. . . N E G O T I A T I N G . N E W . S O C I A L . R E A L M S . . .


My art practice takes shape through live performance, moving-image, poetry and photography. My practice is site and context responsive. Sites of interest have been the traditional gallery space and other non-conventional spaces such as a fish factory, a discothèque, an allotment and a library. I aim to voice and discuss contemporary dilemmas and themes such as shifting modes of communication and ways of living. My experience of living on a boat and travelling far afield triggers my most recent work. My work is often developed through consultation with my family and the general public. The objective of my process-led practice is to engage, inspire and stimulate diverse audiences to consider new ways of being and coming together.


E-mail: charlottejackmanbloom@live.co.uk

Based in London and Cornwall, UK

P A S T P R E S E N T F U T U R E :

Webcam Operatic

Webcam Operatic, installation, Webcam footage transferred onto DVD, computer monitor, webcam, Colour, loop, audio, 3:07

This work remarks upon the social norm of webcam communication. As like most people, I have friends and family who live abroad. These people could not attend my live performances. They would ask 'Is your performance acting...or a dance...or an opera?'. These performative attributes appear in my work but I could never decribe it as these genres. Then I thought I would play with the genre rules of opera. The operatic music which I lip-synced is sung by Mado Robin. She would break glass when she hit the high notes and repeatedly get into trouble. I found this beautifully powerful.

I perform as if I was singing into my bedroom mirror alone. The face-mask and towel cause me look unprepared for stage performance. This 'behind-the-scenes' act aknowledges the confidence through the singing and dancing we do when we believe no one is looking. This is the honest confidence I want myself and others to share through my performance. I sykped this performance to people all over the world live.

Dance into the Void

Dance into the Void, (2010-2011), installation,
1-channel screen projection, dual screen CCTV footage transferred onto DVD, colour, no audio, loop, 2:54, 50cmx1.5m (size vairies)

During multiple live performances, I danced on empty dance floors. One performance was recorded by CCTV, from two angles. The footage was reclaimed and now exists as the official documentation of the performance. When using CCTV it is hard to work against the assumption that the subject is suspicious. Sometimes we must stand and make actions despite our fears of who is judging us whether they be the public or the powers that be. This action sheds lights upon the liberation performance offers. This is due to its head-on confrontation with personal trepidations and its explicit wish for social engagement. The footage shows the beginning of an activity, acting like a sketch. The title refers to a void. In this case, the void can either be the dance floor or the camera frame. It also references the photo-montage ‘Leap into the Void’ by Yves Klein, which was a revision of the partial truth traced within images.

In this particular club, the official CCTV system was televised in the street and the bar, without my knowledge. Multiple levels of voyeurism are thus compressed into this artefact. Post-performance I was told that people had experienced my performance through live-feed. It seemed strnge that they had witnessed a performance where many elements had been lost. For instance, the soundtrack had been deadened and the vibrancy subdued. Also the motion sensitive camera, had caused a flitting between the still moment and the possibility of an action to exist. These partial losses cause me to question the impossibility of the total archive. When exhibiting the work subsequentially, viewers face the question of “What has been and what is happening?”. The work begins to occupy time, not just space.
My documentation of live events through digital means, explores the contemporary dilemma of mechanical and human entanglement. Archiving describes the methodical storage of information. The remembrance of our lives has become heavily dependent upon expansive archives. The reclamation of this fossilised footage salvages it from a hushed existence in storage, and instead sheds some light on the way CCTV traces the personal. I have since been drawn to the personalisation of similar abstract phenomenon, which is relevant to contemporary living. My practice now considers official history as a heavily controlled story. Therefore the process of archiving and its outcomes should be reinterpretation and be completely open to artistic comment. For instance, the knock-on effect of the performance causes other to dance but this is unseen. Instead, the viewer must imagine the future history of this work, triggered by their own memories of similar situations.

The Daily Fiction

The Daily Fiction, (2011)
1-channel video projection, photocopy amalgamation on DVD, newspapers stacks as seating, no colour, no audio, loop,

This performance connects newspaper reportage and activity of performance documention. Most performance artists hope to create an accurate afterlife to their work, to share more widely. Commonly this is done through photography and text which is a format shared with newspapers. Similary, a newspaper will suggest a factual outlook on a live event. However when we compare newspapers to one another we see that one event is reported upon in many differing ways. I began to realise how my outcomes where open for editing. Our history is remembered through the story we read or tell.

