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Improvements 22.05.10 photo by Carlotta Destro

performed at ArtEvict, 195 Mare Street, London, 22nd May 2010

A lot of road improvement works were being done in the roads outside my house. I commandeered two sandbags to be used in a pair of performances, “Improvements” and “Improvements 2”.

The title makes the claim that the sandbags have risen in status, from mere utilitarian objects to instruments of a gratuitous and non-productive action. It also refers to the more basic improvement in the state of affairs whereby a lot of sand, water, ink, and feathers are collapsing into formlessness over my belly, when previously that had not been the case.

I took two towels, folded them and placed them down as a comfortable pillow. I unfolded a third towel to reveal a selection of feathers. I poured water into a glass bowl and added ink to turn it black. I carried on a sandbag.

I lay on my back and dragged the sandbag onto my belly. It felt good, heavy and warm. I rested my head on the pillow and breathed deep breaths making the sandbag move. I stuck feathers into the sandbag, poured inkwater over, and made more big breaths, the sandbag moved like a living wing.

I mixed more ink and water, stuck in more feathers, poured, breathed. I took scissors and began cutting through the sackcloth to make the sand spill; stuck in more feathers, poured more inkwater, cut more, more collapse and spillage.

When all the ink and water was used up I stood up and let everything slide from me. I picked through the inky sand to retrieve the feathers, wrapped them back up in the towel, and put my shirt back on.

Young Mountains published a book of preparatory drawings, nine drawings of feathers I had made in order to get to know my materials, in an edition of 20 copies.