Backburner socials take place at intervals throughout the year. They started in a neighbours garage and now take place in our cellar. Curated around a theme, loosely exhibited work in progress and self-published booklets are shared alongside coffee and interactive play. I set up sensory situations with familiar materials, inviting responsive interaction. This leads often to the retention of residual objects and a continued incorporation of making and play into the writing process; to detach and visualise suspension, transfer, force tension and gravity. Backburner socials act as markers in time in the development of new work, and an opportunity to extend my practice into a dialogue with others, including my children.
Backburner began as an exploratory project around writing and photography. It was a means to continue making work in an informal, open ended way; the low level, continuity of a thread with little available time to commit to my practice. Regularly meant ad hoc and often with my children or friends, and sharing events and monthly mailings of new writing offered markers in time. These things also acknowledged dialogue and collective thought in the artistic process, in making social and conversational a slowed down, exploratory approach.
A neighbour loaned a prefab garage behind our house, and I began hosting ’art socials’ on this back street; an unsupposing, neutral space; a flag stoned route between the tall backs of terraces. An evolving community of all ages met on Sunday mornings around coffee, bread and loosely exhibited work in progress. Curated around a theme, sometimes collaborative, I self-published booklets to give out and set up sensory situations with familiar materials, inviting responsive interaction. This play resulted in the creation of temporary objects in flour, kinetic sand and play dough which I kept, although fragile. Mounded or moulded matter, a collection of the most fundamental near-objects, vulnerable to the slightest pressure or movement and which now accumulate dust whilst gradually lapsing away from form. I have gone on to play in the same way when writing, creating fictive environments from domestic materials; flour, wax, oil, milk and ice as a way of entering.
The garage has now gone, but a sense of it continues with events in the cellar beneath our house; a footprint of our everyday living space, continuing a curatorial approach to sharing work in progress, as a significant aspect in developing new work.