Friday, 22 February 2008

That's Entertainment

extract from 'That's Entertainment'

DH and AW elaborate a little

Andy & Delpha Hudson (Art Surgery)
That's Entertainment………

Transitions, Curators edition, Newlyn Art Gallery, 6-10th Feb 08

DH There was intentional irony in the working title, as it may or not have been the least entertaining.

Our intention our endgame was to create a performance for Saturday 9th, 7.00pm in the Upper Gallery space, one that was engaging in some way, possibly entertaining. One that was more than Debordian 'spectacle'.

AW Did it work.? Well some of the people laughed, but not all of the people laughed all of the time.

DH Transitions is a platform for trying things out in the gallery, works in process. Andy & I had worked together curating other artists' work as Art Surgery, and worked individually as visual and performance artists. However, curating themselves was entirely new, as was making theatrical collaborative work.

For 4 days we built an installation/set in collaboration with Neil Robinson , collaborated with our 'mentor' Mr B clown, ( exploring clowning, comedy, breaking the fourth wall and techniques to draw in audiences), we improvised and devised (using a range of sources, fragments, narratives and texts, including the story of Walter Benjamin and his black briefcase, journeys, text as landscape, archives from our own work and the gallery's), examining tensions between live art and performance art, as well as between our 'curator' and 'artist' personas.

Visitors to the gallery's were welcome to watch, engage, ask questions, make suggestions, intervene, extrapolate, and stop disputes if necessary.

The whole process was documented by film maker Alban Roinard, and it was decided that if we couldn't make a show in 4 days and the whole process was a fiasco, we could show the film instead.

AW As part of our presentation at the Symposium, I had a go at evaluating our project/performance in terms of meeting our criteria, aims, ticking boxes, jumping through hoops. I had done this throughout the week, as a kind of anchor to remind myself as to what we were trying to do, to see if we were on course.

DH.But I was interested in fiasco and failure.
I like Tim Etchells' (Forced Entertainment) ideas about failure: not the Brechtian model where you fail, fail again and get better…., failure as an interesting place to be. In fact, the place you want to get to.

We set up the impossible, we were going to fail. We were flirting with danger (but not in a Chris Burden way, 'shoot me and witness me shooting myself', more a gentle invitation to come and witness failure).

The process thus becomes something else; the futility of knowing you can't succeed, but having a stab at it. We broke with Cartesian functionality, the contemporary paradigmatic optimism that things always get better. Generally they got worse. But that was the nature of the beast.

AW. I didn’t have as distanced a perspective during the project as this. Maybe its due to the fact that in conventional terms my performance work has often failed. Duration work tends towards being spectacularly un-entertaining.

DH.We twisted, stretched, inverted and perverted ourselves and our artistic practices. We not only removed ourselves from comfort zones, and pushed to breaking point, we explored 'limits of self'.

AW. These limits can be observed in the ‘making of that’s entertainment’ DVD as passages of silence, when one or other of us appears to be gazing into space, the chin scratch, the rubbing of eyes. I have one such moment that lasts so long the DVD appears to have frozen.

DH.Playing with role-playing, we set up was of how many people you can be: artist/curator/performer/character/clown. We played with the interplay between the expectation of professionalism, the doing what you do well, and the contemporary artists' question: 'what happens if….'

How far you can push? It was edgy and discomforting, to know that whatever the clown tried to teach us about being welcoming, liking being on stage, making people at ease, we could not comfortably do it.

There were some problematic interfaces with the public (we didn't always have time to talk for long) but some interesting conversations about art and theatre, about repeatability.

We don't know where we are going go from here. Things don't snap back into place. The experience has been a biographical punctum, an unrepeatable, excessive event that is chronicled, and exists through documentation.

What was it about…..?

Meeting and greeting people.
Inviting them into different space
Sharing ideas and narratives
Stories, music, histories that never get to the end
That never get to a conclusion,
Its about meaning meaning.

Its about media and mishmash,
Its about Walter Benjamin and his lost briefcase,
Its about Lisa Fit and her story about Benjamin and his lost briefcase,and his lost life.
Benjamin didn't make it over the Pyrenees.

AW. He did make it over the Pyrenees but not for long

DH. He was not free so he took his own life.
Its about writing it the way it was,
but whose voice is it?

