Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Live at Project 1988

Live At Project, August/September 1988 - scanned from my original copy of US High Performance magazine, in a piece by magazine founder/editor Steven Durland, that covered this unique performance festival that I worked on, curated by Danny McCarthy for SSI's international sculpture conference, featuring Andre Stitt, Danny McCarthy, Alastair McLennan, Mick Shanahan, Jaki Aherne and Anne Tallentire, amongst others.

Great fun sourcing some of the materials for these shows: filling a cabbie's boot full of bloodied pig's ears outside a butcher's in Meath Street for Alastair's piece. A pig's ear, for those unaware, is a whole half of a pig's head, cut right down the middle. Out to the cash and carry on Richmond Road for catering size vats of ketchup and mayo for Andre's piece, plus bags of sand and cement from a builder's providers. Alastair's performance took place in what used be the burnt-out space (it had no roof), which is now the gallery. Andre had to be taken to the Eye & Ear after his gig after getting sand and cement in his eye. The flare that Andre used at the end was obtained from a ship's chandlers, if I remember rightly. Pre-internet, the quickest preferred document transfer was the fax ('member those ?). SSI's fax broke down at one point, necessitating Andre dictating his lengthy artist's statement to me over the phone. I remember the last two words - 'Eternally bombed', and how I had to ask Andre to repeat the words as I was having trouble with his Belfast accent. "Sorry Andre, 'eternally what ?' "BOMBED !" "Ah, bombed.. OK, cheers !"

For a long time this didn't feel so long ago, but it looks bloody ancient now ! B&W helps the effect I suppose. Also in that issue of HP was coverage of the UK performance festival, EDGE 88. The profile afforded us was invaluable. Interesting none of the Project Arts Centre staff at the time had experience with live work. A different guard to those working in 79, when Darkspace took place. Although they were student organised events, things like Paint It Red at the SFX, and Friday The 13th at NCAD, circa 84 were an important part of the general climate for this kind of work. Fights broke out and cars were set on fire outside the SFX. Quite a heavy time.

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