Episode 5: Chelsea College of Art & Design, BA Degree Show, London (above).
Episode 2: The Body Of, Florence Arts Trust, London (above).
Episode 1: Chelsea Gallery, London (above).
CONFORMITY IS THE BIGGEST KILLER This project consists of five live performances that took place across several years and in different contexts, and a collection of blood paintings. Each time I performed a work prior to this project that involved the use of my own blood on my body, I would wrap cotton fabric around me to leave the performance space. These sheets of fabric were then used to create a series of blood stained paintings that appear on the wall (as a backdrop) in the first version of the live performance. The project is autobiographical and addresses various issues around being tormented, bullied and physically attacked during my secondary schooling and looks at issues around intimidation, control and gang violence. The use of my own blood and meat in each performance is representative of the fragility of the time, and acts as a metaphor for exposing the pain, and a way of bearing all for everyone to see. Several repeated actions feature throughout each performance that include, the ironing of my own hair, which is a reference to the slang homophobic insult 'Iron' meaning gay. An old fashioned insult that feels ironic considering an iron is something strong and solid (especially in it's earlier form, from the time in which the insult originates), and not a whimsical, stereotypical type insult associated with gay verbal abuse, such as 'Fairy' or 'Pansy' (for example) that have a direct correlation in their intended use. Other aspects include the wearing of a dress made out of hearts, laying on a bed of hearts and the eating of raw hearts, all of which are symbolic of pain, suffering and torture. The extraction and re-consumption of my own blood (through drinking) in the work points at the ongoing intimidation and the endless ritualistic cycle of intimidation and aggression. The consumption of food, alcohol and cigarettes references the self medicated use of stimulants and comfort eating that followed these experiences, and the physiological after effects. In the latter versions of the project I shifted direction, demonstrating a sense of post period self found strength, and this reflects on how bullying, intimidation and being a victim of abuse overall can sometimes have the effect of building strength, and strong mindedness into an individual. And shows that, although the emotional scars still remain inside (like many things in life) they also have a positive flip side, and often play a major part in shaping who you are as a result, and regaining control and determination.
Devised: Oliver Frost.
Episode 1: Featuring: Oliver Frost + Juliana Ameral Leite. Performed: Chelsea Gallery, London, UK.
Episode 2: Featuring: Oliver Frost. Performed: The Body Of, Florence Arts Trust, London, UK.