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spacer Talking to Tania
Dialogue 1
Dialogue 2
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 4
Dialogue 5
Dialogue 6
Day 1 08.05.05
Day 2 09.05.05
Day 3 10.05.05
Day 4 11.05.05
Dialogue 7
spacerarrow Dialogue 8
spacerarrow Dialogue 9
spacerarrow Dialogue 10
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spacerarrow Dialogue 12

Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 6
Day 4 • 11 May 2005 • Piotrkow Trybunalski

RL Present tense, present intense

TK Schedule?

RL If you like:
07.30 Wake
08.30 Leave hotel/school for breakfast and shopping

TK Shopping for?

RL Intriguing items in a shop window en route. Not open till 09.00, so another kind of window opens up, allowing for a few downward-looking still images around the old town, slightly self-consciously.

TK Why? Is it becoming another global project?

RL Possibly that was it. But hard to eclipse the series in Thailand.

TK Carry on. I’m having a snack. Listening though.

RL 09.00 Breakfast at the restaurant. Anne Bean arrives. We chat over hard egg soft bread
10.00 To Europa for materials, technical briefings, translation and assistant possibilities. Arranging transport to Warsaw on morning of Day 5.
11.30 All international artists meet at Europa for walk to:
12.00 Inaugural ceremony of Academy of Performance Art at the Museum
13.00 Europa for technical and space set-up, translation briefings and lunch
15.00 Begin street actions
17.00 Technical set-up part 2 and programme (Interackje Day 3) begins
19.00-20.00 My performance begins

TK What did you decide to have translated?


TK I’ve got some comments about my representation

RL I can imagine, but can we wait till we reflect on the whole event?

TK You mean I might feel differently?

RL I mean this is only part of how you were represented.

TK I hope so. How about a props and materials list?

RL Paintbrushes from Greece
Red fly swat from Greece
OHPs of you 4 and your work
Videotape of Lillehammer
and 3 Skyros sequences
Sophocles book
Suit and tie
Mini tripod

Interakcje to provide:
Video projection
Round table and white cloth
Stepladder (for outside work)
White paint
Bucket and cloths
A3 paper for translation texts
Camera tripod

TK Nice details but I’m not grasping the grit. What happened actually?

RL You asked for them. What happened when?

TK At the ceremony for a start

RL Jan is wearing an ermine gown and a tri-cornered hat. It all seems very official. The TV are there, including a sound recordist wearing a pink coat, who reminds me of you.

TK Can you really see me in a pink coat?

RL Maybe it was the snakeskin pointed shoes

TK Please

RL You’ll have to see her photo

TK I can hardly wait

RL Anyway, her body language is all wrong, too submissive, not you at all. There’s a long wooden table with most of the senior Polish artists sitting behind it. We, the international artists and others, are audience. It goes on. Speech after speech. Official documents are awarded and exchanged. Then we’re told to expect a long speech in Polish and that will be the end of it. I’m prepared for an intervention and this is the moment.

TK Prepared?

RL I’m wearing black suit, carrying white paint. Walls of the museum are white. There are patches around the doorways in this chamber that need attention. So I get up and get on, during the long speech.

TK Was this planned?

RL I had mentioned to Gordian that it could happen and I came prepared, but no, it wasn’t planned, I’d not seen the room before this.

TK White on white

RL White on white, long handled artist’s (or decorator’s) brush from Skyros.

TK How long?

RL No idea, ten or fifteen minutes. I’m a bit hesitant, not wanting to fully undermine the event, but underline it.

TK Security?

RL The museum guard checks me out almost immediately but seems amenable. I mean, what can he say, I’m making improvements.

TK He could stop you.

RL But I look like a professional. And I’ve started now. Like coming out. I’m working. This one not documented by me.

TK Deliberately?

RL Yes

TK Ivan would be thrilled

RL This was ‘white on white’ and ‘international cleaning’ as Ivan intended, action first.

TK Different for that?

RL Easier

TK But I won’t get to see the evidence

RL True. But you get the picture.

TK How did it go down?

RL Lots of compliments from the Poles. But later I begin to doubt the status of the whole event. People tell me it was a performance in itself. Was there really an academy? If so it was subtle and we ‘international artists’ were drawn in. Me too, even by staging this.

TK Wouldn’t you have gone ahead if you’d realised it was a performance?

RL Probably not. Edge lost.

TK Edge culture. Let’s come back to this.

RL Ok. Back at Europa I’m expecting Gordian but he’s gone off to get a block of ice for Paul, a fellow Canadian.

TK ?

