Sunday, 11 December 2011

Spontaneity Exercise

I was lucky enough recently to be asked by the fantastic visual artist and performer Justyna Scheuring to take part in her performance intervention Spontaneity Exercise at The Other Art Fair in London's Southbank. Below is a short edited extract of the 1 hour 40 min performance.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Just read this lovely review of my solo show I don't remember exactly when it happened.. by Missy Lorelei in the Skinny Magazine


I Don’t Remember When it Happened

Oranges, apples, strawberries and pineapples are not the only fruit, you know. On paper, this show shouldn’t work – anotheralcoholic chef? Happily, Katy Baird crushes clich├ęs under her kitten heels: the woman’s a maniac.


Exploring the tangy relationship between food and sex in a way that would surely make Almodovar blush, Baird’s nympho lesbian chef is a steely-eyed presence, peppering her recipes with random bursts of psychotic violence. A plate of peanuts is the first to get it (with a rolling pin) as she calmly explains that peanuts are often used in the production of dynamite…CRASH!


After making a whisky sour with apples, which she then of course proceeds to down in one with a triumphant thump, we are treated to confessions of her carnal adventures in the catering trade, a highlight of which is, “Me and my boss did it everywhere, in the sea… his car… in a walk-in fridge at the hotel kitchen, with a face full of Calamari…”

This intimate fruity slice of theatre unpeels its layers gradually, making for an hilarious, if uneasy, experience. Saucy, voluptuous and part of your five a day.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale

Here is a short video clip and few images of my recent durational piece at the Femme Fatale event on the 5th of November. (if you are having trouble viewing this video then just log-in to your FB account and then re-fresh this page, I will upload it directly onto this blog as soon as I can)




Occupy London



I have been spending a lot of time down in the occupy London protest camp at St Pauls this week. It has been amazing to be part of a truly global community that is genuinely passionate about the world around them. Somebody said that it doesn't matter that we don’t have the answers, what matters is that we start the conversation and there is certainly a lot of conversations happening down there. Every night at 7pm there is the General Assembly (GA) in which logistics of the camp are discussed as well as important political and ideological questions and ideas. Over the weeks the topic each night has ranged from the media, the environment, Palestine, internet and technology, violence and of course many different discussions about capitalism. Each group’s idea is then fed back into the main GA meeting in order to be explored further by the entire group.

The camp also provides an entirely free cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for every person every day and a tearoom where you can drink tea and have a game of chess. This micro direct democracy in action is far from perfect but is without doubt a timely and inspiring alternative which proves that it is possible to work together without the need for hierarchy and unequal power relations. The fact that it is happening in the city centre of London deep in the heart of the financial district makes it even more moving


Thursday, 10 November 2011

portrait

This portrait of me was taken by the photographer Levi Webb




Levi’ is obsessed with light and I think that it is his creative use of light which gives his subjects an honesty and directness. There is a truthfulness which comes across in his work, a trueness of the person which I think makes them wonderfully engaging. more of his work can be seen here

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I heart Tottenham

In this post I wanted to talk a little bit about Tottenham and love - love and Tottenham

Ok lets start with Tottenham. Tottenham is a district of north London, England and is in the Borough of Haringey. It is situated 6.6 miles (10.6 km) north-northeast of Charing Cross. Tottenham is famous for its football club Tottenham Hotspurs. It is thought to be the most ethnically diverse area in London, and possibly Europe, with 113 ethnic groups speaking around 193 languages. Unemployment is still London's highest and of course most recently Tottenham has become synonymous with the riots and looting which took place during the summer. Tottenham is also where I live:



As for love ? I will admit that I am not exactly an expert in matters of the heart. I have an ex - girlfriend who is in and out of my life like a fiddlers elbow and an ex- boyfriend who has ran away to live in a donkey sanctuary in Spain.













So needless to say I have been feeling a little bit despondent and jaded with the whole love thing. That’s when the facebook message came. Now its not the message that is important it is what it made me think of that matters:

This was an advert placed in the Scottish metro about 5 years ago by the artist Nic Green and as I thought about this advert again I had an idea. Can see where I am going here ? yes, that is right, I thought I could place the advert here in London and where better to do it than Tottenham, my home for the last 2 years.


