This conversation with artist Richard James Hall was recorded and broadcast for the Slack's Radio residency as part of Blazing New Worlds at the NewBridge Project in January 2022.
Discussion topics include:
• performance art, drawing, creativity, video, Instagram Live, curating
• disability, autism, bodies, being queer
• engagements with other artists such as Sally Madge and Victoria Gray
• the arts in Newcastle upon Tyne and North East England
• being a member of NewBridge
Image from Dick’s ‘Crossing the Summer River’ performance in 2016, photo by Arto Polus.
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Auto-captioned videos on YouTube.
Recorded using Zencastr on 19 January 2022 and Audacity on 8 February 2022.
Edited by Paula Blair with Audacity.
Music: commonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license.
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hello and welcome to the audio facial cultures the podcast part eight year host Paul let Blair investigate different areas of film media at the arts and cultural production in this episode I am delighted to share with you a recording I am me it's with Newcastle based artist Richard jams hold for the Sox radio residency at the new bridge project a budget which you can find more information by following the links in the show notes wherever you're listening to this deck is a very dear friend of mine and a big supporter of this show and I've been wanting to do a recording with them for awhile so this was a really lovely way to go up by that and I'm really grateful to you you bridge and socks for the opportunity if you'll recall take featured on our special remembering Sally match episode last autumn and it's great night to talk said tech personally up by their own practice which is largely through process and performance arts and if you've been missing for a while you know that to bake and tracks if mine is live performance art so before I pass over to our past selves %HESITATION past pastels huge thanks to all our listeners and said are very generous benefactors over at Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures all of you thought make doing this and my very busy January with all of these recordings furry purse while if you love what I'm doing with the show and she can't manage to support the work financially I'd really appreciate it a positive review and rating for every access a podcast and a based on your socials which also be rainy rainy appreciated I'm so grateful when people say that it really means a lot but if you can manage even just a one off if you quit I'd be so grateful for that you can see that so radically on our lovely upgraded website funded by our patrons audio visual cultures dot com where you can also sign up to our mailing list to receive our free monthly newsletter Anthony episodes notifications streets to your inbox as well as access transcripts and generally get more information and thanks for everything to do with me on the show so %HESITATION finale before you run off and deal of science I want you to really enjoy this insightful talks with Dick James hall I know I really enjoyed all my talks Richard GM's hall thank you so much for joining me thank you so much for inviting me Pola it's great to catch up so my first question would you be happy T. describe your practice for everyone in the short term I would say I am a performance artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne the longer way about two days I'm a performance artist who also does I think kinds of whack on the side and has come from a tradition of improvised sectional performance but also realizing and having to think about now the factor of how much being on the autistic spectrum being clear being fast teams and affects myself and the world around me it's a very strange questioning them having to go for you and I'm constantly questioning myself which makes it very hard to think about projects and to be honest practice supplies some just like taking it day by day week by week yet I yes it's a really long time gentle point about that's about how I would describe my practice so follow me thanks I've had the privilege of being able to see your live performance and the before times when it is safe to gather but I also really enjoy aids over the lock time periods here experimental weapons say performances on Instagram life and I think those are where you really explored a lot of those kinds of same set you just flagged off their bite identity and taking up space and moving through space yes and playing with all Jackson just the life work but doing it to where it's calmer and I really enjoyed that a lot as well as those what else specifically would you say you've been working on recently and I think we can be very elastic about what we mean by Yuri sends a header what else would you say if the marking on because I know you do a lot of drawing as well I was doing a lot of touring and I kinda Hey this sort of roadblock because recently about a few months ago I was invited to do my fast performance the audience and %HESITATION via free is actually for no trace without resistance which was a memorial offend for the late great Sally mad shit and for that I was in a lab coat which I had to order in because I thought about wearing Sally's lab coat she was very very much smaller move me so %HESITATION Denton alab coach and that's not code seen some action button days before that offense including doing a trip from shields field on the bus where all the people that go in like keep away from me from the testing site %HESITATION I'm in the middle of town going through old charity