ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Grape weights and Bubble Gum…

Its been a while… but things in our world are opening up.

In the first stage of our development, we limited our scope to dealing directly with the body. Now, we have opened up that dialogue to include materials, real and imagined environments, distortions of the body, and colour! Things are brighter now!!

We have been fortunate enough to be working under the intermittent guidance of Justin Shoulder, who has helped in opening up our thoughts/experiments. I think, now, because we’ve had a new person in the room, encouraging us to get rid of the constraints we had put on our work, we are far less afraid for our own voices coming through. I think we were so concerned with making our work universal that we tired to filter our weird interests and whims.


Verity has spent a few weeks playing with a vat of skin-coloured bubblegum, using it to sculpt her body. As she spreads the bubblegum over her skin, the texture of her skin gradually changes, and the silhouettes of her hands and feet slowly distort. The action the performer takes in sculpting their body gives him/her a sense of power over his/her body; its almost as though the performer is welcoming the transition that their body is making. Like our running-around-an-oval experiment, the performer’s mind moves with their physical change.

I have been experimenting with grapes. The most successful experiment: watching feet step onto a plateau of loose grapes. The action gives an incredible cracking sound – something much more like cracking bones than I had imagined. The visual of this action allows the eye to really see the weight of the body, and the shift in weight from one foot to another.


Finding bodily-like textures in other things also has powerful potential I think. (Eg, saliva vs. bubble-blowing mixture, fruit vs. flesh,…) Lots of ideas are currently in the mix. And lots of ideas in the last few weeks haven’t worked, but from them I feel like we’ve only really just started to investigate where the body might begin and end, and how you can affect those shapes and textures with other materials and environments.

N (& V)



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