So in my desire to rekindle my belief in love I made my own poster:


I posted them all around Tottenham


And I checked my emails every day - nothing. I was a little disappointed then a friend pointed out to me that maybe people didn’t have pens and paper at these places so found it hard to write down the contact e-mail.

So I changed my approach and I made a new poster with those little pull off strips at the bottom:

and i went back out into the streets...




Then I waited and I checked my e-mails, still no response so I started thinking that maybe I am putting them in the wrong places maybe I need to get out and about and speak to people. So I made some flyers and I went up the high street.



but it was no good, I failed dramatically in this task, not one single person replied to my advert. What is wrong with the people of south Tottenham. Right now you could be feeling all warm and fuzzy reading about a multi-cultural exchange of ideas around love. At this point in this very blog you could be watching a video of me doing something at an Ethiopian wedding or I could be telling you a about a poignant touching scene where a rude-boy from the wrong side of the tracks, maybe from Nigeria or Ghana, emails me to say he wants to tell his mum he loves her and then we could all go how touching how sweet aren't we just all the same underneath.




images courtesy of Jonathan Michael May

Friday, 9 September 2011

Manchester mischief


This was taken when I was up in Manchester a few months ago for the Marina Abramovic performance and couldn't resist helping local artists cause a little bit of mischief.


Monday, 5 September 2011

you are being watched


Can you guess which street this is ? I will give you a clue, it is the main street of Scotlands oldest borough.


Yes, that is right it is non other than Rutherglen Main Street. The place that I was born and raised and now apparently an internet sensation. This still is from a live 24 hour camera feed which recently hit the 1 million viewers mark ! here is the link: http://nairb1.camstreams.com/
It may not be worth visiting for the street view but the guest book alone is hilarious and well worth a read as is the new pan and tilt function which gives you the options of looking at 'a tree', 'pubs and kebabs', 'the old church' or the 'sky' , brilliant.



Monday, 29 August 2011

a sneak preview

Here is a little sneak preview (and a very rough draft) of a new project which I am currently developing with the very talented Jonathan Michael May:


Watch this space for further details !

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

MUFF - the true story

The Monkey United Freedom Force (MUFF) are a Scottish based, underground guerilla alliance that engage in illegal direct action in pursuit of primate liberation. The earliest recorded sighting was on London Bridge in early 2004 as this exclusive never before seen footage reveals:

The next official record of The MUFF’s whereabouts was 6 months later in Glasgow, Scotland. According to a secret home office document (accessed by this blogger through the Freedom of Information Act 2000) the two main ring leaders of MUFF known only as ‘Maud’ and ‘Molly’ were attempting to seek employment in the U.K. at this time.
The emergence of medical registration records during this period would seem to suggest that there was a concerted effort by both Maud and Molly to integrate fully with the Glaswegian way of life.
However, official documents which are only now coming to light suggest that MUFF were in fact denied the right to reside in the UK legally under chapter 38 of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. As autonomous beings they had no legal owner and therefore were unable to gain a 'wild animal licence'. According to British law they were now considered to be illegal aliens.
The MUFF were forced to go underground and little is known of their actions or whereabouts in the months that followed.


It is often claimed that the status of illegal alien radicalised the MUFF and ultimately led to their now infamous emergence at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland:

Soon after the G8 the MUFF Manifesto was released.
This was followed by a whole spate of well documented MUFF actions which took place across the city. Including one in Glasgow's historic George Square and also the Asda Superstore in Toryglen.

In acts of solidarity the MUFF would join forces with other radical Glasgow based groups such as Jam 74

Little has been heard from the Monkey Untied Freedom Force in recent years but there have been many alleged sightings and it is fully possible that they could return at any time. In September 2008 the MUFF released this, their last official video.

The Monkey United Freedom Force - Gone but not forgotten.

Friday, 3 June 2011

liberty ?

