Film by Helen Petts. Please listen with headphones.
Susanna Ferrar is one of ninety collaborators that have been commissioned by Matt's Gallery, London, to contribute a film to TAPS: Improvisations with Paul Burwell.
TAPS will be taking place at Dilston Grove, Southwark Park, London on 17th, 18th and 19th of September, 2010.
"I spent quite a bit of time with Paul in the mid-1980s. We talked a lot and drank a fair bit of whisky. He sometimes seemed quite – well, not quite world-weary - but he came across now and then as someone who’d seen and done it all. He had such freshness and vitality – such an appetite for life! He had tremendous focus and capacity for attention which was at odds with his stance of (almost) cynicism. He’d say things like, “T’ai Chi’s no use if someone’s got a gun…” and his eyebrows were always growing back after being set on fire.
One time when I was staying at Knapp Road he came into the bathroom while I was in the bath. I was lying on my tummy, blowing bubbles through the water. Paul was astonished! He slapped his thigh and paced up and down in the small space exclaiming, “I’ve never seen that before!!” over and over. I don’t know how come he’d never seen anyone lying on their tummy in the bath, but I only have to think of that incident to hear him clearly in my mind’s ear. He was delighted partly, I think, to have the stance of ‘been everywhere, seen everything, done it all’ contradicted but also by the very fact of a new thing – absolutely delighted – free and happy in the twinkling of an eye!".
Paul Burwell was infamous for his exuberant fusions of fine-art installation, percussion and explosive performance. He was a staunch advocate of, and passionate participant in, all forms of experimental art. TAPS: Improvisations with Paul Burwell, realised by Anne Bean, Robin Klassnik and Richard Wilson embodies his prolific practice.
Over the course of three days TAPS will combine film, installation and performance, portraying layers of interpretation from more than 80 invited collaborators, in response to Burwell’s poem ‘Adventures in the House of Memory’. The poem arose from improvisations by Anne Bean and Paul Burwell in preparation for William Burroughs’s Final Academy at Ritzy, London in 1982, where improvised words were written on huge sheets of flash paper which were ignited as they were sung.
The poem was the last recorded Burwell work two months before he died in 2007. The body of collaborators have responded to the poem by each creating a short film or audio work as a new collaboration for, about or ‘with’ Burwell.
Fragments of each collaborator’s film or audio work, now make a collective totem in a two screen, one hour composite film interpreted and edited by Anne Bean and Chris Bishop. This resulting work resonates with the poem’s innate episodic chronicles, as slivers interleaf together, and runs continuously throughout each day.
The film is shown as part of a screen installation constructed by Richard Wilson. By adding its own sounds and actions, this structure becomes a part player in the final act of the last evening, during a performance by Ansuman Biswas.
Live performances form another layer of exploration, echoing the sense of inter-connectivity created by the installation. Each performer encompasses a practice that reflects the context and ethos in which Burwell worked, improvising within the framework of the poem, film, installation and space at Dilston Grove. The performances will take place at various times during the event.
A publication with an essay by David Toop and drawings by Paul McCarthy, published by Matt’s Gallery, will be available free to visitors throughout the event.
TAPS is supported by a Legacy: Thinker in Residence Award to Anne Bean. Legacy is a collaboration between the Live Art Development Agency and Tate Research, financially assisted by Arts Council England and the Live Art Development Agency. Legacy acknowledges the outstanding bodies of work of two artists who have influenced the development of the Live Art field by supporting them to think about the legacies of performance in art historical contexts and examine the processes and challenges of archiving live work. The Legacy recipients are Anne Bean and Tim Etchells. Further information thisisliveart.co.uk/
Anne Bean is an Artsadmin artist.
For further information or visual material please contact Matilda Strang at Matt’s Gallery - E firstname.lastname@example.org, T (020) 8983 1771