Back to reality

Well, I’m home. I got back on the 12th after a very lengthy journey. Despite the still very present jet lag (I’ve been awake since 4am) and the frying pan-to-fire scenario of yesterday (did a dashyline ‘meet the school’ event in Wolverhampton) i feel buzzing with life.

I’m very conscious that i might bore people to death about my experiences at elsewhere for a long time to come. Every conversation i have now reminds me of something there.

I think with the brief time i have had to digest my experience, but with the fresh zeal of it all, i can draw some conclusions about how it will affect my practice and my general outlook on life.

Firstly- i can do it, and feel comfortable in new situations. The people i met have become real friends of mine, something i hoped for but didn’t expect. The situations which brought this feeling so strongly to the fore were not exciting or special in any way, they were the times when we were all driving back from a bar or park, watching the scenery go by, listening to the radio and chatting. I felt so comfortable, so ‘me’ in these situations. It would seem my comfort zone is much wider than i had ever dared to test it before.

Distance- new experiences are so close! Europe, Ireland, England even! i’ve not taken advantage of my close proximity to some of the most wonderful countries, the most amazing sites in the world. I no longer fear the thought of lone travel. It is so liberating to think that i can hop over to Paris, nip over to Dublin, drive down to Cornwall whenever i fancy. Something i’m planning to do- or not planning to do, but just will do when the mood takes me.

Confidence- Not only the boldness of flying off to a new country to live with 20 people i’d never met, but to create 3D work, by myself for the first time. I will draw on this achievement with every new challenge, with every workshop, presentation, meeting and commission i get from now on.

Lifestyle- I’m much more attuned to the benefits of communal living. Its something that is now on my radar, and something which i might even seek out in the future. The mutual managing of a space, creatively and curatively is a delightful scenario. Everyone pitching in, everyone sharing the domestic burden and providing constant inspiration and support. Does this exist in England in such a coordinated fashion? I guess i’ll have to find out.

Thats all. I might add to this as time goes on but for now, here are some images to part on. Thank you for reading and keeping up with my progress. It was really important for me to know that I was sharing this experience with you. Until next time.

the failed items, wrapped in the fail factory

Leslie and I before first friday

the gang

me and the curator creator

happy memories

 

 

The final sunday

Well, i has been a little while since i updated this, mainly because i’ve been busy/enjoying every moment too much to tear myself away from, I’ll try to give you the low down.

On Wednesday night one of my oldest and dearest friends, now living in DC, made the 8 hour train ride down to spend a couple of days. He arrived at midnight and we went to a bar to grab some food, followed by a lengthy chat and eventual slumber in the aviary, above the library. The next day we both did a little work; i finished off my machine while he got on with writing some new material (for those who don’t know martin, he’s a comedian).  We went for a walk down near the Uni, browsed some record stores and ate some food. In the evening Martin did an interview with Jeremiah on elsewhere radio- beer fueled and listenerless, it was hilarious and we all chilled and drank in a fantastic jovial mood untill the early hours. The next morning, to everyone’s dismay, martin had the leave and we had to prepare for first friday!

First friday is something the do over here on every first friday of the month- its a night where the whole community comes out onto the streets- restaurants cook outside, galleries open up and parties ensue. Its a great idea which we should start over in the uk. Myself and Leslie donned worker womens outfits and positioned ourselves at our stations- I next to my machine and Leslie at ‘the fail factory’ on the second floor. The idea was that whenever an object failed to categorise it would be placed in a basket and hoisted up to the second floor (through the core sample hole) and wrapped in a uniform manner so that they can all take on a common identity, and so could be recategorised. Lots of people tried out the machine and lots of stuff got categorised. Most things went into the ‘happy memories’ category which is interesting because all of the object would have usually been thrown away as rubbish. Throughout the whole night Leslie only got 4 items that failed. I considered making Leslie redundant. The night went brilliantly.

the machine in situ

On Saturday i went with Erica and Hernan to a ‘Fall Festival’ to promote elsewhere at a little stand. The park was gorgeous and the sun was beating down. We took a load of clothes from the collection to play dress up with little kids and messed around with glitter. In the evening there was a wedding reception at elsewhere. Such a good idea to have a reception in this place- there are so many cool things and talking points, beats renting a cold empty space and attempting to decorate. Plus- the groom said he was much happier to give somewhere like this the money rather than feeding it into the frankly perverse wedding industry. Good on him, i say. It also meant that we got free booze and bbq which was fine by me!!!

everyone here drinks from jars- this is a jar wine glass from the wedding

Today we went to Eno River state park quarry- which is about an hours drive away from here- the water was fantastic- really clear and warm. There were tortoises basking in the sun at the edges and big fish swimming below, it was surrounded by at least a mile of forest in all directions. It was so peaceful. The closest i’ve got to experiencing perfection yet.

at the edge of the quarry before my swim

So, it’s monday tomorrow, and i leave tuesday morning. I’m so sad to be leaving this wonderful lifestyle behind. I know now though, what i’d like to replicate when i get back home plus i have all my wonderful friends and family and my exciting work to look forward to. I’ve made such wonderful memories here.

