Bon Soiree Marnay Sur-Seine

24 Oct

My time here at CAMAC is coming to an end and i’ve spent the past week or so completing reports, funding applications and wandering up and down the river to say goodbye. Thanks for those who’ve kept up to date with the what, where and WTF of my time here at CAMAC via my blog. If you’re still keen to see where things head i’ve set up a new website that will host project based blogs such as this.

http://www.nicktimatkins.com

As for what’s next… I head for Berlin where I will complete the Pentals Hemmingway Fellowship with the plan to bring together some of the scraps I have begun writing here at CAMAC.

bon soiree mon amis

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Leaving for Paris

13 Oct

Today i finally submitted my little play to a writing festival. Though i doubt very highly it will be picked up and I’m very proud to have finally exported the thing! As a result i have very little to post but will be leaving for Paris early tomorrow morning so will be no doubt filled with images and inspiration to bring back soon… and ofcourse i couldn’t not wish my sister a happy birthday. Sending love from somewhere between A and B.

Freshly Squeezed

12 Oct

So currently I have my head to the desk thinking through a little installation idea for Stagejuice’s “Freshly Squeezed” soon to be at PACT theatre (I recommend it highly to anyone that is around town over the next week or so). The project is a simple little moment that is interested in communication and more importantly communication over distance. It’s a space where little things can become big and the bigs things you want to treasure more then you’re capable of when finding yourself outside a persons arms reach (I’d kill to hug my nephew right now). So this little project “Somewhere between A and B” is a series of interviews that are attempting to catch those moments when people’s longing and perhaps even despair breaks through. Included here are a few sound files I’m considering using. There will be pictures to come if my wonderful Freshly Squeezers are generous enough to share and image with me of the installation finding its home in the PACT foyer.

Somewhere between a & b [now with five points]

10 Oct

To return to a moment when old habits were becoming new habits, Eli’s mother pushed her way through to the next carriage. Eli followed closely behind. They moved into an equally packed carriage as the train came to a halt. Rita fell to the ground. As she tried to collect herself together and exit she caught her bag on the railing causing it to burst open across the platform. It must be said that Rita had her way of doing things.

Eli’s mother also fell but unlike Rita she fell straight into the arms of a businessman. The two laughed the incident off. Eli’s mother explained how clumsy she was as she placed her hands on the man’s shoulder. With a smile she slid her hand down his arm and onto his waist and within a second or two she had extracted his wallet. Simultaneously she thanked him for the chivalry he had only recently demonstrated.

Eli watched through a window that formed in the gaps between people’s legs and coats. An older woman next to him wore a large fur coat that almost covered him completely. She looked down at Eli and was startled for a moment but then smiled and made space for his petite body.

Eli thought the woman was dressed unnecessarily pompous. She wore heavy amounts of makeup and jewellery that was bold but tacky. He assumed the fur coat was a fake. Though Eli was young he was old enough to know that people that owned fur coats generally didn’t ride the metro. His perceptions were correct. This was not a wealthy woman but rather one that was in love with notions of glamour and performance. In her younger years she had struggled as an actor but wound up leaving the industry for a more lucrative income as a real estate agent. Despite this stage exit this woman still loved a crowd and whether she would admit it or not considered the six stops she rode on the metro a day her moment to be seen. The train came to another halt. In this moment, where most people awkwardly jerked and slipped this woman, despite her age, smiled, held her head high and cushioned the moment with a flourish of her body in a way that only an ex performer could. Eli was impressed. She felt that she had nailed the execution and was so impressed by tonight’s performance that she strolled out of the carriage leaving her knock off designer bag on the seat next to Eli.

Eli looked at the bag and made a quick estimate as to how much cash might be inside. He looked up and saw the woman’s coat swaying as it moved away clearly still revelling in the afterglow. He snatched the bag and slipped through the doors as they closed. Another victory. He turned around to signal his mother. She blew him a kiss from within the arms of another gentleman that was kind enough to catch her as she fell once again. Eli and his mother rode the metro most days so being separated was not irregular for either of them. With

With the handbag under his arm he darted through the crowd following the fake fur coat as it appeared and disappeared. He mounted a seat and ran across a ledge. This was a manoeuvre that truly only Eli could pull off. He dropped down onto another seat and then re-entered the crowd finding himself in front of his target.

