Compass Live Art Bit At Ferens 2014

compass_festival_logoDelayed post regarding events at Compass Live Art in 2014, held within the Live Art Space at Ferens Art Gallery Hull. Delayed through recognition of need to separate personal opinion from associated projects.

At the gate not horses but long-faced gallery staff waiting for us to fly away.

The tension mentioned earlier during the debate part of proceedings very much in evidence. Irony upon irony as Gillian continues her performance ignoring their obvious displeasure at our continued presence in their building.

Their building? Not a building for artists anymore, not a place for performance and exploration. As each lit match burned out and fell to the polished floor Gillian challenged this by way of quiet direct action. Why the matches? Evidence of the ritualistic layer that some forms of live art take on? A nod to the pyrotechnics of Paul Burwell? Maybe in some way to preserve the memory of the past performers in the element of fire? A sort of, ‘You who have played here, have played in this space of performance, you who are named you burned bright then, now you burn again for the witnesses gathered around.’

Gillian’s voice takes on an accusatory tone as she reads the long list of performers, placing various performances in the space and in our minds. She seemed to be challenging us to not let their efforts be somehow in vain. It was a performative rallying call to arms.

As much as we enjoyed the day, it did feel rather strange that we had to have a group parachuted in, to talk to us about how we should reinvigorate the live arts space. It seemed a bit like a ‘Come on Hull do you need your hand holding?’ Anyone else feel that?

The event was well attended, numbers exceeded expectations, the audience were both appreciative and knowledgeable, about the issues surrounding organisational engagement with live art: the wider aims to energise the performance arts scene in Hull.

In direct relief to the solemnity and veneration of performances past – was the promenade performance from Pat Coyle. A nonsense rhyming tour de force with Carrollian script shot through with local colour and character. Pat proved to be a skilled orator and storyteller. An amusing and knowing piece with simple effective repeated phrases and deft wordplay.

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