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Work with Appau Boayke-Yiadom

March 15, 2010

I visited one of the Bluecoat’s current exhibitors last week. We were trying out a new performance/artwork/poem process. I think we will try it again at the Bluecoat tomorrow night.

The process was Junior’s idea, with some additions and tweaks from me.

The essence is in deriving a poem made up of words spoken by someone describing an object they know only from touch.

We blindfolded the participants and gave them an object.  The first had a birdhouse, the second a porcelain flower. They were asked to answer a series of questions about the object, that got more personal/emotional/spiritual. I then harvested the words and reformed them into a cut-up poem.

Here are the poems:

Self Portrait as a Bird House

I am transient.
These haystacks hanging from my arms
taste of lemongrass.

Granddad was a glove maker
who lived in a fragrant cottage.

It was full of trinkets. The cottage.
It was pretty cool

There were these flat wooden hands
Where the gloves were stitched together.

Someone has given me a bunch of flowers
they are very light

light blue, or purple, but not turquoise.

Like me, they have a waist and hips
to hang from.

Self Portrait as a Porcelain Flower

I will exist in your being until you are eroded.
You had a pond where you shot up
next to the lily pads.

The sun crept through a window pane
illuminating a ledge.
You hold a candle for me –

to be decorative, but I am indifferent.
Enjoy my solid, dependable

I am cold metallic and shiny.
I am dead, but
have no reason.

The soul has been baked out of me.
You would have to throw yourself
at me to prove you exist.

After the dust in the cold sharp wind
you remind me of a flower, a wet lily.


The experiment was useful, but we will be adapting it for use in future trials. One thing was that the object became too familiar to the participants.  Next time we might try taking it away from them after the initial questioning.  There was also a suggestion that the questioning was delivered too ‘dry, and perhaps there could have been a role for a poem/preparatory reading of sorts to prepare the mind for some of the questions.

I think it is a fun and interesting experiment, and look forward to seeing how Junior plans to present the poem/object results.


I will publish more from this experiment as and when.



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