Simon Farid: Week 10- Performing The New Clothes

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 by  | Tags: Simon Farid  | Comments (0)

I wasn't able to spend as much time as I would like in the studio during the last week of my residency, as I was travelling around Northumbria as an artist on the Corners of Europe programme. 

The little time I did get at the studio I spent looking back at the different strands of work I've started over the course of this residency. While there have, as yet, been no public outcomes (beyond unseen and unregistered performances) I think the freedom to experiment offered by this residency has opened up a lot of new avenues of inquiry for me. 

Taking on the invitation to 'experiment' in this studio has led me to initiate collaborations with other artists, namely Mani KamboLily Mellors and Constance Humphries, all of whom have helped me to work in and around areas I otherwise wouldn't.

Here is a brief write up of the work started under the title of:

Surveillance Can Only See My Body

'MI5 Mobile Surveillance Officer Training Workshop' This workshop I began developing here will be presented at Science Gallery Dublin in August 2015, as well as forming a part of 'Nothing To See Here', a workshop I am producing for the Live Art Development Agency's DIY12 in Warrington in October 2015. This method of working back from surveillance job adverts is something I will also continue to develop in future.

'The Gallery Watches You Back' or 'Quantified Performance' Both of these titles will refer to the experiments around intervening with visitor monitoring and quantifying systems in arts institutions. I feel like Lily Mellors and I made very good progress in this direction, without fully resolving a finished piece of work. Ideas for further experimentation that will be the basis of public proposals: 

  1. Impersonating an Arts Council assessor. Either openly or covertly.
  2. Making clearer the quantifying surveillance that takes place in galleries. This could be via performance or mobile sculpture. 
  3. Applying quantifying technologies to other things, particularly other performance work. This could be developed in collaboration with practitioners interested in quantified-self culture.

'Iris Exchange' This is the start of an idea to develop wearable contact lenses coloured to exactly match my iris, cued by my unsuccessful attempt to get a good-quality photograph of my iris from Vision Express. This plan needs a lot more development, particularly in collaboration with someone with the relevant expertise in the area of contact lenses! 

'Can I Be You?' Switching practices with another artist, swapping roles or doing part of each others' work is something that has always appealed to me, as evidenced by things like my wallet swap workshops. Contributing to, and collaborating with, Constance on 'Can I Be You? has allowed me to try a different, more emotional approach to identity swapping. This will feed into my subsequent experiments in this area and our collaboration will be taken forward with a potential performance and installation piece when all the 'Experimental Studio' artists are brought back together.

'Performing The Emperor's New Clothes' This is an essay I have been working on for the duration of my residency, documenting my experiments in unregistered performances and what I have learned from my collaborations during this residency. It is attached here in draft form, and is what I see as the most concrete outcome of this residency. 

Please check up on my website to see how these lines of inquiry continue to develop. 

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