“When the rain falls.. the Night Flowers bloom”


    Although this piece had its beginnings as a natural progression of some of my other work and cemented by a recent collaboration project, it has become one of my most personal.

    For a number of years, I have been working on pieces involving light - I have a very primal fascination with it: what we see are not objects but the reflected light from objects. A room lit in a different way is a completely different room. Things only appear to exist as intersections of light and shade and  even as someone living in an age where we can photograph things exactly as the eye sees it, all that can still 'lie' and everything is potentially in flux. In a way, light is the only thing that is "real" and the only reality fluid.

    As someone working a lot with the movement of fabric, something that has always felt very natural and expressive to me, I became more and more fascinated with the work of Loie Fuller the more I learnt about her: how she manipulated fabric to abstract herself and disappear, how she projected an illusion of beauty that she did not possess, her technological experimentations, how she became an icon of modernity. Transformations and illusions.

    When using technology in my work, I like to have a reason, a way of using it so it  enhances the concept of my work rather than being just a gimmick. Every time I explore something new I have to create a new setting for it, not just re-tread ground I've already built on. This act actually began with a failure - the end of a two year attempt to create sequenced images floating in the air using only the traces left by my body. The Human Hummingbird. Sadly, despite producing an effect that was only useful for enhancing an existing performance, nature and technology are currently against me.

    However as this development neared completion, I knew the story. Recent walks through Soho left me feeling homesick for another time and place that I recognise has vanished forever. Changes in my life had left me contemplating my ties to London, how keep my roots creep, memories. My father was a Soho landlord in the 60s and his and my mother's world before me had seemed so exciting and mysterious - a glistening world of dark shadows and neon. At night I used to roam the house, shifting objects so the shadows wouldn't touch. I was sure that there was some sort of energy that travelled between the shows, gathering power. It was terrifying and exciting. Sometimes at night I could get my father to walk us back through Soho. I loved the signs, lights glistening off tarmac, the promise lurking in the windows, the girls, the clubs, the smoke. I longed for the day when I could explore this adult world I only overheard in the conversations between my parents and friends.

    As I  began to tread those roads for myself, I never realised I was seeing the end of an era: the lights went out in the windows, the neon signs were switched off for the last time, the sex shops were replaced with boutique juice bars, whole swathes (containing some of my favourite dens of iniquity) were demolished for Crossrail and many of the faces that had drawn me there vanished. Then one day I just looked about and it was all gone. My friend produced hundreds of photographs for a book at the time: "Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity". I feel a wave of sadness when I think of all those curious travellers like myself who will never know it.

    Although there was a lot in the construction of this act that was complex, to me it is also very raw: instead of abstracting the body with light, I wanted to fetichise and illuminate it to pay tribute to the embodiment of the Soho of my childhood wonderment. Soho as a woman, glistening in neon and wrapped in wet tarmac.

    In a final act of synchronicity during the creation of the piece, as soon as I decided I needed to re-watch Blade Runner see if this perhaps resembled the rain-washed paradise of my childhood projections (in my memories it aways seems to be raining), I found a single copy of the film in a box on the wall of the house a couple of doors down to me. Yes. Maybe now, like Rick, i have realised that I was in love with something that I knew all along wasn't real.


    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

BackActs.html