This amazing re-interpretation of Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix was taken of myself and other random spectators at this years TAA. The artist Sarah Andrew took each participants photograph individually and then created the piece during the festival.

it is entitled "not in our fucking name"

Monday, 30 May 2011

squat_doc_uk

Another fantastic film from Dasa Raimanova; this short documentary about a mother visiting her daughter in a squat in London is a beautiful and poignant reminder of why it is so important to be able to use otherwise abandoned and dilapidated buildings to house communities.




Thursday, 26 May 2011

hiptastic


Things may be a bit quite on the blog for the next few weeks as I have just came out of the hospital with a brand spanking new hip !

Here is a wee photo blog of my new life essentials:






Thursday, 12 May 2011

mad hatters ball



We performed a work in progress of Operation Booth at the Mad Hatters Ball up in Glasgow this weekend and what a great evening it was. Big thanks to my fellow performers Nadine and Charlene for making the performance such a success.




Operation Booth is a contemporary re-interpretation of the traditional travelling vaudeville performer shows.




Tuesday, 3 May 2011

stop motion

here is a fantastic stop motion video created at this years TAA by the film maker Dasa Raimanova. (look out for a rather raunchy cameo from yours truly)

Monday, 2 May 2011

TAA TV


Phew, well Temporary Autonomous Art is over and what an amazing weekend it was. I will post the footage from TAA TV soon, so if you didn't make it down then you can see what you missed.



Monday, 11 April 2011

i'm with you


Another fantastic performance evening at I'm with you (and everything is happening) on Saturday night. I was totally blown away by the artist Jonny Liron. A beautiful, fragile and intimate performance that will stay with me for quite a while.


here is his blog, well worth a read: http://whateverall.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 24 March 2011

some things that happened in 1977

Elvis Presley died

The national front marched up New Cross High Street in South London and fought the local community

The Scottish Minorities Group opened the first Gay Centre in the UK on Sauchiehall St, Glasgow

Egyptians took to the streets in anti-government riots demonstrating their disillusionment at the nepotism and corruption of their government

Muunamr Gadafi proclaimed that Libya was to be a state of the masses, a direct democracy governed by the people through local popular councils and communes

The Glasgow women’s centre was operating from up a close in miller street publishing a Feminist underground publication called Hen's Own

The first ever computer went on sale

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

TAA call out - c'mon get involved !

20th - 23rd April 2011

Temporary Autonomous Art Events and Exhibitions were born in London in 2001 to the Random Artists collective. Taking influence from Temporary Autonomous Zones and the belief in building fleeting pirate utopias, TAA utilises DIY culture tactics to create space for art and expression outside of the established art-world elites. Reclaiming and reusing derelict urban spaces, TAAs are a hotbed for emerging artists crossing all disciplines, encouraging fusion and collaboration between traditional and contemporary media. Artists are invited to be their own curators, and the combined effect of their diverse works is one of hope and beauty, unified through the use of free space.

Random Artists invite creative practitioners and activists working in all media to get involved by:

- contributing artworks (visual, sound, film, performance, spoken word, new media, etc.);

- leading workshops and skill-sharing sessions;

- sharing critical ideas about art and politics as part of our discussion forum;

- or just offering some hands-on help as we create a social space out of a derelict site.

Contact: taa@randomartists.org

DISCUSSION FORUM

TAA seeks to generate critical debate about aesthetic and political issues, and will include a series of talks and discussions reflecting on our own practice as artists and activists, and what place it has in the contemporary social/political environment. We aim to bring together voices from both grass-roots and academic backgrounds in order to map where we are now, and propagate ideas for future action.

The content of these debates will be participant-lead. Contributions may take the form of talks, films, zines, visual artworks etc. which will feed into group discussions throughout the event.

Topics for discussion might include, but are in no way limited to:

Re-examining the relations between art and politics in the “now” – Does the idea of an “avant-garde,” with its revolutionary implications, have any relevance in a postmodern cultural/political environment? What would constitute a “political art” for the 21th century?

Exploring concept of “autonomy” – what political and ethical issues are raised when spaces are organised according to autonomous principles? Are self-organised spaces ends in themselves, or can they also be the means to a more strategic social change?

