Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tales from the Crypt

In my confinement I swing from frenzied activity to extreme inertia. Sometimes I feel motivated to organise and achieve, but mostly I find myself drawing a bead on some unfortunate with my sniper rifle. Today has been a bit of both. I have packed and sent a number of parcels. Two drawings (one each) have gone to Artsway for the open and to Transition for their fundraiser "Art Blitz". A dvd has been dispatched to London for Kisito Assangni's "Time is Love" to be screened in the UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, USA and China. In addition it looks as if Saison Video will be featuring some more video work in Lille. Unfortunately my drawings of belly button fluff have been interrupted. I was storing the colourful fuzzy balls in a neat line atop a pile of books in the bathroom. In fact they were resting on Le Carré's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold when, in an act of traitorous malfeasance, Mr Pig ate them all. Distraught I have had to begin again.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Secrets and Lies

The AA has sent me an invoice for the sign which is to be placed outside our show at TAP in November. This is very exciting as I assume this means there has been no opposition from the council to our offering trips to the moon. Recently Miss Dover and I saw a holiday advert inviting travellers to join in a "search for the northern lights". No doubt it was worded in this way to avoid litigation should the lights fail to appear. We are now thinking of offering a similar holiday experience in Ipswich and wonder how many would join us on such a jaunt. As I am still largely trapped in my lair I have begun a series of drawings of the fluff from my belly button. It varies greatly depending upon my attire. I hope to show them as part of "The Island of True Stories" a group show at the Phoenix, Exeter which is made up of artists represented by Wilmore House. Here are three I made recently (they are very difficult to photograph)

Friday, 22 October 2010

Arts Council Grant Application Update

My mood is murderous so I have been spending my time wisely with my Grants for the Arts Application. Tricky things like making the figures balance and finding a place to declare a need for £1000000 in gold bullion. I settled my fee at £200,000 which matched the cost for disposal of all the bodies - it seemed neat. But, as often happens, when I discovered a short fall in the budget for venue rental it was my fee that had to suffer. Last time I made an arts council application I ended up with nothing at all (bar a few goodies I squirreled away). The hardest part was condensing my proposal into 50 words:

This application is for funds to support the humane cull of thousands of artists. It will take place in London and regional centres and also include a Gala event at which the top 100 Uk artists will be slain during a fake "This is Your Life" hosted by Michael Aspel.

(I do worry the assessment of my form may end upon reading but was pleased that it was exactly 50 words long)

These questions (or rather my answers) may also be bad for my cause:

Number of performance or exhibition days 1

Number of new products or commissions

Period of employment for artists (in days)

Number of sessions for education, training or participation.
0 (although maybe I should count the 'events' as participatory?)

 Well whatever the result, I am nearly there, a bit of checking over and supporting evidence to upload and it will be ready to send.

Pots of Gold

Mr Bracey raised some interesting questions yesterday. I had been slightly worried about the effect of budget cuts on my Arts Council proposal. However, our brief conversation helped me put those worries aside. I must crack on.

Andrew Bracey How will the cuts affect your arts council application? You might have to trim down that prize fund by 30%
Alex Pearl I believe my project will have the full backing of the Bullingdon Boys, I think I might even get a little extra.
Andrew Bracey If you can make it carbon neural there might be another pot available too from the green bank?! 
Alex Pearl Bodies to composting rather than landfill? 
Andrew Bracey You can't consort meat really-attracts errant foxes and wild boar, back to drawing board on that one I reckon. Perhaps rather darkly my immediate thought is crush artists bodies and create tidal energy with the alone seeping out! 
Alex Pearl Hmm and foxes and badgers aren't too popular at the moment. I like the tidal idea!
Andrew Bracey Got it! Arts council needs to cut admin by 50% work this into your proposal and not just focus on killing off artists. They will make you a lord. 