The woman was startled once again, although Eli by this time suspected she might be enjoying the melodrama of surprise just a little. He extended the bag and she gracefully and humbly received her belongings. For a moment she was a little overwhelmed by the kindness of Eli. So much so that she ripped the bag open and searched through for any she cash that was rolling around. It didn’t taker her long to realise she’d spent the last of her loose cash purchasing the bag she was carrying. It was a recent purchase, making her extremely grateful for its return. So, instead, she removed a broach from her coat and offered it to Eli. He said thankyou and the woman continued on her way.

Eli held the broach in his hand as the crowd bustled past him. He had never held an object that looked and felt as precious as this did. It had gold edges and a turquoise centre, on which there was a strange pattern of lines and curves. At one stage before these lines had faded and scratched (much like the acting career of the woman who carried it) the broach framed the image of a flower and vase. Now that the image had been subjected to years of usage it appeared abstracted. The disconnected lines made Eli think of the metro. He imagined it as a map for the underground tunnels as they started, stopped, cut and curved their way through the grid of the city.

Somewhere between a & b [a fourth bite into an idea]

9 Oct

In a flustered and slightly embarrassed state, Lilly failed to realise that on exiting the dining room she in fact retreated into the staff toilet. She was immediately struck by the sever lack of upkeep and the harsh lighting. Not wishing to further her embarrassment by re entering the dining room for a second attempt at an exit she committed to the space placing her black sequin clutch bag on the basin. She turned the rusty tap and a small stream of lukewarm water began to dribble out. As it fell to the basins surface she listened to the gentle patter for a moment before dapping the napkin the maitre d’ had thrust upon her into the stream. Despite the fact that her dress was black there was a visible stain that ran from her shoulder and across her chest. The sound of the running water was drowned out by a few shouts coming from the dining room that were often proceeded by a wolf whistle here and there. In an attempt to reclaim some control over her appearance Lilly reapplied her make up and dropped her hair so that it now fell to her shoulders. The image in the mirror told Lilly she was power, she was intelligent and that she was attractive

She re-entered the dining room to the sight of several of her friends now dancing with of the patrons. The girls giggled and slipped and swayed with the music. Eli played around and through them seducing their thoughts and bodies into minor frenzies. Lilly watched as his eyes held the room and his fingers as the wielded the piano like a puppet controlling the room. She began to move with the music just ever so slightly as she joined her company on the makeshift dance floor.

Eli was used to the antics of people in places such as the restaurant. Married men and women would often wink at him whilst their partners turned their backs and intoxicated young women would ask for a photo or sheet of music as a souvenir of their night. Eli was an object in this place much like the entrees or décor. He could be purchased at a negotiated rate. On this night he watched as a group of young women persuaded older gentlemen out of their seats and onto the floor. Occasionally one of the women would shout a request and when Eli would comply they would fall into raptures. He was bored. He was bored with them. He was bored with this space. He was bored that night up until he saw Lilly.

Out of the corner of his eye he watched her return from the bathroom. She was somehow a little different from the other girls. She seemed to be just a little bit more dangerous for a reason Eli couldn’t indentify nor articulate. He could feel her eyes on him and in this moment he began to play with a little more melodrama. He always enjoyed performing the artist for people that failed to see the irony. It found it particularly useful on young women.

Lilly was in no way attracted to Eli and yet he absorbed her. She caught a smirk break over his face as his eyes caught hers just slightly. She took this as an invitation to move a little closer.

As Eli watched Lilly edge closer and closer he moved over on his seat leaving room for her to join. His melody slowed a beat here and there. The other women had now progressed to either groping the gentlemen they had picked up or dancing with one another. They didn’t notice Lilly take a seat next to Eli, and they didn’t notice her imagine a world she had never seen before.

