South of No North
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This was a series of site-specific performances arising out of a residency at Roches Point Lighthouse. I was invited to take up the residency by Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland, July 2002. The performances involved me practising a form of rope-free rock climbing called 'bouldering' which is more akin to gymnastics than it is to mountaineering, requiring the climber to maintain three points of contact at all times. For a period of six weeks at White Bay, Co. Cork, daily climbing activity was carried out on large overhanging rocks utilising bouldering techniques developed by John Gill in 1958. Research focused on movement and body placement in relation to environment, and on the form and status which documentation of such movements might take. After each day’s activity, documentation was articulated through painting rather than through the accepted convention in performance art of photography or video. Each painting was made through actions which became literal re-memberings of particular bouldering actions and techniques from the day, and using only paint and hands, thereby extending the experience and activity of this kind of climbing into a form of documentary image or visual field. The novelty of this research lies in its combination of bodily action within a performance and within the painterly process used to document the performance. The paintings had an immediacy and an impact which conveyed a greater physicality than could be achieved through conventional photographic performance documentation. Reproductions of the paintings and an account of the performances (written by me) were published in A. Stitt, 'South Of No North', 2002.
Roches Point Lighthouse, Cork, Ireland, 2002
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