Love is Awesome is Open!

Thaddaeus is my brother and there is no way in the world that the show would have opened yesterday without him. Not only did he lug my maple-top table from a car-park into the gallery and up the stairs, not only did he drill into the impossible walls of Gallery 10 for me to be able to hang the remaining assignment folders that I hadn’t managed to get up on the walls the previous night, and not only did he make the ridiculous pilgrimage to a rather further than we originally thought Argos to pick up some mp3 players that I had reserved for my knitted headphone pieces; on top of all this he drove from Reading to Croydon and back again in order to be here for me and showed nothing but infinite patience for his distracted, sleep-deprived, unrealistic and over-ambitious sister.

I think he deserves some kind of Sainthood award. Perhaps a crown.

What a legend.

Someone else who ought to get some kind of award is Liz. I don’t know how she manages to make so many beautiful things and run marathons and knit clothes and do all the other things she does, but somehow in the last few weeks she made the time to make me the most beautiful quilt. I cannot take any photos in this light that will do full justice to the lovely, comforting wondrousness that is this gift. I am so touched by this, and by all the support and affinity that it somehow embodies in its cushy, beauteous, sashed goodness… thank you SO MUCH, Liz.

I am so lucky.

The quilt was an instant hit with the cuddlies, who immediately colonized it with some kind of picnic the second my back was turned! I think Monkl planned this mischief; just look at his cheeky face. I suspect it is revenge for the lack of Monkl art in Love is Awesome.

The picnic was possibly inspired by Rachael Matthews’ stunning work in the show: Relics of an Awesome Picnic. I love these relics and how they evolved, starting out as relics of Awesome Love and evolving into this stone-like shrine to picnic-dom, with ominous overtones and the stonelike texture of Herdwick yarn.

Here is the sandwich, with a bite taken out of it:

Rachael reckons the skull is responsible for that bite.

Other knitted joy in the show includes my knitted speakers, this time hung in the stairwell and playing not – as previously planned – the sound of people talking about stairs, but the sounds of birds.
This works well I think; the speakers hanging in the air, dispersing the bird-recordings that I have been collecting on my edirol over the past few months.

As you walk up the stairs, the sound kind of travels around you which is a very pleasing quality in this specific, sonic set-up. I like putting these speakers in different situations and seeing how the architecture and context changes how they behave.

Rachael’s beautiful handspun yarn from Analogue Amnesty is also in the show in the form of the completed memoryphones.

I took on board all the suggestions that people came up with re: the memoryphones and made a recording of me talking about my memories of the specific cassette that was used to make the yarn now covering the headphones, which now plays through the headphones. The feedback on this work and the other set of knitted headphones in the show was very positive, and I will be interested in hearing more views from gallery visitors during the next couple of weeks.

This is some of my favourite feedback from yesterday’s opening:

Today I took the time to try and create some ‘example’ uses of the Valentine’s day SOUND BANK edition in an effort to reduce the baffling quality of my record cards.

I fear that SOUND BANK is more of a personal tool than something that can be shared in a gallery situation but I may be wrong. It is good to try these things out.

There was no issue of uncertainty surrounding the Stamping Station. DIY alternative Valentine’s Day cards were flying out of people’s imaginations, directly into what has now become a sort of adhoc gallery collection of thoughts on love. Reading through what people made is incredibly moving; a kind of testament to both the pain and beauty of love, done through the medium of domestic, quotidian imagery. I love what people did with the Stamping Station and we have Thaddaeus to thank for it, again, since he painstakingly hammered U-pins into each and every one of the stamps in order to chain them to the station so they don’t all disappear or get lost during the run of the show.

It made me want to cry, reading all these things. I was uncertain about the wisdom of putting on a show about Love being Awesome given the state of things in my heart at the moment and the hideous context that is ordinary, consumerism-gone-mad 14th February Valentine’s Day. But the more that I contemplated the title for the show and its meaning, the more convinced I became that this is indeed exactly the kind of show to make when your heart is broken. The context of Valentine’s Day with its asinine, 1-dimensional depiction of pink and red chocolate-box love, is EXACTLY the context to subvert and challenge when your message concerns the deep, flawed, dangerous, ugly, difficult, painful, immense, epic, awesome, incredible power that is love. THIS kind of love – the one they don’t show in the card-shops – is worth celebrating. Familial love, tragic love, The Joy that is falling in love and The Pain that is breaking up… all this love and everything in between is beautiful and it doesn’t come in a chocolate box and it isn’t all smiling and perfect, but it is what we all live for and what we all need. Love is Real. I felt that strongly yesterday at the show, reading the anonymous messages that got left on the Stamping Station and seeing how many people carry some scar from the Awesomeness of Love.

Check out Emmylou’s beautiful leather heart; I love how Real it looks.

I hope the show is as healing and affirmative for all the visitors who come to see the work as it was for us to make it.

I decided that one of my assignments – the one that I created the anti-Valentine’s Day cards for – is called ‘Honour Your Broken Heart on Valentine’s Day.’ I think that a lot of my work in the show reflects this idea. Here is one of the images featured in the set.

So today I cleaned up the wine bottles, the wine glasses, the cake wrappers and the flotsam of our debauched show opening, and then I came home and made pasta, and now I am going to listen to the audio books that Mel – fiancee of one of my other totally amazing brothers – thoughtfully sent to me. I am so lucky, really I am.

I love you all. And Love is Awesome.

4 Responses to Love is Awesome is Open!

  1. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Archive » The Makers

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