Eli was slightly distracted by the hem of Lilly’s black riding up as she took a seat next to him. She smiled. He smiled at her. She lent her head on his shoulder as he played on and her bag fell between the two of them. Eli’s song came to a close. He touched Lilly’s leg just for a moment. She told him that those who knew her called her Lilly. He explained that those who knew him knew that, that was his last song… and that he was often called Eli. Lilly pulled her head off his shoulder and stole a piece of paper from her wallet. She scribbled a number and placed this in Eli’s pocket. Eli said goodnight and kissed her on the cheek. Lilly softly began to extract herself from the seat. As she did Eli’s hand slipped down her arm, across her hand, into her bag and extracted her wallet. Old habits die hard.

Open Studio

8 Oct

The pictures are finally out thanks to new resident photographer Sebastian who covered the event. I presented two works, “this is an exit” and “this is half an hour.” Both can be seen in the slideshow below.

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Here ar the short synopsis’ for each work.

this is half and hour
This durational performance will occur for two blocks of 30mins
(18:30 – 19:00 & 19:30 – 20:00). The work involves me balancing on
a circular board placed on a slight pivot on a medium sized plinth.
On the board sits a bottle and ping pong ball. The objective is to keep
the ball up. The goal of this project is to heighten the experience of
30minutes that will be signified by the bells ringing.

this is an exit
This object comes from thinking through entrances and exits into
performance spaces. I have been investigating how the dynamic
of a room changes when a door is present. I will present a projection
of a door opening, closing and being moved through onto a door
that is free standing away from a wall.

 

Somewhere between A & B (just a little bit more part3)

7 Oct

Eli’s fingers delicately fell across the keys, each time plucking a string that vibrated in turn releasing a note that swam around the room. It fell across plates and glasses and travelled under tables where people expressed with their feet what they were too ashamed to do with their hands and faces. And every now and then his voice would meet the notes like a blanket spreading over the room with the objective of collecting and containing the sounds as they danced and swayed around the space. Every time Eli became involved or perhaps over excited in the melody the Maitre d’ would pass by and clip the back of his head as a reminder to keep things both contained and upbeat. Though his song still carried its sense of melancholy from when he was a child it had now lost its innocence being replaced by a dangerous edge. It was an edge that, at this moment and in this room, was absorbing a young woman called Lily.

Lilly stood out within the elegant and decadent room. She had bold, deep red hair worn up and pale skin that was wrapped by a simple and yet chic black dress. At her table sat four other women all similarly dressed and yet each with their own discerning feature. These women knew very little of each other and they cared about one another less than they knew. They were bound by a context and an objective; the context being wealth and status and the objective being to find a means of sustaining this context. They were socialites. They were sculptures that moved. They were desired and envied by most. Amongst the many things these women were at the moment the most fitting description would be that they were between their main course and dessert.

Lilly picked at the edge of a label attached to the wine bottle that sat to her left as the women discussed both places to go and people to see. She felt the eyes of a gentlemen sitting at the next table trying to attract her attention. In an attempt to avoid making contact with this unwanted observer she turned her body slightly to focus on Eli in the corner. She let his song wash over her and for a moment she wasn’t bored. This was a rare occurrence for Lilly. Her hand ceased to pick at the label of the bottle and her eyes closed. In her mind she began to imagine a house.

It was not a large house, nor was it particularly grand. It was warm. It was soft. As her thoughts began to piece together the colour of the lounge, and ignite a fire in the corner, and insert a face and body onto the lounge a young waiter tripped on Lilly’s long elegant coat that was draped over her chair. As this incident occurred a thin wine glass filled with an expensive red wine tumbled form the waiters tray through the air and down the shoulder of Lilly landing across her torso destroying her moment of fantasy. She stood up. The waiter apologised profusely. The maitre d’ swam in with a swarm of napkins. The other women all expressed reactions of shock and horror thinly disguising smirks. Eli’s melody broke its rhythm if only for a moment as he noticed the commotion occur.

somewhere between a & b [part2]

6 Oct

Twenty years later Rita’s hair is still frayed, her glasses round and the same crucifix still rests upon her chest. In this particular moment she has exchanged the trench coat for a dressing gown as she waits anxiously by the door for her daughter Mia to return home.

