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Poetry, Performance & Installations by Artist Extraordinaire Angelique Jobelle!
Performance: "Tyneside Tease"
By the end of March I'd gotten into the swing of things & my work was getting more ambitious again. I was still thinking Nordic thoughts, thinking about the north as I'd starting doing in Namibia. I started working with fire again in a big way. At first I was trying to recreate some fires associated with counter-terror activities, ie burning windows of Baader-Meinhoff seige, bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia, the massacre of Branch Davidians in Waco, but eventually I realized I was aiming for the Ur-counter-terror-drama: the massive conflagration at the end of Lang's Ring Of The Nibelung. I messed up the memory card of my camera and lost most of the photos of these actions. Here's a photo of one of the later ones though - gives you an idea anyway.
By early March I'd settled into a routine at CO3, making paintings in the morning, walking down to the veg shop in Ealees to buy some grub for lunch, then a nap & at night I work on some writing or do a simple performance or two. Most of these I didn't bother to document, I think I'm just not so keen on putting every single thing I do under the microscope so to speak. Anyway Dwanelle took one of this perf, one of a series. Love that Patrick McGoohan, eh?
Here's the first thing I did at CO3. It's a sequel to the "Distant Shore" observatory I made in Namibia in January (see several posts below) and it's also a tribute to the roots of the English working class, especially The North West Group.
A lot of people have left comments asking to see a photo of what I look like when I'm not making performance art. Well okay I don't know why I'm in the mood to let you see me like this - & I'll probably change my mind later & take this post down - but anyway - here's what I look like - or anyway it was how I looked yesterday. Dwanelle took this shot of me at the park on an uncommonly beautiful day for Manchester this time of year.
I'm just going through my photo files trying to sort them out in order. Here's some casual shots from CO3 - here's a little impromptu barbeque / picnic that was going on when I arrived at the main residence complex. Here's (L-R) Victor Bruxi who's a painter, Jake the groundskeeper, & Dima, the son of the photographer Pic Ho who was also a resident but was leaving the same day I got there.
Back at the caf, realizing how behind I am with all this, trying to get back into the swing. This might be a little disorganized as I try to catch up as quick as I can. A little random.
Wow. Sorry for not posting for so long. It was kind of a whirlwind two months in Lancs. at the art center where I was in residence: COOO (or CO3) which stands for Chaos Out Of Order, near Rochdale. I'm just now finished up with my residency & staying in Manchester with my friend Dwanelle and her roomate Antoinette. I met Dwanelle at CO3 during one of the artist talks (not mine) & she invited me. CO3's a billiant place & I did some fabulous work there & everything seemed to make sense for once, but the center itself is a heritage site & there's no internet there, so I couldn't keep up with this blog while I was there. So here I am at Dwanelle's or actually at the local caf where there's wifi. Wifi mofo. Anyway I'm just getting back in the swing of things so I'll start off simple here with a photo of the building I stayed in at CO3:
Today Prof surprised me with a commission invitation he'd arranged for me in England, in Lancashire, a residency at an art center outside Manchester. Well it's not the North Pole but it's well on the way. Here's a snap I took of Prof "re-enacting" handing me the invitation. I think he looks distinguished with his mustache don't you?
Leaving Namibia, I traveled by bus to the Congo, to meet my old mentor, Scott MacLeod, who now owns a small nightclub, La Porte Rouge, in Matonge, a rough suburb of Kinshasa. It's a tiny place that reminds me of something out of a Thin Man film. Nick & Nora, that sort of thing. I made a little musical performance about a fictitious actress named Violette. It wasn't until later, when I saw the photos of this performance, that I realized it had been as much of a love-song to Guy Maddin as it was to "Prof."
I've been spending every night watching the heavens within (through the perspectives of) my "observatories." The unfamiliarity of the star patterns made me feel "on edge" - literally - as if I were on the edge of the planet. As if everything dropped away from the Namibian shore and into the blackness of deep space. Which in a way it does. It's a kind of vertigo. As if I were standing "upside down" on the planet? Of course not but isn't spatial orientation one of the most basic of learned ideas? I mean, it is learned isn't it? And at a young age, so it's sunk deep in. I still think Mercator even though it's more of a Robinson world now. Up is up.
Everything has to play itself out eventually, even the body. After I gave up my obsessions with clay skeletons, I staggered around looking for other materials. Anything that didn't require saliva, frankly. I found some rusted things etc and started making these little structures I thought of as 'observatories." In fact I did some complicated math & lined them up so that you can actually predict the movements of celestial bodies. For instance that the sun will come up in the east on such and such a day in 2011, etc.
The harshness of the landscape, and its relative lack of features - by which I mean relative to my own experience - forces me down into my own body like a rodent seeking moisture below the arid surface. The body (and the breath - hot and flat) become central not only to my work but to my - my everything: my thoughts, rants, dreams, day-dreams. It's all blurring, becoming the same. Featureless. Relatively speaking. As the thermometer tops 40 celsius, I start working with a kind of clay, barely an adobe because of the sparcity of even dead vegetation. It is slow and tedious work. There is not enough water to "waste" on something like "art" so I crush the soil by hand and mix it with my spittle. Of which there is little. Only a little spittle. (yes the heat makes things get silly sometimes - or stupid might be better word - anyway thank god for anisette). Obsessed with the body, I make row upon row of these clay "skeleton" sculptures.
The "Carry" performance really took me to the limit. It's been taking me a couple months to recover. "Carry" made me think very deeply about the idea of "North." (Isn't that the name of a radio play by Glenn Gold?) I'm still thinking about "North" - all the time, really - even though I'm really far away from the north. In fact I'm at the Kolmanskop Art Center in Luederitz, Namibia. When they offered me a last-minute residency, I thought maybe it would be a good place to continue my recovery from "Carry." But maybe it's too far from the north. We'll see. Anyway it's pretty bleak here. Not much outside stimuli. Quiet time for the soul to recover in.
I've realized that I miss Alberta. I'm thinking of moving back, maybe this time to Calgary. Here in Hamburg, Spring is starting to crack us all open. It hurts. Now I understand what Eliot meant when he wrote "April is the cruellest month, breeding life-likes out of dead ground."
I'm really getting kind of tired of roaming around Europe, living out of a suitcase, trying to make art that means something. All the festivals & art centers & artists are starting to look alike. I'm just really tired.
Soon after I moved to Hamburg, my mum died.
The enthusiastic response to "Echo" kind of drew me back to some of the issues I'd been working through with the "Autistic" performances. I delved back into catastrophe but this time I was interested in something very different, & I explored this by making installations instead of performances.
Guess what! I'm posting from Germany!
Performance: "Flood Stag"
July was a busy month for me. I did three performances. Obviously they'd grown out of the "Autistic" series but these were a little different, all land-based instead of vehicle-based. They were static not mobile. Without the trope of the automobile, these became catastrophes for catastrophe sake only - just meaningless events that made a lot of noise & light & put my body at risk.
Performance: "Autistic 2"