“Dude, you gotta go there. You know what I’m gonna say – you gotta do it. You gotta make it bad – take the bad stuff and make it the worst. What are you stopping yourself from doing? What is the block? Well, put that to the front and revel in it – make it enormous – make it everything – let it take over”
February started with a trip to London for a workshop led by performance artist Stacy Makishi. Part of my plans for my Team Effort time are to engage with Queerness and performance and Stacy’s work fits into this research. The workshop was also a chance to get back into making after spending a lot of time planning and doing admin – not the most exciting part of my practice.
The workshop was called Killing Time and was described thus:
“A masterclass by Stacy Makishi for artists working in any form.
Stacy Makishi is a Baaadaaaasss and she wants to kill some time / with you.
Do you have ideas for performance that you kill before they’re born? Then Killing Time is the workshop for you. Drawing inspiration from the 1970s film genre Blaxploitation, here’s a workshop that gets down and feels the funk.
Killing Time helps you:
Move faster than think
Write quicker than edit
Create faster than critique
Killing Time will explore identity in its full frontal glory and is open to artists willing to try out new ideas and walk into the unknown.”
On the workshop we were invited:
to dig deep down into the shit and wallow in it
To think of and create the worst, the absolute worst performance for yourself, to see what you’re scared of
To make the performance you’ve always wanted to make but have stopped yourself from doing
To recognise your default position as an artist and reject it and replace it with the best version of yourself
To take what you hate in performance and run with it, hybridise it, create something monstrous with it
To enjoy the pain of the expectations you have for yourself and your work and those expectations that you sense from outside
To go into the cringe
It was a very invigorating weekend with some great artists, although there were a lot of people who were really at the beginning of their careers which made it difficult to go very deep into the work. But it got me back into the mode of making and discovering through making rather than planning and creating a space for work to exist, which often takes up my time.
The challenge is to make space and time to engage with this kind of improvisation. When I’m working on my own it makes sense to answer emails, make plans, update social media, do some writing, make some to-do lists. But these aren’t strictly speaking my practice. They should be supporting the ideas that come through creating and experimenting performatively.
The other main thing I take from the workshop is Stacy’s generosity and passion for working with the participants. It excites her and fulfils her to try to get to grips with each artist, whatever stage they’re at, and to help them break through a block and open up their practice. It inspires me to be generous with the younger artists that I come into contact with and to be confident that my experience means I have something to share with them. It also makes me realise that there are great artists out there who might be able to help me from time to time, so I need to have a think about that…