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Telephone Box Series 2011

POLLYANNA NA HODSO SON


Pollyanna Hodson

Telephone Box Series 2011 pollyannahodson.blogspot.com


C Interview one Interview two Performances

01 - 07

08 - 16 17 - 38


Performance 01 Performance 02 Performance 03 Performance 04 Performance 05 Performance 06 Performance 07 Performance 08 Performance 09 Performance 10 Performance 11 Performance 12

18 - 19 20 21

22 - 23 24 - 25 26 - 27 28 - 29 30 - 31 32 - 33 34 - 35 36 - 37 38


Telephone Box Series Interview

01

Pollyanna Hodson interviewing herself to help explain her practice.


Interviewer -

Pollyanna Hodson in your performative practice, what are you currently doing?

Pollyanna -

I have been getting into phone boxes and using forms of non-verbal communication to the outside world (the people on the street). What I have been communicating is a response to the era we are in, the information era, there is so much information around. Bombarded every waking hour. These little bits of information, do they mean anything? Do we need to know? And when you do know; what are you to do then? Confusion, bewilderment, despair and frustration are how I respond to it. I am using the phone box as an outpost for these feelings and by doing it within a context I am subverting its meaning and use in society. By walking in and ‘misusing’ the space. Adding to the confusion of what to do in a situation/space.

01 - 02


I-

How do you see it being displayed or worked on?

PH -

I have been recording these events from different angles. The ones shot from above being most successful. Realistically I am going to have to show the films. Ideally I would not be shown in the gallery context. The films are meaningless and one dimensional, the whole situation is not captured. The best ones from above only capture the act and not the interaction and the response of the people outside. The idea that I am in public can be lost. If I were told ‘we will give you this exhibition space to display your work’ I probably wouldn’t take it. My reply being ‘ I’ll just go outside and do it live’. I would much prefer it if everyone walked past me in a phone box and witnessed it directly. By removing the context of the phone box and the public display I am removing the intention, within an exhibition context the viewers expect the unexpected. Thereby removing the impact of the work… It’s about the outside world so why not keep it in the outside world. The phone box is important. They are my glass vessels; they are situated in busy, high profile areas, generating a lot of opportunities to the viewed. But then I am also protected behind the glass, caged and shielded. If I was to step out of the limitations of the space it would be too much, the only element of control removed. I would feel threatened by the public and in turn that would feel threatened by me. By being behind glass everything is much happier and secure. The act is caged turning the threat into humor. I don’t see a future in this and how it can evolve. This is it.


I-

Is there anyway you can think of getting around your problem of displaying?

PH -

I have several ideas. One is to play on the mental bombardment with several screens/projections within a small area. The viewer would step into the confined space and not know where to look, the footage upon each screen changing every few seconds therefore only by moving their heads rapidly will they be able to view all of the footage. And confusion taking over… Where is the most exciting? What am I missing? The second is simpler… beautiful performances, in their entirety, they don’t need over complicating like that. By being shot from above it is obvious it is a phone box… so you know that it is in a public and people and around, so I don’t need the mental bombardment just good movements. I don’t want to tamper with them.. they are a flow of consciousness. It has come to the point where it has to be simple. In one great stretch of time and responding… there are instances where I am threatened by people outside so I stop and stay still and pretend I am not up to anything… they are beautiful and they show the relationship with the outside without showing the outside directly.

I-

Have you tested this out?

PH -

I did a test screening of my current favorite alongside other film works in Video and the Artist curated by Becky Elliot. The looped footage was played on a TV monitor placed directly upon the floor. You were looking down on an above shot. It worked well because the viewer was at almost the same angle as the camera. While at the exhibition and with encouragement from others I turned the TV onto its back, lining up the viewer and the camera angle. I could have more than one, in a grid or scattered, but in the intention of keeping it simple one is all I need. By having to peer in to view the work, I am leaving everything else in the room behind… changing the angle of viewing.


03 - 04

I-

Are there more things, explanations and motives flying around?