Its about being a woman and a man
Its about being neither,
It's about being all the people we are, have been, will be
Its about being an artist and a curator
Its about performance and entertaining and audiences
Its about their say, their mark, their histories,
Its about your say, your mark, your histories,
Underrepresented, un-representable, bent, twisted, misused

AW. The freedom that Benjamin represented is the the freedom that gives us the liberty to make arses of ourselves today.

DH.Its about him and her, Venus and Mars, Belle and Sebastian, Laurel and Hardy, the two Ronnie's, Morecambe and Wise,
Its about standing your own ground, fighting battles but saying 'yes' in the end
Its about agreeing on the detail not just the big things
Or not agreeing at all,
It is about everything….nothing, what stands between us and failure

It's about reflexivity, making the audience see and think actively,
supplementing the stories we tell

On stage I thought:
'Don't be smug because you are there and I am here - don't expect too much because you are there and I am here….
We are not setting ourselves up to be 'here,'
We're just trying out a few things, experimenting, playing,
We have no idea and no claim to anything in particular…..
Yep, you're thinking "why on earth would Andy & Delpha do this?"
Well, we thought we would curate ourselves then we can be nice and treat ourselves well, promote ourselves and thank ourselves, SOMETHING ARTISTS DON'T ALWAYS DO IF YOU ARE JUST THE CURATOR. So lets change the story, lets be all the main characters we can be, at once, simultaneously.'

AW.Our next project is That's marketing

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Transitions' (Curators Edition)



09:00 - 14 February 2008

Perched high on the tall, wooden set they had constructed in the upper gallery of Newlyn Art Gallery, artists Andy Whall (Jake the Monster) and Delpha Hudson (Madame Sacamano) examined and discussed the contents of Walter Benjamin's black briefcase while being filmed by Alban Roinard.

An activity which ended in seeming anger with papers being flung every which way, it was but part of That's Entertainment which, in its turn, was part of the third slot in the gallery's annual Transition (Curators' Edition) programme.As the artists said, the irony in the title of their work was intentional as it may or may not have been in the least entertaining.

Their endgame was the creation of a performance they hoped to present on the last night of their five-day run.

Bravely, they pointed out that all they have been doing throughout their Transition slot had been documented by film-maker Alban Roinard, and if their project proved a fiasco, they would still go ahead anyway with the film being shown even though it might document their failure.

Transition: Curators' Edition culminates on Sunday, February 17, when, from 2-5pm, each of the curators will give a short presentation of his or her five-day slot.

Admission to this is free and all are welcome but, as capacity is limited, advance booking is advised.

Contact Newlyn Art Gallery on 01736 363715.

photo's by Andy Hughes taken on the Saturday night

One viewers version of the leadup to the performance.........."I came to see the show 'between' performances. It
was surreal! You were sat on the chair in a foetal
position in full clown's costume and make-up. Andy
Whall was spreadeagled on the floor, running his
fingers through his hair, like he was trying to put
his head on straight. Chief clown was in full flow
telling you how to make people laugh - and welcome
people in. We were there on the edge not sure if we
were interrupting a private moment that we weren't
supposed to see in a public place. I scuttled in to
have a look at the video of someone running away as
fast as they could - which apparently coincided with
the point el supremo clown turned to greet me as a
demonstration of how it's done - so he got my
retreating back....and so it went on. Reminded me of
that mad Bruce Nauman video.

there was something very perfect about the
contradictions in the encounter - that made me

I wish I could've seen more"

Monday, 7 January 2008

Transition (curators edition) Feb 08

Andy and Delpha will perform 'thats entertainment' the culmination of the project on sat 9th Feb, doors open 7.00 performance at 7.30pm.

Co Collaborators on this project are Mr BE CLOWN and film maker Alban Roinard.

Invigorate Dec 07

see for more info Delpha Hudson and Andy Whall performed 'Whats the score'

following text taken from the website.

Collectively over the course of 'Invigorate' we explored a series of provocative questions as artists and curators: Why have we formed artist led projects? How do activist and educational strategies relate to artistic practice today? How do we as artists understand community? How and why do we choose to collaborate?

'Invigorate' was designed to activate a critical think-tank around issues of production, organisation and community. Our research led us to consider texts such as Michel Foucault’s ‘What is an Author?’ and Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Author as Producer’ and to begin to deconstruct our situation in relation to the role of the artist/producer and our relation to audiences, resources and galleries.

By bringing together an identified group of local artists to share their experiences with invitees and interested professionals working in Cornwall, we aspired to build on our collective experience and knowledge and to identify possible ways we can continue to expand the scope for artist led projects in Cornwall.