In the animation, hundreds of photocopies were amalgamated into this animation, which shows me eating newspaper cuttings. The performance and the documentation become one, causing a tension between the live fact and fictional image; the action of eating newspaper is believable yet doubtful. This doubt causes us to consider our belief in images and text. I think of performance documentation as an experimental field where rational repetitive methods can be critiqued by irrational judgments and illogical leaps. I have also produced newspaper turds as an outcome of this work.

Spring Photography

Scarecrow Club, 35mm colour photographs, size varies

Castle Visit, 35mm colour photograph, 6x4

Balloons!, 35mm colour photograph, size varies

Kate and Will Greet Their Public, 35mm film, size varies

146am & 147am, 35mm colour photograph, size varies

Dancing Partners, 35mm film photographs

Opening a Coconut on the Kirb, Potatoe face with Coconut Eye, Shepards Pie in "The Killing Machine", 35mm colour photograph, size varies

Some More They Made Earlier, 35mm colour photographs, size varies

Fascinations with Fabrications

Fascinations with Fabrications, (2011) live performance: lots of people, canvas, bobbins, clock, Mona Lisa masks, hand written note, circular table, lamp, 3 hours (installation continues throughout Falmouth Woodlane Exhibition)

In Fascinations with Fabrications, participants wear Mona Lisa masks while unraveling raw canvas. The canvas threads are then recoiled onto bobbins for future use. Participation through invitation maintains momentum to the task and also intrigues other to join in when passing. Each thread is tied together, symbolising togetherness, resourcefulness and skillfulness. The participants may be strangers so the performance creates a new social realm to explore. Open dialogue is allowed. This subject of the conversations flits between various subjects, relishing a life-like dynamic. We can hear general chit-chat dotted with comments referential to globalisation, hidden labour, workers rights and alternative histories.

I am intrigued to reanimate historical figures through communal performance. It is useful to suspend resolved narratives and disrupt consolidated identities as a method of critical progression. In the case of the Mona Lisa, this performance spotlights her original existence as a lone passive spectacle. The painted depiction of the Mona Lisa by Da Vinci is widely known for having an intriguing smile and mysterious identity. Despite these unknowns, a woman born at this time would have had skills in stitch work. The unravelling reveals the feminine craft-work as the foundation of a predominantly masculine art medium. The media of thread work and performance have been delayed in gaining legitimate acceptance in the arts. This has been caused by the repetitive teaching of skewed history. This delay must be discussed, as it causes a limitation of healthy progress, of the arts and in wider society.

My durational performance allow for toilet-stops, lunch-breaks and mitigating circumstances. These occurances question the ethical treatment within human labour, so my performances are explicit in celebrating these needs. I imagine a situation at the Lourve when Mona Lisa decides not to work. People arrive, expecting to be entertained yet she is absent. Post-performance, of Fascinations with Fabrications, the participants have gone home yet the workspace is left intact. The masks hang modestly on the back on the chairs. A handwritten note reads ‘Taking a break…come back soon’.

Banner in the Park for Ai Weiwei

Banner in the Park for Ai Weiwei (A.S.A.P. Artist's Sharing Art Practices),(2011) live performance, 6 hours, lots of families producing a banner made of canvas, wood, sunflower seedsand, 35mm colour photographs

The six hour-long performance to place at a Family Fun Day and included particapatory application of sunflower seeds to canvas. The outcome was a banner spelling the slogan ‘Collaboration not Isolation’. The provocative phrase caused a political discussion between infants, single parents, artists, students and the Mayor of Falmouth. The piece is firstly a response to the arrest and treatment of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. And secondly, the reaction of families, in the Tate Modern, when they read the sign detailing Ai Weiwei’s situation. His artwork and my own, displays a resistance towards an existence as spectacle. In both tourist and family orientitated contexts, the viewer is implicated to form, or at least question, their own political opinion.