shops because I was looking for China plates and China tea cups and all that %HESITATION center Johnston also a fantastic performance artist and I'm just like going through each charity shop going like no no and I'm ending up with this bunch of plates and all this trainer and I'm like going is this right it's cold cold trimming my S. but on foot up on the day itself I had a lint roller I had a few lane troll is some fine French chalk and I'm just proud of the day I was just rolling this Lynch rolled over the fan use cinema scenes because the venue itself is the star channel cinema and I'm just rolling away trying to cover up best hand the little bits of fabric you know about that slapped behind from use and it was interesting actually saying how much of the past is picked up by this this Dastis Moscow time which was very much a tradition that Sally match basically use within have practice which was to pick up on the mundane things and just celebrated so I did that for about five hours in terms of other things apart from being filled with some sort of mysterious bacterial and viral infection I saw a really interesting piece of performance work by another artist called Victoria gray no actually wrote it's very rare that I write in response to artworks but this one just struck me because she actually was addressing being on the autistic spectrum and actually being recently diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum which was really interesting to me and as I'm writing is an essential stuff and I re read it I'm going %HESITATION I'm picking up on stuff that I have experienced that's a few people who I have known have also experienced so in a way my practice is fairly elastic and recently I've also been waking up on the soldiers soft practice launch of a survey of seven matches where at parks docked was trying to install some heroic in waves stat isn't academically structures all institutionally structured but actually played about with SS you are the artists so I've been piling up cuddly toys into the corner of the room I've been trying to stand up cushions which demand select B. fold down benches constantly having this on off discussion about how certain things come alive with the artist's touch robin and perhaps the curatorial touch in Newton so I've been having a bit of discussion with a couple of other people about that about terminal the curators meant to care about classic and yet it's us the artists who actually seem to be showing the most cash and the most dynamic form of cash which is to actually bring to life those wax which was so enormous and also think about how it is the pro sets itself that brings those works to live it's not just like an institutional taxonomy saying process but that's a very this is also lead you can tell I've been doing an MA and hung around PhD student quite a long time because I have that critical for process that's really useful insight actually %HESITATION I really appreciate those ideas I think that's a lovely way of putting it as well as the idea of taking care of the arts not just putting it somewhere in San Mart like slicing no backseat carrying forests and the kitchen she's talking about it especially because they're fragments of fabric that Sally painstakingly closets together and they've been washed up on the shore so who knows where they came from and that speaks of clothes and things you know so they're very human I think her intention was to give some some sort of dynamism and slice and sterile different shapes and sizes just like humans are and there are no billion there by Katie and %HESITATION to silence some bets and just like humans are and they're coming apart sure there you there so soon together they're awful tough it's really wonderful to hear that you've been able to play with those and have thought life experience because I think that's where the passive performance already come site as when you play with things and you have the opportunity to play and sometimes that the material the G. and you facilitate rather than forcing it into something I think that's the key part of any sort to improvise ation %HESITATION performance practice it's all fine and well having the infection diet DHEA but sometimes you have to let yourself be led by the materials besides the people around you yes very much in a dynamic state it's very hard to actually stay static I had my is some artists who actually had to generational static way back but it's just so slow that the melts happens I've tried that once for an hour I couldn't do it I haven't got the practice or the patience for it I'm very much like a ten gentil practitioner eight eight something catches my interest %HESITATION I'm kind of old to okay that sounds really childish in a way that it's just my way of going about it I like the dynamism I like to be invigorated somehow but of course there's also moments where you have to take stock and you have to stand back and actually trying to go like this is no time to Lolo it's do you find that these are quite and cheered us processes C. just really listen to yourself and see what you need today or how much do you allow yourself to you to what extent the G. plan something before you go into S. or GHS have an idea and you see what happens I would say I have an idea it's very read that I has the overall vision of something it's much mall on the emotional scale for me there's no hard structures to really work with apart from perhaps the site itself there are some things you just can never fall so change you can't change your environment entirely without great pains to do so okay your materials there's a level