Out and about!
The majority of my last fifteen years of practice has essentially been to use places and spaces, making a wide range of different solo and collaborative art works (some financed, whilst others certainly not!). These places range from allotments, bridges, rowing clubs, village halls, carboots, streets, roads, pubs, through to deconsecrated churches, rivers and canals, amongst a wide array of many. A key factor has been to work with a sense of personal freedom, applying an intelligent combination of connections to these places, and the ideas being generated, in which I have managed to successfully negotiate independent access to. Indeed, it is worth pointing out that whilst I have succeeded to mutually operate in public environments, I have nonetheless always maintained personal integrity, and if too many limits are felt to be constraining an idea, I have always sought to resolve in favour of the art or artists that I have had the pleasure of supporting and working with.
My performance at Birmingham carboot (at the wholesale market in central Birmingham) 2001 (as part of Friction Arts Ltd - Sunday Best "Tat Art" project).
Public spaces provide a tremendous opportunity for me as an artist. Importantly, many of the places which we think as public spaces should not be confused with public realm locations and activities which ‘allow’ (and control) festival or social and/or marketing relations as highly defined enclosures. These public realms have unfortunately and increasingly been motivated by politics and corporate policies, drastically reducing, and restricting, inspired creativity. In Birmingham in the UK for example, even the vetting of buskers by the city council, means that licenses have to be obtained to qualify for suitable public entertainment. My artwork avoids such areas and ethos, especially those which require go-ahead sanctions. That is why, I want to stress, that the public gallery and museum system and its associated cultural network, has equally and similarly never appealed. I do, however, support independent spaces and currently actively assist The Edge in Birmingham.
Below: Pictures from The Sirens Project 2003 (a 7 day circumnavigation of Smethwick by narrowboat). www.harrypalmer.co.uk
So the means of connecting to a public place, mapping the creative ideas that I am progressing with, are of great personal importance. With this has been a liberation, perhaps a deviant or heretical departure from the claws of art-as-you-know-it. Indeed, whilst I now find myself moving into exciting locations, currently those which are deemed as abject or dislikeable (unimportant?), I now rely on a sense of personal enquiry which I share with (a few) others. Being fascinated by unmediated and resistant to self imposed referential art critiques, I find myself continuing to make less than typical art ‘exhibitions’ and activities. For example, working in subways (underpasses) at 1.30 in the morning exploring children’s murals, on high street corners as pictorial surveys of still-in-use Victorian urinals, rundown and derelict coach stations as reminiscent studies, as well as graveyards, and most recently - car parks as forgotten post war bomb sites.
One current theme for 2008 perhaps indicates the core concern - Sites of Social Special Interest (SSSIs). Importantly, invitees come as participants, whereby a sense of exchange takes place. One is rarely observing the freakish or foolhardy or the subtle with the sublime - as a public member of the audience. I bring people together as an aside from what conventionally we might expect. Having invited people to an SSSI, the time and locations often remove a sense of obligation or coercion (and this is also important to the autonomy of the artwork and our interaction). The agenda is to act in the moment, to be there when it happens, and to collectively shape, in-situ, under my initiation, a sense of peculiar, yet celebratory, highly unique activity. (I aim to inspire having brought my research and process into the places, from prior visits and investigation (as well as recognising these places as historic and forgotten landmarks as a process of artistic archaeology and mythical – involved - making).
A pedestrian partakes in the research and investigation concerning the children's murals and graffiti.
The launch with 3 people in attendance - 1.30 in the morning. A sense of atmosphere in generated as I talk through the connections of the murals and their significance.....link to review: http://www.createdinbirmingham.com/2008/01/23/subway-art-show/
The majority of many of my ideas in general, are governed by my focus on motivation. Recently, I have been examining the energy of what I call psychic phenomena, as the initial starting point and evolution of potential pieces of art work creations. I spend a lot of time in-situ, out and about, discretely alone, wondering privately or in crowds such as carboots and Birmingham indoor market for example, finding myself observing my creative impulses which are indeed the building blocks of what I might do next. Here, I personally perceive (and attempt) a letting go of my ego - and it is from this position - aware of the less than favourable monetary returns and peer advocacy, that enables such work to be made (The will to power through disappearance – re: Hakim Bey). This is an important condition and challenge of course (yet always provides the most exciting work). Here, my self professed role as a Zen Punk is in operation – a fusion of DIY and momentary activity, using the least amount of complicated material and technological resources to express the creativity that is animated amongst myself, with ourselves (as invitees and as those who encounter by chance – which is also a crucial part of the making that I create!
(Please note this is only one area of my artwork).
