Fluxus began in the 1960s with the work of a community of artists, composers, designers and poets. Their interdisciplinary experimental approaches to performance renounced traditional forms in favour of celebrating the mundane and immediate. Fluxus works are often presented as event scores. These are short instructions that can be followed and realised as performance or action.
At the beginning of 2019 newCELF released a call for works for event scores written in 2019 that followed in the Fluxus tradition. Poets, artists, composers and designers from around the world have submitted, from those who originated the tradition to those entirely new to Fluxus.
John Rea and I submitted the event score Dither, which was performed in Le Pub in Newport:
1 performer, 1 turntable, selection of easy-listening records, an audience.
- place record on mat. Turn on and place arm at random.
- dither for 14.33 seconds
- audience member changes record and places arm at random.
- repeat until all audience members have changed a record.
– Sarah Featherstone and John Rea, 2019
On dérives around cities such as Cardiff, London and Prague, I digitally capture fleeting and ‘found’ moments and monuments, later inverting the light values to convey mysterious, phantasmagoric effects. Through my interest in alternative photographic techniques, such as cyanotype and photogram, I have also begun to experiment with altering the printed images through the use of natural dyes such as tannin and tumeric to render contemporary scenes vintage. Altering the images is a way of reclaiming urban space, creating new worlds from familiar sights. Selected images will be made into large-scale screen prints.
For our Saturday afternoon drop-in session to experiment with cyanotype, or sun prints, participants brought along an assortment of things to try out on the photo-sensitive paper. Beads and seeds, feathers and flowers fresh from the garden were laid out and placed under the UV light bed for exposure.
Creating compositions using a variety of materials.
The most effective were often the most transparent or delicate items. Mary brought along a tracing on acetate of grasses she had made for a lino cut, and this worked beautifully, with small skeins of wool for clouds. Experimenting with double-exposure techniques added depth and interest: netting placed over the exposed grasses gave the effect of light rippling through them.
Rosalind, who is a wonderful illustrator, began to draw her designs on tracing paper, adding photogram items such as glass beads to enhance the composition. The tracing paper also adds varying tones.
Glass bottles from a flea market became ghostly alchemist’s wares. Sally’s double exposure using feathers and dried hydrangea flowers was also magical.
‘Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardour, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shames, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.’
— Aldous Huxley
We began the session drawing faces, practicing on tracing paper before transferring to the styrofoam. The children quickly got the hang of etching into it, creating wonderfully detailed characters.
They were excited about seeing the progression from their drawing to being able to pull multiple prints from their etchings, and were soon confident enough to go straight into etching out their ideas.
Next, the children chose a leaf from a selection collected in the park, and attempted to name the type of tree it was from. They chose from two coloured inks that I had rolled out, printing the leaves in their own designs to create a background.
Onto this background, styrofoam stamps that the children had drawn and carefully cut out were printed to create the finished pictures. Fantastic work!