Update

After a wonderful night of food, wine, dancing and vintage dresses i woke up surprisingly chipper this morning at 8 and got straight to work. Just a quick pic to show you how far i’ve come with my piece. All i have to do, build wise, is drill the large holes in the shelf at the bottom and screw it on. The rest of the work is cosmetic and will probably be done by Wednesday. Really happy with this. What it does mean is i will need to move back downstairs near the collage materials, i’ve really loved my quiet little corner of the workshop.

almost complete in my 3rd floor work space.

P.S.- Its gone really cold here and i am bejumpered. Listening to 6 music online doesn’t help as there is constant talk of the fantastic weather we’re having in England. I am destined to be forever pale.

 

1 week until the opening.

Operating on a slight hangover today after sampling the gin infusions i’ve so patently waited for nigh on two weeks. One was Sage and Honey and the other was Basil and lavender. I’m really settled in here, i could almost believe that this is where i live now. Transition made. However i know there are lots of just as exciting adventures to embark upon when i get home. A week today there is an opening to showcase the work of the newest residents (inc. me) so i’m working hard to finish my piece before then. Heres where i’m at so far.The Mechanics are almost there, but theres a lot more graphic work to do.

hopefully on the night of the opening we’re going to hook up a conveyor belt to process all the categories as they are formed by the guests. I’ll have a production line of workers sorting and tuning the failed items into objects.

Time now for a museum spruce. We have guest chefs coming in tonight to cook for us. Very excited for that.

 

 

Biscuits for breakfast

Last night i did an experiment to see if my bites were happening while i was in bed- i decided to sleep in the ‘castle’ in the main space. This is the castle:

underneath is the sewing area, on top is the castle

inside the castle

but despite all the pillows it was pretty uncomfortable, because it was near the ceiling it was very hot and with no light it was pretty creepy. There is also a train that runs behind the building which crosses the road, there are no barriers, the train just sounds its horn so people get out of the way. Each time i was dropping off to sleep this would wake me up. At 5am i gave up trying to sleep and went back up to my bed. At 8am i was woken to go for ‘Biscuits’ at a diner as today is two of the residents birthdays. I decided to take up the offer- mainly to see what biscuits were. Well, biscuits it would seem, are like giant buttery salty scones that you have with ‘gravy’. Now, gravy for breakfast sounds weird, but i went along with it- when it arrived the ‘gravy’ was white with black specs in it. I tasted it and it was very salty and peppery. I asked what it was made of and the best guess was “flour and pork fat”. It was like a really salty white sauce. In addition to this i was advised to get a side order of something called ‘Grits’. This was a bit like porriage, but really small porriage possibly like semolina (which i’ve never had). This was to be eaten alongside the biscuits and gravy. As you can imagine faced with all this after 3 hours sleep at most was pretty confusing. When i got back i suppressed the queeziness by having a little nap before the house meeting and a two hour clean ready for the museum opening tomorrow (its open tuesday-saturday)

I’m now about to eat lunch which is a warmed up slice of steak and mushroom pizza from the meal we had last night. There is an amazing pizza restaurant over the road called ‘The Mellow Mushroom’ which does excellent food and has all manner of speciality beers. We had a pitcher of watermelon beer- which sounds gross but it was really delicious.

So in summary, the food here is weird, but excellent in some cases.

To finish, here is a couple of photos of elsewhere delights there is so much here you discover something new every day- some of it is hidden in plain sight-

'Core sample' a project by a previous resident who took a core sample through all three floors and the roof.

my favorite part of it is the sample was cut through the board games on the shelf on the first floor

i walk past this computer desk every day but it took me ages to notice it was a stripped back piano. gorgeous.

Friday

Today has been somewhat disjointed, theres an event going on here this evening for teachers and there are 50 people eating an apple themed meal tonight. Heres some of the elsewhere gang preparing the apple pies last night. I believe they were up until 4.

Ted, Erica and Lucia making apple pie.

With all this and the cleaning and arranging tables there has been little time to get on with work. I’m thinking of moving my stuff up into one of the lesser used spaces, so i can get on with things uninterrupted. It would be a shame though, to miss the ebb and flow of the ground floor, and potentially miss opportunities.

I’ve redesigned my categorisation device- i’ve decided to use suspended baskets running on wires from question to question. This means there will be less carpentry involved and you get to see more of the backboard. Today i have painted in the question pannels with blackboard paint (so the questions can be changed) and begun one of the ‘friezes’ between the arrows and instructions that will guide the user around the board.

with question pannels and beginning of first frieze

detail of 1st frieze

Jackpot

On my first scavenge for materials to build my machine from, i came across the perfect piece of wood….

i think its a headboard from a single bed

I plotted out how it would look to scale in paper…

its a little crampped but i'm hoping it'll work with real objects ...??