This gave the performance a community-forming tone and unpretentiousness. People in passing became hands on in the task, which felt decorative. Yet, the idea of art being decorative without holding a more deeper agenda is proposed. People worked on the canvas from all directions, so the message only became apparent nearer the completion. This steady accumulation gave motivation to some participants to spend hours there. made this banner come into being. The task is simple enough for all to do. It is reminiscent of playful crafty sessions, which gives it appeal to children and offers adults an excuse to do have fun. Because of the accessibility of the task, there is less chance for people to abstain due to technical difficulty. Instead, it asks the passers by to gift their time and acknowledgement. The scale of the task in comparison to the hundred of seeds used reveals an individual ethic of human time scale. Due to the length of the performance, the participants perceptions change and therefore reality is effected after everyone goes home. The use of human time permits unregimented emotions and sensitive fluctuations. People come and go freely. The duration of the performance was thus framed completion of the task. This completion of the task was wholly dependent upon the level of participation. This too reflects Ai Weiwei’s six year-long Sunflower Seeds relational project.

A video documentary of Ai Weiwei's project was an accompaniment the thousands of ceramic sunflower seeds. Similarly my documentation is 'behind-the-scene'. This bystander and participants played with the 35mm disposible camera. The compositions are often over the shoulder which gives future viewers a sense of a bystander. The use of non-digital technologies, means that there are no images appearing on screens in the space. This causes the participants to refrain from the crisis of seeing our own self image, therefore the photos produced lessen posing and self consciousness. The multiple perspectives are reflected in my choice to present a selection of images rather than the conventional summary. The first photo taken on an empty film reel shows the blank canvas laid out on the grass. This photo causes us to consider the possibilities of ‘open’ places or spaces of potential.
Instead of dreaming an ethos for the future, I put sharing into practice by celebrating public spaces, simple materials and personal time scales. Isolation no longer remains hidden within interrogation but exists within our communities. This is seen through the limitation formation new social relations and maintenance of public spaces. By using a park area, the work has a sense that is a field-trip. The maintenance of this public space is upheld by a celebration its usefulness. My attempt to boycott the museum follows through to my presentation of the banner, which is outdoors, in the wind and rain. This work does not rely on four white walls to call itself art but instead mingles amongst everyday dynamics. The banner was then mounted on ground posts. It can stand in a multiple of locations, day and night. This banner is a functional object to be used in protest marches.

'Scribble Lessons', installation

Scribble Lessons (sentences by Sol Le Witt, toddler participation), (2011)
1-channel video projection, DVD, coloured pencil, one video monitor, colour, audio, loop, 1:46

This installation includes a childish animation, vocalised by baby sounds and accompanied by hand-stencilled text. It draws upon the intimate time frame when scribble became recognisable composition, when play took precedence over TV and when an emergence of language came from babbling. The use of animation is referential to cartoons as our earliest form of moving image. The selection of text is from 'Sentences on Conceptual Art' by Sol Le Witt. This is scribbled on to the wall and subtitles the dialogue. Sol le Witt is also taken as influence here, as he used scribbles extensively in his work. The audio is a baby-like voice, originally spoken by my sister, but then learnt and performed by myself. My process and outcome attempt to behave as insightfully as a child.

The scribbled faces were all developed during recreational drawing sessions, with my sister, in our living room. This participatory process enhanced our relationship. She taught me how to draw fluidly, without prejudice or convention. My uptightness was eventually overcome. At one point, the animation shows a potatoe-like head saying "Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution". Also, I realised that language is abstraction, made translatable by conceptual attachment. This makes clear the need for commonality between us and also the changeable nature of linguistics.

Alongside the video, the sentences are stencilled in colourful scribbles, graffitied onto the wall. The ultimate childish sin is referenced. The scribbles are subtly contained though the use of stencil. This gives a sense of its own temporal structure that wants to spill out and progress beyond its boundaries, like an eager child, or a performance artist. The wall between professional and amateur collapse, which reveals the possible permeability of overtly institutional structures.

The time frame is personal, intimate. It occupies time, not just space and does away with monumental dreams and offers positive formations. In many instances, TV has replaced play and become the primary teacher. Children are highlighted as totally inspiring by ballooning out of expected conventions. This work relishes a balanced way of working. The installation acts like a listen and learn video directed by kids, often causing excitement from children and grown-ups in the space.

Identity, video

Cosmetic Encounters, DVD, colour, no audio, 4:47

Fixed Identity

video, colour, no sound, 2.16

Cosmetic Encounters (Snapshots), 35mm film, size varies