Changeover has never been so exciting

Between is a season of new performance art commissions taking place in our empty gallery spaces during exhibition changeover. Digital Reporter Bryony Moore went along to our first event to find out what it was all about…

Being a bit of a fan of performance art, but rarely getting to see it, I thought it was great that performance was being given a stage at Cornerhouse. Plus it was good to nosey into the behind-the-scenes of the gallery.

First up, Patricia Baga’s Pedestrian Mysticism. This ‘performative screening’ was an intertwining web of real and metaphorical projections and mirror images, plus live actions that were recorded and played back to the audience. She seems to have invented a mind-boggling new genre.

In the half hour performance – which with no distinguishable beginning, middle or end, felt like a journey through her subconscious – Baga’s character appeared to be making efforts to ponder the big questions in life, while battling the desire for a pop star’s lifestyle. At times it wasn’t entirely clear whether the artist was performing or genuinely tripping over her slippers, but her overdubbing of a live Madonna concert was just brilliant.

Next up was Hayley Newman’s Facing. I already knew I’d like Hayley’s work after seeing her volcano costume on her website prior to the performance. I wasn’t disappointed.

Hers was a light-hearted, joyous event, albeit with a serious and thoughtful undertone. One by one, Newman introduced the audience to ‘characters’ – cleaning clothes, tea towels, aprons and the like, with sequinned eyes and mouths which the artist brought to life by putting them on, then sticking them each to individual bits of changeover debris around the room.

Part way through the performance, she stopped to explain the background to the work. Then it turned into a game using t-shirts which had been printed with single bits of punctuation used together to create the emoticons that pepper our electronic exchanges : – ). The audience each put on a t-shirt and looked for compatible people to make ‘faces’ together.

Newman’s explanations that the work was centred around faceless labour and women’s issues not only put the audience at ease, but were also very apt for me personally, being one-sixth of sustainable fashion collective Stitched Up.

It was good to see two performances in a row, as sometimes making the effort to go and see something which is all over in ten minutes can leave you feeling a little short-changed. It was also a great opportunity for anyone interested in contemporary art or theatre to discover new artists.

All in all Between would make a lovely way to while away an evening with some friends and a glass of wine (though I didn’t manage to get one due to the crush – book in advance!). I’d definitely recommend it.

The next Between event takes place on Fri 8 Jun. Book your tickets and find further information here.