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Week 1: my residency jumped the gun

July 3, 2009

Attended one of Prototype Theatre’s Sunday Lunch Club – wicked weekend talking shop for performance-based artists – and was sat next to Andre Guedes. Conversation goes,

“I am starting a residency at Bluecoat next week.”
“Me too.”
“I am living on Melvin Road with a woman called Nina.”
“Me too.”

A happy co-incidence for the start of my residency – or an international conspiracy? Andre is a Portuguese artist who deals primarily in ‘space’ as his subject-matter, and he will be spending July on research for a residency project at the Bluecoat. He’s staying with my neighbour across the road, who shares the name Nina with my girlfriend (thankfully, he wasn’t living in my house without me knowing, or making assumptions about my generosity of spirit.)

(Idea for a poem: The Last Person to Make Assumptions About My Generosity of Spirit, written in the style of Luke Kennard.

Also, something about the word ‘Girlfriend’ that makes me feel a bit queezy. Like the word ‘Meal’, as in “After you’ve had your meal”. Girlfriend is as inadequate a word for describing Nina (the one who doesn’t live across the road, specifically, but actually neither), as Meal is at describing a series of plates of food. What can you call someone who you love like that? How to define such regular, vital sustenance? Dinner is better.)

So I have been spending some of my introductory time at the Bluecoat touring the building with Andre and Paul Mullins, one of the duty managers (‘the one who doesn’t ask why’). We’ve been discussing artistic practice, recent history, local accent variations and trainer purchases. People who didn’t see Liverpool before Liverpool One can have no idea about how different it was buying trainers in the city before. Lots has changed.

It’s interesting also, and sort of typical, that Andre has been speaking about the nature of his work changing so significantly since he received this commission, that he’s faced with a dilemma over whether to return to ‘old ideas’, which he feels are slightly out of sync with his current work, or to produce something that might not actually be what the Bluecoat wanted from him in the first place.

My feeling is that he’ll go for something the Bluecoat might not expect. That’s what artists in residence usually do! (ref. conversation with musical-innovator and collaborator Sarah Nicolls: Laurie Anderson’s response to a year-long residency at NASA, where she was probably expected to do something crazy with satellites and star-bursts, but in the end produced a humble long poem. Find myself thinking, I hope Andre doesn’t write a poem. Then I consider whether I should produce a thermo nuclear hyper-drive as part of my own residency.)

Soon as I get my video camera, I’ll start posting stuff up here with conversations with artists. So far, discussions with Andre have been about the way his artwork relates to his academic background in architecture, and how the Bluecoat as an organisation and set of ideals exists in relationship with the building – which makes me think of the Paul Simon song, Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes. Not sure why.

Also, I’ll be writing and collaborating for upcoming shows at the Bluecoat, including the Literature Festival, Chapter and Verse… particularly looking forward Sunday 18th October, where I have remit to produce my own show to close the festival. It will be interdisciplinary and dizzyingly brilliant, of course.

Lots to think about!


I will probably write a poem for each exhibition that happens while I’m at the Bluecoat. Here’s some stuff that came out of a brainstorm of the current one – which is mostly about the title of the show, which to me is quite confrontational, as the title of a show which is primarily made of lines. As in, someone coming up to you and going “So you think this is The End of the Line? Well it bloody isn’t.”


1. enjambment – the end of the line as an ‘occasion’ in poetry
2. concrete poetry, prose poetry
Possible printwork collaboration based on basic lessons in poetry…
“The end of the line
is signified by…”
3. ‘tow the line’
4. Chat up line… the end of the chat up line is the make or break moment! Again, the end of the line is an ‘occasion’.
Chat up lines for someone that already loves you?
5. Colloquealisms:
I told him where to get off
Getting off at Edge Hill!
6. Where do you draw the line?
7. Draw a line through – the end of censorship
maybe a workshop exercise… what if no-one drew a line… the end of boudaries… the end of censorship, the end of definition
cosmos stuff – ref. Under the Volcano
8. End of the Line… last of it’s kind… leftovers…Raggydolls

This will become a poem, and some writing exercises, over the course of the next week or so.


Also, going to see TWINS tonight, a Bluecoat commission at A-Foundation, which I think is an adaption of the timeless tale…



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