To counter any down turn I have entered a piece of work for the Saatchi Showdown and bought a lottery ticket. Miss Dover and I spotted this sign the other day. There is hope. I hope

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Werewolf in London

Last night Miss Dover dreamt of the two Jeremies raising fears that I may need to search for a new girl soon. But today she has an appointment with her supervisors and, keen that I shouldn't stagnate in my lair, has brought me to London with her. I am now faithfully sitting in a café awaiting her post congregational arrival. I have not been here the whole time. Rather nervously I have braved the streets of London (skirting their edges, staring straight ahead). I went to see Bettina Buck at Rokeby in it's new home on Hatton Wall. The pills must be working because, when faced with a locked door and a discrete buzzer, I pressed that button. A voice said hello and buzzed me in. I shouldered the door shouting a strangled "thank you" too late and stumbled down the stairs. For a person nervous that the whole world might be about to fall about his ears Bettina Buck's precarious constructions are not comfortable viewing. Deflation, noisy collapse and uncontrollable excretion are her stock in trade. Each piece having a cell like simplicity and a hollow disappointment that I love. Time to up the dosage. I ran from that place, someone called "thank you" I replied "argle" over the other shoulder and stumbled up the stairs. I hope Miss Dover turns up soon.

Bettina Buck, "In Shape In Control" 2009

Morning Report

Looking out from my lair two things dominate my view. The abandoned building opposite is capped with a shining white band emblazoned with the broadly spaced word "C O - O P E R A T I V E". In front of it and so close to my window I feel I could jump and reach it (though I could not) is a security camera. The camera is one of those municipal sort that traverses slowly clearly under the control of someone in a room full of television screens. I keep hoping that the camera will turn and look at me but it keeps its eye downcast on the streets below. A few months ago a group of boys broke into the building and sat on its roof, their legs dangling over the sign.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Venlafaxine Works

I have had notice to quit my lair. The design company that lives below has expansion in mind and so I have a month to find new lodgings. Miss Dover and I have felt safe here and are sorry to have to move. we have our sites set on a lovely, if eccentric, house in a quiet part of town. At work HR has begun to take an inordinate interest in my illness. I am to keep them updated with my progress. So this morning I sent in a list of my latest symptoms. My first report included the following:

"I am still getting less than a couple of hours sleep a night, am constipated, have anxiety attacks when I think of college, dry mouth, loss of appetite, dizziness, no get up and go, wind, gas and sexual dysfunction"

I am looking forward to giving my second report tomorrow. 

As mentioned before I have been pottering about between bouts of staring boredly  at twitter. The results are no doubt products of a disturbed mind.


Monday, 18 October 2010

From the sick room

I have started to think of my flat as a tower, a place of refuge from the world far below. Unwilling to go out, I have started to make work here with the limited resources available. This video is a test for a piece for The Count of Montecristo, I hope to recreate it at Rogue Project Space and film it in location. I have also had a good deal of time for reading. After watching the Assassin/Art collector of the Eiger Sanction I was delighted to discover Brian Aldiss' An Age which features a time travelling Artist/Assassin. I wonder how many more multitasking artists there are in fiction and whether any of them provide a viable model for survival in difficult times. An Age is a bizarre book with many worrying aspects, by the end of it I thought I might be mad. The time travel all occurred entirely in the mind, with travellers appearing like ghosts in the Jurassic, Cretaceous or Victorian eras. In the end I was taken with the protagonist's discovery that, contrary to popular belief, time is running backwards.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Brenda Venus

I am on furlough and under sedation. This has cut recent activity to a minimum, I am just ticking over. Nevertheless I have pushed myself to a few minor achievements. I have invoiced the Cornerhouse for the second instalment of my fee for Pearlville. I have entered and been accepted for the Artsway open and I have progressed my arts council application a little further. Entering Artsway did cause me more than a little pang of guilt as I have in the past foresworn such open shows. This will be there, I hope I win.

On the arts council website I have been trying to divide my proposal into the appropriate sections. It is still a bit rough but I am making progress. In answer to how the public will engage with my work I have written the following:

I imagine the initial involvement figures will be as follows
Artists: c 5000-8000
Students/intern:s c100-200
Celebrities: 1

Obviously the main group engaging with the work will be artists (isn't this always the case?). Also their engagement will be rather absolute, if all goes to plan none will survive. However, I imagine subsequent news reports to reach a far larger audience which should include a broad cross section of the general public. I believe that such an artistic event will cause an unprecedented sensation that will raise the arts from its usual position in the 'funnies' section at the end of news reports. While it is expected that some of the images will be challenging I believe they are commensurate to the current funding crisis in the arts.

