Flush; or the Possibility of Moving Towards an Impossible Goal - Centre d’Art en Ile, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002; The White Space Gallery, St Peters, Vere Street, London UK 2004; Lloyd Park, William Morris Gallery, London UK, 2005; Chisenhale Dance Space, London UK 2006
My research explores the role of the artist and the individual within a wider socio-economic context. Drawing on a background in dance and the visual arts the work uses silent gestures and movements of the everyday to perform absurd repetitions and impossible tasks. Constructed as ritualistic activity or repetitive loops the works challenge one system by creating another. Projects are conceived for particular sites and reconfigured in their relocation to other sites. The work takes the form of performance, screen-based installation and dance on screen.
'Flush: or the Possibility of Moving toward an Impossible Goal' is a key project within a body of performative and ritualistic interventions. A sequel to 'Flush' is the live intervention 'Extreme Ironing', which was performed as part of Vogelfrei, the 7th Biennale of Darmstadt, Germany, November 2007.
When conceiving 'Flush' as an intervention for an outdoor event in the city centre of Geneva I was concerned with my reality as an artist, with being a producer without funds in a world that is obsessed with productivity and outcome. In reality I did not have the means to be producing anything at all. I concluded that at best I could perform a ritual in time, at least assert myself though a form of work that wasn't making anything at all.
The choreography enacts an impossible task. Two women performers endeavour to scoop water from one side of the bridge and pour it into the other whilst working in opposition to each other. Apart from simply recycling its main material, water, the performance also recycles costumes that belong to another performance group, the Five Andrews. Chosen for their black rubber skirts and fluorescent sleeves the costumes appear at first appropriate and achieve a useful kind of visibility in a city full of advertising. However they go beyond a probable work wear to introduce a visuality that shifts the work sideways to becoming a piece of theatre or dance. The recycling of elements, far from being a restriction, turns into excess that plays with the logic of economic thinking. In its impossibility to achieve anything the work becomes a form of play.
There is no utopia in this work but it is a work after all, and a play. In the end it is the kind of work art can do.
'Flush' became the starting point for an international exhibition 'Controlled Democracy' at the White Space Gallery, London, 2004. 'Controlled Democracy' explored the role of the individual in contemporary democratic systems making comparisons and drawing analogies between Europe and Russia.
For the purpose of this exhibition 'Flush' was reconfigured as a two-screen installation with an ongoing loop. In addition to this work the exhibition included key international artists such as Superflex (Denmark) and Radek (Russia), leading groups in a contemporary avant-garde that combine collective art practice with political and social engagement. Flush was subsequently selected for inclusion in ‘News from Nowhere, Visions of Utopia’, at the William Morris Gallery and Lloyd Park, London in 2005, and again in 2006 as part of ‘Perspectives’ at Chisenhale Dance Space, an established venue for research into movement based arts in East London.