And so the time has come to pass the baton on to the next artist. I will be a liittle sad to say goodbye to Reside but for me, I think it went some way to serve the purpose I hoped it would. It allowed me a side step in my practice, to play a little with ideas that I had wanted to explore for some time. Of course I only managed to touch on themes I wanted to examine but it's a start. The one hour one/space idea was really an attempt to use the restrictions time and location wise that I struggle with and turn them around into a positive space for possibilty. Continuing on this theme, as I said previously, I plan to take this project online at some point, back into my home/studio, with a live feed over the internet for a specified time. Should you wish to take part, or simply observe, please join my Twitter network and any activity will be announced on there.
Initially, Reside, unfunded, no space provided, may seem unattractive in comparison to other residencies. Quite the contrary. Reside is a little jewel, passed from one artist to another. In a sea of opportunies where lengthy criterias must be met, where briefs demand artists to tick every box imaginable, Reside allows the artist simply to be, or rather, Reside trusts the artist to be.
But of course Reside is specifically designed for those artists that find it difficult to take up any other residencies due to familial/financial restrictions etc. When passing this residency on I have chosen the artist Anthony Boswell to pass the baton too. Anthony's family situation, although very different from mine, is equally, if not more so, restricting, but despite this, Anthony has utilised those resources which are available to him, ie. the internet, to build up relationships and invite others into discourse and share in the development of his practice. Rather than seeing the limitations of his surroundings as a restriction, Anthony sees a never ending landscape of possibilites to wrestle with and I pass Reside over to him knowing he will treasure it. Thankyou Corinna and Karl for your support during the residency and thankyou to all who have joined with me over the last six months.
Okay, not much longer to go, the penultimate post, I knew the time would fly past but I tried not to measure Reside by dates and deadlines, just to let it be, as it were.
As I've mentioned before I wanted somehow to reach out and include others in this mini project, but was not really sure how that would occur. I knew I wanted to approach people outside of 'the art world' as it were, for want of a better word.
Last night I was due to drop in with an organisation nearby that supports people who are experiencing homelessness, helping them get life back on track. First and foremost of course, they are ordinary people like the rest of us, with a wealth of experience and skills in many different areas. We do a little art work together. I hadn't made any plans. It was a really sunny, peaceful evening and I noticed the Methodist Hall opposite my house lying empty as the various clubs have stopped for summer break. So why not.
I met with one woman and four men there.I told them what I have done and showed them the footage in the images. We talked. We discussed what art might be. I showed them the materials, some paper and fabric - and space, lots of it.
At this stage they could have laughed, ignored me, or challenged my decision to even invite them here. Instead they began to roll the paper out. They rolled and rolled until it was entirely off the cardboard tube. They found some tables and chairs and began to construct.
They discussed, explored, made decisions, folded, constructed, laughed, argued, photgraphed and tidied up, all in an hour....and like myself, I've a feeling they thoroughly enjoyed it.
(all materials by the way, are rejected and recycled items from wall paper manufacturers etc)
With the last applications in for the forthcoming Reside residency I have an impossible task to select from many, very worthy artists. As my own residency draws to a close though I had hopes to hold another session in the King Edward Hall, open to the general public but am having difficulty booking it. If all attempts fail, I may move the project online - more details to follow but in the meantime, relating to the playful, improvised approach of previous sessions, and pointing towards future plans, here is some wonderful footage of drawing at Swansea Metropolitan University.
A quiet Sunday afternoon saw me back again in another space. Taking nothing but a pile of books, with the King Edwards Hall hired for just one hour, I set about an exploration of the space. Belfast in the 1970's was a dichotmoy. While violence raged in city streets, I whiled away long hours in a quiet suburban neighborhood just miles away. As my mother routinely 'dozed' in the early afternoon, I was allowed to take the books down from the bookshelves and construct stepping stones, circles and 'stairs' to entertain myself. While she slept I would lay them out around the room and set out to explore, stepping from one to another.
As a young child those hours would drag. Now however an hourflashes by and you can do little that is concrete, complex or lasting in that time. In this context, I like that.
At this point I am currently reviewing applications for the next Reside artist. Six months has whizzed by and perhaps on some levels what I have achieved may seem frivilous or lacking in substance. In a way that is what I have been searching for. I have found these few experiences, these single hours in single spaces, materials pared down, no demand for an end product, extremely playful and liberating and that approach is feeding the rest of my practice. I hope not only to hold one more session in this particular space and invite others in, but as the baton is passed onto the next artist I hope to continue one hour, one space, taking it back into my home but onto the internet through live streaming, engaging directly with the audience.
I'm afraid reading has suffered somewhat this month as I was busy preparing for exhibitions but I managed to dip into the Fold by Deleuze which was largely impossible to decipher except for one moment of clarity when everything seemed to sing (I was in the hairdressers). I also managed to complete Mrs Bridge which was everything I hoped it would be.
As an after thought, and watching the video above, I couldn't help but remember the Poem for Marie by Seamus Heaney which begins, 'Love, I will perfect for you the child , who diligently potters in my brain....', written for his wife, recalling childhood constructions, not really related to my undertaking, but beautiful none the less
Seamus Heany Poenm: Digging
Susan Francis is a Belfast born artist now living in the South of England
Assigning words to a process which, by it's nature endeavors to exist outside the borders of a textual medium will never be easy. I suppose, to use a literary metaphor, I see my work as a constant enquiry, an incomplete sentence, a phrase articulated through material, object and space. It is quiet work, a vocabulary of cast offs, objects, liquids and processes, at times unstable, prone to decay, but familiar to us all.
With influences ranging from Eva Hesse's organic minimilism to Watteau’s scenes of frivolous beauty tinged with wistful sadness, my work is often unashamedly poetic. Peering into the unspoken corners of our condition, I traverse a landscape shifting beneath us as the domestic enclave is infiltrated by a digitally connected world, where the ambiguity and at times falsity of relationships, truth and love languish in a vulnerable and fragile context.
At the core of my practice I suppose I wish to open a dialogue with myself, the space, the viewer – where others will take that conversation is for them to decide.