Last night's viewing involved the last few minutes of the Eiger Sanction and Airplane (the former being funnier by far). The following summary says it all:

"An classical art professor and collector, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend."

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Failure upon failure

I have failed to go to either the next private view at TAP or the Monika Bobinska show yet again. Guilt is dragging at my scalp. I escaped work at six but with so little energy left it was all I could do to drag myself home. A new fitness regime is required so that I may cope with the rigours of an artist's life. Mistress Lock has suggested we see Frieze on the 17th, it is likely we will see some sights. Tomorrow is my day off. After a consultation with my new doctor I will be free to set my mind to many of the things I should be finishing off: my Arts Council application, a film for The Count of Montecristo, a bit of tidying up and definitely no sad teenager video games.

Pearl meets girl

I've been recovering and starting to think ahead again. My life is split into two parts: 'work' and 'the rest'. 'Work' causes me anxiety (the rest does too but it seems more manageable). I should explain that in this case I am using the word work as a name for my paid employment rather than my work as an artist. I still cannot bring myself to use the word practice which makes my neck itch. Anyway I've been looking through things to apply to and wondering which ones are worthwhile and which I stand a chance of getting. I was looking at some and worrying that, in a recession, perhaps more famous artists might be forced to enter more lowly shows and residencies in order to make a crust. If so, what will the rest of us do? How can I be expected to compete with Sarah Lucas for the first prize of the Kings Lynn: Eastern Open?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Self Made

We are leaving in the rain. It was so heavy this morning that we were forced to cancel our last minute AND Festival tour and order a cab straight to the station. The train carriage is warm and steamy and I am relaxing, writing thank you emails, while watching wriggling water droplets race diagonally down the window. Miss Dover sits next to me in a polka dot halter-neck dress underlining sentences in her book. We have met some lovely people and had a great time (although I fear our rather lightweight approach to alcohol and late nights has let us down). My eye has almost returned to normal. Probably, by the time we reach home, it will be as if it had never happened. Last night we managed to obtain complementary tickets to the Premiere of Gillian Wearing's "Self Made". I enjoyed it, running through nearly every emotion possible. I though it a good film worth seeing. By the end of the credits, however, I felt used, worried about exploitation both my own and of the subjects of the film. One of the characters, Ash, seemed to have been manipulated into reenacting his greatest fear, that he might suddenly attack a pregnant, middle class, white woman, killing her baby. He looked distraught in the post production interview. Miss Dover asked a perfectly phrased question about this issue in the q&a session afterwards but did not receive a satisfactory answer. Later we sat with other artists around a table of drinks, jokily taking the film apart. I wonder if that generation of artists that seem to take, rather than give, is passing on. Anyway I'll send Gillian a ticket to my forthcoming gala event. She seemed shy, I wonder if she will come?

We saw this next piece by accident. It is by Deborah Barrett and is called. "I feel like shit today"

Friday, 1 October 2010

Opening night

Much to report, unfortunately my memory is poor. Here are a few snapshots.

Wayne Lloyd's retelling of "Hell is a City" was mesmerising.

Gebhard Sengmüller's slide projection of a grand guignol scene from "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia" all presented to the hot smell and clickety clackety rhythm of 12 slide projectors.

Sheena Macrae's mirrored remix of "2001" went on forever, but why does it curve?


Radio interview complete. I think the interviewer was visually scarred by the experience of "Pearlville" I have to admit it does seem to be a dark world. I tried not to fix him with my beady eye and tried to shuffle to my right to keep my better side in view. Simultaneously he was constantly trying to bring his good ear into play (he wore a hearing aid) To an observer we must have seemed strange waltzing partners or perhaps engaged in a slow, polite, knife fight.

I am finding novel uses for a teaspoon. This morning after prising my eye open I used one to ladle out the bright yellow pus from my eyeball. Now I am using a hot spoon in an attempt to "bring on" the sty. I'm not too certain that I really want to bring it on, it is precocious enough already. My current situation reminds me of that scene in "Rocky" where our hero asks Mickey to cut his eye so he can see Apollo Creed's fist smash into his face. Only an hour and a half to go before my radio interview.