A note on: North x North West Poetry Tour part 2 - Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool

All info and funbatch on this tour is here www.stevenjfowler.com/nxnw and allll videos www.theenemiesproject.com/northwest

Leeds was fire. I’d heard it was a quiet town for the avant garde or literary poetry but this proved untrue, or we got unlucky. In the wharf chambers we had over twenty poets and from many different scenes and backgrounds. From first time readers to folk like Ian McMillan and Robert Sheppard, it ran the gamut. I got there early, in the snow, to be met by Ian in fact, whom, ever the gentleman, helped me shift 100 chairs into the basement punk venue. So many poets I was excited to see and meet for this one, and there was a uniformly playful tone, with a noticeable investment by many. For my own work with Patricia Farrell we wrote a collaborative poem and then I played with some ideas around memory and recitation, recording her poems onto my phone, popping in earphones and reciting from that audio file at parts, and at others, just trying to copy what she had said. Nearly 100 crushed in all told and some of these collaborations will be long remembered, everyone was buzzing

Sheffield was interesting. Again there was talk of a quiet gig but our room at Bank Street Arts was chocked, even dangerously so with much of the gig standing room only with people blocking my camera or stepping on each other’s feet, literally. Some great works here, punctuating a range of stuff, from the high literary to the amusing. At times it leaned into the self-referential, the audience having its favourites / friends, which is really the opposite of the deliberately open Enemies mode, but this is inevitable with such an intense room and a single city scene.

To be honest for me, the whole time in Sheffield was clouded by hearing of the death of Tom Raworth, who was a great influence on me and a friend. I wrote a piece remembering him, feeling emptied and deeply sad, in a Travelodge in the city, having travelled from Leeds and so it was a melancholy day. It took me many attempts to write the piece, I was feeling quite out of sorts. We ended the event with Chris McCabe and I reading some of Tom’s poems and this I will never forget, to have the big audience to read Tom’s work to, a day or two after his passing.

Liverpool is a city I love and this sprawling reading in the beautiful Everyman playhouse, who could not have been more generous as a venue, brought together many friends and great poets from across the region, being the final gig. I had the grand pleasure of working with Nathan Walker, whom I respect immensely and our improvised sound poetry vocal piece was a joy, though it was maybe too intense for the audience. Some fine works here but it was a rare misfire over all in terms of the Camarade tradition. Not quite sure why, but there was an imbalance in the works overall, perhaps a lack of identity in the event, a lack of successful experiment, or engagement with liveness. Happens sometimes.

Certainly I left the event happy because it was the summation of the project, and the final moments of that were spent with my friends, Tom Jenks especially, a brilliant poet and a great person to work with. As ever it’s a privilege to do this work, to such large audiences and such enthusiastic and varied writers.

performing for Syndrome : staying in Liverpool

I had the chance to spend a near week in Liverpool developing a new piece for Nathan Jones intensely ambitious, Syndrome project {http://www.mercyonline.co.uk/who-we-are/what-we-are-up-to/article/introducing-syndrome}. I got to stay in Toxteth, near where a fair bit of my family is from, though I've never lived there, walk into the city everyday, actually take time to develop the work for a performance, always with the knowledge it may very well grow into something bigger in the future. It's the 4th visit to Liverpool I've made in the last few years to work with Nathan, each time in a different venue with a different work for a different program - EVP, the Biennial, Liverpool music week and Syndrome. http://www.syn-dro.me/

I found the city to be an inspiring place to visit, perhaps precisely because it isn't my home and in visiting I was able to really enjoy that which London doesn't have. Space, in human terms as much as anything, and a different energy to the art and the artists, one that is more communal I'd side, closer, more hands on. It is a thriving place to visit, a lot of ideas concentrated together. And the city itself was beautiful, the people pleasant and more muted than I'd remembered. If you've time there, it is easily filled, and I got to catch up with friends from the north west like Tom Jenks and the like. That richness, in human terms, was somewhat complimented by the stark reality of the beautiful surroundings of Toxteth that were fringed with so many abandoned properties. A great wealth or dearth that seems unreal when struggling to find space in London.
The work I produced, {http://www.syn-dro.me/portfolio/syndrome-2-1-choros/} the video of which will be available soon, is perhaps the most impactful martial arts based piece of performance art I've done, but feels so much owed to Nathan and Stefan and Jamie, those collaborators of mine, that I've yet to feel I own it. More I am part of it, I wore it. But always in our minds was the possibility of doing it again, and I have ambitions to create a program of performances and publications of my own that further my exploration of martial arts. This could be a breakthrough work in that regard.