On Psychic phenomena: The stimulation of embryonic energisation, ideas and simultaneous manifestation in the making of (my) creativity (re: eccentric archaeology).
Psychic-phenomena is something I describe concerning the reaction in our bodies regarding the self stimulation of creative ideas - a sense of euphoria, the ‘rush’ that the body biologically and physically feels when an (embryonic) idea becomes impressed upon in our being; when a trail of creative thoughts are aroused, are in the process of personalised exploration, being created in the here and now. For a short period of time, we become overwhelmed with a sense of euphoria and eureka! Ideas are at their peak, we sense (all over our body) a bio-electrical reaction. You could equate the experience similar to an adrenalin rush, an effect whereby the body reacts at a high creative speed.
To explain this a little more, as we generate an idea (the more intense the idea seems to us personally, the more we are overwhelmed by the effects upon ourselves), the human body creates a thrill - a sensation akin to flight and fight, but this feeling is neither of these – it is more delight and excite, a nervous combustion, of mental exaggeration - a physical sensation we feel, a force of creative narcotics, a natural chemical reaction within our whole human and biological framework. The heartbeat increases, blood pumps around our body a little faster for example, our body temperature increases a little bit, becomes physically animated, and importantly our hormones are excited, and in particular, growth hormone, now proved that when we generate creative ideas (as affirmation within ourselves) - we release a fraction more growth hormone than per normal (which, in part, enables us to be biologically and physiologically ‘young’). Hence, the vital point I wish to make about psychic-phenomena – that this energy is, without question, promoting and instructing the body (the person) to sustain life as a positive pursuit and reason for being, and willing ourselves (as a vessel of evolving information) – to progress within and with the potential arising.
Psychic-phenomena - as I named it before coming across the term and definition upon later research - concerns the emergence of an exciting idea that is starting to make sense to us personally. Most often, it is a novel or eccentric idea, bound by an individual’s sense of personal perspective. In this process, we create a tremendous positive sense of self, self worth, value and creative solutions in an ever evolving world around us. It is a self determined energy, riding rough-shot against the demands of society’s pressures or posturing. Psychic-phenomena throws away the rule book! It demands attention as beneficial. We are, at this point in time, in a position to heed it advice and direction! We should, equally not become overwhelmed by the energetics it can create!
The more intense and more personalised an idea feels to us in which psychic-phenomical experiences now operate - the effects upon ourselves are heightened. We are in our dreamland, in the juices of orgasmic rushes, electrified and amplified. We are in a state of natural ecstasy. The angels have spoken! It is, I believe, of great mystical importance. According to Alexandra David-Neel, ‘the secret of psychic training, as the Tibetans conceive it, consists in developing a power of concentration of mind greatly surpassing even that of men who are, by nature, the most gifted in that respect. Mystic masters affirm that by the means of such concentration of the mind, waves of energy are produced which can be used in different ways….That energy is produced every time a physical or mental action takes place….The production of psychic phenomena depends on the strength of that energy and the direction in which it is pointed.’ Footnote No. 1
Some things to heighten psychic phenomena and hence creativity.
Avoid attention seeking.
Avoid academia, institutions and bureaucratic structures and systems - places of authority and control.
Avoid poor quality food (particularly industrialised products).
Avoid disturbing conditions and over stimulation (TV/Internet/- electronic devices).
Avoid stress and worry.
Avoid paying attention to media (newspapers/magazines and all forms of propaganda and coercion as such).
Avoid the manipulation of others as well as expectations and persuasions.
Do not over concern yourself with other people’s belief systems and pressures.
Avoid or limit the use of medical industrial products and procedures.
Avoid coercion, obligation and a sense of guilt.
Respect your sense of self importance and self worth.
Avoid carcinogenic places and spaces.
Avoid noise pollution and light pollution (artificial lighting).
Avoid claustrophobic conditions.
Avoid deodorants and other bodily applied toxins and pollutants.
Be alert to mood swings, and the management of habitual disappointments and desires.
Limit or avoid alcohol and too much caffeine.
Avoid self harming (mental and physical).
Some things to aid psychic-phenomenic and creative energy:
Peace and quite.
Eat natural food products and have a healthy diet.
Drink good quality water.
Try and use natural health remedies.
Try some singing (voice projection).
Choose joy over depression (as an affirmative choice).
Do your best with your posture.
Honour and apply common decency amongst others.
Learn from your mistakes!
No.1 The World Atlas of Mysteries by Francis Hitching.
Copyright2008HarryPalmer:HARRY PALMER IS DEAD! Out and About! Art-Not-As-You-Know-It!