RL A typo in the daily bulletin. At least my name is spelt right. Kevin Henderson becomes Kewin Shenderson. And he’s about to start outside a very slow six-hour shuffle based on Beckett’s stage notes for Endgame. The promise of a technical run-through for me seems to be evaporating, along with my command of Polish, but I do now have an assistant, Magdalena. She’s 16 but looks about 12, although she seems to know the whole town. And Interakcje is big news for Piotrkow Trybunalski, rated third in their hierarchy of tourist attractions. I ask her to keep an eye on the camera as I explore white on white on gate pillars of a religious compound.

TK The camera’s back then.

RL It’s discreetly placed. I’d lack the record, it’s as simple as that.

TK Is it?

RL No. it’s different with a camera. But the balance has shifted. Durational is more authentic.

TK How would it be if I was on camera?

RL Great, I think.

TK I might start to direct you.

RL Perhaps I need it. But maybe I don’t.

TK Are you in or out?

RL Definitely in at the road sign. It starts to flow. Stepladder hasn’t arrived so I start to throw the cleaning cloth at the top sign. As hoped for, the act of cleaning becomes choreography and improvisation. Movements become gestural. Repetitions become meditation. The signs can’t get much cleaner. They’re actually rusty. I return with the white paint, now very much ‘in’, and begin to paint the edges of the bottom sign (to Warszawa). Not a perfect colour match but it improves visibility. I become more aware of the patina of the rust, and start to question my actions.

TK Sounds like you’re so far ‘in’ that you’re losing your judgement.

RL How can you tell?

TK Intuition

RL Cripes. Yes, it’s a great dynamic though, I’m not complaining, it’s achieving what I’d hoped for, a development of international cleaning. I’m in Ivan’s space. The performance is far more important than the camera.

TK Is it a performance?

RL I don’t know any more. I have a function. I’m in a public space, doing something useful.

TK And you’ll be going fully ‘in’ at Europa later.

RL I’ve lost touch with that. This is all there is. But, now you mention it, there’s a shadow here. I’ll be painting white on white in front of a seated audience where it won’t be so functional. Here there is the edge with social function, even urban regeneration.

TK Steady on. I don’t imagine they use that particular terminology in the land of my fathers.

RL I thought your parents came from the Czech Republic.

TK Western Poland, near the border, place called Jelenia Gora. Prague is closer than Warsaw.

RL Have you been back?

TK A few times since it opened up. Relatives. Potatoes in many guises. Woods. Midges. Teenagers wanting to know about the West. Sounds similar where you are.

RL I like it, there’s a kind of enthusiasm and innocence that we’ve lost. Look at the numbers in the audience here for example.

TK Where?

RL At Europa

TK Have you started then?

RL Yes. I’m painting out the patches on the wall we’ll be projecting onto. White on white. This time there’s a tangible function but its framework is art not life. There’s no technical set-up time at all. It happens, after a fashion, with the audience sitting there.

TK Awful.

RL You said it. But no point in throwing a tantrum. This is a festival where the programming happens the day before. I’m fortunate to have a projector at all, and they almost abandon trying to assemble the OHP.

TK Incorporated?

RL I try to make this set-up in near darkness appear seamless and intentional but it’s an order too tall. The Lillehammer video (You made me do it) begins. Looks ok. Sounds ok. Still-wet white paint spots gleam in the light. I do stuff around the circular table, replicating some video moments.

TK Are you wearing the same striped shirt?

RL No, but there are three shirts in the video, although you’re right, would have been better to wear the striped one. This is the fourth or fifth performance this evening, not an ideal slot. It’s beginning to have the intensity of the NRLA. A highlight is showing a video clip of that afternoon’s street actions. Fresh and local.

TK In and out, in actuality. There’s more in this.

RL Thanks.

TK Translations? How am I represented?

RL By Sarah’s lime green raincoat. I drape it over the back of a chair and refer to it now and again.

TK I can live with that. Is this piece called Talking to Tania again?

RL Yes

TK Do they get the subtleties of our relationship?

RL This is the big challenge as there is so little English spoken.

TK Could be an advantage. No chance of you going overdrive on the OHPs. Clarity even.

RL The translated words, read out by a new assistant (Magdalena decides against a public appearance), cover some of the ground. I ask some Polish people at the end what they make of our relationship and they talk about a special friend and how we talk.

TK Not disastrous then.

RL Positive responses from young and old, experienced Polish artists and local teenagers.

TK For me?

RL I think you come out of it pretty well.

TK Communication?

RL I contact you a few times, especially at the point of ending. You tell me to take some space and not go for the obvious. I combine gesture, presence and white paint with the Sophocles book, ending with a handprint on the cover. It works. Thanks.






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