Relations between underground and overground culture – how do we understand what's inside/outside the hegemonic system? Counter-culture or sub-culture? When do alternative economies end up reinforcing the values they try to resist?

Politics and pleasure – what is the role of desire in bringing about political change? Is the development of pleasure (sexual, chemical, aesthetic) an aim in itself? Can the pursuit of pleasure lead towards wider political emancipation, or does hedonism serve to nullify cultures of resistance?

Tactical approaches to activism in a time of surveillance culture, and the role of media and social networking technology in grass-roots organisation – how has the rise of social networking platforms in mainstream culture changed approaches to activism? Who's listening – is there any privacy on the internet? How do we generate networks beyond the horizon of facebook, twitter etc?

Diversity in alternative cultural spaces – Are our social spaces as welcoming to different communities as we would like them to be? Is it possible for an autonomous group to be internally diverse, or are the aims of autonomy and diversity antagonistic? What can we do to recognise and resist the creeping prejudices that end up fragmenting underground movements (including our own?) along lines of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class etc.?

But again, this is by no means set in stone and we are open to new ideas and suggestions so if you are interested in getting involved and have ideas to present, whether as an individual or a group, please get in touch by emailing us at taa@randomartists.org.

Monday, 7 March 2011

high society



Managed to finally make it down to High Society last week, it is an interesting exhibition at the welcome centre charting changing societal relationships with drugs along with visual art inspired by drugs and drug culture. Some highlights included the webs of spiders created when the spider was under the influence of certain drugs:


and a small drawing of a star chart by the superb artist Fred Tomaselli. Tomaselli often embeds pills, capsules, tablets, weed and cannabis stalks into his art work before glazing the entire piece in resin. One of my favourites of his is the expulsion:


High Society is definitely an appealing premise but disappointingly there was very little exploration of contemporary drug culture. Surely the rave culture of the late eighties and early nineties and the explosion of the use of the ‘love drug’ ecstasy demands more attention as well as the current constantly evolving internet legal highs such as mephedrone and all its re-incarnations continuously created to avoid illegality. Unfortunately these glaring omissions leave the spectator with many unanswered questions.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

my bad sister


saw my bad sister on sat night and they totally tore the place up !!!






Thursday, 17 February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

Mrs. Dalloway

“I love walking in London,” said Mrs. Dalloway. “Really it's better than walking in the country.”

Last week I re-traced the walk undertaken by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Below are some of the signs i saw on my journey:

Bikes chained to this balustrade will be removed.

Traditional, historic, timeless, exclusive

Do not congregate in this area.

This is a protected site under section 128 of the serious organised crime and police act

Health hope love the glorious virtues of Queen Alexandra

Not maintained for public access.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

a letter to skin

Dear Skin

Recently I have been thinking a lot about saying thank you. Sometimes it feels like all we do is complain and moan about everything. I have decided that it is time for me to start saying thank you so I wanted to write to you and say thank you....

For the sad songs i listened to during my break ups

For the inspirational songs I listened to after my break ups

For the jumping up and down in a line with my friends when they played Twisted as the last song every Tuesday night in Popstastic

For being a strong queer woman

For giving me my first real mosh pit at Glastonbury

For still tearing it up on stage at Brighton last year even though you are 8 years older than me I and I had to stop for 2 songs cause I had a stitch.

For being political

For being a feminist

For demonstrating alternative ideas of femininity

For inspiring me to put together a folk/punk band – classic tunes included ‘rough sex’ and ‘xie xie ’

For being angry

For empowering me

For never compromising

For being punk as fuck



Monday, 7 February 2011

Capture/Release/Release/Capture

For the last 2 months the physical center has been running stripped down, no-holds barred performance evenings in a studio space in Hackney. The artists taking part in these events have been exploring ideas of physicality and the body within performance. MPA’s performance entitled Capture/Release/Release/Capture was a beautifully touching piece which placed the female body in the role of active agent by highlighting physically its subjugation. What I found most lifting was the notion of solidarity placed within her work. As she said herself ‘ patriarchy is a triangle’. it is important to remember that only the very few are privileged and what we need is for everyone who is oppressed by patriarchy (and this list includes many men) not to be divided but united together in our common struggle to resist prejudice and inequality.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Gil Scott-Heron