PH -

The point at a basic level… I am not going for an aesthetic; I am going for a feeling. I think the feeling is frustration, ‘what should I do?’ and total abandon at the same time. I am not worrying about how it is conveyed on the screen because ideally the audience would view it first hand. The best part of it is the people who are walking by; most give a few glances and try to ignore the occurrence. They would never stop and stare the way that street performers and buskers are received… it would be weird if they did. Should they stop though? I don’t think that they do or would especially the setting of phone boxes, the busy are and the situation of the phone box gives a level of privacy, people probably feel like they are intruding on something they can just experience a snap shot of the absurdity of freedom of it. If they get a feeling, even momentarily. That’s good in my books

I-

Do you see your practice on a hole?

PH -

I’ve been thinking my practice is not particularly strong. It is not based in or upon something solid… unless the solid thing is me. I am happy with that though… Having some sort of definition is limiting I find… I prefer things in flux. If I have some sort of statement I thought this maybe most quizzing; ‘My art is shit because the world is shit’ if you think my art is shit it is only because I am responding to shit…Or ‘Happiness is only in bubbles and my bubble is a phone box.’


The rest of this interview is available on Vimeo at : Vimeo.com/22653581

Artist


Interviewer

05 - 06


Continuation of interview.

02 07 - 08

Instead of interviewing myself I had Joanna Aldoori, a peer, to ask the questions that I do not want to answer.


Joanna Aldoori-

We are talking about you having to justify your work, and having to write a statement….Did you sell your studio or give it away?

Pollyanna Hodson -

I gave it away. JA -

You gave your studio space away? Why did you do that? Was it a rejection of the studio?... There is a lot of talk of what a studio is and how a studio functions… are you a post studio artist?

PH -

Ha-ha yeah.

JA -

Why is it necessary to not have a regular space?

PH -

I just don’t need it. I see it a boundary that limits me, a horrible feeling. I wanted to do things out in public anyway.

JA -

Did the studio provides this boundary to then work against or provide the frustration to go out and perform in that way, so maybe it is a useful thing.

PH -

Yeah, I am not denying is use, I did work in the studio and I didn’t feel real, it was institutional.

JA -

How do you see art and life do you think they are two separate things?

PH -

in my head they are the same thing. But I would not say that I “make” art, if that works. I am art. (Laughter) No… I just don’t want to have a material object or something that can be captured to some up everything; I don’t think that is possible.

JA -

There is the idea that there is art and there is life, what context would you put yourself in? That stuff is evident in Fluxus and Alan Kapow would you put yourself within that context?.. Because there is a lot of humour and playfulness parallels can be drawn.

PH -

I don’t see myself in a context. No. I am trying to make art like I have never experienced. Not in a forgetting education way but and new way. Just don’t want to be like anything anyone else has done to my knowledge. Does that make sense?


JA -

Yes.. I think it might be quite hard though, no I don’t think it is quite hard...

PH - It’s like starting a revolution all by yourself. JA -

That’s another interesting point because you seem to really want to reject these structures and conforms, going back to justifying your work, you seem to really want to but you seem it be too afraid to. I think that is because, I don’t think you are starting a revolution.

PH -

Of course not.

JA -

Don’t think you want to be that far... I think you still want to...

PH -

I want to be nothing

JA -

Pollyanna… With the exhibiting of the work and you are saying that you will have to show these videos… but you don’t.

PH -

No, I know. I cannot even comprehend doing that now, but the thing is I want to be in the show, my work just doesn’t fit in the context of the show. It would destroy the work if I put it in the show.

JA -

I think the point is by not being in the show you may be seen as subverting the show, being a critique of the show or acting against the show but it is really not, it’s really not

PH -

No it not… I want to be seen as part of the show just not in the show…. Because I am in the show, even if my work isn’t physically there. I have been with these people and in this space for three years. My presence if there, it may have not manifested itself into anything physical. It’s a hard one.

JA -

I don’t think it needs to be physical, with a lot of performance the myth of it lives. Many people don’t see the live works or even have to see any documentation of it, but they hear about it and that’s enough of it like Marina Abramovic and Ulay walking the wall of china, they may not have even done that for all I know, I haven’t seen any documentation -


JA -

- it’s just the myth. So I think you will be in the show because the story of you having have done it is enough.

PH -

Yeah I suppose.

JA -

I wanted to ask because you have been doing these performances in different telephone boxes, do you feel like you are repeating it? Or it is a whole different context every time?

