from http://gorillaperfume.wordpress.com/ Gorilla on Tour – Peformer Profiles: SJ Fowler Posted on October 25, 2012
SJ Fowler has published four collections of poetry, commissioned original works sonic art, installation, poetry and performance art for a variety of institutes and organisations, performed and been published in countless countries and publications, as well as editing and working on several poetry magazines. Needless to say, he’s a busy man, which is possibly why his works, as we’ve seen them, tend towards the brief. Which is not to say they’re short – more that he cuts straight to the heart of the matter, whether it’s Ryan’s $20 suit, or a twisted whale-tale in just four lines.
For this tour, SJ has been reading from a specially commissioned work, based loosely around the theme of fragrance. We’ve loved having his stylish person around the place, and are super excited to present him at Cafe Kino in Bristol, The Gorilla Bus in Cardiff, and in London on October 27.
The Golden hour is a tradition. This is what I discovered spending a week touring with Ryan Van Winkle's capricious enterprise of music, poetry, art writing and I suppose one could say Cabaret. The tradition he is maintaining is one that is far too rare but is fundamentally a part of the avant garde history of performance. When surrounded by artists who work in other mediums, whether through desire or osmosis, their performitivity, their personality of performance affects your own, and rarely does the poet become consistently exposed to that kind of difference. By aligning the spoken word (and I obviously I mean that phrase in its purest sense, not in the sense of the escape clause phraseology used by cheesey motivational speakers who parade as poets) with the epithets of other mediums in one whole, curated by a strong aesthetic hand, there is a lot to be given and a lot to be taken.
I had an extraordinary time on this tour. Brighton, Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff and London saw shows both in the confines of a travelling van, a moveable gallery as it were and in venues I had never performed in before, art cafes and bars and such. The intimacy of the smaller shows really forces an adaptation of manner which is a unique challenge, the onus of the poet to become a performer, or at least to present people with something that they can engage with when it is just three bodies in a small space, is interesting. This model was based on an installation work Ryan Van Winkle pioneered at the Edinburgh festival and I glad to have a part in it.
The other artists were both warm and humble as well as quite brilliant at what they were doing. Discovering the work of Deborah Pearson and Garance Louis were special highlights of the experience. I was able to adapt the originally commissioned 22 poems I wrote for the tour day to day thanks to immersion of the tour experience and much of what the other artists said and did found their way into my work. The 22 meditations on scent owes much to Bill Griffiths too and his remarkable 'tract against the giants'.
I would be lying if I said the fact that the tour was sponsored by a perfume company did not give me pause for thought. The reality was in fact what I was promised. An unobtrusive presence, complete creative freedom and the sense, whether one believes it or not from the outside, that a perfumier is the olfactory artist equivalent to the poet with language. In such an environment as this tour, such concerns have a way of falling away, even if there immediate consideration is vital if one is going to maintain integrity.