Getting Deeper Now - Reflections from a Head Stuck in a Hole Somewhere

Your essence somehow doesn't match the thick crust crisping around your edges, I want...... I can't let go, except into lost moments.

I can feel my intestines slowly and carefully wrap themselves around my outsides. A shiver.

What a mess.

You are sinking into stone, folding into the interior. But still you stare blankly into space.

I lower my head further, not to break your gaze, empty.

You fill me up, but replace my insides with what? There am I, emptying my contents into that ridiculous pit.

I am afraid of the intimacy of no knowing, but am repulsed by not touching. I don't want to know.

I can only imagine. I find pleasure in this - futile amusements, stirring unknown substances into mine.

If only you could roll the rest of me out flat like a piece of pastry, putty, pretty much extending in all directions, pressed all up against an opposing plane. That is how to feel it.

Gastric juices popping through burst membranes.


What's left of my eyes are stuck on minute nodules, small warts, pimples, follicles....no....grit, grain, bit, speck.

Rub it in....go on.....exfoliate.

Remove impurities, and those dead layers.

What?... You are not my landscape.

Pick me out. Squeeze through that cone - listen to something relaxing, try to get deeper in - nearly there now, you are doing really well.

But there's nothing in there, or never was.

No, it's yours though - look what you could put in it, fit into it....room for movement.

It's so dark though.

Adjust your eyes.

There's never enough light.

But, you like it that way, fumbling across blind spots and corners, your hands on their own.

That way the subtleties....


Come on?

Well, reveal, unfurl, but most of the moisture has been extruded now, I am not sure....no... I'm not.


Drawing Together a Big Ball of Space Existing in the Head of a Human, with flawed notes on the idea of the Tractor as Human.

Voice 1: So what is it like being like a human?

Voice 2: Being a human initially seems incredibly limiting - stuck in one place having to lug this heavy thing around that seems to lack coordination and dribbles and stinks, potential words come out of my mouth and it is hard to touch the right spot with them, I find it easier to communicate through doing and actions but then that can risk becoming too intense for others - I quite enjoy that fact though. Yet, I often have to step back and dip my fingers into too many things to satisfy a sense of inquisition. I realise how liberating having fingers and legs and all the rest becomes. Being a 'thing' seems to provoke an intense intimacy as well as a peculiar detachment in the same moment. I pause and refrain, drawing myself into thought, mulling round in my head, I escape. Without formalising my thoughts they often become circular, without realising them or spitting them out into an external reality they stagnate and I am stuck in a non-time, suspended as if waiting to be tapped from below.

Initially I felt that being stuck on planet earth was a time trap, stuck in a linear existence, although more and more it becomes clear that having a brain actually instigates time, but not one based on the steady rhythms of the clock, but on the rate at which my neurons fire, and that my cells grow and replace themselves to keep up with the constantly fluctuating image of what my body as 'me' is. That is exciting.

Sucked back in, I learn to talk, it makes me feel somewhat ridiculous. I feel incredibly un-eloquent, cumbersome, primitive. It becomes more fun to bash the other human next to me with a plastic hammer. They don't seem to like it - but I find it fun, that's a shame....what, that other human is bashing me over the head this time....gosh, that hurts...maybe it isn't such a fun thing to do after all.

Voice 1: You seem to be veering off course....what does 'human' mean to you?

Voice 2: well....I mean I am human, sort of, to the degree that everything around us is human really, or at least all the things that humans have created with their hands directly or indirectly.

Voice 1: so am I correct in saying that a tractor is human?

Voice 2: well, yes in the sense that the tractor becomes an extension of the human - like an arm, I suppose more a human prosthetic really.

Voice 1: but for it to be human doesn't it first need to have blood, and a brain? and of course be able to reflect on its own process of reflecting on thought or thinking? Isn't a human being a person as distinguished from an animal or (in science fiction) an alien?

Voice 2: well I feel that in order for the tractor to be used to its best ability the operator has to imagine that the tractor really is a part of its body, it has to believe that it has become its arms, to coordinate itself with it, so although in reality it does not have blood or consciousness, by being

used, the tractor becomes subsumed within the faculties human that way. Like with driving, you can't feel that you are driving the car, you have to be the car to be the best driver!

Voice 1: Are we talking about 'human' or 'human beings' here? The two are fairly different to me.

We also need to make some distinctions between the human body, in the sense of it as an object versus the human as a thinking personality. When we talk about tractors, I can see that they could be seen as some extension of the body but how can they be human in the sense of the human mind?

Voice 2: Well, that is clear, they are an extension of the body in physical terms, and usage, and on the other hand they encompass design, problem solving, engineering and purpose which is intimately tied into human thinking.

Voice 1: hmmm ok. I am a bit confused - but what about a leg that has been cut off, would you say that is still human then?

Voice 2: Well if that leg has been cut off then it is hard to pick it up straight away and put it back on and walk - so when it was attached to the body and functioning it was human, but when it has been cut off and becomes something separate, then I would say it is devoid of humanness, so no not human. Maybe that is why lost body parts are so unnerving. Because you can't just pick them up like a usual tool and use it straight away.