of care with materials but there's also a level of understanding that once you do something destructive you basically kind of took away some fence original intent and you have to live with that and you have to clean up after that I flinch from experience that you have to take responsibility as a performance artist that in a way that you are having show cat to the site to the materials or understand that there is consequences once you destroy the materials people around you because people are unpredictable and there may be times where you may have to shift out a little bit from performance from one performance state to another state to react to another person who may be in the audience at the end of today yeah I also have to care for yourself because it's some nice and well when you have other people supporting you but sometimes when you're actually by yourself as I have been throughout some of the experimental Wednesdays and fraud some of the experiments of had done in public ground wax before you are basically having to take care of yourself and I understand what you need to do to recuperate all what you need to watch out full so there's a responsibility to the play as well and I feel like that's something I'm growing into because when you're young you're sort of slap dash thank god I actually was in a workshop ones and this kids basically interest was going off on one ninety actually was just like destroying everything around him and asked the end defense because we let them go through this let him do what he did and at the end of it I just basically said to him in a way that was so exciting I have been in that place I have been in that destructive area but you have to be away and now that your destruction has caused the fact around you so in a way I was kinda kicking is I'll spend an assaultive caring way and I was trying to show a level of cab actually kind of going like I'm kicking your house right now but only because I want you to let but it because some people don't do that turned and maybe one of the few people to actually step up to the plate to go and make active in the market for yeah so thank you Spain a member of mu Prich for awhile but she sent me that there might be anything you've learned from being part of the French or any experiences you've had particulars Newbridge or is there anything you can reflect on a plate to share experience of being a member I would say as of any studio situation it varies from studio to studio I've been in some tight knit studios where I'm sharing one room with may be for artists or maybe sharing this massive garage with eight to eleven artists with no boundary points and it's interesting to me how new bridge festival in Laos the boundary space so that Joe's studio is your studio and that's something that's in some ways I've really crave tunes because I'm quite a messy studio hold I'm not eighteen Messi I had one studio member years ago and it was that this was the last straw for me we had a shed fridge need basically the last wild mushrooms in the fridge for about a week and when I open the fridge it's like no no well I actually had to get everything out to die frage check out the mushrooms and tried to clean up drive entire fridge and it still smells of mushroom sold the bleaching of acted I concluded it just was like nope bad smells not going what I'm finding less new bridge is for the fact that even for you may have separate studios there's still a community which I really appreciate I'm talking to artists who have just graduated from university and I'm like trying to get them like the little things look like yet try to keep you practice separately studios so you can at least keep up the momentum because we're meant to people who do with Todd courses and then they don't continue to practice you kind of lose the momentum any other use the want to box if you don't keep the practice up but it's interesting as well having talked in whack with members of staff at new bridge as well there is a level okay and there is a level of wanting things to change both within the studio settings but also in the wider spectrum of the community over the last few years especially since I've only came into new bridge September twenty nineteen and there's been times when members of that community has actually supported me when I have been at my lowest lows actually had her back to give me a call of a lockdown ones Rebecca Huggins I rector of new bridge and she basically just wanted to check in on me that's something that I don't think a lot of institutions usually do and I think that shows the amount of cash that's Newbridge shows towards since member is but of course sometimes members also push the lack a little bit and new bridge won't be afraid to choose basically co sought to shed her %HESITATION don't leave your stuff ready for us in this to start fires well I feel like it's also like it's a mix of training ground for recent graduates but also it allows space for older artists to work in a studio setting amongst the community especially with hollow space is a premium now especially in cityscapes and heads of studios outside of the city but it's usually people who have a little bit more money well a little bit more know how about how the infrastructure work ethics and I'm not quite at that place now financially or know how to actually kind of have a space outside yes but I really appreciate new brands on that level it's just a nice space it's somewhere where I would recommend any recent graduates to apply for especially if the local based I was wondering if you have any thoughts about aids the arts in new castle quite