Mia on the other hand ducked around a corner and slid behind a large dumpster three blocks away from the door next to which Rita happened to be waiting. Three bocks further away Eli moved his bike off the sidewalk and ducked in and out of traffic. The glow of flashing blue lights fell across Mia’s skin, illuminating the splatters of pink spray paint that covered her shoes. She took a breath. The lights passed. Her body relaxed. She slunk out from behind the dumpster and back onto the street. She looked up at a billboard on which sat an image of a beautiful family espousing the importance of fundamentalist faith based values. Eli checked his watch and then doubled his speed.

If you passed this billboard quickly or perhaps even just irregularly you may not notice that on this night a slight transformation had occurred. The perfect family that sat upon the surface, one boy, one girl, one man, one woman had had a new member pasted into the background. Just behind their line of sight stood a short haired woman with a series of piercings on one year and her opposing hand raised elevating a finger that sat in the middle of her hand. This image was still damp from the wheat paste that had been used as an adhesive. Mia smiled.

Mia smiled for a moment too long ensuring she had no warning that Eli was now hurtling down the street towards her. What felt like milliseconds before the bike would have taken her out Mia fell to the ground grazing her hand adding another injury to her well-bruised body. Eli was confident he’d be able to avoid Mia as he peddled towards her but decided to give her a scare but seeing how close he could come. He often found himself frustrated with people that wound up gawking on sidewalks and slow walkers and people that took up the entire step on an escalator blocking the flow around them.

He swerved on and off the sidewalk again, slipping through the traffic as it piled up at an intersection. Though twenty years had taken its turn on Eli’s body he still had a nimble build and still managed to slip through the city as if it were on giant playground. He moved under a medieval arch that now sat at the centre of the metropolitan landscape and slid in front of taxi causing a violent outburst from the driver.

Eli was now running twenty minutes late for work and his care for traffic was somewhere between zero and none. He took a sharp right down a dark alleyway and broke suddenly in front of a red door. The paint was peeling off and the doorknob was slightly off its hinge. The light above flickered as Eli moved through his bag searching for his keys. As he found his eyes and threw the door open a wave of spices spilt out. He moved into a dim storage room filled with cans, grains and dried goods and then through a second door into a bright white kitchen lined with stainless steel benches and instruments. He ducked down the line swerving through chefs moving transporting pots and pans making a cacophony of sounds. A piece of chicken that rested for just a minute in preparation for a dish on the counter was scooped up by Eli’s hand and disappeared into his mouth as he noticed a nervous apprentice drop a plate. Three seconds later he could hear the head chef explode with rage. Eli always found chefs rather peculiar people. He would often picture them as little walking volcanoes looking to erupt at the drop of a hat.

He pushed through one last door. Unlike the dim storage room and the bright kitchen the lighting in this room was, it must be said, of goldilocks standard. The people sitting around this space were all very attractive and from Eli’s quick appraisal of their clothes and accessories were also very wealthy. Here was the faint sound of cutlery clinking and the occasional chortle. I use the term chortle as I feel it commonly describes the most common laugh of these people.  It’s the kind of laugh used when a person is performing laughter to confirm they’ve understood the joke despite the fact they may have found it in no way humorous. I once dated someone who chortled a lot. It is not a good thing. It does not make you sound intelligent. The fact that this sound was so dominant in the room, and perhaps my head, was a problem. It was Eli’s problem. He moved to the corner of the room where there sat a large black grand piano under the seething eyes of the Maitre d’ who was aware of every second that Eli was late.

Eli took his seat. He took a breath. He stole a peak at the tip jar adorning the piano and though there were no fake jewels for a moment he thought of his mother rattling her tin can for passengers on the underground, and then… he began to play.

Elephants & Rooms [a resolution]

5 Oct

I sit on a chair in a room in Lyon thinking of a girl that has now became a woman who happens to have an elephant for a head. I stop. I listen for the sound of a clock ticking but it doesn’t come. Perhaps it is drowned out by the sound of the girl cleaning around me. Perhaps there isn’t a clock here to be heard.

