Not At Home - Description.
Precarious Assembly, The Whitworth Manchester.
August 4th 2016.
I carry and place a cardboard box of objects in the space. Each of the five actions is performed in sequence, in the following body states and spaces:
1. In black t-shirt and long trousers; bare feet, hair tied back. (Taking place in the first floor textiles exhibition).
2. Naked. (Taking place in the Elizabeth Price curated exhibition).
3. In denim skirt and blue t-shirt. (Taking place in the main collection - new aquisitions).
I take some kitchen utensils from the box, that includes wooden spoons and spatulas; plastic fish slice and slotted spoon; potato masher’ wire whisk; metal fish slice and spoon. A divide the utensils into two hands and stand with a fists of these tools – looking at them for a moment. I begin to lick the utensils. I explore the length and contours of the utensils with my tongue. I move from one fistful to the other, repeating this action five times. As I complete a licking action I raise my hands slightly so that both fists become elevated from my body. As I lick I can taste the residue of cooking on the utensils- a sweet and savoury ‘onion-ish’ taste. I feel the coldness of the metal and the roughness of the wood. I lick over my fingers and along the spoon handles, pushing my tongue into the slots of the fish slices, the curve of the potato masher and the wires of the whisk. When I have done this five times I raise my fists of utensils up and stand for a count of fifty. I then let the utensils drop and they clatter to the floor.
I take a used pillow from the box, it is white fabric stained yellow. I place the pillow on the floor. I take a wooden toy bed from the box. It is dark brown, hand made. I crouch to place it next to the pillow (below and to the right), and then I stand. I hold my hands/ arms as if still holding the toy bed. I then crouch to pick the bed up and hold it forward before putting it down again. I repeat this action of picking up and replacing the bed twenty five times. I then step forward onto the pillow and jump up and down fifty times, holding my body loosely, becoming breathless. I stop and quickly lie down behind the pillow, grabbing the toy bed and placing it on my chest/ abdomen so that it rises and falls as I pant. I hold my fists tightly, but slowly let them release with creaking, jumping motion of the tendons. Once my breathing has returned to normal and my fists are unclenched I allow my body to relax and press into the floor.
I take a large saucepan and lid from the box. It is stainless steel with two handles. I lift the lid and look at it, consider it. I am holding the lid in my left hand and the pan in my right. I see the reflection of the room in the pan lid. I twist my body slowly, holding the lid and maintaining a gaze into the lid so as to visually explore the space I am in. I move my body, turning on-the-spot so that I can take in the whole space, walls, floor, people, ceiling. I try to twist my body so that I can see all the way behind me. As I move I occasionally spin the pan in my right hand. One I feel that I have gone ‘all the way round’ I return to front and slowly replace the lid. I place the pan on the floor.
I take a curtain from the box. It is made from a fabric in creams and browns with a floral pattern of poppies and thistles. The curtain is lined, with gathering tape and hanging weights. The curtain lies in a pool at my feet. I bundle the fabric into a ball and start to roll this around and over my body. I make my way from one leg, across my torso and up my chest. I try to keep the bundle whole, refolding fabric into the ball as it drops loose. I roll the fabric under my arm put, behind my neck and over my head, and along an arm. I roll it down my back and between my legs, down my leg to the floor. I let the curtain fall on the floor at my feet then pick up the top edge and with two hands pull the fabric up over my face and head until it covers me, pulling the fabric from behind my back so it travels over my head and body to fall behind me. Step back so the curtain is at my feet again. I do this thee times then leave it heaped on the floor.
One-at-at time I take twelve ceramic plates from the box. They are of varying sizes and designs. I place a plate on the floor. There is a slight ringing noise when some plates touch the hard floor. I stand close to the plate and then lift my bare foot to trace the shape and feel of it with my foot. Standing with my weight on one leg I allow my toes to trace the edge of the place, or across the bowl of it. Sometimes my feet stick a little and the plate moves. I can feel embossed pattern on some places and the warmth of the china plates. Once I have placed and touched all the plates I collect them up in my arms. I stack them against my breasts, leaning back a little so as to cradle the plates in my arms. I shuffle the plates so as to put them in some sort of order. Some slip, and there is a clattering noise. Once happy with the action and arrangement I stack the plates on the floor. I go to stand on the stack with my full weight. The first two times some of the plates crack and break. (I leave the broken shards in the space). I do more than stand on one leg. The third time (with a diminished pile of now stronger plates) I am able to fully stand with two feet on the stack and lift my heels from the plates. I can stand for a count of fifty before stepping off the stack.
I gather all the objects up, back in the box. If there are broken shards of pottery I leave these in the gallery. On one occasion I forget a wooden spoon and it is also left. I carry the box to exit the space (or to move to the next performance site).