generally and across the northeast region that you'd be happy to share I mean you mentioned for example you branch being in shale fields and that's quite a recent maze and premises in the city centre but do you have any thoughts about it but the art scene so I can see what it's like in the city and in the region I would say Newcastle as to not seem itself is a fairly tightly nets group so there are times where there are people who I see two artists who I recognize but I don't quite know of but there's always that sort of thing off when you're walking down the street and you see somebody in your chest notes from the scene and you just give them the slight tilt open knowledge just to kind of go like I see it and because I'm not entirely beneficial me because sometimes if I don't get to tell took the note back when I gave the tilt of the knowledge back and it's like just like for the audio that was two flips of the birds that I think it's well in terms of new castle it is a little bit of a struggle at times because the northeast as a region has always kind of struggled with the odds because we've always been seen as like the leftover region in England itself if anything there are some people in other regions of England who actually consent to Newcastle in northeast actually be heart of Scotland yes so this these questions of like winter we'd be better off if we were in adopted by the Scottish oh do we have to really fight hard to win full funding but it's also back case of new castle has some of the free weights actually experimental work in because economically rent here is not too bad it's actually fairly cheap compared to some of the regions where it's small popular to live and it is it has produced some really great artists of the is what I'm finding as well as some of the great artists that I know of unknown only locally in this the likes of Carol Luby and Sally match for example who they're artists who are locally known and that my it locally but outside of the region it's very much like a nobody quite knows and I find that quite shocking I actually went down to the life of development agency in London I tried to type performance artists from Newcastle upon Tyne there was very little info we have a very rich history of performance and experimental %HESITATION it's shocking but it's also not shocking at the same time and you have to take it as it is you kind of have to take the fact to roles you can have a practice here but you may have to explore outside of the region itself just to get back in touch I will say people from Newcastle have a very good sort of hockey communities well we love to celebrate our own when one of our own actually succeeds in something well like yes yes and when maybe against attrition or something let sit self down what kind of like going gods why and they coasted with any sort of tight knit community there's also like a bit of gossip and chatting behind people's backs and it's even done lovingly or it's done with a bit of exceeding it even today anything like contact him sure well I'd like to spend a little bit team now and again okay so the laugh I'm not afraid to basically say to some people I have said to some fairly successful mid career artists bullshit I'm not afraid because I'm now at the point I'm very five I know I'm not going to be like famous all have the money I'm just being honest to myself to the community around me and also just kind of go in like time is precious if you're not going to be honest it sometimes leads to bad situations where is the honesty itself can actually be quite transporters and can help take away some of the egotism the one thing I will say is we can probably do a little bit more criticality but in the sense of kind of going like what being critical but in a supportive manner and I have said some things which I probably put me in the back big swells fewer people %HESITATION I've had a few conversations with curators just kind of going like really but it's just life I love it here it's the one place I feel the most me acts as I tried doing it down in London and London does my head in London's a place I know I have to visit at least may be recall kind that make I knew I had to visit the least once a year because it's just the way of the Welton but if I could help it I wouldn't go down Sutherland as much but %HESITATION I trying to also bring news of new castle to go outside of the region and just kind of go like come yes hello my pipe and done that's medic to pay you just have to scratch the surface a little bit and not be afraid of because sometimes we'll hang about in some of the dingy pilot sometime as well and just be like it's not this bad doesn't let X. I had one taxi driver tried to pick me up once a bank at me just was like well it's Raphael lake and I was like have you been in battle your chest list anywhere like that like I just went it's not that rusty and free and come through Russia places before and I'm just like this is a very thank you so much for this where can people find out more about you and your work query to point them towards online you can look me up on Instagram at St James hold because people also call me desk I call myself sometimes mistake mistake made today one day I hope to be doctor did they also and website I has W. W. dots judge James whole duct weekly dot com you might just want to type in Richard James hall artist of it and just give it a go that's what you know you're on the right page when you see somebody who's just like quite fast with long head and the first images like trust me I'm a slow going like the electorate for folks thank you so much thank you son