I grew to know the spiders that lived around the door frame of the entrance to our current studio building, watching them in the evenings backlight by the entrance lighting. They left some fat, fuzzy spider nests in the crevices of the door frame, this is one or perhaps two, and a desicated spider body cacooned above it.
The Inaugural Kim Fielding Award nears it's deadline for applications, 23.59 GMT 13th March 2015, in the true spirit of Kim it is open to any artist or artist group anywhere.
Kim Fielding was a glamorous, pervasive, irreverent and profoundly relevant presence during and after my time in Cardiff at UWIC between 1995 and 1998. Whilst I was an art student on the undergraduate course he was completing the masters programme, testing, extending and fondling the limits of the photo visual programme with his practice that straddled performance and photography.
My first time working with him included lavish elements of kimonos, platforms, complete darkness punctured by staccato flash bulbs firing to illuminate micro seconds of whatever the action was, it's faded from my memory now but I do recall the lessons learnt from the wholehearted frisson of chaos and needing to be entirely in the moment.
The entire palaver was orchestrated with Kim's mirthful mischief manifested as an adroit ability to wield marvellous collisions and collusions of people, time and place in events and occasions, all wrapped by his extensive linguistic extravagances. He was a canny word smith, he could speal a performance concept, photographic back story, an exhibition raison d'être with casual exuberance.
As well as producing prolifically his own photographic work Kim co-created tactileBOSCH, artist led studios and gallery where he organised numerous events and where I had the privilege of presenting my own work.
For a while I taught at UWIC on Mondays and Tuesdays, commuting from Birmingham and staying the night at Kim's flat in Riverside. Towards the end of my work day one or other of us would text the other about dinner and shopping, I would pick up a few food items and return to Kim's where I would sit at his kitchen table and be cooked for. Cooking would be accompanied by copious chat, discussion and banter. One tender river of conversation was about our mothers and our respective concerns for them as they were both vulnerable with health issues.
Another was education and the frustrations and limits of being somewhat self identified renegade artists, our relationships with art institutions and bigger responsibility to student artist be they ones who had found a reflectively straightforward passage through the modules art degree system or ones who it didn't suit one iota. Kim had an open door policy with all these creatives, there was not one hint of academic gatekeeping nor judgmental deliberating. He simply put them to work, art school drop out? Great, come and help out at tactileBOSCH, he'd feed them (he could cook up a storm) and give whomever tasks, responsibilities and revel in their success.
After eating too much the ritual was to watch Spooks, then I'd bed down in his home office/archive where I would have the sweetest and cosiest sleeps, surrounded bay stacks of prints, boxes of film, vast gregariousness of his clicking camera.
The next morning I'd get woken up by David Bowie, generally Young Americans blasting from the kitchen and I'd be given a breakfast of eggs with chilli and lots of coffee thick and strong before seting off to teach, Kim biking off to conjure something or other at tactileBOSCH.
Learning of his passing was a shock, via Facebook. Damn it was horrid. I remember seeing something or other that set off the dawning of the realisation then a cold panic inside me in an effort to find out if the worst had happened, and it had.
I continually learn from Kim. I still do. I learn things like how important it is to be open to younger artists, to really see the limits of our institutions and to think about how to step in when they fail, be it the student or the institution. I found him absurdly generous and generative and fabulously stylish.
Others have really being doing the hard work of carrying Kim's legacy forward, they've worked so very tirelessly and have been really diligent and tireless to create a vision that can keep doing Kim's work. They've been so smart and thoughtful in they're ability to imbue this legacy with the humour, verve, open border polity and hilarious lustre that Kim would of approved of. I take my hat off to these terrific people, the guardians of the Kim Fielding Award.
Much more can, should, will and must be said about Kim, some of that has begun and you can read more about him via the links here.
With Kim in 2008 at our friends Amelia and Andy's wedding. Kim was the wedding photographer.
We could truly say that ideas come to flowers in the same way they come to us. Flowers grope in the same darkness, encounter the same obstacles and the same ill will, in the same unknown. They know the same laws, same disappointments, same slow and difficult triumphs. It seems they have our patience, our perseverance, our self-love; the same finely tuned and diversified intelligence, almost the same hopes and the same ideals. Like ourselves, they struggle against a vast indifferent force that ends by helping them. The Intelligence of Flowers, translated by Philip Mosely
Artist and performance maker Francoise Belanger mentioned this book on botany to me in relation to my recent The Romance of Flowers posting, The Intelligence of Flowers (1907) by Maurice Maeterlinck (1962 - 1949).
There are two translations available online, the first by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos here on the endlessly valuable Internet Archive.
The second by Philip Mosely, there is a review here.
Another of the intriguing bound documents I eased out of it's tightly held position on a full wooden shelf was a copy of the 1881 Irish Land Law Act, disarmingly slender for the import of such legislation and peppered with tiny flowers and leaves pressed between it's pages as if the act of land as being set upon an altogether logic with these pressings of delicate, fleeting plant lives.
This is one among many of the marvellous natural history books I found myself revisiting in my mothers home in a book lined room known as The Study in the house where I did much of my growing up. I delved into it as Ecoeye was on RTE (Irish telly) exploring the current effects of climate change on Irelands coast and speculating about the escalation of it's impending impact. I was fascinated by the conceit in the first chapter of The Romance of Plant Life (published in 1907) in which the author imagines 'A Tourist From Neptune' who, the author supposes would have quite an alternative experience of chronology to an Earthling and a greater capacity to observer changes we barely sense. This idea of enhanced sensing or awareness of time and durations other than human is intriguing and our means of identifying indexical linkings into alterities of human temporal scales. How might we understand vaster and tinier durations and where might crumples of convergences and divergences provide these reckonings.
Currently in rehearsals with an international cast of performers and musicians, directed by Robert Wilson
See here for more details
- Feb 2, 2017 In thrall to the crumple Feb 2, 2017
- Jul 25, 2016 A reading for Operature. ATOM-R. Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, 21st. October 2013. Jul 25, 2016
- Feb 26, 2016 Enabling conversations, a-n Bursary Feb 26, 2016
- Dec 23, 2015 Dublin LIve Art Festival, winter Dec 23, 2015
- Oct 29, 2015 Documentation from Love Letters to a (Post-)Europe Παρασκευή 2 & Σάββατο 3 Οκτωβρίου 2015 Oct 29, 2015
- Sep 26, 2015 Love Letters to a (Post-)Europe Παρασκευή 2 & Σάββατο 3 Οκτωβρίου 2015 Sep 26, 2015
- Sep 9, 2015 Ballybunion : with memories and feet Sep 9, 2015
- Sep 9, 2015 Collected by Dominic Sep 9, 2015
- Sep 2, 2015 Citing Shannon Bell's Discourse of the Post-Hysteric (Tattoo) Sep 2, 2015
- Jul 28, 2015 Lynn Margulis: Bacteria are Our Ancestors Jul 28, 2015
- Jul 27, 2015 'that pine tree came to be my best friend' and other plant readings Jul 27, 2015
- June 2015 2
- May 2015 2
- April 2015 4
- March 2015 4
- Feb 27, 2015 Land Acts Feb 27, 2015
- Feb 27, 2015 A conceit to get 'beyond our human ideas of time' in The Romance of Plants Feb 27, 2015
- Feb 27, 2015 Kerry Trees pt 2 Feb 27, 2015
- Feb 27, 2015 Kerry Trees pt I Feb 27, 2015
- Oct 10, 2014 The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic Oct 10, 2014