GO West is part of a wider series of activities organised by ESP which seek to develop relationships between artists, curators and artwriters across the West Midlands, Wales and the South West, and is the latest in a series of collaborations between Eastside Projects and The New Art Gallery Walsall.
During the residency I developed work for a collaborative project for Flatfile at Eastside Projects with Sebastian Jefford and Sophie Bullock. I explored instructional language and presented an alignment of a written script and audio piece based on a hypnotherapy script for developing photographic memory. I was interested in the nature of this particular type of language and conversation- the intimacy of listening and the power of instruction.
Alongside Flatfile, I was working closely with the Beth Lipkin Archive at The New Art Gallery Walsall. The archive documents the professional and personal lives of Jacob Epstein, his lover and eventual wife, Kathleen Garman, their children and extended family. There is a loss and sadness prevalent in the family's complex history. The archive includes countless letters between the family, notably, love letters between Jacob and Kathleen. I'm currently working on a project which investigates the private and unique language of letter writing. This is in part was explored in collaboration with Cinzia Mutigli, documenting my residency through letters to her. We also kept two halves of a notebook during the time we spent apart, which we subsequently collaged and arranged. This generated material for the project 'UnsungSongbook', a publication created just after returning from Birmingham alongside 'In Conversation...' a radio broadcast of conversations between musicians we scripted from their lyrics.
During my time rifling through the archives, I became fascinated with Beth Lipkin, who was a close friend and confidant of Kathleen's. There is a distinct lack of information about her, despite the fact that she controlled and managed the entire family archive after Kathleen's death. Beth Lipkin removed any trace of Sally Ryan- a key figure in Kathleen's life- from the archive, the circumstances of which are subject to speculation. I'm intrigued by Beth's motives; her alleged obsession with Kathleen and her life on the outskirts of the family. I have begun with the few photographs I have of Beth. I have continued an ongoing dialogue with Julie Brown and the staff at NAGW to rifle and uncover more information about someone integral to, but almost absent from, the archive. All I know is second, third, fourth hand. Principally, I am writing. Using this gossip, what is known, what is unknown- and manipulating what little information I have.