You might remember that mid of March was the inaugural show at Chateau Marcus which took place in conjunction with the second Salon Slum. Simply put both events were absolutely exciting as everybody really engaged and nobody came just for the buffet. Or the chitchat. Or the networking opportunity.
I have to say that this was in part down to the artists and what they showed. To give an idea I will briefly describe what happened throughout the evening. An account of the line up with a personal slant so to speak.
Joana Cifre Cerdà’s performance ‘I want you to feel the weight of my loss…. or is it the weight of my freedom?’ inside of Chateau Marcus was really unnerving and triggered so many contradictory feelings in me. This is rather ironic because all what Joana did was make a dough ball with the exact weight of the removed uterus and attached fibroids. 1.18 kg to be precise. Then she gave it to someone in the audience to hold it and when finished to pass it on. When I got it, my first reaction was to pass it on swiftly as I did not want that burden. I almost automatically, I was not alone in doing this, began to form and knead it in order to deconstruct this neat flesh coloured ball. At the same time this act of putting my thumbs and fingers in the salt dough felt extremely obscene, obscene in the sense that I was overstepping physical boundaries. Definitely a new experience to me.
Salon Slum had also a great line up. Charles Monkhouse had installed ‘The theatre of Iridescence’ a more mobile version of his highly acclaimed ‘Brocken Spectre’ installation. Brocken Spectre is a natural phenomenon where an image gets projected by the sun onto the clouds or mist. Charles managed to recreate these conditions for the Brocken Spectre involving a light projection and a complex set up of filters and pipes to create a very fine misty cloud. Yes, I asked and a fog machine definitely does not work. The intriguing thing about this installation is that only the person standing in the light beam can see it. What they see could be likened to a rainbow coloured halo or aura. When I tried it out I found this experience strangely moving and also reassuring. I don’t know exactly why and I will still need to think about it.
Octavia Bettis read one of her latest texts that she wrote in response to a painting by Hildegard von Bingen, an 11th century Benedictine abbess who is mostly known for her visionary theological writings and her musical compositions. Octavia’s response to this work was quite extraordinary and I believe she is another revolutionary to come. Keaton Robinson, a standup poet, performed two on the spot. An exhilarating experience and a first to me. John Bowtell showed his excellent film on one of his inclusive dance project that raised and resolved many questions about collaborative practice to me. Duncan Chapman talked about a strand in his work where he glitches landscape imagery into sound scores. Sam Douce showed his wonderfully quirky animation work. Lastly, Tom Constantine played a new piece where some of us actually spontaneously joined in. A great finish to the evening. Yes, the evening was thought provoking and intriguing. Yet the most outstanding thing about it to me was that I was moved and touched by what I saw and experienced. This made realise that I more often than do not feel but look at visual art as if it were an intellectual text. Maybe there are many other ways of engaging with art as part of everyday life. As a start, I might just try to move through the world with my eyes wide shut a little longer.