Saturday, 22 October 2016

Upcoming: New performance 'la saint trinité' showing at SPILL Festival of Performance.

Please do come and witness my new performance la sainte trinité as part of SPILL Festival of Performance at 3.30pm, 28th October 2016 at the High Street Exhibition Gallery in Ipswich, UK. 

I am showing work as part of SPILL National Platform showcase. 

Here are details on the SPILL website, including location information and how to buy tickets:

Here is a link to details on the Plymouth University Arts Institute blog:

For those of you who cannot make it to Ipswich but live in the South West, I will be performing 'la saint trinité' again at Plymouth University on the 9th November. This performance will be free to attend, but is by invitation only. Please contact me for details if you are interested in attending. 

Premise: la sainte trinité questions the visual representation of female experience supposed by the Christian faith. Historical images are appropriated, re-staged, reconfigured and re-lived in an attempt to show the realities of female experience, as opposed to the stagnant death of the static art object.

Love and light - Natalie xo

Documentation: Sackcloth & Ashes at Tempting Failure, 2016

Here are documentary photographs from Sackcloth & Ashes which Dagmar and I performed at Theatre Utopia in Croydon, for this years Tempting Failure, 2016.

Many thanks to all of the TF crew and artists for an amazing time. 

Much love to you all xo

Image Credits: Julia Bauer 





Friday, 21 October 2016

Practice Research, Introspection, and Mental Illness - A Strategy for Wellbeing.

Recently, I have been doing a bit of secondary research into the relationship between practice research, introspection, and mental illness. 

There is nothing out there specifically on this topic, but I did find a blog post about the darker side of introspection, which gave me some food for thought (see below).

Personally, I don't think it is healthy to have the mirror of introspection held out in-front of you so prominently over the course of a PhD, and let me explain...

The mirror which holds you to account in the rehearsal room, which allows you to understand your own processes and fills the words on the page of your thesis, needs to be very consciously put away at the end of your working day, and left there. 

As an artist and a woman who gives her all to her practice, the mirror of introspection began to bleed into every other aspect of my life. Whilst is is healthy to consider your own lived experiences which shape the artworks that you make, it is not healthy to reflect on your own day-to-day behaviours in life outside of the PhD. Unfortunately, this was the case for me, and it has had a very profound affect on my life. I found that I was psychoanalysing my behaviour and thought processes all of the time. It is extremely  emotionally (and physically, in relation to the physical affects of stress on the body) draining. 

I believe there needs to be a very clear and consciously forged critical distance between the artist academic as a human being with thoughts, experiences and behaviours which can go uncritiqued, and their experiences to be examined for their practice led research.  Maybe this is common sense for some people, maybe this is something that other artists might have to consciously initiate for themselves as I have. This is something I am putting in place for my own well-being. It could potentially be a useful strategy for others, too. 

Much love and light to you all 

- Natalie xo 

The following is reproduced from an original blogpost, which is available to view here: The Dark Side of Introspection

The Dark Side of Introspection

The disease of introspection has many levels, some more lethal than others. There are times when I have to tell a person that healing his depression . . . or whatever [else], will be as easy as falling off a log–once he is healed of an advanced case of introspection. It is amazing how perfectly and methodically some persons can go about destroying every experience of life . . . even every thought experience, through turning a introspective, analytical mind to bear on it. I have even seen pride connnected with this, as though it were some kind of advanced intellectual activity. Actually, it is the annihilation of the intellect.

Stan’s story . . . is a classic example of this disease at its worst. He was almost destroyed by it, being at the point of suicide when I first met him. He was a bright young man who had spent years developing the rational mind, while neglecting the weightier matters of the heart. His emotional needs were very great. . . . When his sexual and gender inferiority began to show up as . . . confusion in the fantasy and dream life, lust entered in and he suffered a moral and spiritual fall–something for which he could not forgive himself. His mind was then held captive not only by a demonic imagery, but by a viscious and continuous mental obsession that contained two elements: a constant analyzing of himself, an exercise in which he was continually looking inward to find some sort of personal truth or reality, and a constant analyzing of what he had before accepted as true. This inner dialogue was full of an irrational sophistry that could only tear concepts apart, but never put the fragments back together in any kind of satisfying whole. Another way to describe this is to say that his thought, severely introspective and full of doubts about what is or is not true, was agonizingly painful and circular. This is the disease of introspection, and Stan had it to a fearful degree. He was in fact floundering in serious mental and spiritual darkness and was filled with fear when he first sought help . . . .

You may be thinking that introspection especially afflicts students and scholars and those gifted intellectually and artistically. But I find this ‘disease’ everywhere. The schism between mind and heart affects the ditchdigger as well as the college professor, the store clerk as well as the artistic genius.

The person who has the disease of introspection, who thinks painfully, constantly, and in circles about life, lives always in the painful past and for the future. In this way, he squanders his present by trying to figure out a more secure or less painful future. The future, of course, never arrives, for it is in the present moment that we ‘live move and have our being.’
The outlines of who we are . . . become sharper and clearer as the eyes of our souls are opened to see and rejoice in the realities outside ourselves. Love is the way: love for the object [God] rather than concentration on oneself, the subject.

We come to know even ourselves, not through turning inward to study and analyze, but by turning outward to love all that is real and other than ourselves. There is a true examination of our hearts and minds . . . but it is never made in separation from the Presence of Another–the One who illumines and forgives. The person who is turned inward has not accepted himself, so there will always be various degrees of the wrong kind of self-hatred involved, and that only grows worse as he concentrates on himself. He has a problem with himself, and he’s looking hard at himself trying to solve it. The disease of introspection is always a lonely business; it is carried on the self in isolation from love.

The disease of introspection occurs when the rational, analytical mind turns in on the intuitive, feeling mind, and the proper complementarity between the two is lost. This introspective mode has various levels of intensity, but in the more painful stages . . . a depression can ensue that will wipe out the power to act or to think.

Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence: Curing the Soul Through Union With Christ, 185-87, 192-93, 195.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Lecture and Workshop at Plymouth College of Art: An Introduction to Live Art

This week I had the pleasure of returning to Plymouth College of Art (PCA) for the third year running (big thanks to Programme Leaders Steven Paige and Jenny Keane for contiually inviting me). 

I delivered a one hour introductory lecture on the lineage of live art, introduced them to a range of live art practices, followed by an interactive workshop. 

At the end of the session, students were invited to cultivate their own images, placing their bodies firmly within the artistic frame, reflecting on what they were potentially communicating to an audience. Here are their results...




A big thank you to the students for your energy and enthusiasm