material / rearranged / to / be


This sense of reconfiguring or expanding upon that which already exists can also be seen in another ambitious work, material / rearranged / to / be (2017) made in collaboration with Siobhan Davies and her dance company.

While discussing gesture I told Davies of the work of the German art historian Aby Warburg, an influence and source of a number of my earlier works, and this became the basis of a large-scale performance-exhibition; m/r/t/b was an assemblage of works, each developed by individual visual and dance artists albeit in close discussion with one another; in addition to making my own work I conceived of the structure and thematic concept for the project, and designed the display system used in each venue.

The performance-exhibition was ‘live’ for the normal opening times of the exhibition space, and the audience could arrive and leave as they wished; although the performances and actions were strictly scheduled, this was not made available to the audience and so they could never be quite certain what they might see, nor indeed if they had seen it ‘all’. There were certain fixed elements, or displays, such as my film Daphne (2013), set in the Warburg Institute, London, and Melancholy Mobile (2017), which could be seen at all times, although around these other elements moved. Dance artists performed their works, or moved the display systems, partitions, or screens into new configurations, changing the space, and also what was visible to otthers. With these ‘events’ taking place in different parts of the gallery the audience was being choreographed also, invited to change their positions and move elsewhere.

m/r/t/b opened at The Curve, Barbican in January 2017 — where it received national media coverage and was visited by over 6000 people in 10 days, a record attendance — before travelling to Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. Public talks, discussions, and workshops were held in each venue in order to discuss the processes developed, and how they might be used by others. (Prior to the exhibition, Davies and I also spoke at the the Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building in Oxford on the development of the work.)

I also devised a complementary publication and contributed an essay for it.

Installation Photographs:
1–2: The Curve, Barbican, London
3–5: The Whitworth, Manchester
6: The Bluecoat, Liverpool
7: Tramway, Glasgow