Show and Listen

During a show and listen a piece is exhibited in a exhibition environment and unlike in a public exhibition where I would generally get next to no feedback, here I am allowed to take a step back from the discussion and listen intently to what my course mates think about the piece; receiving an in depth critic of the work. It is so useful when moving forward with a piece and allows you to see what others think about the work without them having any prior knowledge of what your practice is about.

For this show and listen I wanted to show a more resolved piece and as I said in my previous blog post I wanted to re-work the piece I had exhibited in The Classroom Gallery- My 34 Lillieshall Road. Having already set up the piece before this gave me a chance to re-work the piece with more confidence. In the show and listen I changed the setup to a contemporary home setting. Someone remarked that it was “like a scene from IKEA.” I enjoy the modern reference made here to the furnishings chosen. During the classroom show the furnishings had been a mix of eras which I think suited that space however the contemporary feel here established the correct era I had had my experience with house. One of the tutors posed the most intriguing question for me as she wondered; Why not more? Why not wallpaper etc? This was something I myself had questioned in the setup; whether or not it needed more. She reflected that my choice of furnishings was just enough to help trigger the imagination but not too much so that the viewer’s imagination was controlled. The home setup triggered the imagination but the text itself was where the audience created their story.

One main point that was mentioned during the show and listen that I really kicked myself for not thinking of was tuning the light off in the room and only displaying the work at lamp light! The piece could have been more intimate to the viewer this way! It could have created a cosy atmosphere and even played on the idea that when I visited the house it was dark outside. In the photos you can see that I have experimented with this afterwards. Whether or not this then becomes a little too creepy is another thing.

Something which was a huge concern for the audience was their torment in whether this was fact or fiction. This was something I hadn’t even considered. To me the piece was obviously completely real. I had been to the house; this was my experience there. There was no doubt in my mind. They however kept coming back to the question “Do you think she actually went to the house?” This was something I thought of as a negative, as though I hadn’t quite convinced them, however perhaps this just adds to the mystery, adds to the notion of the private v public. Why would someone want to know so much about one house? In terms of proceeding with the work, people suggested visiting other peoples homes, my experience there, other writers, artists etc. One person commented saying the work could benefit by the work being more personal to me; so visiting homes of my past. To me though there is no interest in either of the two. No one would care about my history in a house more than a history of a famous person’s house. This piece to me was more concerned with the layering of lives in a house, any house; this just being the example of one. This finalized the piece for me. I don’t want to carry on creating similar versions. I want to carry on making work that carries with it the sense of a past of a layering of lives in a home.

34 Lillieshall Road

Whilst In London I just couldn’t resist paying a visit to the HOME I’d been reading all about in the book I mentioned earlier by Julie Myerson. It seemed an odd thing to do, but I had to see it for myself. I got on the tube to Clapham Common like so many of the past residents of 34 Lillieshall Road would have before me. I Google mapped from the tube and I found it! I found Lillieshall Road! I was so happy to finally see it, the houses where smaller than I had imagined. I walked up the road; it had got to 5 o clock by this time so it had gotten dark, maybe unfortunately. I couldn’t see the house in its full light. As I got nearer to the house I walked down, following the numbers, 12- I’m on the right side of the road then. 32… It must be the next house! There it was, the lights were on, someone was home. Was it the writer? I had no idea but without hesitation I rang the doorbell. (Well I took it all in first, got a few photographs.) I didn’t question myself before I rang the bell though, I just did it. A little boy came running to the door and I could hear his mum say ask who it is first. I explained he didn’t know me. His mum came to the door, all a bit flustered. I was flustered too I apologised for just knocking on her door like this, but I was in London and I had read the book. She knew about the book but explained the writer no longer lived there. I have to say I was a little disappointed that the writer was no longer there. I would have loved to have met her, and I know she would have invited me in no questions asked. As it was, the women who lived there was pleasant enough but explained she was just making tea, well I think she said dinner, so didn’t feel like inviting me in. In a way I didn’t want to go in. I had got my glimpse of the place. I saw that the hallway wasn’t the bright pink that the writer had described in her time at the house. I saw the colourful stripy carpet going up the stairs and the lower level kitchen down at the end of the corridor, which looked modern and white. It was strange because after I rang the bell, I didn’t want to go in. It was this families HOME. Their private place.