet I was pleased to see the water under the wharf remained calm. Now that the technology aspect is all in place, it is tempting to do a first swim. 

16 Feb: Performance Arcade Artist Talk: water-logged

It was a talk at the end of a long day chocker full of presentations by CoCA researchers, including my own on IN COLD HEAT. The audience at Performance Lab was small but very attentive and they asked some very good questions that turned my rubbery brain waves into sharper more contemplative thoughts. When I found my self almost embarrassed and apologetic for admitting that I do not really perform for an audience other than the material at hand, one person reminded me of how that offers an intensity and uniqueness to the work that is alluring-- did she use the word enticing or is that my own embellishment? Another person astutely asked about the timing of the sessions and I confessed they posed no other meaning than catering to the predictable flow of people and the need to be in the water for no longer than an hour each session. But then I have since reconsidered that response and accounted for the number of contingencies the work is navigating such as weather, tides, public interaction, jellyfish, sting rays and pigeons and let's not forget the art of floating, treading and bobbling! So I may be justified in being less self critical about the work before it has even happened to recognise how much it embraces contingency as a scored not scripted durational live act.


This last day of the performance was one of extremes. I felt the impact of duration most acutely. My body is holding on to that affect still this morning and likely for a good while. The morning's rain super saturated everything making the fire balk at emerging from anything more than an irritating smoke that clung to the air heavily handedly. The pile of firewood gifted to me set a limit, and after last night's bonfire it was more so; only stubby sections remained. The builder-architect in me set up to trial an alternative fire building method adapted from videos I have watched about making fires in the snow. The two hours of tucking kindling between upright logs generated enough heat to forget the cold that was creeping into my shoulders. It was an all or nothing fire, and, so it did burn. For once the flame met the kindling, it reproduced itself tenfold and migrated liberally through out the field of woven forest timbers. It produced a heat so fierce I had to abandon all but one layer of clothing and dance in out out of its thermal reach at least 5 metres, scurrying into prop up a log and dashing back to the sanctuary of the snow field, each time patting my cheeks, breasts and thighs to extinguish a combustive sensation. Such fury was short lived. Within an hour, the fire was reduced to charred and scarred columns. A few embers remained; only enough to boil the kettle upon. And as I sat on the bench sweating profusely, a musky animal, admiring how the event had expanded the zone of mud and grass surrounding the scene, the cold took me and the fire hostage. I had yielded to the heat. I had been tricked. The flesh of my body shivered as it fought off the naggingly persistent grasp of the cold, and so I fought back by drinking hot tea and walking briskly around and around the fire like a border collie herding its flock, encircling my own vitality.


The morning started with rain that coated everything, and I mean everything in a shiny film of ice. The matches would not strike. Two hours later the fire was still smoking, barely. But the sky cleared and the day smelled as spring- that pungent thawing mucky aroma that produces sucking sounds underfoot. The heat of the day that followed afforded reading aloud of Byatt's Elementals. Numerous people happened by to share teas, ice and fire stories and help me tend to the fire. Some even joined me in flinging off hats and coats and sit in the sun without speaking a word. Today's fire was one of plentitude- a bonfire that grew significantly towards dark-fall and consumed more than half the wood pile to make a significant island of soppy mud of the site. I gained a great deal of clarity around the work in this tending period. Felt that I entered into the performance space fully with the ability to move sensibly within its parameters and play with its durational figure. 

Day 1: MELT minus20degree Flachau, Austria

It has been an unusual year they say; the snow has been much less than normal and the temperatures hovering each day around 8 degrees. Not exactly the cold the festival needs, promised nor counted on, but nonetheless, a fabulous experience thus far. I spent today at the site for my performance, a site just off the main road that runs thru the village's centre. It is far less apart and secluded from everything than originally imagined so the work has taken on a much more social aspect. I start the first fire tomorrow morning at 6:30ish. I have no worries if the firewood is wet, or the snow does not come as this is a work that has built-in contingencies, or rather relies on circumstance to develop its score.

On my way to the MELT 20degrees Art and Architecture Winter Biennale!

On Sunday I head out to Austria to deliver IN COLD HEAT. The event organisational team and curators have been immensely thoughtful in their development of the biennale, resourceful in finding material sponsors and generous in their advice- thank you!

I will be posting videos, reflections and images from the event daily- 28, 29 and 30 January, So watch this space!

A link to the programme: http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=3c0064dfb1df5c7af09b4f68a&id=eb4950ac98&e=c14363074c


14 Jan: water-logged test II

Could not have imagined a finer day to go down to the wharf and do a test with Ollie Blair. Sorted out all the technology, location, approach. Got over any fears I had about the water- not super clean but better than I expected. Wet suit served me well; was in the water close to 1 hour and did not even begin to get cold. The acoustics especially with the pigeons are going to play a much larger role in the performance development over the next few weeks.