Archives for the month of: September, 2013

London7

ASHA made it to London, in the Leyton Technical Pub. Paul Cheneour joined me, after a hellish journey in a rail replacement bus. Despite the fact that it was raining, the Central line was closed and we were in a newly opened pub, the turn out of people was good. I got quite a few people I didn’t know, which I always like. The discussion afterwards was lovely. Every time I do this show there are different perspectives. People expressed how moved they were last night, which I really appreciated.

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I went round the pub before we started and personally invited everyone to the show, which was in a room on the other side of the seating area, with no bar and in fact no plug sockets of its own yet (we had to run an extension lead from their office). Pretty much everyone I spoke to was civil or friendly but generally disinterested in the idea of a “poetry reading with live music and a film” as I put it, in layman’s terms. I probably did the work a disservice by describing it thus but anyway! I was nervous. I said the words “you are welcome to come” at the end of my pitch, so to speak. One guy played with the word saying he would “cum”… after saying other things like I looked very colourful in the sari… He made me feel uncomfortable and I really didn’t see the purpose of his chauvinistic comment. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) how he thought he was being funny or flirtatious and what he thought he would achieve by it. I went back to the room and started. He joined us! He stood for a while, then he sat, he even sat for the discussion but remained mute. Shocker. He was the first to walk out once we were done and I made sure I caught his eye as he left and said “Thanks for coming”. He did not retort. Incidents like those seem to follow me around like a bad smell.

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I was the first artist to perform in that room since the Leyton Technical Pub opened. I think that is special. In my list of milestones for this project I wanted to show the work in my local community. I showed some non ASHA work in Leytonstone at the Red Lion Pub this summer and it just so happened that the woman who was a member of staff at that pub has now moved to the Leyton Technical! It was nice to see a familiar face. I feel like I am part of my local community, somehow, in my own way. They are very open to me doing anything else again. I was very happy to see this openness. None of the staff attended the performance though.

 

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*Photographs by Jeremy Smith*

This project reinvents itself each time. I am very satisfied with its ability to adapt to each new environment, especially the non gallery spaces. I feel sometimes that it is too short and other times I feel it is just right. I think it could be longer. I still have my own personal paranoia where I feel I may bore people. I think it is better to keep people wanting more at the end rather than exhausting them. As a performer I felt I wanted more. I prefer this at the moment.

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The show ventured to another Kentish destination: Margate. The seaside town home to the Turner Contemporary and Tracey Emin. I had shown my previous work ReFraming at the Crate Space and had been recommended Limbo, which is right next door, to show this work, as they do private hiring out of their gallery. I had a small contingency fund and thought this was a great opportunity to work with the neutral, naked context of the white cube gallery.

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Of course it was not that neutral. There were sensory complications. There was the smell of damp accompanied with the necessary humidity and also a marvellous echo. It made my throat a bit dry but I loved how I had to be aware of my voice in a different way this time. I was joined by musician Paul Cheneour on the flute, for an improvisational performance. We both tuned our instruments alone and together and worked with the echo. It sounded great once the tempo was established. I had to speak a lot slower than normal and I liked the fact that I heard what I said before my audience. The sound seemed free somehow, had a life of its own, that I could only manage, not control.

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This piece really feels like it is doing it’s own thing, something I only wished for but could not have anticipated. I feel like I orchestrated factors and also worked as an emotional archeologist but everything was already there I feel. It was about discovery. It was about relationships. It was about transformation. I like to think I took the energy I got from Asha’s performances and interviews and channelled it through my own artistic eye to create this independent offspring, that has in turn attracted a musician to play alongside it.

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Writer and poet Simon Partridge sent me his feedback on the first performance in Dover:

KORINNA MCROBERT

 STAGES AND MOVES

ASHA is a mirror self seen more deeply though the camera and framed by a cascade of words that struggle with meaning as much as art.   I like the ambience of differing cultures given a similarity of thought and intention to their lambing of voice. Korinna speaks nicely with a strong and passionate brush.   The smaller ornaments are highlighted by a strang(er) logic which only half hears the balance of the vocal equation.

Korinna is not afraid of conflict except in miniature which sparkles like a ring of poetry. 

 The adoption of native dress (sari) is well calculated as a cultural clue in a family of addresses. We can see the cloth bringing out raptures from her videos.  A bit like a harsh landscape seen through ragged Eagle wings.  What does all this work predicate?

That is the point – the works stand as stereoglyphs for the South African freedom movement.

As much as freeing her own ideas and eagling images full throttled against the high winds of emotion. There is a new voice among the broken eggshells of the ever burning words.

Written after an epic introduction to Korinna with living art at The Louis Armstrong at Dover Kent Tuesday 27th August MMXIII AD

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*Photographs by Emilie Kengmo Chappatte*

When we ended we felt we wanted more. Paul and I are talking about taking this project further, making it longer, adding more movements to it maybe. It’s like a young bird flying all over the place. It has a beautiful energy and I am looking forward to seeing where it will fly.