16th – 21st May 2011
Being invited to send in images and a title for an event-teaser was a bit counter-intuitive though, as it demanded that I develop something in advance of the residency….. and of course, it was very difficult to stop thinking about what I had suggested after that. Knowing this, I tried to focus intently on my methodology and make defining that methodology the key to the first few days. Fortunately this worked out very well- analysing my approach so closely enabled me to identify the beginnings of work that I might otherwise have overlooked.When I arrived for the first time, I could not get anyone to let me in, so I decided to approach the house from the front. This had something of the air of a journey into the unknown, which I liked, and the surprise of the view, and lushness of the undergrowth revealed a really hidden beauty. I found the space genuinely engaging and intriguing. I found it hard to separate the space from its inhabitants, it was friendly and unusual, and easy to make work in.
I tried very hard not to have any expectations- those that I did have were of myself. I hoped perhaps, to get more done. I would have liked to hand make some of the balloons, and experimented a little more with their form, but the residency is actually quite short.I found the whole set up quite challenging, as I don’t usually make performative work. The whole residency acted as a challenge to my (usually) very research-driven practice. Being in such a short-term environment demanded that I work through questions and problems very fast, and that I was very responsive and instinctive (which is all to the good). Having been involved in mainly long-term projects over the past 3-4 years, it was a welcome release to work improvisationally and with immediacy.
I found the final event quite stressful as I am not a natural performer, and I think I would have preferred more time alone in the space directly beforehand (though I probably could have had this if I had made arrangements earlier in the week). I always find it incredibly hard to evaluate something so close after the end, but I’m delighted that Carole and Hannah found it so successful. I learnt a lot from the event about the work that I premiered, and about how my approach to making work can be adapted for different contexts. I found the informal discussion with Irene Brown very useful, and a really good way of focussing and ending the day, and I am looking forward to
turning the audio into a text. In general I thought that the event went quite well, and I made a good beginning with new work.
More photographs from the event: http://www.artopolus.net/isabella-streffen/