Holy Souls; alldaybreakfast at Fringe Arts Bath

The artist collective to which I belong, alldaybreakfast, were invited to re-stage  Holy Souls at the Fringe Arts Bath Festival. Its  a huge event including music, performance and visual arts and takes place over two weeks all over Bath. We are five artists involved in alldaybreakfast: Tommy Cha, Carol Laidler, Pat Jamieson and Bernard Fairhurst, all of whom contributed artworks and building skills to the final installation.

We were give a wonderful labyrinthine basement which included a large waiting room and corridors. We collaboratively created an environment, the waiting room is similar to the previous one but beyond this the exhibition has grown and changed; for the better.

 

Viewers descend a wide staircase into this space clothed in plastic, lit in blue.

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

They are invited to take a seat, take their time and think about which of the three possible doors, all marked ‘Enter’, to go through first. In the background plays a badly reproduced, tinny  bossa nova. Quiet but insistent; strangely not annoying, the girl from Ipenima keeps her measured pace.  Some people enter the spirit and sit, slow down, then choose a door.

A Door

A Door

Beyond the doors is an abandoned space, timeless, purgatorial, artefacts are to be found here and there on walls on shelves, as though abandoned.

Enter a door, seek what is to be found – a narrow corridor.

A Corridor

A Corridor

 

Souvenir  postcards from Atlanta Airport – sine qua non of non-places. Famous for being a huge hub; change here though a direct flight would be shorter and quicker; there are no direct flights. Famous for delays due to the weather. Famous for the old joke; when you die,  whether you are going to heaven or hell, you will have to change in Atlanta…

Postcards from limbo

Postcards from limbo

Postcards from someone at the end of their tether. Might one not go mad held in departure lounges, no means of escape, nowhere to escape to? A re-visit to Huis Clos.

A typewriter with a Kerouac quote, he too is feeling lost and displaced.

A video which keeps breaking up; a woman sits behind a door, it feels like voyeurism.

A typewirter

A typewrter

More shelving in the dusty, abandoned corridors.

Selving

Selving

A pair of card index boxes; old, used filing cards stamped ‘Did’ and ‘Didn’t.

Did, Didn't

Did, Didn’t

An eye which could almost still be living,  let into a box.

A box with an eye

A box with an eye

What is to be seen through that eye? A view into a hidden room, something forbidden?

View through an eye

View through an eye

But where is it looking- through the wall?

Another door another view. Nice, multicoloured biscuits spread across the wall.

Nice

Nice

Dow the corridor and around the corner, another image. This time huge.

A Banner

A Banner

 

Too big for the space it hangs cramped and awkward. A background

of concrete with a dustbin.

Holy Souls

Holy Souls

The last door reveals  another wall and another corridor, brighter this time. On the wall twin frames, emergency drill, evacuation routes? They have been there so long they have become  part of the wall; invisible.

A wall with two frames

A wall with two frames

 

Closer inspections shows a plan labeled with circles – the inferno – hell.

The Nine circles, and Key

The Nine circles, and Key

The next wall bears evidence of stuff removed; the path  leads back, surroundings look familiar, perhaps.

Leading back to wooden shelves

Leading back to wooden shelves

Tatty posters bemoan the loss of Youth and Beauty as Thomas the Tank engine is dragged backwards into oblivion.

Going, Going, Youth, Beauty

Going, Going, Youth, Beauty

 

In a small wooden frame a film seems hauntingly to reflect that mood.

A small wooden frame

A small wooden frame

In the darkness ugly shapes collapse on shelves.

Rubber…things

Rubber…things

Near by boys are in evidence.

Boys

Boys

All memories of youth and beauty; best forgotten?

Around the corner  in a secret hidey hole another video, young people confidently and thoughtfully  evaluate their lives. Youth and beauty incarnate.

Secret retreat

Secret retreat

But frustration and anger are expressed in the wrecked dressing table on the shelf below. A grimy towel, rubbish and more strange rubber on the floor.

Youth and Beauty can be manufatured

Youth and Beauty can be manufactured

The stickers say ‘Save’, one has ‘me’ added in pen. In the box a bank bag for silver…

 

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