A woman with the head of an elephant sits in a room full of chairs. She thinks about me for a brief moment. I am tempted to say she smiles at this thought but feel this may over exaggerate her fondness of me. It’s not that she and I aren’t close and share an intimacy but rather that our relationship is messy. Face book might register it as being complicated.

A second girl walks into the room in which I happen to be. She greets the other girl. They gossip briefly about the day that has been. A boy enters the room in which the woman happens to be. The boy has a small build, sandy blonde hair, bright blue eyes and the arms of a platypus. He is very nervous to be there. The woman welcomes to the boy and offers him a peanut. The boy declines timidly. The woman hurls one up and uses her truck to snap it up.

“Think that’s impressive?”

The boy laughs a little.

“Wait till you see what I can do with a paintbrush.”

The boy laughs a lot.

A woman bursts into my room in Lyon. The woman promptly questions me for any information I may have regarding her daughter. I invite her two to take a seat and offer her a coffee. She accepts. I move to the kitchen to brew a fresh batch and quietly gesture to the two girls to give us a little space. They oblige whilst muttering something under their breath. I take a peak over my shoulder at the woman sitting at my table. Her hair is frayed and there are bags around her eyes. She wears a bright red dress and black jacket that gives her simultaneously a sense of confidence and desperation. I bring the coffee back to the table and sit across from her.

“I was told you might know something,” she asserts in my direction.

“I don’t know a lot about many things but this is something I have a hunch about,” I respond staring deep into my mug and avoiding eye contact. As I raise my eyes just slightly I notice a “metamorphosis friendly” pin fastened to the edge of the woman’s jacket. I can tell she has grown a lot since the first time I heard her story but am afraid it may be a little too late.

In another place at the same time the woman with an elephant head now sits in a room full of people. There is an elderly woman with the neck of an emu, a young girl with the skin of a fish and a middle-aged man with the teeth of a walrus to name just a few. They sit in a room brightly coloured by posters espousing difference and diversity. The energy in the room is tense. These people are nervous and have come from places where their… differences… are often ignored. As hard as it is to believe the boy with the gorillas legs sitting in that room had never actually had a conversation with someone about the fact that he could crush a mans skull with his feet and the lady with the horns of a bull never had to explain herself when she constantly scratched lines in walls whilst moving through a small tunnel.  If they tried to apologize or ask for a meaning they were hushed up or avoided. The woman with the head of an elephant looked at that young boy with the arms of a platypus and realised what she was about to begin was extremely important. She welcomed the group and reiterated her joke about the paintbrush. The joke was to plain to be worth repeating but the group was desperate for an icebreaker and laughed perhaps because they couldn’t hold their breath any longer. Even the boy with the platypus arms continued to smirk.

Back at my dinner table the woman grabs my hands and begs me to tell her anything I may know. I want to help her I truly do. But sadly for her and for me to an extent the woman with the elephant for a head no longer exists in the same world as the woman and myself. She had been bullied, pushed and pulled and now she exists in a place that the woman and myself can’t reach. It must be understood that it’s not that she ran away or escaped but rather that she had to persevere. She had to sustain herself and this wasn’t possible in the world into which she was born.

If this makes you a little sad I would encourage you to only be a little sad because the woman with the elephant for a head is actually a very happy person. She wound up living with the girl that defended her that lonely night at the back of the bus. Together they took on the world and began a centre to help people struggling with the pressures of half human half animal discrimination. It is in this centre that, that the woman sits right now going about her business of nurturing people of all ages who have had a similar experience to her. And as for the elephant, it is at this moment that he first laid his eyes on the daughter he had never met. From behind the door, framed by a small window he observed his daughter in her element and despite the fact though he would never make contact with her for fear of destroying all she had created for herself… he was happy.

Biennale Moments

4 Oct

Today I’ve pushed on with working towards the performance this Thursday that has changed its title to “this is half an hour.” In light of this i thought instead of a story or script i might take today to share a few moments from the biennale down in Lyon.

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