PH -

Yeah it is different I am always doing different moves and I am always in a different setting. And I don’t think you can ever repeat yourself. A lot of them are sort of similar…. I don’t think that is bad.

JA -

I want to ask about the live event.

PH -

I’ve been thinking of this, the other day I said “stuff this (the degree show) I will just be outside in the phone box instead” and thought of having a poster up in the exhibition with the times I will be there but then I realized “hell no” Because then I will be purposely sending people out to find me and they may crowd round and not interact with it the way you would with no preconceived ideas. The natural reaction is to be intrigued but trying to ignore me. No one has ever stopped… they feel awkward.

JA -

Do you want it to be seen?

PH -

I want it to be seen like that, I don’t want it to be seen in its entirety I want the reaction most of all. I don’t want it to be a sceptical, an event.

JA -

Maybe then you have it like that.

PH -

That means though, not telling anyone about it.

JA -

Maybe you have to come up with a strategy; I don’t know it is difficult.

PH -

I have being thinking, for the marking side, to be in phone boxes on rout and at the times of the tutors going home so they come across it naturally.


JA -

But then there is a lot of uncertainty, what if someone did stop to watch?

PH -

I don’t think that anyone would, because I am caged it is easily ignored and it may seem personal and they would be intruding. The ones that are quite fun there is more interaction but no one wants to look if it is distressing.

JA -

I get what you mean about it you not wanting it to be a spectacle. It goes back to how you view art.

PH -

And the art context.

JA -

I see its art being separate from reality and it existing in a separate sphere.

PH -

I think art exists in reality.

JA -

I had a conversation with Simon about this and how art doesn’t really have and objective, well not a collective one. If you compare it to sport of athletics, the pole vault is ridicules but it has a clear objective, it is measurable and there is a clear outcome (winner). It is easy to understand. But in art it sort of has to create something around, its own reality in order to exist. How do you see it? Do you think it exists in its own context?

PH -

I think it all has a relevant context in reality. I don’t see the white cube as a real space; I see it as a place to just objectify.

JA -

But how do you see the theatre and how do you see the stage,

PH -

It is the same isn’t it, they are escapist places, and they are for fictions. Art works will be different in different contexts, to me the context of the gallery is one removed from reality/truth.

JA -

Not every artist conforms or fits in the gallery setting that guy (Daniel Eatock) that dances to car alarms and it is art, he is an artist, it is within that artist context so maybe you cannot escape it


PH -

I don’t want to escape being art. I don’t think art should be limited to a particular setting, I think it should be everywhere. Many people don’t know much about art because most of it is within a particular setting that they are not accustomed or use to. But if it was everywhere it would be unavoidable, I don’t see why art isn’t like music.

JA -

Yeah but if you think about it and about art galleries they are in the centre of town and are mostly free they advertise themselves, so it is inaccessible?

PH -

It is still the thing of having to go out of your way to go, my parents want and try to be understanding of art because of me but I still don’t think they have been to an exhibition without me dragging them around in the last 10 years.

JA -

Why do you think that is so? Because they don’t get it. They are not accustomed, galleries are pretty daunting institutions where you can feel inadequate without prior knowledge. And there is an elitist stigma.

11 - 12

JA -

Do you see it as an elite thing.

PH -

Yeah, I don’t want to. The art market side, the business. I want it to be gone!

JA -

It can be ignored easily, going back to Fluxus and the Situationists I know it was like 50 years ago, but they wanted the boundary between art and life to be as thin as possible. I don’t think art has to be like that.

PH -

I don’t think art has to be anything.

JA -

No.

PH -

I don’t think anything needs to be said. I think it just exists.

JA -

Ok. Maybe you don’t say anything about your work then just do it.


PH -

That is what I would do in normal circumstances, but this is a degree I need to record and reflect. There is a guy in the younger than Jesus catalogue that I was talking to someone about recently, he exists in the myth realm. I want to do that, his performances are not recorded and the audience and forbid to photograph or film, the way the work spreads is by word of mouth. In 2 months that is the way I will do it!

JA -

Until then, then, you say you don’t want it to be a spectical the way that people stop and look at you the way you would in a theatre of gallery, but you want it to be seen, so what do you want people to get from it?

