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Artist Attachment update

In January 2020 I took part in Magnetic North’s Rough Mix Residency, where I was given the opportunity to collaborate with artists from varying practices on a new work. The other artists were Flavia Hevia, Uther Dean, Gavin Glover, Greg Sinclair, Kol Sigfúsdóttir, Rachel Drazek, Apphia Campbell, Claire Willoughby, Elspeth Turner, Marion Geoffray, Nicholas Alban and Sean Hay.

Leading up to the residency, I was really unsure about what I wanted to explore, with different projects tumbling around in my mind, I felt a real pressure to pick the ‘right’ one, and to come out of the residency with a really solid WIP. I was also a little unsure of how to use the main resource available to us: six performers, especially as I was still unclear about what form I wanted to explore.

For the first few days, the main artists; Flavia, Uther, Gavin, Greg and myself, gave presentations on our practices. I shared a collection of objects relating to my exploration of rewilding, I observed that I had a strong emotional response to one particular object: a small brass bullet casing. The casing had come from research work that I carried out in the field late last year, where I went Hind stalking in Corrour. I realised that I hadn’t yet fully processed that experience and this residency might be an opportunity to do so.

I discovered that the best approach for me was to ‘do less’, this didn’t mean less effort, but rather focus on a single objective, action or word and the main focus for my residency emerged; explore what it’s like to have other people tell the Hind Stalking story. This was a huge shift for me and it was a total joy to hand over responsibility for telling, what is for me, a hugely emotive experience.  Having other people hold that narrative created space for me to see what they were interested in, what aspects of the story they wanted to take responsibility for and also the gaps that I could write into. I finally understand how it could work with three performers, I could see my work without me in it, and It looked great.

Being able to observe other artist’s practices was hugely inspiring, the language they used, the detail they were interested in and also how they translated what they needed into exercises with the group. Lots of crossovers started appearing between sessions and there was a real enthusiasm and desire to keep exploring. It was a total delight to see everyone’s sharing at the end of the residency, but also to have an insight into how the pieces emerged throughout the two weeks.  It was a huge privilege to have such a wealth of expertise available during the residency and to feel supported by the room despite my own uncertainty. The Rough Mix process allowed my new work to gradually unfold and reveal itself to me, so even though I didn’t feel ready for Rough Mix, the work was.