Thursday 15 March 2018

Worktable - Live Art Review

What: Worktable
When: 14 - 25 March 2018
Where: Main Hall, Arts House
Created by: Kate McIntosh

What is live art? For years I have said I don't have a clue but this year I think I've finally figured it out. Live art is an experience given to the attendee. It is an experience out of the ordinary. Something the person would not normally think to do in a way they would not normally think to do it. The idea is to provoke thought and insight and to just be something different for a small moment in time.Something other than perhaps you normally are both on your own and as a collective. Worktable, part of this year's Festival of Live Art, gives us all of this and more. The idea is so simple I left wondering why this hasn't happened before.

Kate McIntosh is the creator. She has a long history of creating live art experiences and Worktable can stand tall within her portfolio. This is not the first iteration of the event but I am so glad I have had the chance to experience it. Beware though, the experience is addictive so you should book in your return visits right now because you will want to do it again and again and again! (And it's probably better to use her stuff than doing it with your own at home.)

Worktable takes place in four movements. I have to be really careful what I say though because to tell you too much is to give away some of the experience and that would be a bit of a shame. Most of you who know me will be surprised by this comment but on this occasion - at least for the first time through - it is nice to not know too much in advance. (The addiction comes from knowing the journey and wanting to travel it again).

As you can see in the photo above, you begin in an entry foyer with shelves of paraphernalia. This is not junk. Everything is in good condition. It is an installation in and of itself and the first moments of pleasure are just perusing the collection. It seems all the more precious because you are told you will have to pick something and take it completely apart so as you admire the collection you already mourn it's loss.

I had a lot of trouble choosing my item and eventually committed myself to instinct rather than being confused by logic. I was then led into one of four small rooms inside of which is the worktable as advertised. Another collection - this time of saws and hammers, and scissors, and screw drivers, etc - greeted me. Having just signed a personal injury waiver I was pleased to see the safety goggles and gloves, particularly as I kept hearing the violent sounds of smashing and shattering coming from other booths!

Each stage in Worktable is about collections - collections of what is now, collections of destruction, collections of creation, and collections of the new. We take, we break, we make, we partake and how we do it, what we do it with, and how we become involved is entirely our own choice. We make our own journey.

For me I got to work out some feminist rage and process an unpleasant experience with a cockroach. For everyone it will be different. Everyone will be on their own and also part of a community. I use the name Samsara and Worktable is very much an embodiment of this word in it's ancient meaning. Perhaps this is why I feel so drawn to this project...

There is plenty happening at Arts House so when you book, take a look at the rest of the program (some of which I will be reviewing for you over the course of the week) and pick a whole program of experiences while you are there. Don't forget - you are going to want to do Worktable more than once. Believe me! Oh, and it is wonderfully accessible too!!!!

4.5 Stars

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