upset pleasure I always love our tasks and it's not brilliant to have this proper a more formal chat with each day and I really appreciate it and I hope you have a lovely rest of your day thank you so much I hope to get disposable tea with you say please it Hey right I just wanted to see extend my thanks to check again for thanks and I hope that they'll return so that we can go into a lot more detail on a lot of those issues three is there because I think there are things that we started to touch on that merit a lot more dapps but I was recording this for quite a tight time slots so it was a fairly concise conversation so I thought I'd just take the opportunity nine AM I'm recording this in February doing a bit of time traveling because that talk was probably set the thirty year it was originally recorded in January around mid January %HESITATION as early as February and yeah it's really nice opportunity actually there are some Bach over these and reflect on them a little bit and take out some ideas on how you to maybe develop some more of these themes and issues that are coming up across these episodes the next one is going to be the third of the recordings that I did for the S. with Bethany stats so that's a really lovely conversation as well so please stay keep subscribe and then check out our latest file yes so I just thought I'd take a minute because that has been a fairly short bonds is just perfect about more and some of the observations I think there's a lot of crossover here with the professional and the personal three some of the things that tech was referring to there I'd really like take knowledge that we seem a bit snappy up by arch curators and more formal and institutionalized approaches to presenting wrecking galleries and exhibitions I mean I try to be really open minded but you know sometimes is laptop and I stepped up in this one of bets and probably come across is but negative and part G. T. not to create practices we encounters are Ryan the commemorative events for Sally match that we mentioned and those events took place in November of twenty twenty one and I just wanna be radiate beauty care every single person who works in all of those events in the exhibition and everything we all contributed to our time for for a the curators particularly that so out quite great personal cost to themselves and it was hugely stressful under very challenging circumstances I'm very limiting circumstances as well but on the other side of that they also didn't listen to the wishes of those of us who actually worked directly with Sally's pieces and I felt that they made some presentation decisions that they thought looked nice looked as good as they kids and the space that they were given but I think there were others of us he felt that these particular presentations of specific things were missteps I am being deliberately vague here I'm not naming things directly I'm not going to name many people I just felt that you know there were quite a few of us who have a lot more knowledge and understanding of the contacts the rind a lot of the work and physically works with them as well I did a lot of finishing of Sally's unfinished pieces not just me other people that that sort of work as well so there is a lot of very invisible labor that went behind getting the pieces ready for exhibition and also for Sally's physical archives and I just felt that the missteps and hi some of these representatives and the gallery it probably should at a potentially negative lights if your roof year he came in cold and you really engaged actively with the pace and sought its rate I don't think you have come to a very positive conclusion so again I'm being really vague but if you witness center if you seen images of it you might be able to work out what I'm talking about yes but I'm not gonna talk about it directly and there is a little bit of my thinking on this because I I do I wrote a blog post thinking three and she's around part labor and not something I've talked I talked at length with Sally about eats there's also a particular thing that happens with something I mean it's that I posted on my end my personal Instagram page so if you want to go to a gang you're welcome to go and hunt for those but I'm not going to thanks to them directly as I say I don't want to name any names and I don't actually think it's first ready to piling on too much and this is probably I hope the last probably talk about it thanks bye everybody who was involved contributed to with the opposite passive intentions and this isn't hello I think it's worse dying on edge is what I will say I think it's more it sparks rather than the personal it sparked more of an intellectual curiosity about art the upper and the worst of work and those are two things again all things I talk to bite off miss Holly and I keep bringing up on this podcast nobody seems to be getting the message not enough people are listening to %HESITATION maybe maybe everybody less since this gets the message and I need more of these people to listen and get the message so what I would like to say is that I would like to see more respect and consideration for art laborers are two workers and recognition that an artist might have their name on something but they don't necessarily make the work on and Sally's case that was different because she died she was making the work herself and then she died and so a bunch of us finished at or did something less the things that were and transaction but it's something I was thinking out about it a lot anyway with Sam you know sort of more bigger Anne am CMS artists he got loads of money thrown