The incredible Stephanie Elizabeth Third dug down with me in the Bristol Biennial week of to document the performances of MINE in Goldney Grotto. For all those of you who missed out on tickets, here are the playing cards, the Bristol Diamonds, the poison ring, the poem learnt by (Ox)heart, the time trapped in pebbles, the squat, clammy stalagmite I poured from a bottle.
I am so grateful to see the other side of my face during the reading, because if anything, MINE taught me that people’s listening-to-poetry faces are identical to their cross faces. There were gorgeous moments when the furrowed brows gave way to laughter and a few sudden tears, but mostly, my brave audience seemed to be squinting at the cave walls, endlessly searching for the Oxheart clam or perhaps waiting for a rare rhyme. Thanks to Steph for gathering all these different faces, all six faces of the crystal.
I am also so pleased and so intrigued by the realisation that Steph took these photographs on an old film camera. The unforgiving gloom of the grotto is translated into a speckled kind of haze in the pictures and knowing that, at a chemical level at least, what is left of the performance was caught in a bit of light and silver-halide crystals is just right.
And what is left of the poem exists in this glittering pamphlet, published by Spike Island and beautifully produced by City Edition Studio. There are only around 60 copies left at this point so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more, if you would like to buy one – or if you would like to be a reviewer.
MINE was commissioned by Bristol Biennial and researched and developed at Spike Island, during a residency in 2013, supported by Arts Council England. The site-specific performance at the University of Bristol was written with the support of mentor Clare Pollard through the Jerwood / Arvon Mentoring Scheme 2014/5.