: addendum; plural noun: addenda
In September 2019, Abbotsford Convent's 2019 Artist in Residence, Leisa Shelton will launch a major new work - addendum; for which she will collate, publicly display and then burn her full performance archive of 30 years continuous arts practice in Australia.
September 12th. 2019.
I am thinking a lot about the word Relinquish, which appeared in my reading this morning, as excellent, relevant words so often do.
-to voluntarily cease to claim or keep..”
It feels like a useful word to be considering on the eve of launching this project.
It’s led me to specifically think about the practice of ‘relinquishing’, and what it is as artists it would be useful to relinquish.
So much of what is being “relinquished’ through the process of addendum; are what I have come to perceive as the documents of proof - external representations of the intended work, images capturing ‘what was’ and lose notes that attempt to capture and speak to the processes of making.
Of course, all of this is fascinating and potentially informative, but NOT when its only potential place of holding is in my custody, in the boxes, files and storage areas from where I have gathered it – because this is until now where it has been and would remain, so the question for each artist for whom the Archive is their independent burden – What is the purpose of the holding?
I recognized in considering this aspect of the project this morning, that this is one of the primary attachments I am seeking to release myself from in terms of a personal intention within the work. For me, everything valuable within each past work carried forward into the next and this accumulation and continuum of practice has enabled the continuous redefining and redirecting of my practice. In so many ways I have held to very little along the way in terms of form, materials, approach – the core that has been continuous has been a questioning and desire to keep inviting the next work IN. The practice in this way has been continuously responsive – which led me at a certain point to actively name the training I offer as RESPONSIVE PERFORMANCE PRACTICE. This way of working invites the practice to lead and sets the task for the artist to be in an open, receptive state in order to receive the work, trusting all the skills and knowledge you have will be present and are transferable in so many more ways than we realise.
The wider provocation this word offers, is a cultural one in terms of asking what would it be to not attach to, or privilege the external voices and their representative documents around our practice, and to trust more deeply that from each work, the next work will evolve and our task is to bring all we’ve learnt to it and begin again.
To trust, as I have already proposed, that all that has mattered in each work resonates in those who engaged with it and will continue to matter through the way it provokes, inspires, enrages, informs and challenges the future work and thinking of those who met it – willingly or otherwise.
This is the hard task ahead, and also the necessary work from my perspective. I’m not there. But having asked the questions I can no longer hold to these ‘things’ that in turn hold me, or keep me held in the eyes of others to what has been, when my sight is firmly on what next work will call me and to continuing to create new ways for our work to be Recalled, Remembered, Rediscovered through the telling and retelling through voice and action of what we have done and the slow reveal of the seeds our work will, so often, invisibly sow.