PH -

Arghh… I don’t know. You do, you already have these proposed ideas of it.

JA -

I suppose it is freedom, I would like to think it is like glancing at someone freedom and I think that can be inspiring. Nelson Mandela and other people have said “freedom is ours we just have to take it” but I think I am thinking more along the lines of “freedom is ours we just have to fake it” pretending to be free can be more empowering.

PH -

What is freedom though, do you think that anyone knows what it is?

JA -

I don’t think we can with money and society around.

PH -

I don’t believe in it, I think it is all bloody utopian. You cannot have total freedom, we have to do things to survive that you cannot opt out of, eat, drink, sleep, breath, they are a hindrance to freedom. …..

JA -

I want to be part of the show, maybe I just have to change my work, am I allowed to do that?

PH -

Yeah. Do what love?

JA -

Ditch the phone box stuff because they don’t fit the context, maybe ill just do something in the space to fit the context of the show.


JA -

Yeah maybe.

PH -

I don’t know what that would be though.

JA -

So make something specific for the show?

PH -

Yeah, nothing else I have done fits because it only works in public. But the opening night is public(ish).

JA -

13 - 14

Do you think it is public art? But you don’t seem to put it with anything, and why should you. But people are going to want to categorise it and find an objective and like a place in the world. Does that bother you?

PH -

Why do you even bother thinking about it!

JA -

I think you should though.

PH -

Ill just write some sort of statement then.


The rest of this interview is available on Vimeo at : Vimeo.com/23203055

Statement

By discussing the situation at length I have come to the point of a stalemate that I cannot do anything at present. My telephone box series cannot be shown without destroying its self and creating an unnatural reaction. I am also creating this unnatural reaction by inviting people to watch me perform. By not being in the show directly I am jeopardising my degree. I feel like I will be in the degree show even if I have no physical work to present, I am a part of the year group and have being in interaction with the space and people for three years. My work doesn’t fit within the space it cannot be captured and transported. All my justification for why I have done my work is also the reason why I should not be in the show…. But I will be in the show. I want to be part of it I just don’t know how to be. My plan is to forget the show for a while longer, and plan it the day before. What way I will not kill the work, I’ll make it for the space, the context, the time.

15 - 16


Performances.

03

Telephone Box Series 2011


Juggling


and failing


19 - 20


Spinning 360 degree surveillance at rush hour.


21


Early morning cleansing

22

Teenage Ridicule


Half a Twin


Dance like no one is watching


Positive flow


27 - 28


No music required

31 - 32


Rhythmic repetition


Bouncing off the walls


Filling longitudinal space


37 - 38


MOVE


Go with it


Receiver rubbing


41 - 42

Feel my thoughts


Meditation Chamber

Sit, reflect


Ig

re

no


04 The live performance is all there is to experience.


TELE H O N


LEPH NE


SER RIES


RIES


12/05/11 Statement


In the face of new information being thrown at our senses during every waking minute of the day the overwhelming knowledge needs a release before suffocation and an out come of transcendence of this state. My practice covers these three states: a clouding or suffocation of information, an outburst of release in the hope of escape and transcendence of the situation. It is a means to try and understand what to do with all the little snippets of information being feed to us constantly. I have also been considering whom you / we are in a space. Thinking about the right protocol, how to act in situations and the importance upon how people convey themselves. I would like to think that each time I am in a new space I am a new person taking on a different roll and how you act in that space determines the success or failure of that person. Me practice is over two contexts one is direct to the public that art is a relation to them as they pass and interact with the space and me. The documentation is just documentation and is not viable and the real performance as it sees only one aspect at a time.


The second is where I perform in closed spaces without an audience for the purpose of being filmed, and viewed in this format. With the audience removed production can be increased as well as freedom of release without being conscious of others. My release is dance and erratic movements diminishing the use and value of language. They say the origins of language lies in the need to communicate our thoughts, feelings and intentions to each other. I don’t want to believe this. I believe that the origins of language started in song and the origin of song and music started in the need to fill an empty human soul.


Thanks to Joanna Aldoori Claire Hollyoak Stephanie Barratt Emily Hague Matthew Burton MJMJ


Telephone Box Series  

Public Performance series by Pollyanna Hodson

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