Friday, April 18, 2008


Thursday 17th April

Not long to go now- and what a day. Washed, porridged, dressed, read, updated this, watched telly and had a cup of tea before 11. My human interaction started just before opening with a young poet at my door, here to read me some of his work and talk about his closing night CURDLE piece. A few minutes after he arrives Greg wanders in with his partner and 11 week-old baby. He announces that we will be greeted shortly by their sort of parenting club, a bunch of mothers and others with their mostly 3 month-old-ish kiddies. It is weird when they arrive, to say the least. They are all quite straight, obviously, and seem to be mostly 20-something white middle-class mummies. They are polite, and mostly friendly enough, but on the whole appear bewildered by the art, the concept and the overall situation. We chat about milk production, how to increase supply, herbs and drugs and how much milk we get at each sitting, and it all goes reasonably well until I start telling them about my PhD, and raise the topic of adult nursing (among wet nursing, cross nursing etc) and it all turns a little odd. Saved by a phone call, and they leave soon after. Can’t help but wonder about their chat in the coffee shop! Feeling weird about this motherhood business—so much of what I am playing with concerns the maternal somehow. Obviously! Its unsettling, somehow. I know I am far more comfortable in the world I live in. Do parents really weigh their kids all the time and obsess about how many times they feel each day, where they can weigh them when the baby centre is shut and whether their lactation consult approves of nipple shields? I can’t help but think I would be inclined just to feed it when it wanted to be fed, let it sleep when it wanted to sleep, and unless it was seriously losing weight just let it get on with growing at its own rate. But heck, I don’t have a kid so who knows how I would react at the end of the day?

L stays and we chat art and poetry for a while, before B comes in for a coffee and a turn in the rocker dressed as Little Miss Muffet. Joined by C and M, a lovely couple of mates who turn up with fantastic cheeses and fruit bread. Yummy! People keep bringing me such fabulous food! We stuff ourselves stupid, and talk about what’s been happening. They all leave bar L, and we go back to listening to his IPod and working out performance stuff. I wonder how my stomach with ever recover from its recent fatty, sugary, salty adventures, but hope that once I get out of here and back on the dancefloor and fresh vegies I won’t feel quite so blobby and unenergetic.

Sometime later a new pal from QLD, H, turns up to talk maternal sexuality, bringing another newly acquired mate T with her. L leaves sometime amongst all this, and then Matt and his filming friend F arrive to continue yesterday’s shoot. Cake Lady appears in the midst of it all, hanging around just long enough to spread some sunshine and do ‘the milk colour experiment’. I dress up as some sort of oracle-type figure, and we (easily) rope H and F into playing nymphette-type assistants. I am poised over a big round bowl full of milk, lactating into it while flanked and adored and helped by the others. It is good silly fun, though daresay my milk production was a little less than I could desire (still not without its odd squirty moment of joy). Think it all worked well, and will be interesting to see the end product on Saturday. Suddenly realise that F is the flatmate of This Charming Man, which makes me laugh until we go outside, I start to wave them all goodbye and we discover T’s car has been towed away (which causes a minor panic- somehow she is calmer about it than the rest of us). Then they are gone.

Quick breather, and then Biffo’s alter ego turns up with some beers and we just laze about shooting the breeze. E drops in with a disc of the piercing pix from the other night, which are totally brilliant (of course, she is a brilliant photographer). Phew! Crash for an hour or two, watch some mindless telly, read for a bit, and wait for the last couple of visitors of the evening. Tomorrow is the second last day, with much to organise for closing night and no doubt more visitors, and I want to get some more academic stuff done before I leave the space. Time for another coffee I guess… Will worry about assessing the work, and the value of this experiment, until I am out and have had some time to debrief and ponder.

Oh, and tonight is the night of Y’s secretive performance. He is coming in the wee small hours, to hand me a camera and give me a one on one show, then disappear. It’s like waiting for Santa, and I don’t know whether to sleep or just stay up until he comes. Maybe I will just doze in the chair in front of the TV.

Update: Y called me at 4am to say he was outside. Needless to say his gift was exquisite, and inspiring, and made me cry with its beauty and intensity, and though I’m not sure if I can talk about what it was yet I wanted you all to know it was the perfect antidote to any doubts I had about what I am doing here. All of this is so that one day I might, just might, after many years of experimenting and performing around and trying out new techniques, of treading the boards and pulling all-nighters, of locking myself in my garret and becoming a hermit, if I summon up all my discipline and my talent, I might produce something similar. I am blessed with such an array of muses and mentors, collaborators and support crew, moral support and drinking buddies, that with a spark of imagination and determination from great things might happen.



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