at them or make use of money in the right Sally wasn't one of those people but even still even just out workers doing that Leah Byrne but you I give a lot of my summer last year to doing the work of putting these pieces together and finishing things and I don't care about recognition but what happened in my case was that something of mine was actually destroyed so it's not to stop it you know I don't care about being raised in carpet being visible but something I actually made it and dead with my bare hands was destroyed in the process of this is the way it brandy spun me on a train of thought of thinking about partly uppers and our keepers here at once the CM mass and distinct from artists so this is an issue that was presented front and center and so much of Sally's work to the point that she did performances for what she need pen badges that sads flux worker on them and that was specific to you when she was responding three performance to the flux this retrospective oil tank and two thousand nine and this was a performance that perished but tech was talking about right there an artist's caring for other artists work to really extremes quite funny extremes but also she was provocative of thought and I'll link to some of that work in the show notes and so %HESITATION and turn that's what a few of the state for Sally spark in the year following her death we cared for her work I felt for a person a Costa Sally when I was working with her pieces you know I would have her some of her cations sitting on me while I closed them up and stop is very meaningful because it felt like a kid how good this thing that was part of her and it was very personal but that's not the peace and I'm really talking about aids I think the thing that was really hurtful for me on a personal level was set at an embroidered dedication of very small embroidered dedication I had put on one of the really large pieces I had made artistic bets Sally never called tape was baptized with light me being notified without being asked I turned up to the opening night and I saw that it was gone and I thought I was going mad and on the I had taken a photograph of it at home before I gave it away I knew I wasn't going completely mass on it I had actually so nice then on it was just wrapped ice I was completely gone it wasn't even discovered over it was just gone and so I think there's quite a few here sis because obviously it was personally a bet on the front but then it also files a lot more generally like in the front seat the visibility of the art worker and merging from the artist's shadow and this was something solely did quite a lot and her art she laid bare the process of the worker Ryan to making art if you listen back to my episode with her one of her performances cold making a mass and cleaning it up her whole performance is a bite you know she doesn't aren't working as pages and then most of the performance is actually her cleaning up the mess that she's made for the performance so there's a collapse of the artwork in the art labor and then what is performance and what is just cleaning up the collapse into each other and a very very tiny way this was something I was referencing was just to making the work Abed visible and mine of AC isn't terribly powerful and I wouldn't call him anything like that but it's just in my own little way doing something that I think Sally may have approved often that I discussed with her quite a bit not any other layers thought is that embroidery and needlework are considered as Croft's rather than art again this is something that has come up in the podcast before if you go back to one of our earlier episodes while Coulthard crafts this is something that me and my gas and not absolute talk about it at length as well as what's processes what methods are even considered to be arch so my hand stitched embroidered writing wasn't considered art by these curators and I mean I don't know they're thinking about it because I haven't spoken to me and that's that's part of the problem is that they've never communicated with me I spoke to them on the opening night before I had to realize what had happened and it just even speaking to them for a few minutes it was really clear that the result law they didn't know up by the pieces that I and another person had finished and the pieces that I it by myself had me it's the richest so much detail they didn't have and they have my email address I am easy to reach him easy to find I picked myself all over the internet I'm not hiding anywhere folks again there's a lot going on there so I don't want to just when you bite it too much but yeah so it got me thinking about eight not just for me in a personal level but for just those larger questions I think about it he gets to be an artist walk gets to be an artwork what gets to be an art pro sass you know I think we're still not answering those questions adequately with Sally staff there is no I. another lock and he is asking those questions through the work itself three the process itself and so I suppose I just really wanted to hot spot on because the remains no consensus on high any of these things can really be property defines and he gets said to find not and I suppose a presented us with the fact that there is still very stringent can't keep bang of the bi injuries Orion's creative practice creative practices and so I thought I would just sit through those extra observation site there and just ask you to think about I thought for a bit so thanks if you've listened to my little extra rumbled huge thanks again C. deck I hope that that's gonna stop by to my system thank you for this