Friday, 22 November 2013

Reflections on A Walk Through the Underworld

Cosmic ray laboratory, cave installation, Sidelong 2013
Although the cave tours have finished, LJ and I are still creating work as a result of our Sidelong project A Walk Through the Underworld.

I knew at the beginning of the project I wanted to create installations in the caves, which would be small but powerful. However, working with two practitioners of other disciplines to mine,  Laura-Jade Klee (a curator with a background in performance) and Wayne Burrows (a writer with an interest in fictionalised histories), my ideas and work have been influenced and developed in new directions. I feel that, in this way, this has been a truely collaborative project; each of the three people influencing each other. Although much of the work is authored by one or the other of us, there are definitely elements that are seamless creations.

Underground herb garden, cave installation, Sidelong 2013

As the project progressed, we became lost in our fictional tales inspired by stories, research and the caves' physical presence, until I began to believe everything we said myself and to present everything as fact. I found myself entering the game wholeheartedly, and the performer in me began to emerge.

Participants discovering "relics", Sidelong 2013
I have always been interested in the performance of unwrapping an object, something we played with in the caves.  As the tours developed, they began to take on a theme of finding boxes, hidden relics, objects wrapped in cloth, scrolls rolled up. Each item had to be uncovered in some way by the participants, heightening the sense of anticipation, curiosity and surprise each time.

It is with this in mind that our "publication", originally intended to be a book, has developed into the idea of a box of things. Since the last walk in October, we have been working on the contents of this box, which will include stories, paper creations, printed matter, falsified leaflets and small objects. We will make 50 boxes in total as a limited edition, to be launched on Sunday 19th January 2014 at New Art Exchange, 3-5pm. We intend to make this event another installation of a sort, so expect the unexpected! We hope some of you will be able to join us.
A Walk Through the Underworld, Sidelong 2013
Sidelong projects, as well as some of my other walking related projects, will be represented in The Walking Encyclopedia, an exhibition of walking artists' work next year at AirSpace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.

A Walk Through the Underworld is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by New Art Exchange.

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