Human Doings and the Trollz4Lyfe

Stef Smith is an amazing artist and a generally excellent human being. Seriously. I’m lucky to know her. You’re unlucky not to if you don’t.

She and I curated a week long festival of events at the Glad cafe in July. It was a real joy to put together a week of events which were unashamedly a bit speccy, a bit bookish and wanky, designed to educate, entertain and ask questions about the human condition: what we think, how we think, how and why we love what we love.

It felt like Stef and I managed to enmesh our shared interest in the life of the mind and create a week of events we were genuinely proud of. The only slight sadness was that I wish more people could have seen the things we put on.

I was particularly sad that the Monday essay night was so quiet as it meant that more people didn’t get to enjoy the incredible films of Stina Wirfelt and Harry Wilson, the peerlessly beautiful reading by Elizabeth Reeder and a great performance by superb actors Al Hankinson and Sam Keefe. Okay those two were performing my work but they are just brilliant and did me proud. It was a magical night that I wish had had the huge audience it deserved. Oh well. Into each life a little rain and all that trite but true horseshit.

Now to unmitigated joy.

Amongst all the great stuff Stef Smith has done by being an ace human in her own right, she also put me in touch with New York based artist Amy Khoshbin. Shyly, at first, soon excitedly we began to talk on Skype about the possibility of her coming to Glasgow to do a collaborative residency with me at Southside Studios under the Team Effort! umbrella.

And she did come and we did collaborate and it was a fucking excellent thing in my life. We had just under two weeks to make a new performance for Humans week at the Glad. Wooooft! Just under two weeks with a virtual stranger to create something you are proud to send out into the world? Shit. The. Bed.

And you know what, it was one of the greatest things I have ever been involved in and I have a made a friend and collaborator who I hope I always know and work with.

We created Mantrap, a movement based live work where we threw away our shared safety net of video and just went into a room with talc, felt, scissors, shaving foam, control underwear and a ladder and made something which I hope, and actually believe, was funny, moving and also pretty demented.

From the poetic to the pure troll, from the silly and crazy to the rigorous and intelligent, we shot through those two weeks developing our process, evolving the work, and it felt brave and stupid and exciting and amazing.

I’m not going to try to describe it, I think, for now, like the right joke at the right moment, you kind of had to be there. There was some Jay Z, some public information films and a lot of shaving foam and talc.

I hope we will do it again in NYC – Rose and Amy Trollz4Lyfe.




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