True Riches and more!

An update on the latest activity… 

Starting small – i’ll be doing the slide-show performance I mentioned here, called The Audience, at the famous Stoke Newington International Airport this Saturday 7th Feb – info here. It will also be performed at a festival hosted by Voorhuit in Ghent called “Tickle Your Catastrophe!”, but by performer Kurt Vandendriessche as I’ll be in Japan by then for a Rotozaza gig. 

Etiquette has begun a London run at the gorgeous Cafe Oto. It will be there all February. Many thanks to Keiko and Hamish for hosting it there. If you’ve never done Etiquette and you live in London, now’s the chance – it may not be back for a while. All the info about that is here

I’m working on a new ‘autoteatro’ piece with Joji Koyama and Isambard Khroustaliov, called GuruGuru, and thoroughly enjoying it. It works in a similar way to Etiquette, but is for 5 people this time instead of two, positioning the audience-performers in a semi-circle around a televised character who slips between marketing and spiritual guru (making for a scenario which flicks between something like group therapy and a focus group). I’ve known Sam and Joji for roughly 20 years now, and both their work has been of huge inspiration over that time. We’re having a lot of fun with it, and are looking forward to the trial run at Shunt before it heads to further previews at BAC and then a proper premiere at the great Fusebox festival in Austin, Texas (who commissioned the piece). Full info about GuruGuru, as well as Sam and Joji, here


Finally (for now), Tim Etchells and I have just hit GO on a project which until now has been shrouded in secrecy… Back in October the ICA director Ekow Eshun announced he was closing the Live Art department saying that in his opinion the form ‘lacks depth and cultural urgency’. The issue of the ICA not really having any proper / dependable live programme has been bugging many of us for years (they’d basicly given up a long time ago but never really admitted it), what with London’s chronic shortage of performance spaces dedicated to innovative performance / theatre/ live art practice. I had the idea of hosting a programme of live art at the ICA. Thought about 3 possible angles on it > 1. put it together and just do it, as a series of ‘actions’ that would no doubt involve people being chucked from the building (I liked this if only because it meant the ICA actually had something to remove from the building, something to ‘cut’ – that we would be helping them ‘make real’ their promise). 2. put it together and do it, but make sure that all the works were so undercover, ephemeral and slight that it wouldn’t be noticed anyway (whispers at tables, performers pretending to be art viewers, etc), and 3. to simply put together a programme of ‘paperwork performance’, imaginary happenings… Idea 1 wasn’t ever really going to happen – not really my thing. Idea 2 could have gone ahead but in some ways Tino Sehgal has been there and done that (which sounds great, and is ironically one of the very few Live works at the ICA in the past years outside the mime festival).

Talking to Tim I put this to him and he immediately went for 3. We decided to collaborate on the project and we’ve been working on it – mostly on the late night slots at various spots around the globe – until now. It’s been incredible working with Tim, figuring out where to push, where not to insist, when to be open, how to frame the ‘call out’ to the artists etc – a huge pleasure to be doing this with someone whose thinking I admire so much. (On a side note it’s struck me that, just over ten years ago, I saw Forced Entertainment’s show Pleasure in the ICA theatre. I still have Tim’s programme notes, and am very aware of how much both that show and his writing helped to frame the work I was starting to make.)

With some great design help from Britt Hatzius we’ve finally got it online. Tim christened the project TRUE RICHES at an early stage, and we began contacting potential contributors. It’s turned out to be a great programme, made up of virtual contributions from an international group of artists, curators and thinkers working in and around Live Art. We hope that, on the whole, it’s a positive move and of course that it might even help change some minds at the ICA. Do go to the site, download the programme, enjoy, and pass it around as much as possible. A second season of True Riches is planned for later in the year. 

True Riches – A Programme of Live Art for the ICA 

(*As I write, there’s a ping and I see Momus has beaten me to it!)



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