Learning to think in full stops (or explanation marks!!!)
I have a backlog of sketchbooks that I have been wanting to scan and share, here is one from 2014 in São Paulo.
(Recently I have questioned why I am bothering documenting the minutiae of my life as I am feeling ever more gutted by the injustices, inequalities and atrocities going on in in the world at large (I don’t know if the injustices, inequalities and atrocities are increasing or if my awareness of them is, maybe a combination of both). When I look at the world, I feel less like I belong in it. Maybe it’s good that there’s no way I can see the whole world in one go. By concentrating on what is immediately around me, on the ground, in my grasp, it gives me hope. Tiny but noisy things are happening that I have touched with my own hands: activism, creativity, love, kindness, resistance, community. And they are part of this big impossible-to-see picture of the world. Also, I have never touched Donald Trump).
So like a shell at the bottom of the sea, long after the animal that lived inside it has left, this book was and will be.
An immersive, interactive journey through domestic spaces under transformation. It was played-out in an empty row of houses set for demolition and regeneration one summer in Ardwick, made with Contact Young Company, Rodolfo Amorim, Renato Bolelli Rebouças and me.
Installation and performance collided with memories of people and things, collected in drawers, behind closed doors, in the garden, down the street… think Coronation Street meets David Lynch.
In 2016 the production won the Youth Panel Award at Manchester Theatre Awards. Watch a 5 minute video of the performance below:
The world première of I’m Glad You’re Here took place at Preston Train Station during April 2015. I met over 25 passengers off trains and offered a series of bespoke greetings, menu below. You can read my thoughts on the experience here.
You could take your pick from a menu of encounters, whether you were after the red carpet treatment or help with your bags; there was something for all tastes. This was your chance to have a fleeting, filmic moment in an unlikely place.
If you are sick of carrying yourself through long journeys (and perhaps life in general), then I’m Glad You’re Here might just be for you.
Photos by Bernie Blackburn, David Toase and Ewa Witaszek.
The Red Carpet. Arrive in Preston with style. As you hit the red carpet, you will receive a choice of sparkling water or wine, a paparazzi photo and some shades. Expect to give your autograph. 5 minutes.
Favourite Things. Feel at home with a personalised welcome. Upon leaving the train you will be served a food and drink of your choice as your favourite song plays. 5 minutes.
The Cheer Cheer. Everyone will be rooting for you at Preston. Featuring a banner, a crowd and optional confetti shower. 5 minutes.
The Day Porter. For those who want some help carrying their bags, or themselves, off the train. Features include a gloved porter, a trolley and some comfortable slippers. 5 minutes.
The Catch Up. Over-familiar is the word. You will receive a hug and conversation on a subject of your choice. 5 minutes.
The Brief Encounter. Experience a filmic moment on the platform which includes dramatic facial expressions, a dramatic run and an over the top hug. 5 minutes.
The Heavy. A security guard will meet you off the train, complete with ear piece, and serve a secure exit from the train station. Sunglasses included. 5 minutes.
Railway Children. Emerge from the train to a tearful, emotional welcome á la the classic film, The Railway Children. Run, hug and hankies included. 5 minutes.
There are currently no appointments for the I’m Glad You’re Here service. Please get in touch if you are interested in booking the service. Advance booking is essential. Limited availability. A list of appointments will be available to witness I’m Glad You’re Here greetings as and when they are made.
I’m Glad You’re Here was a co-production with Derelict Sites and They Eat Culture’s Hit the North project. Supported using public funding via Arts Council England and UCLan.
A one to one performance called Moon Landings first shown at SLAP in York. I set up a moon on top of a pub roof and invited people to sit with me, for a while, wrapped in a foil blanket, to look back on planet earth. To stop and wonder at it all. From that perspective, I wanted to know what moments you could still see from so far, what would be the things that stick out to you from your lifetime.
This is a new performance that I am testing out, inspired by my work with people with dementia. You see, I am struck by what stays for a lifetime. What ensued were about ten unforgettable encounters, riveting conversations, brief and intimate disclosures.
I was really touched by how open people were and willing they were to sit with me on the moon in the middle of their Friday night out. I have collected snippets of the stories I was told on a till roll from the bar, which I will publish soon- watch this ‘space’.
Before I left the amazing people at SLAP I had time for a quick drink, a Blue Moon, naturally, and zoomed off for the last train to Manchester.
Here is a guide to being vegetarian in Brazil that I made on paper place-mats as I learnt how to be a vegetarian in Brazil. I love the range of disposable place-mats you find in cafes that serve P.F.’s (prato feitos or ready made meals). The guide is available in English and Portuguese.
I am starting to make a series of envelopes as part of my study into the space between us.
Sad Things on Handkerchiefs, 2014
This is something I embroidered for Jackie Hagan for her amazing solo show Some People Have Too Many Legs. I would like to do a series of sad things people tell me sewn onto handkerchiefs.
On the night of my thirtieth birthday I presented the world premiere of my first solo show, The Secret Life of You and Me.
It is part performance, part installation; a live scrapbook inspired by my experience of working with people with dementia, conversations with strangers and a relationship that spanned the UK and Brazil.
Hello. My name is Lowri. I made this show because I was approaching my thirtieth birthday and I didn’t have much to show for my life so far. I was in a long distance love affair. I liked making art in unsuspecting places. Then I started working with older people. I noticed that the things they had to show for their lives were disappearing.
The show is available to tour until my fortieth birthday in 2023.
To gain an insight into the process you can read the daily (ish) blog here.
Supported by hÅb and The Lowry. Developed with support from Works Ahead, Contact, University of Salford, UCLan and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Film by People Staring.
Rózà is a multimedia performance based on the letters of Rosa Luxemburg, a great thinker and activist of the European socialist movement. She was imprisoned several times, most notably for her anti-war protests. She was assassinated in 1919. Luxemburg’s letters reveal a passionate sensibility, a steely intellect and a multifaceted human being behind the public persona.
Rózà is a collaboration between a group of artists from all art forms: sound, music, film, theatre and performance in São Paulo, Brazil. It cuts and pastes Rosa Luxemburg’s letters with footage from recent protests and political events in Brazil, interviews with people on the street and in refugee camps in Europe. It poses questions, the same questions that Rosa Luxemburg asked, one hundred years before, about freedom and power, capitalism and socialism, globalisation and imperialism, war and peace, humanity and nature; with an urgency and super relevance of the world around us today.
I’m collecting memories that people would miss. In January 2013 I left notices in buses and cafes and anywhere else I could think of that had a lot of condensation on the windows (I live in Manchester, it has the perfect weather conditions). The notices invited people to think of a memory they’d miss, write it on the steamed up glass and submit a photo.
For six months, the National Theatre of Scotland in association with Shetland Arts invited all of Shetland’s inhabitants to explore our bittersweet relationship with the automobile for Ignition – how it shapes us, defines us, supports us, frees us, challenges our attitudes towards our dwindling resources and, sometimes, kills us. The project culminated in ten days of immersive car-theatre.
I was invited to work on this project as The White Wife, part legend, part ghost, to collect car stories through unconventional methods. These included hitchhiking, serving Sunday Teas from a campervan, being a bus conductor and working on ferries, chasing mobile libraries and hanging out with the classic car club. Brilliant ways in to connect with people. This project has been a real joy to work on and I fell in love with Shetland.
A performance commissioned by Cornerhouse & Paul Hamlyn Foundation with Kerry Morrison, Llandudno, Wales
Artist Kerry Morrison and I walked from opposite ends of Llandudno promenade wearing headdresses made from chips. The walk was at the mercy of local seagulls that rule the seafront. Part Carmen Miranda, part Hitchcock’s The Birds, this was a foray into the unknown. The crowds flocked, but did the gulls?
For Kerry it was an exploration of how we, us humans, are part of nature. But, unlike any other living organism, we have evolved in a way that seems to have set us apart from nature.
For me it was an examination of gift, of putting your heart on the line and being at the mercy of the elements. It was an act of slight peril.
When Kerry and I met in the centre of the promenade; without speaking we removed each other’s’ headgear and sat at the end of the pier and wrote an immediate response to the event.
A birthday audio walk around Manchester ten years to the day that I arrived in the city. During the walk you’ll get a glimpse into unseen things, memories layered on top of each other, a sense of time passing and landscape changing. The original walk happened on 15 September 2012 with seven people and ten balloons, but you can download the map and audio file and walk with me anytime!
After spending time developing ideas for my solo show due out in January 2013 I have presented three works in progress performances. Under the title Live Letter I have performed for Word of Warning at Contact and Hatch: Scratch at Embrace Arts. It is about leaving and being left behind, there is hardly any talking until the end. Lots of things happen and are recorded in hopeless ways. I was interested in not performing, but doing a series of tasks that needed witnesses, and became a performance, but entirely as a side product to my mission: to evidence my existence in the world and leave.
A performance for bonfire night commissioned for David Hoyle’s Northern Lights in November 2011 at Platt Chapel, Manchester. Vigil (meaning ‘wakefulness, a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance’) is about marking relationships, hopes and fears during the repetitive lighting of matches, talking in the dark over a microphone.
Never Going to be Carmen Miranda was hatched out of a performance workshop I gave at Salford University for Visual Arts students. The idea was to work with something simple (an orange) and make up exercises, games and performances. I nailed a juicer to the wall and tied oranges to my head and squeezed the fruit. Juice collected in a champagne glass on the floor. In the end, that orange signified a lot for me. It’s about the sticky subject of love. I thought about breaking up with my Brazilian boyfriend. I thought of Carmen Miranda, with fruit in her hair, exotic, in glorious Technicolor; as juice rolled down my face in Salford.
Here are some stills of the performance livestreamed from a church in Salford as part of Videoformes, a performance and film exchange between Salford University and Clermont-Ferrand, France. This performance included an introduction to the piece in French and a more ambitious head dress. I used more oranges this time, and a roll of paper to catch the juice as it rolled down my face and the wall. This time round it was more spectacular, silly and sort of harrowing.
You can watch a work in progress version of the performance at the University of Salford here:
A performance for one person. I got really fed up when on Valentine’s Day, of all the days, I couldn’t find my nail clippers. I found a pair of nail scissors and then realised I could only cut my left hand. There I was with long nails on one side and short nails on the other. Alone. I hadn’t realised personal grooming could be so devastating. So the next day I took my nail scissors and waited patiently in a room with a sign that said ‘Right handed manicure wanted. Enquire within.’
Eventually a nice woman called Hannah came over with her boyfriend and cut my nails, she had never cut someone else’s nails before and thought it was strange. She was worried she might cut my skin by accident. I hadn’t had my nails cut by someone else since I was a child. We chatted about being alone and how a bus ran over her foot and destroyed her bike completely. It was a nice way to get to know someone and that the performance could only have happened then, though it might become a touring piece about every three weeks (based on average nail growing time). It was also an act of care and trust. I felt quite vulnerable, as I think Hannah did too. I am smiling thinking about the potential peril of nail cutting.
This is the book I wrote at a very uncertain time in Brazil. I write books when I’m travelling to remember, to have purpose and to make some sense out of the topsy-turvyness of life. This one really struck a chord with readers…
Have Your Cake was performed at Kraak Gallery, for Maria and the Gay’s album launch. It was about a phone call to my mum. The piece involved me tricking a man into marrying me and explored the failure of big celebrations (and maybe, actually, the celebration of big failures). It did end up with cake all over myself, and I know it’s dangerous territory (female performance artist covered in cream, again) but I knew I had to be in order to tell the audience a small, sad thing. People listened in a way they only could if you’d really embarrassed yourself.
A site-specific show on a runaway tea trolley that paused on a piece of wasteland in the middle of Manchester. I am drawn to unused places, sites that are caught between use, with remnants of their past washed up as they wait for the future. Twenty people showed up on a rainy day in May to sneak through a fence with me and my jangling cups, spoons and kettle to watch the performance. It was my first experiment in solo performance. The text explored permanence, time and memory, whilst making a cup of tea against the odds.
I had been thinking a lot about our relationship with places, as I was stretched out in a long distance relationship. I wondered what makes you leave and what makes you stay? Where do you belong? Or are we all moving? And then where are we going and how do we know if we get there? As part of hÅb’s Emergency Accommodation I performed some 21 hand held journeys for two between the two festival venues, each time sharing a different personal story about hand held walks I’ve been on. The walks required a degree of trust as we walked together across carparks, streets and wasteland. A £1 deposit was refunded on my safe return.
This is a book made in Brazil. I told you I like making books far away. When I was there for three months I asked ten people to set me a task to do. My friend Richard Gregory set me the task to find places to ‘stop, pause, dwell, reflect’ a day long walk of Sao Paulo ensued with ten minute stops every twenty minutes.
This was a one-off soap opera where barely anything happened for a whole half an hour. On the site of an old house, artist Amy Pennington and myself performed repetitive, domestic tasks. It was a tribute to the fact that nothing happens for a lot of the time, and how the weight (wait?) of the everyday, shapes our lives as much as the fleeting, memorable life-changing moments do. It was performed as part of Sounds from the Other City in Salford.
For three days I performed at Salford Central Train Station on Platform Two. I would arrive on the 14:36 train, face Platform One (where a mixture of commuters and audience assembled), a text about a moment of saying goodbye was played over the tannoy system by Tim and Martin from Northern Rail and then as it ended the 14:41 train would take me away. I would shed the clothes I was wearing and leave them on the floor, a bit like a magic act, so as the train pulled away I had gone, but remnants remained.
This is a book of words and pictures that I made during my first visit to Brazil. It started out as a travel journal but I’m pretty sure it is trying to be a romantic novel towards the end. It is me making sense of a new place, a new relationship and maybe myself. I like making books from far away because you feel like a satellite: lonely but with a great view.
This is an unfinished project, which I hope to find an ending to. In 2008 as part of Islington Mill Art Academy I set out to get to know the neighbours in the tower block nextdoor. I wanted to create a series of bronze busts of residents. I soon got to know Mabel, who was the only original resident from when the building was constructed in 1963. We became friends, we chatted as she sat and I sculpted a clay model of her head, I visited her church and she visited Islington Mill. I finished a clay version of her, which sits above the fridges in the Islington Mill Nightclub, but as yet haven’t made a bronze.
Congratulations Withington, was a series of interventions in Withington that celebrated quite ordinary events in the area. This included celebrations of newsagents, lollipop ladies and shoppers. Here is a woman who was the twelfth customer in Help the Aged that morning.
A performance which saw me slither across Manchester during rush hour in a slug suit I made out of an old sleeping bag complete with bicarbonate of soda slug trails. It was my most physically gruelling performance and possibly least intellectual. It’s the one that everyone loves though. I like to think of all the commuters I passed and the difference and indifference it may have made to their lives.
I like making things, and after a drawing in my sketchbook, which suggested a different take on the popular fable. This was a sensitive misunderstood mammal, hurting. I made this wolf by upholstering a wooden frame and inserting a tape recorder of someone crying on loop in his head. He had fake nails and a melodramatic howl. His sinister, sad manner unsettled every room he sat in. He’s currently touring the world.
A collection of recordings that I made on my ex-boyfriend´s deaf side for his hearing side to hear. The tape has outlived the relationship and the popularity of cassettes. A mix tape memory. A futile and sincere act of love.
After finding an old school photo at Burnley Market, I located the school and worked with them to recreate the school photo in the exact place where it happened, life-size, onto tracing paper. The faces fluttered in the breeze and stared back at present day pupils. Afterwards, each face blew away in a paper chase along the former school path.
After finding some Baby Arrival Cards I posted announcements of my arrival to places before I visited them for one week. As arranged, I’d arrive and record my visit with a photograph. I liked playing with the idea of being anonymous and known, important and insignificant, mischievous and serious.
Following on from my icing obsession I made a giant sugar mouse. I was very kindly sponsored by Napier Brown, Supercook and Asda. He weighed over 30kg, and became a beautifully embarrassing, obese, shy creature. I think we can all feel like that at times. Once he was made, I wheeled him on a trolley on a tram for 10 miles to Altrincham to a nursery. There the under-threes ate, poked, drew, played and destroyed him. I like to think about what memories remain from that day in those young minds.
This is a love poem that I could’t quite finish. Also my feelings on the matter kept changing. So I cut up all the words and stuck them in a snow globe. Each shake brings up a different configuration and captures the fluttery, fleeting nature of love.