Voice 1: But what if someone is paralysed then, so they still have their legs attached to them but they can't use or feel them?

Voice 2: Yes well, that is a common problem, you are stuck with a pair of legs which no longer seem human to you...defunct, but they are still attached. And it is only then that people start reflecting on those things as separate from themselves, because they can't use those legs as integral and useful things, the legs become 'other'.

Voice 1: So we haven't got very far have we? - except perhaps establishing that tractors are more human than detached or non functioning human legs.

Voice 2: no....well it's not that simple...I'm not sure....

Voice 1: why are you saying this then?

Voice 2: ...to get over one hurdle so that I can attempt the next.

Voice 1: What do you want to attempt next?

Voice 2: I want to be able to be more secure in feeling that I am burying deeper into something, to get better at communicating some of my core intimate questions. But depending on the mood I can become frustrated, or pacified, or enlightened. I feel that the deeper I get, the more futile things feel, the deeper I get, the more I feel that I a stuck in some centrifugal orbit - I can see what is before me from every angle but it becomes more and more difficult to penetrate - all I can do is talk about its surface. I am hoping, an intimate awareness of the surface will cause it to peel back - I am not sure if there is anything inside, everything and nothing - both become the same. One thing can only expand into nothingness. Everything leaves no new space for something.


Exhibition and Events at Lewisham Arthouse London 26th Aug - 11th September

To round up the summer and start the new season Lewisham Arthouse presents, Attempts to Get Inside the World, an exciting series of events initiated by Natasha Rosling with the support of Vision Forum and Lewisham Arthouse’s Graduate scheme. Over the course of these two weeks a range of talks, screenings and performances will take place set within a laboratory-style exhibition. The intention is to reveal the raw edges to many of the processes that feed an art practice, shifting eyes away from the product and into the thick the background. Particular attention will be given to research transgressing the boundaries of the studio – either through grappling with unknown subjects and disciplines, or through direct attempts to thrust oneself into the midst of an often extreme set of physical and psychological circumstances.

The exhibition space will house two main conference events, Retreat: in the City – 27th and 28th August, and Navigating Extremes, 3rd and 4th September. Artists, curators, scientists, architects, choreographers, and theatre practitioners from across Europe and London will come together to present talks, interviews, set-up discussions, screenings and performances under the umbrella of Attmepts to Get Inside the World. To set the scene, a series of ‘furnitures’ and rolling projections will occupy the gallery space - presenting works, artefacts, test pieces, experiments and research material selected by each speaker in reference to the practices discussed.

Please check updates for more information, and for the forthcoming programme of events.

Exhibition open Wednesday to Sunday, 12-6pm 27th August – 11th September.
Transport: Over ground - New Cross/New Cross Gate, Buses - 21, 36, 136, 321
140 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6PD

Conference: Navigating Extemes
Arthouse, London 3rd-4th September 2011, 12pm onwards

With an aim to extend and share some of my own personal research interests, I have formulated a series of categories as a catalyst for this symposium. Participants have been invited to present lectures, set up discussions, interviews and screenings that respond to any or several of the following:

The Weird Drive: Self-discipline, Obsessive Compulsion and Constructive Confusion.

Absurd Paraphernalia: Shaping Tools, Harnessing Straps and Wearing Prosthetics.

Living with Aliens, Dragons and Dinosaurs: Time Travel, Mind Travel, Space Travel.

Echoes in the Vessel: Disembodied voices, Embodied objects, and Lost Body Parts.

Stuck with the Mud: The Edifice, Support Structures and Temporary Architectures.

Individuals and collaborators from a range of research contexts are encouraged to formulate an unorthodox approach to presenting their ideas. It should not be about creating a reasoned argument or explaining why, but offering a rigorous reflection on the conflicts, excitements, and layers of interest that form the foundations of mode of looking and thinking.

Lewisham Arthouse,
140 Lewisham Way, SE14 6PD, London



Tryting to realise these pieces in Shenzhen proved to be quite an intersting week, trying to get to the right places to find materials and the rights people to make certain things - with my lack of sewing machine over there - it was hard to let go and let someone else make parts of it since I am so used to making decisions when I am in the process of making, however having to give clear precise directions to someone helped me to simplify certain elements of the work - at first I thought I was making too many compromises but in the end I was quite pleased with how the work itself turned out. Yet I was a little annoyed at how especially the second work became more of a spectacele than I wanted - partly due to the fact that it was directly in the public space. I had thought that people would wonder past stopping for a little look, yet instead, many people were actually sitting in front of it like an audience for its duration. This always complicates notions of the start and end to a piece of work involving live bodies, especially when nothing actually happens in the work itself - which some people interpret as some kind of anticlimax. Despote all of this, there was an intruiguing tension to the piece, and it achieved a level of absurdity, combinig physical, formal and carnivalesque and very real qualities which I was quite happy with.