The Making of puppets, masks and costumes.
I enjoy the process of making my puppets, masks and adapting my costumes. I learnt how to make simple rod puppets at a puppetry intensive in Toronto and the other puppets appear through experimentation.
I have only just begun to make my own masks. This is a self taught process that involves paper machie and using a mannequin as a basic mould. The fox mask and the gas mask are store bought masks I have previously owned. I source my costumes from both costume hire, op shops and online and then adapt them to accentuate different elements. I do try to use second hand items in both puppet making and costumes as my first option. I want to make my art practice have as little footprint on the planet as possible.
The space in-between the performance and the everyday.
As I have travelled all throughout the city with my rat trolley unmasked, covering many miles in fulfilling zone orders, I have recently begun to embrace and also acknowlege this space as a form of protest or disruption. Both in the public space of the city and the virtual space of Facebook and Instagram. What is this 50 year old married mum of 3 doing? I'm not selling anything, not really protesting anything recognizable, not busking. I love that I've created this confounding space. Within an art community its not such a big deal, but outside of that it sits in a space of not conforming to expectations. I will often have little chats to the public (at traffic lights etc ) about what I'm up to. Maybe this 'in-between space' I create, also reveals something about the expected social order in everyday city space?
Documentation of Incursions
My husband, Jeremy and son,Ted, have been my main documenters of my work. They are both extremely patient as I have very clear ideas about how I want the shots to be framed and a lot of photos and films are taken to find the one that best captures the moment in my mind.
All documentation is done on my phone. My phone is useful for documenting my performances as when I’m being filmed with a phone my documenter blends in with the public and my performance is less about a performance and more about the viewer encountering a character going for a wander.
My mask stays on until I have left the area I am working in. This is very important to me as in my mind the magic of the moment would be lost if I were to step out of character.
The documentation of my work is necessary as I use the documentation to both see my work from the viewer’s perspective and to share the work on social media. As an artist I enjoy the capturing of the moment on video as it allows me to experience the piece as close to others might. It gives me great joy to see my fictional characters galavanting around public space.
Use of Social Media
I use Instagram and Facebook as a method to introduce and share my fictional characters. Social media is another public domain that provides a different experience of my work. Social media allows me to further extend and perpetuate the narrative of each character. It also provides an extended life to each character.
I appreciate the difference between the incursion and the documenting of them for social media. The first has an ephemeral immediacy that can only be experienced in the moment and the later may be more reductive in that it ‘flattens’ the live moment yet it gives the work an opportunity to exist in the consciousness of many more people beyond that ephemeral moment.
Connecting Flaneuses with other exhibitions
I have at times used existing gallery exhibitions as the ‘portal’ in which my fictional Flaneuses arrive in contemporary Melbourne or is introduced. For example, the Fairytale Flaneuse was said to have ‘almost stepped from the very walls’ of the ‘Fairytales Transformed’ exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum and the Blooming Flaneuse was introduced at the Bendigo’s Gallery exhibition, ‘New Histories’. As an artist, I like the subversive way I have attached myself to current exhibitions bypassing the need to be selected or invited to exhibit. I am always respectful of the work within an exhibition by not referencing any one work in particular. Through my Instagram postings the curators or gallery representatives have acknowledged my Flaneuse work in a complimentary manner. I enjoy the notion that my fictional flaneuse characters are making connections with the contemporary Melbourne art world and a broader network of ideas and issues.
Future Directions for my work.
I hope to really push the aesthetics of my work specifically exploring notions of a feminist grotesque aesthetic that holds a space for humor. Acknowledging the reductive nature of documentation versus the live moment, I also want to investigate how the documentation of my work could possibly recapture this sense of the grotesque and humor within the virtual space of the internet.
Some of my future objectives might be:
To explore notions of a feminist grotesque aesthetic and humor in performative work.
Extending and challenging my current practice of mask making, puppetry and assemblages for characters.
To create works that simultaneously capture both notions of a feminist grotesque aesthetic and a sense of humor.
To test the limits of this aesthetic in the public space of the everyday.
To experiment with different technical strategies with the documentation of the work, that might support the existence of a carnivalesque space in the virtual world of the internet.
Finally, to experiment with the performative lecture as a form of presentation for my work.
•Masters in Puppetry in miniature (presenting my Masters findings in a 5 minute miniature puppetry piece)- HillseceneLIVE2018 (November 2018)
.The Envoy of Mischief-incursions throughout Melbourne city
•Bloomerism Flaneuse- incursions throughout Melbourne City
•Fairytale Flaneuse- incursions throughout Melbourne City
•Flaneuse de la Fontaine- incursions throughout Melbourne City
•Protest Pigeon-incursions throughout Melbourne City
•The Blue Flaneuse- Melbourne Fringe Festival at the Abbotsford Convent
•Protest Pigeon- RMIT New Academic Street opening
•FlaneuseFox - incursions throughout Melbourne city
•Flaneuse Fox performing at The Melbourne Puppetry Festival at La Mama (July 2017)
Master of Arts (art in public space) Timeline
Semester 1, 2017 full-time (started)
Semester 2,2017 part time
Semester 1, 2018 part time
Semester 2, 2018 fulltime (completed)