Co-existing with the Formative (2)

Draft 2 February 5th 2018 is the blog I actively published writing, video, image and sound on from September 2008 – March 2012. It formed a major part of my thought-process and public outlet during my years at Edinburgh’s Telford College (now Edinburgh College), and the first half of my time at Glasgow School of Art. It also briefly covered my exchange semester at CalArts, but at this point I was losing sight of the merits of publishing an outlet of practice online and was posting less. I still don’t really know why this blog was so important to that development, and what it’s neglect signified in the understanding of my work and its relationship to publics. Co-existing with the Formative is a written attempt to share space with the distracted, experimental and somewhat naive archive of thoughts from formative years.

Around the time I stopped using the blog, I produced a performance work where I slept in House for an Art Lover, a Mackintosh heritage project in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. The piece, formerly known as Z, was the outcome of a relationship to administrative staff who had, through staffing shortages and organisational ambitions, been delegated the responsibility of arts programming. Through four months of silent emails between the organisation and my student e-mail account, my ambitions for the project were chipped away. Eventually a work that was originally planned to manifest a profound dream whilst sleeping under the plastic of an informative museological panel, was distilled into the work, Z. 

The video above features thirty seconds of footage lifted from the five-hour document from the performance. It shares the moment where the CEO of the organisation forgets that I am sleeping in the room, and wanders in to survey the space. He doesn’t appear to see me at first. Then off camera we can assume he has a sudden encounter with the work, he hastens from the room, switches off lights, and draws the door behind him.

seems now, in retrospect, like the beginning of a real groove in my work that limited live audience numbers and instead, looked towards distant publics whose knowledge of works came through informal modes of communication extending beyond the live event or action (1). The work, formerly known as Z, seems like the optimum point from which to actively unpick a moment where my work followed a logic that merited itself outside of public appearance. Draft 2 intends to finally publish Z, currently known as I don’t think it has a name now (2012-2018), as the most recent (and final) addition to the blog’s chronological timeline of thought. 


(1)In Every Drop, a Memory, an Instruction (Platform, 2013), where two separate audiences built a picture of the work together by comparing their experiences in two separate rooms; The Garden is Our Wall (Intermedia, 2014-15), where information was selectively distributed to the collaborators, funders and supporting bodies in the project, who became audience members to my performance as an interface; and A Social Report (The NewBridge Project 2016), an attempt at criticism of and for The NewBridge Project, saved as a 3MB pdf document and distributed to studio holders and associate members through the organisation’s administrative systems.


Draft 1 August 26th 2016 is the blog I actively published writing, video, image and sound on from September 2008 – March 2012. It formed a major part of my thought-process and public outlet during my years at Edinburgh’s Telford College (now Edinburgh College), and the first half of my time at Glasgow School of Art. It also briefly covered my exchange semester at CalArts, but at this point I was losing sight of the merits of publishing an outlet of practice online and was posting less. I still don’t really know why this blog was so important to that development, and what it’s neglect meant in relationship to my understanding of my work and a public. I’m interested in mining this resource and publishing interviews, podcasts, analyses and documentation over the period of the project Habits of the Coexistent, in partnership with Edinburgh College and Platform, Easterhouse.

As part of the work I will be doing with Edinburgh College, I will be looking into the labours I am unaware I’m performing as an alumni of the HND Contemporary Art Practice course. Thinking through the moment of alumni as the point when friends and collaborators, unbound from a project or institutional container, begin to neglect their performed connections to one another. Negligence will be key to this research. I will actively seek the labours that we do not necessarily choose to exert, but are located in behaviours, mannerisms and habits that we inherit from commitment and submission to collaborative identities.

This blog will actively be weighted down by my formative years, and the educational platform that the original blog served, whilst performing an outlet for me to understand this research in a public and open manner. Over this time I will be in residence with Edinburgh College as part of their AiRETC programme, as well as continuing close discussion with Platform around the organisational model of their building ‘The Bridge’. Some key texts I will be looking at are Chus Martinez’s The Octopus in Love, Jacques Derrida’s The Politics of Friendship, John Boswell’s The Kindness of Strangers, Eve Sedgwick’s Between Men, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality.

Coexisting with the (per)Formative. Living together with the (per)forming of the self.



Retreat Syndrome

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Carousel, 2011, Ink on paper

Ironic Damocles, 2011, Pen on paper

Miniature Climbing Walls, 2011, Foamboard, play-doh, masking tape

Calendar, 2011, Tape on Wall

Kar Khase, 2011, 1:36 loop video

Text on Carousel:


A video recording device is attached on the side view of a typical model horse which one would find on a carousel.

