Gash Land at Fannying On, 2015
Me and my minions took Gash Land to Fannying On
Fannying on was a weekend-long show of works in progress by female contemporary artists in London, March 2015.
I wanted to use the space and time to develop 5 key performance ideas I had been working on, as well as recruit more citizens to Gash Land.
Gash Land is a fledgling country but had already started developing several ideas for key performances that make up some of its rituals and traditions. I decided to work on a few of these during Fannying On, and play around to find out which elements work best.
Psychedelic Menstrual Hut
This is an idea that I have been working on since before Gash Land began, which I have incorporated as a vital monthly ritual for all Male citizens of the cuntry. The idea is that by undergoing their psychedelic menstrual hut experience, cock-having citizens will gain understanding and empathy and be able to stand alongside their female cuntrywomen.
The ritual itself is carried out by a shaman (in this case the Glorious Leader of Gash Land) who enters the menstrual realm and then gives the man the experience of menstruation through their performance. I hadn’t planned much of this, as I wanted to use the opportunity to develop these performance elements ‘in the moment’. It was playful and humorous but intense at times.
The audience engaged with this performance and a lot of people had really interesting ideas for more ways I could give this experience of menstruation. Women in particular were passionate about how male citizens could suffer the more painful/traumatic aspects of the experience.
I performed the ritual three times over the weekend and experimented with the ideas people had contributed, and used my feelings at the time as I was also menstruating. I now have some good ideas for the direction I’d like this particular performance to take.
Let’s Talk Abaht Gash
This is a chat show about topical issues in Gash Land. The first episode that we played with at Fannying On is ‘All Abaht Minions’, with special guests Paul Kindersley (artist, stalker, pervert and video broadcaster), Ben Banks (citizen of Gash Land) and Charlotte La Spangle (Minister for Karaoke in Gash Land). The chat show worked really well in this context, on the opening night with a decent amount of people in the audience. I will be performing more episodes on video and at live performances.
The idea for Gash Station was born whilst improvising with Benjamin G Wilson on the set of ‘Come To Gash Land’. For the show I made telephones out of plastic cups on a string, and invited audience members to call for filthy flirty chat. This worked quite nicely when not staged – ie audience members can just call in spontaneously and have a sexy chat with the Glorious Leader. It adds a nice natural element of interaction, and I would like to experiment more with this.
Throughout the show there was a recruitment desk manned by various members of the government of Gash Land. There were videos playing, application forms for new citizens and five flap notes for gashproved citizens to collect. It was a fun way to open up dialogue between Gash Land ministers and visitors to the show, allowing them to comfortably ask questions about what was going on.
There was a moment where I turned to my Minister for Rural Affairs Benjamin G Wilson and said “I’ve done it, I’ve pulled it off”. I couldn’t believe that I had made Gash Land work. Yes, I have faith in the idea and I think the work is good and engaging but I hadn’t really connected all the dots until that point where I realised that I have turned my personality and my ‘safe space’/behaviours into one big performance and managed to drag a load of other people in too.
There are a lot of aspects of my personality which are typically seen as negative, that Gash Land actively celebrates and emphasises. I am an attention-whore. I have an ego and I am very concious of it. I am an exhibitionist. I am impulsive and indulgent. In creating this space where people worship me as a Goddess/Ruler I have also made a world where it’s OK to be me and these negative traits become positive and interesting and fun.
This was a really important moment for me in processing my ideas. I now see how Gash Land brings together a lot of themes about identity, imagination, external/internal, personal/public, art/life. This project presents my actual life through the lens of my imagination.
Over the weekend we recruited 30 new minions, which I am really excited about as it brings the total number of citizens in Gash Land to over 50. The cuntry is growing fast and strong and that makes me happy.
One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting some of my existing minions, being adored and given sacrificial offerings of wine and snacks. I have been surprised and touched by the level of engagement and enthusiasm/loyalty they have shown already. Why is this? Why do people get so much joy from this project? I don’t think it’s entirely about the worship or the interaction or the playing. I think it’s that they feel like they are engaging with the creative process, and stepping into my world. I think that Gash Land is capturing people’s imaginations and this is a really important part of the project that I need to nurture and promote.
There is a some brilliant documentation of the show in the form of photographs, footage and feedback for me to now work with. Here are some of the photographs: