On 27 January 2017 I was very happy to be asked to deliver some live performance art in Tate Modern, London.
It was part of No Working Title, a project run by Jo Addison and Natasha Kidd in which students are paired with a collaborator at another institution – who they have no contact with – and they create instructions for their unknown partner to make an art work. Eventually all the students meet up at a climactic event where they reveal their works to each other.
Because they had been inspired by Making is Connecting, Addison & Kidd asked me to come and do a talk at the final event, which was happening for the first time in Tate Exchange at Tate Modern. I said that, in the spirit of the thing, they should give me instructions on how to do the talk, which I would have to follow. Then to make it harder we decided I should only receive my instructions regarding what to talk about on the spot.
So when this started, at 7.15pm – part of the late-opening Tate Late events – I had no idea what I was going to be doing. The first instruction was to step into a boilersuit. Then I was handed a pack of cards, on which, during the day, students had written words and phrases about what the project meant to them. It was my job to go through the cards, read out the word or phrase, and then say something about that. Obviously I couldn’t say what it meant to its author, but I could use it as a prompt to make some reflections and observations of my own.
So I did. Seemed to go well. And yes, I am hereby writing this down as a live performance art event at Tate Modern.