When I was a teenager I played french horn with a youth orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall as part of a young people’s event. They made a record of it – but who knows what happened to that. I do know we missed school.
In my twenties I did a term of tap dancing evening classes in Manchester. It was a long held aim and I’d have continued but I left my tap shoes somewhere and couldn’t afford a new pair.
In my thirties, as a documentary photographer, I had an exhibition of photographs taken in public toilets. I’m interested in them aesthetically, and for the shifting state between attraction and being repelled.
Somehow the three things, or indeed four, have become conflated. About six years ago I started yearning to tap dance in the toilets at the RFH – as an artwork; I’m interested in the history of women artists dancing in videos – and now I’m making an artwork at the RFH and coincidentally David Byrne has been looking for french horn players for Meltdown.
So…I’m in the process of making my final video, and I wanted to really think about how to get people to look up at the screens, to catch their attention, to raise a visual question rather than a spoken. Which is why I found myself this week tap dancing and playing a french horn in the most beautiful wooden listed toilets. It was rather overwhelming.
She’s not dancing in it, but there is a Pipilotti Rist video I first saw at the Hayward Gallery project space that I rewatch more than any other artwork – though the credit there goes to the musician Kevin Coyne. For some reason my tap dancing video has, in my head, a Herb Alpert soundtrack, but I think the link for this post should be this:
Pipilotti Rist: You Called Me Jacky (Music Kevin Coyne)