There is a young girl sitting on the horse on the carousel with blonde hair tied up in pigtails. She is eagerly anticipating the start of the ride and she smiles to a point off screen, just off to the right. The girl has to face slightly backwards to see as the horse is facing to the left. Her blue gingham dress is hanging down to her black lacquer shoes and white frilly socks. Her feet are positioned on the feet holders of the model horse; they are agitated and excited so that her ankles scrape against the white glaze of the horse. The horse’s plastic yellow mane flows down from the top of its head, crowned with a purple metallic tiara smothered in jewels. Down the side of the horse is inscribed the name Cinderella in a graceful text base, also in a lustrous purple.

In the background of the image, many people move around in a funfair setting. The usual cast are all there: the boy with the enormous hat with a mother who is holding his precious hand; the old couple, the man gnawing at his candy floss with his gums, and the woman resting the backs of her hands on the seat of the bench watching the children have fun; the clown with long balloons which he fashions into a variety of animals (at the beginning of the film he is finishing off a dog which he hands to the boy with the ridiculous hat). The backdrop is colourful, taking the forms of coconut shys, candy floss stands and a quantity of unidentifiable other stalls.

The soundtrack is a bustling crowd of noises, speaking, shouting, and the chiming bells playing out a familiar tune which was possibly in a disney princess film.

As the film continues you hear the carousel’s machinery begin to turn and the girl screams with glee. “Mummy, mummy!” she exclaims. And the mother responds from off screen with an inaudible answer in an excited tone.

The background begins to move to the right, we see the little boy with the hat look up in amazement and pulls at his mother’s hand and points to the attraction and cries out in excitement. The girl in the foreground is rocking her legs back and forth as they have been removed from the feet holders for a while now, ever since the carousel started whirring. Her face turns further back so that she can still glance back at her mother who we hear from off screen shouting praise at her brave daughter. As the background continues to move to the right, the girl’s head switches to profile, mimicking Cinderella’s, and she gazes off screen to the left, forward for her.

The movement of the funfair to the right allows us to glimpse at other unknown kiosks all with their canopy roofs representing the medieval tents that made up the fayres of the past. Other likely characters can be quickly seen as well, there is enough time on camera to establish the relationship they have to one another. A father walks with his chuckling daughter on his shoulders. A group of four teenagers, all but one with ice creams. Then the mother of the girl on board the carousel makes her cameo. She waves frantically at the girl who is now looking our for her mother. When our protagonist sees her she lets out a yelp of triumph. They wave at each other, the girl let’s her hand raise from her grip of plastic to achieve the connection between her and her mother. Her head rotates further round to see her mother disappear off screen, and her mother’s body rotates to keep her body facing her daughter.

We see the likely fairground characters again, this time the boy with the large hat has the balloon dog and they are roughly ten feet from the clown who is now searching in his pocket for another one of those special long balloons. The old couple are still seated in the same position as before. There is a man behind the coconut shy who we did not notice before, he is looking bored. The father with his daughter are slightly to the right of where they were last time. The teenagers are still loitering in their space.

Our principal character, the pig-tailed girl is in profile once more, she looks ahead into the certain future. Her hands are once again clinging to the neck of the horse. The speed at which the background is moving is increasing quite rapidly, yet the expression on her face ensures us that she is not frightened by the pace of her surroundings. We notice as she moves her hand off the horse to gesture to her mother once more and we notice the mother raises her hand again; there is a shared noise of thrill between them but it is hard to tell what they are saying as the sound from the carousel has become a lot louder and they both shouted at the same time. It is possible the pair knew what each other were saying as the mother bends over with an open smile on her face whilst the girl turns back to facing forward with a grin on her face in the foreground.

We forget to look at the background as we notice the girl take in her immediate surroundings by moving her head around to look at the golden polls that hold up all the model horses. She follows the poll to outside of the screen where presumably she can see the roof of the carousel. She then moves her vision down towards the camera and then down again off the bottom of the screen. Her attention shifts back to the horse and she strokes the plastic with her left hand and rotates her head so that she can lean it against the horses mane. Her face can be seen with the purple word Cinderella just underneath. She does not raise to notice her mother who has just passed in the background of the video from left to right. It is now apparent that she is wearing a long, navy blue coat, which may have been put on during the period the background takes to loop or she may have been wearing all along – it was not noticed what she was wearing in our introduction to the character as we were only interested in the action and relationship she had to the protagonist.

The now familiar shapes of the supporting cast blur past as ambiguous forms, we can still distinguish them, the various shapes relating to the relationship and size of the grouping.