'Invigorate' consisted of several phases: the collective exhibition of documentation of recent past projects, a showcase for current collaborative work, artists talks, and a symposium where invited speakers gave presentations about their artist led projects and the discussion was opened to the audience to explore art and activism, community, commissioning, self - organisation and information exchange.

'Invigorate' succeeded in bringing together artists networks and in generating further collaborations and ongoing dialogues in terms of making work and in terms of further attempts to engage critically with our particular context as artists in Cornwall. What form this further critical engagement and practical action will take is currently under discussion between the curators and artists.

We intend to update our website to include documentation of the work that was made, talks that were given and the dialogues that were generated and to post information about future action.

Welcome. More Cornwall, tales of the unexpected

Andy Whall and Graham Gaunt: Welcome, willkomen, bienvenue, benvenuti, bienvenido

A performance of interaction at a point of departure and arrival. Location Penzance summer 07.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Second Nature

Second Nature, Vitreous Gallery and Cathedral Truro sept/oct

Berlin, Trier, Port Bau, (Geburt und Tod) 2007. By Andy Whall

'Illuminations" by Delpha Hudson 2007

'walking a tortoise'

Monday, 1 October 2007

Times newspaper article

Live Art Falmouth LAF June 2007

details to follow

handbag readings, TRUCK festival Sept 2007

Handbag Readings, performance at Fete Encounter, TRUCK festival, September 2007 Delpha Hudson Adopting the character of failed palm reader Madame Marina Sac-a-mano, Delpha will 'read' the handbags (or for those without this essential item, the contents of pockets...). What can the objects that we choose to carry about with us, tell us about ourselves, our present, our past, even our future....? Sac-a-mano is an extreme, fictitious caricature of a charlatan, gypsy seer. Sac-a-mano is a parody and slips between reality and fiction as the 'act' is at best amateur. The intentional slippage between the character and the artist, plays with performativity, theatricality, and live art. Whilst intentionally humorous, dealing with peoples' things is a delicate, and private transaction. Publicly exploring what people own, why, and what it might say about them, has currency with a body of work in which I explore the relationship between people and things. What do the objects we choose, and value say about us? What are the deeper psychological meanings and messages about 'our' objects? Are they transitional, comforting, do they constitute who and what we are?

Bait seminar

Women's work

A BAIT seminar at Hayle Town Hall

Reflections by Rebecca Weeks

Delpha Hudson introduced the third of the BAIT lectures by explaining that the event was a response to the exciting ‘Women in the front room project’ at the Salt Gallery in Hayle, where in recent months the installation room has been dedicated to showing five female artist's works.

Delpha welcomed artist Fran Cottell as the main speaker, and Judy Clark as invited guest, and outlined some initial questions......... for a full description of the seminar click on link

Miss-Readings, site-specific performance, Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives, as part of Tate St Ives 'Art Cornwall Now', February 2007

Playing with the expectations and context of the historically and politically correct museum tour, an alternative tour was created that responded to the contradictions and tensions in Dame Barbara Hepworth's life, spaces and oeuvre. As a critical intervention that contrasts and strip away the layers of public expectation and preciousness about museum spaces, this performance tour has the intention of bringing the space to life and contemplating different ideas about Dame Barbara's achievement; in spite of being female and mother, in spite of being an 'established revolutionary', in spite of male friends and critics who purportedly helped her. Playing around with the persona and performance of the 'guide', in a personal and textual exchange, intended to be banal, esoteric, slightly irreverent and absurd, Miss -Readings re-interprets place, engaging the public in new dialogues and possibilities for site and history.

for a video clip of performance

Art Now Cornwall, Tate Gallery St Ives

Photo]images from Coney Beach, Porthcawl, South Wales.

Andy And Delpha were both in this show. Andy's DVD was shot initially for this show.

[ The begining of a documented journey.
[Photo] The video was shot in Cornwall as part of material for a collaborative project with Dr Chris Short from UWIC. The origin of the work caused some trouble for the director Susan Mcellroy Daniels when I wanted the source and co authorship of the work credited in the catalogue. Eventually we agreed on a credit in the back of the catalogue but not on my page! All in all it was a strange show. personally I felt it would have been stronger and more challenging to have focused on the media, performance and installation. see (private view photo's)

The St Ives School; 1997-2007 Howard Gardens Gallery Cardiff

6 artists of from St Ives have been invited to show at the Howard Gardens Gallery, Cardiff in January and February of 2007. The curator, artist and writer Chris Short explains why he chose to refer to the idea of ‘the School’ in the exhibition title, and what relevance the word has for St Ives art now.