This video clip was sent to me by my good friend and collaborator Jonathan May after he read the Blair Gibbs article. The perfect antidote.

small sign of spring

Wow, it is a lovely spring day here in London and it has really made me think about the start of summer. Having just graduated in January it feels like this spring day is a reminder of the new journey I am about to embark on. One chapter has ended and one is about to begin and whilst the role of job hunter has been tough it is still exciting to think that I am embarking on a totally new part of my life. I hope all my London friends are out enjoying this sharp fresh day and that my poor Canadian cousins have managed to shovel the snow from their pathways and made it outside – don’t worry your summer will be coming soon.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

blair gibbs article

Blair Gibbs article The Underclass and Crime:How to Deal With an Economic, Political, and Cultural Disaster? really got me irate.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article_assets/articledir_1/652/The_Underclass_and_Crime%20final.pdf

Gibbs maintains that the ‘underclass’ (who are in his words ‘a type of poverty and a type of behaviour, whose members are defined by the values they hold’) have no sense of what is right due to the collapse in core values such as marriage, religion and self-responsibility

He fails to discuss completely or even acknowledge the main societal factors, which include lack of social mobility and a feeling of being disenfranchised with a society that fails to understand you or indeed represent you any way (note the fact that 75% of the cabinet are privately educated). The problem is not an issue of morals it is one of poverty and social ostracisation.

The reason that many children from single parent families may have “lower educational achievement; lower job attainment; increased behaviour and emotional problems” is not because it is morally or emotionally problematic but it is most likely because single parent families live in more urban and deprived areas. It is a societal problem that needs to be addressed here. How can the so called ‘underclass’ be made to feel self-worth and part of society if they have never seen their parents work or their grandparents work. How can you apply for a job if you lack confidence, communication skills and feel like an outsider. Stigmatisation and stereotyping is also a major problem. I am from Glasgow and if someone from the ‘infamous’ and much publicised Easterhouse estate and someone from the affluent West End went for the same job it is my opinion that the person from the West End would be viewed more favourably. Faith schools are not a solution as Gibbs suggests as they only serve to condemn behaviour as morally right and wrong - when we all know there is no such thing as right or wrong (buts that another story or another blog post!)

If morals are to be discussed then I find the idea to ‘shame and blame the underclass for its behaviour and attitudes, and construct a system that will punish them financially when they transgress’ itself morally dubious. But then again this only reflects my moral guidelines.

This will teach me to read the Spectator !!!!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

bloomberg new contemporaries exhibition

We went to the bloomberg new contemporaries exhibition last week at the ICA and without a doubt the two stand out artists for me were: Greta Alfaro and Pablo Wendel.

Alfaro’s short video piece In Ictu Oculi was mesmerising and can be viewed here:

http://www.genesisfoundation.org.uk/content/greta-alfaros-ictu-oculi

Wendel's Terracotta warrior was a video of an intervention in which he disguised himself as one of the famous Terracotta Warriors in China. The piece moves from funny to confrontational in an instant and i really loved it. Unfortunately the video does not seem to be available online but here are some images

fox news


Fox news, in-depth reporting at its best.



woo hoo, just found out that i have been accepted as a volunteer for the lesbian and gay switchboard.



mob mentality

very interesting programme on world service this week regarding crowd mentality. Dr Chris Cocking maintains that the idea of 'mob mentality' is simply not true. He believes that it only exists as an idea due to a general mistrust of crowds within certain sectors of society. well worth a listen:

Gilbert and George


went to the Gilbert and George exhibition at the white cube which i really enjoyed. Admittedly it was not exactly ground breaking but the juxtaposition of the postcards was very interesting. The London tourist postcards were intriguing as a view on how London represents itself whilst the phone booth cards exposed a different side to London. G and G seemed to be advocating that both sides were equally valid and it was nice also to see a mixture of straight and gay sexualities on display. Although only 1 woman who love woman image in the whole exhibition was disappointing