And to Nathan's focus and erudition, and hospitality, again I am left feeling very proud to work with him so often and to be part of the impact he is having in a place that really needs him, not because of a lack, but because of the precise opposite - because of potential. Nathan is unflappable and driven and considerate at the same time, such rare qualities, and he's definitely a peer I draw much from.  http://alittlenathan.co.uk/

Syndrome season 2 for Mercy in Liverpool this August

Syndrome Season 2http://www.mercyonline.co.uk/who-we-are/what-we-are-up-to/article/syndrome-season-2 yeaaa, Im up for this going to Liverpool for a near week residency with the brand new amazing project from Mercy that is Syndrome going deeper in the realms of control under the watchful eagle eyes of Nathan Jones wherell Ill get to work with radical technologists and ideas people Jamie Gledhill  and Stefan Kazassoglouan who will help my create interactive space that responds visually and sonically to physical presence and movement in a similar way that a musical instrument responds to being played with, but in this case the instrument is my body, through the martial arts, voice and breath performance. Very good very good.

Torque at the Rich Mix - Friday June 6th

An amazing new night from Nathan Jones & Sam Skinner, this multi-media performance night features top practitioners from fields of poetry, live coding, dance, diy electronics, and classical music, entwined into a twisted symphony of voice, light, bodies and semaphore poetics. feat. HOLLY PESTER // KARL HEINZ JERON // OLIVER COATES & SAM SKINNER // ALEX McLEAN & KATE SICCHIO // NATHAN JONES & MARK GREENWOOD 
TORQUE [LIVE] is bought to you by co-producer of 2013 tour Electronic Voice Phenomena, and takes up where this award-nominated series left off, using poetry, theatre and media artst to look deeply at the opportunities and rich thematic territories offered up by increasingly hybrid existence.  A show that pushes understandings of networked thought, the internet of things, and blurred lines between brains, bodies and electronics.
Inline image 1TORQUE [LIVE] will feature: Oliver Coates / a new commission comprising cello, electronics and field recordings, plus ‘Oraison’ by Messiaen, one of the first compositions written for electronic instruments. Accompanied by video works by artist Sam Skinner.
Karl Heinz Jeron: Sim Gishel / Sim Gishel is a multi-media robot. He sings and dances for money. His biggest success so far has been his performance at Das Supertalent with Dieter Bohlen. This will be Sim Gishel’s first performance in the UK.
Holly Pester - Hannah Weiner’s Code Poems / a new work that re-stages Hannah Weiner’s ensemble 1960’s work Code Poems, which used the International Code of Signals for ship-to-ship communication to create a series of avant-garde happenings. Pester’s new performance draws on our contemporary experience of digital code in a staged conversation that is sometimes shambolic, often lyrically active, and always in celebration of the hopeless comedy of coded communication.
Mark Greenwood and Nathan Jones: The Nodes / a series of conversations as radical language events, proposing a future for speech beyond communication.  Using models such as pandemonium architecture and chaos theory, the Nodes press the boundaries for emotive relations within uncoupled language.
Alex McLean and Kate Sicchio: Body Code / a feedback loop of code, music, choreography, and dance is played out, as a 'body language ' which short-circuits the binary opposition of physical and abstract.….
See project tumblr for further details: http://torquetorque.tumblr.comTICKETS: http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/torque-twisting-language-brain-technology/ TORQUE is co-produced by Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner and is supported by Arts Council England. TORQUE [LIVE] follows workshops and a symposium at FACT, Liverpool, comprising artists and academics presenting research and artworks across a range of subjects, including; spambots, network aesthesia, neuro-archeology, Russian Activity Theory, live coding and the bicameral mind. A Torque project ebook will be published by Link Editions in July. The title of the project is a play on the verb ‘to talk’, and refers to torque’s original latin meaning ’to twist’, and also the twisting forces which distort language, technologies and cognitive processes by braiding them together.  The cerebral torque is also a central term used by neuroscientist Tim Crow in his 2009 thesis that ‘Schizophrenia is the price Homosapians pay for language’.

Syndrome - arts lab - from mercy...

SYNDROME arts lab and events programme for Liverpool 2014/15 exploring interaction and affect in new media performance Some amazing new works and performances and residencies being spearheaded by the ever groundbreaking Nathan Jones in Liverpool, including Caroline Bergvall, Zoe Skoulding, Sam Meech &
 launch event - session 01
A collision between Fifty Shades of Grey, the radical punk-pirate Kathy Acker and the sounds of Sonic Youth. In the grand tradition of literary terrorism, Hannah Silva layers, loops and subverts in pursuit of a violent sexual feminist satire. *This is the first showing of a new work, developed as a residency with SYNDROME, with technical residents Sam Meech and Simon Jones*