The girl who was lying firmly on the back of the horse is now sitting upright her face silhouetted side on against the melting colours behind her. The backdrop is moving incredibly fast, the navy blue haze has become our control figure in determining this and is accelerating, appearing more and more frequently. We can notice now that the colours have seeped onto the glossy coat of the horse, dancing around the contours. The girl notices this as well and is looking down at the horse before her in amazement, her face awash with euphoria.

The reds fused into the blues, the purples mixed with the greens, and the yellows and the burgundy against the sharp orange. Cinderella was alive with animated hues. The girl held tighter, her hands a black mass against the vibrating colour. Her face gleamed in the reflections, the teeth on show absorbing and casting out the light.

Behind her we find it confusing to find figures, the navy smudge is now completely undetectable in the labyrinth of form. Our heroine faces forward in this confusion, a determined look on her face. She seizes Cinderella in her strong and tense hands. We catch the flickering light in her eyes now quite wet. She is not crying and this water in her eyes is due to the speed the world around her is moving, placing pressure on her eyes. The wind must be incredibly strong as her pigtails are almost horizontal behind her. Her face is clinging to its position, but we can see there is a lot of strength being utilised by her neck muscles.

The colours in the background are still moving but they are moving so fast now that it appears they are moving slower. We can once again see the secondary players and the navy blue of the mother’s jacket. It appears the carousel is slowing down but we can see from the pigtails pointing rigidly to the right that this is not the case. It has just reached that certain point in any rotational object that the period of the revolution is just slightly less than the amount of images our brain can process in one second so their is an appearance of moving at a slower speed. The group of adolescents are still standing in their formation. One of them, a short girl with braces and long brown hair is laughing wildly, but her laugh is noiseless compared to the ultimate roar of the machine. This smiling face plays antithesis to the girl who purposefully gazes on alone, so distant to the group of teenagers. Finally we see the mother again come in to view. She waves clearly and strong, but her daughter takes no notice, her eyes fixed ahead, pushing the backdrop further and further behind, faster and faster.

Assumedly the background moves faster as the image becomes still.

It is still for a long time.

We are able to analyse the background, but we choose not to as the beauty of this still image is absolute. We are caught unaware by this, we knew it was coming but the tableaux becomes so all-encompassing that we are fixated. We cannot think of anything else except just how incredibly sublime this holy moment is.

And then we lose it all as the image snaps to black.

Video of Kar Khase: (oh and mute the sound unless you want some awful house music)

From west coast to West Coast

Hello all, my apologies for the lack of posts in the past months, I havent done any art and its been a pretty lazy summer for me, but I have been doing lots of paperwork, and it has paid off as I’m now in Los Angeles eagerly anticipating my arrival at CalArts for my four month study experience!

So what has happened so far:

Arrived in Los Angeles at 6pm local time, 2am Scottish Time, it had been a long day as I’d been travelling from 5am, ST, or 9pm, LA-T. Got to watch some brilliant movies on the way over, saw Super 8, X-Men First Class, Fargo and A fish Called Wanda. Just grand. Tried to stay awake until my usual bed time but I collapsed at 9pm into my warm comfy bed at the Luxe Hotel. Yesterday I wandered around the city and made it to Pershing Square, MOCA and the Disney Concert Hall. Los Angeles’s city centre is so different to European city centres. Its very much a ghost town with a few tourists walking around, but most people use either cars, the bus service or skateboards (on the road). I was lucky enough to see a skateboarding video shoot possibly for youtube, and a photoshoot for weddings at the Disney Concert Hall. Here are some photos of my expedition:


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So yes it is completely different to anything I’ve ever experienced. And its huge! Also I’ve just seen on the news there is a forest fire near the Santa Clarita area. Nervous times. Its supposed to rain very soon though, 4pm will hopefully see the forest fire subside.

We’re not in Love


We’re not in love

We can try to think it over,

but once is twice enough,

there’s nothing left for you to recover,

we’re not in love.

How to finish this quickly dear,

this just doesn’t function, we’ve been too long at this junction,

Felt your arms surrounding me, no more this morbid rupture,

we’re not in love.


If you want me baby, dance with me

dance with me, dance with me

Our story’s cold dear, you don’t belong here,

Had enough, we’re not in love

If you want me baby, dance with me

dance with me, dance with me,

You just amaze me, you shouldn’t phase me,

Had enough, we’re not in love.

Do you know what I really mean?

This overbearing fantasising, to you I’m emphasising,

Every tender kiss tastes like poison

We’re not in love.

We suffered in our heartache,

Blessings from above, not enough

Apologies for the heartbreak,

we’re not in love



I want to get away from you dear

Please don’t come back here anymore