The St Ives School: 1997-2007

Dr Chris Short

Why the claim to group identity, to a “School”? Indeed, use of the word School in the title of the exhibition may seem something of an anachronism. The kind of formal, ideological and social unities that could have been construed as constituting a School in the 19th and 20th Centuries tend not to occur in the art world today. Critics and historians are more cautious about categorising such unities, justifiably concerned that their identification speaks more of the writer’s values - and even prejudices - than the truth of the artists and artworks about which they are writing.

Use of the word School here has two primary functions, the first negative and critical, the second more positive and constructive. First, the claim to the title “The St Ives School” is intended to confront. It is my contention that the importance of art being produced in and around St Ives began to fall into decline after about 1965. That art had been formally and (to some extent) ideologically challenging, and held a position of importance in the international art world. Since then, the importance of St Ives modernism as a historical movement has increased - largely as a result of Tate St Ives - and the importance of art produced in and around the town may be seen to have decreased, becoming for the most part, little more than a commodity and an object of and for tourism. The significant exception to this is the work that the exhibited artists have been producing over the last decade or more. Thus, the resuscitation of the title indicates a resurgence of important art in and around the town, and it operates to exclude and hence critique the commercial, ersatz culture that has grown to service and exploit the town’s tourist trade. The art on display in this exhibition, in its commitment to fundamental and real problems of art - that is, problems that have been addressed consistently by significant artists both in St Ives and beyond - is the rightful heir to the title “The St Ives School.”

Second, the concept “School” in many ways accurately describes the group exhibited. The English word derives from the Greek “schole”, which meant leisure, as in a place or time of leisure. According to Raymond Williams, the word “passed from meaning ‘leisure’ to the ‘employment of leisure in disputation’ and from that to both the institutional meaning and the more general description of a tendency.”[1] Each of the exhibited artists is professionally occupied as such in St Ives, and making a living as an artist is, for most, far from a leisurely activity. Nonetheless, the notion of leisure, and particularly the employment of leisure in disputation, is central to the group. Largely through shared social and leisure activities - whether a gathering in a local public house, a surf trip or a voyage in a tall sailing ship - the various positions on art held by each member of the group have been repeatedly brought together in both contestation and agreement. Over a decade or more, such discourse has led to mutual understandings, shared projects and common perspectives in relation to the visual culture and the art (modernist and contemporary) in St Ives and beyond.

From these two primary functions of the concept “School”, then, a series of characteristics of importance to the group identity can be isolated. First, geographical proximity of the artists, and a sense of place (whether established positively or negatively) that centres around a particular location and particular activities; second, continuity with art produced in and around St Ives through the modern period until the mid-1960s, whose purpose as art was to address questions about the fundamental condition of art; third, opposition to the kind of visual artefacts produced in the town that exploit and simulate the formal appearance of art to essentially financial ends; fourth, a social and intellectual grouping of continuity and dispute. These characteristics combine to support the cultural formation that this exhibition proposes. I look forward to seeing how the group develops, and where the title “The St Ives School” leads in the next decade.

The participating artists are:

Sam Hall, Andy Hughes (pictured 3rd from top), Richard Nott (pictured 2nd from top) Sax Impey (pictured bottom), Graham Gaunt, Andy Whall (pictured top)

[1] Raymond Williams, Culture, Fontana Paperbacks, 1981, p.63.

CS December 16th 2006

Wheal Art Weekend, Wheal Frances mine July 2006

The performance was called 'arsenic licker' I did a rather strange performance for this project, a bit of a mix and match and a chance to experiment a little.

'Tract' 2006 Press

Although the project itself attracted no local press. Frank Rurhmund wasn't interested even after having a chat with James Green, gallery director. No suprises there then! However the national and then international press got hold of the story and it literally went global. The tract website had over 8,000 visits in less than two hours on the night of Kira's performance. We had threats from animal rights acitivists and had to put ion place an extensive risk assessment that took into account attacks, firebombs, riot etc. It was also the first perfromance that I'd been involved in where we hired two undecover security guards.

The first link is a fairly typical story from the Daily Mail, otheres followed with varying degrees of distortion and untruths. Google (Kira O reilly Newlyn) and you will see the full extent of the coverage.

Local and radio 2 also paid the story a lot of attention.