SLAP are hosting a series of performance interventions throughout the City of York. All events are FREE.
I’d never been to York before, but I knew when I got off the train in my moon boots and was met by a castle, things were looking pretty good for it. Then there was a river, and a bridge, and a woman wrapping herself in rope. I had arrived to SLAP Interventions. I saw Elise Nuding’s Shift, spin, warp, twine which was graceful and poetic on the side of the river. What a backdrop. Passers-by stopped and walked away. Then I saw Connor Quill’s Glitter Dancing Man which upped the tempo as he danced and pranced his way through ‘Black Friday’ in York with pink hotpants and gold chest with a sign that said ‘DANCE WITH ME’. The odds were against it, but a joyous Pied Piper-esque riot ensued.Or a silent musical with the entire cast of York shoppers. I can’t be sure. Catching those two different performances made me think about the possibilities of place and made me aware of the gaps there are to play in. How art and life can reveal things about each other. A celebration of chance, of one-offs.
Then I made my way with what I had come to do in the first place, a one to one performance called Moon Landings. I set up a moon on top of a pub roof and invite people to sit with me, for a while, wrapped in a foil blanket, to look back on planet earth. To stop and wonder at it all. From that perspective, I wanted to know what moments you could still see from so far, what would be the things that stick out to you from your lifetime. This is a new performance that I was testing out, inspired by my work with people with dementia. I am struck by what stays for a lifetime. What ensued were about ten unforgettable encounters, riveting conversations, brief but intimate disclosures. I was really touched by how open people were and willing they were to sit with me on the moon in the middle of their Friday night out. I have collected snippets of the stories I was told on a till roll from the bar, which I will publish soon- watch this ‘space’.
had time for a quick drink, a Blue Moon, naturally, and zoomed off for the last train to Manchester.
- Lowri Evans
I remember it was grey, but not too cold—November temperatures could (should?) be so much worse. I remember no rain was forecast, but it drizzled for a short period. I remember feeling drawn to some potential performance spaces more than others, and then being attached enough to the first site we chose to locate the second performance in almost the same place. Almost, but not quite. I remember a small child wanting to pick up a piece of twine, but shyness (or was it suspicion?) got the better of him. I remember two people who tend the adjacent park walking by, and one of them stopping: “I just had to ask— what are you doing??” I gave her some twine. I remember the ground was wet and cold. It left dirt smears on my dress and shoes, and made my ropes damp and heavy. I remember Dancing Glitter Man being ten times brighter than his surroundings. I remember not being sure whether I had started the performances or not. The endings were clearer. I remember the funny looks from the construction workers on the embankment, the goose who eyeballed me, the baffled cyclist, the waiting women, the man with the rat (Oscar was its name), the cigarette smoker, the perfectly timed leaf fall— things you can’t plan but that come to define the experience of the work, both for those performing and for those observing…if you can even separate them.
- Elise Nuding
I spent the day in York documenting meetings with strangers. I approached people who were sitting alone on benches. I set up a medium-format camera in front of them and played a song on a cassette player to set the mood. I sat next to them on the bench and nodded to them. They would then realise that we were going to be the subject of a photograph together. At this point there would, or would not be, a silent bond created.
We then looked into the camera and I fired the shutter with a cable release. After this myself and the subject would talk. I would tell them about my life and they would tell me about theirs. I would ask why they were here at this place, why they were sitting alone. I would ask if they liked the choice of music. After talking, I would offer to post a print of the photograph to their house to commemorate our meeting. They would write down their address and I would say goodbye. After our meeting I would write down what I remember about them.
Deciding to take your photograph together with someone is a ritual that we might do to commemorate getting to know someone. I wanted to explore that ritual and create a bond of intimacy that might have otherwise been absent with a stranger.
I liked the weather in York. It was slightly foggy, and the temperature was mild. The museum gardens were a great setting I felt.
- Top Joe