Announcing the Tea Party
No, not the ghastly right wing nutters in the US, but the emerging project for High Cross House. I’ve been searching since the residency began so find something that feels appropriate to the House. I’ve found this quite challenging, particularly as I think there has been a subtle but noticeable change of mood in the house since NT announced that they are withdrawing from their lease and closing the house in December. So I’ve spent some times wandering the downstairs (as opposed to being stuck in my bedroom upstairs) and trying to think about where a sound installation might be and what would fit.
At the same time, part of the point of this residency was about my own creative development. I’ve already hit a milestone on that one by making the Message Phone, which is now installed and working reasonably well. Somehow I still need to find a better way to encourage people to leave an actual message rather than merely taking about how ‘cool’ the phone is… but that’s another story. About thirty messages have been left over the past week, of which only a handful are substantive in any way.
I always wanted to do something that reflects the domesticity of the house: that fact that this is a house built for a modest family and intended primarily as a family home. It’s an intimate space, and I somehow want to reflect this in the work. My current thinking is about creating a speaking tea set using cups something like these. Whilst not exactly high modernist, their sixties’ clean lines and the nature of the melamine seems to fit the High Cross aesthetic. I couldn’t use china cups anyway because I’m likely to have to do some deconstructing and glueing along the way. I want the dining table simply to have a line of cups on it that can be picked up and listened to. This means not only building the sound entirely into each cup as a stand-alone unit, but also to find a way to charge the internal batteries without any wires. So my big technical challenge in the project is a) whether I can make the cups speak and b) whether I can work out how to charge them wirelessly whilst sitting on the table.
Watch this space.