The performances in Istanbul have come to an end and now, following a week of on/off travel, I am residing in Falmouth town. The troupe are scattered across the UK but we will be reuniting in a couple of days to continue our performances here, and then in Bristol and Cardiff.
Ben Geldim, Gidiyorum, meaning I’m coming and now I’m going, has been well received in Turkey and has been seen as a humourous but acute reflection of the Istanbul experience. As a performance it has touched audiences who are native to the city as well as those people who were passing through. Local people found the performance to be an accurate representation of the cities intense bustle and empathise with the frustrations resulting from this. Tourists and passers through found that the representation of the arduous sexual tensions (usually manifested in harassment) to be found in the city was not only appropriately acknowledged but was presented in a fun way.
The performance has tried to appropriate the serious social reality in a concise and entertaining way. The mix of film and performance has been effective in putting across the actual situation to be found in Istanbul but has avoided being condescending or judgemental by only choosing to represent it as a feature of the story being told. Audiences know their own mind; This production is only asking people to consider their experiences again.
The story is about two Western women who are in different circumstances both of whom are experiencing life in Istanbul. One is a tourist and is simply passing through, the other is married to an educated Turkish man and is living in Turkey. The story is told from the perspective of the artists who have been living, experiencing, and researching life in Istanbul. Drawing upon personal experience and sampling material from the real world, the final production is an amalgam of stylised material, fact and fiction, realist and surreal, dramatic and conceptual. This is at times difficult to follow as the audience is presented with layered material, multiple lines of thought, a confusion of subjective and objective thinking. The audience is given a choice to enjoy an entertaining visual show or to delve into the content in order to develop their own critical reflection on what is being presented.
Before I left Istanbul I asked the protagonists of the Chasing the Green Man theater company a few questions about their time there and how they had worked their reflections into the production that they had made. The resulting interview was edited together and is presented in a simple multi-screen layout with the accelerated documentation of the development and work process underlying the interview.
It has been a while since I last began to work on a Hengist book cover. The reason being of course that there has been no time to do this but I feel as though very soon I will have one of these books in hands, raw, and in need of some visual jazz to make it ripe for the coffee table, the bedside table, or gripped in hands of a reader.
Before I get back to it though I wanted to put up the past works together and chronologically. This is a laying out of the past works, the linear progression of each cover and each poster provides a look into the development of the artist as he computes the intentions of the author, what image does the story have?
Call me neurotic if you will, although of course there is always an unspoken ulterior motive for anything one does.
Well I guess I could be writing a self-help column in order to primarily help myself. It seems as though the world is full of people all trying to get one over on everyone else and of course this is actually the case even if the way that it is phrased is normally as a ostentatious mumble: enshrouded by the sheer number of scowls a group of authoritarian didactics, with mutual but singular second-hand interests, can call up when they need to. So I am angry and frustrated with Totnes Council for having such a system that not only fails to communicate to its various collaborative bodies but also fails to contact the people whom they intend to affect with their callous demands for money.
Today I got an email with the following subject and content:
URGENT I’M GOING TO COURT: COUNCIL TAX
Got a court summons for 23rd May for council tax unpaid between 23rd June and 12th September 2010 at ** Leechwell. The outstanding bill is due to two things.
· You did not register for council tax benefit when you were signing on.
· You did not inform south hams of when you moved out (they think it is 12th September – when other people moved in).
Amount owed = £233.69. This can be reduced if you can prove you moved out when you did. If it goes to court it will be £313.69
I have arranged a payment plan; which I cannot afford, and shouldn’t have to pay. This was for £60ish a month until the debt is cleared. The court hearing will still happen and they will state the agreement and decide consequences of non-payment.
Sorry to be an arse – and I know tax is bullshit – but can you please sort this out – 01803 861275 is the council tax office. Account number is ********
I do not owe any of this money.
I hope you are well
Now the thing is that I was signed on to job seekers and housing benefit and [I assumed] Council Tax benefit. How could I have signed on to housing benefits and not even have known that I was not on Council Tax benefit? Isn’t that strange, and, to be blunt, misleading, and exploitative? Why would it be kept from me that, as an unemployed graduate in arrears from University study and no other form of income, I am not seeking Council Tax benefit? Its illogical and actually incomprehensible to me that such a situation actually took place. What is most infuriating is that it has been festering in the background and is now affecting the life of another tenant who shared the apartment with me and that the first I receive is secondhand information regarding this fellow’s incarceration within a perverse legal case that has the only intention of extracting money from him rather than attempting to contact me. But then this is the curious situation. Why, if I am responsible for the Council Tax demands, is he liable?
The second thing about this claim is that I had not informed South Hams of my moving yet when I called up to inform the housing benefits office I was informed that they would work in conjunction with the Job seekers office to acknowledge the change in circumstances. What seems clear is that the amount of information passed between the two offices has not been sufficient and actually the Housing Benefits office should have acknowledged my inquiry in a different manner rather than to just fob it off.
Note: This issue has been developing over the past week and now it looks as though it is approaching a resolution. The period of tenancy that I took at this address was only partially covered by benefits because I had not signed on from the beginning of the term. However the details that the housing benefits department have are still incorrect as I left the tenancy two weeks before their records show that I left. So I have to have sent a copy of a contract to update their database. As it stands it looks as though I will have to pay for the period of time that I was not covered by benefits which is something like a four week period. The other resident who had actually bypassed the court summons and risked rendering my appeal null in-void will be released of his duties to pay. These will be transferred to me but as an amended bill. This is in process at the moment.
The 5th of May also saw the first exhibiting of EUR – 908 in Istanbul’s Gram.
Then as I rushed to get from Gram to a rehearsal in Mekan Arti I began to consider my eye’s focus. The point that rose in my head was to do purely with perceptual definitions and specifically what parameters help define a set focal point. It seemed that in order to set a focal distance for the eye one needed a static object upon which the eye could rest. But then I thought that the need for the eyes to rest upon a point in space is exactly the thing that is being questioned. I cannot set my eyes to receive visual information from a conscious focal distance, it is required by nature of the eye for there to be a definitive visual event that can be defined as an object, or else a definitive object, that will determine the focal distance that the eye is optimally receptive to.
Whilst it has all the characteristics of bullshit, the idea that I was developing is actually not bullshit, it is a part of the human condition that we perceive in this way. Perhaps the most bullshit aspect of this observation is that one is forced to consider the parameters that define a visual object, the spectacle, that sets the focal distance. The ideas that fall from this initial thought are as follows:
1. Focal distance is determined by an ability to focus, for the eye to follow?
2. Moving/ephemeral/changing phenomena move the focal distance and bring a more dynamic spatial awareness into play.
3. In real-world experiences, the eye is actively adjusting and attempting to adjust to actual depth, with mediated reproductions distance is compensated for by the camera lens and the mode of presentation.
4. A screen flattens depth, does the eye respond to difficult visual situations and visually ephemeral situations – do the same rules for objectification apply to mediated images and can visually complicated situations be translated from reality to digital media and retain their complexity?
The film below is a work made in response to these ideas. In order to fully appreciate the film, you will need to full screen the film and turn the screen, projector, or image by 90 degrees clockwise.
I have written up a bread recipe and a flat bread recipe that are really useful to know and have:
There is some other stuff going on and I will get on writing about it but right now we are going to meet up with David and Helga for lunch who are taking a residency at Caravansarai at the moment.