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EKWC Residency

During a residency from 17 March to 11 April in 2014 at the European Ceramics Workshop Centre - EKWC - my research focused on the moment when the clay comes into contact with my flesh. I explored the interaction between my body and large quantities of clay slip in a narrow space a metre across, over two weeks. In two of the four experimental actions, 300 litres of grey clay slip were poured over me from above, and accumulated around me.

I performed four times: twice to camera only - Clayplay EKWC (2014) and Coffin Slip (2014), and twice to camera with an audience - Slip Deluge (2014) and Drowning Slip (2014). I recorded video and sound throughout the four performances.

I wish to acknowledge all the staff at EKWC and especially Ranti Tjan, Peter Oltheten, Marianne Peijnenburg, Leo Buijs, Froukje van der Meulen, Froukje van Baren, Sander Alblas and Stephan Mulder.

My residency at the European Ceramics Workshop Centre was arranged through the University of Westminster and Brabant Province.

Clay Play EKWC on 29 March 2014
Philip Lee wrote on 31 March:

"In Clay Play EKWC, the clay was introduced in a gentle slow manner using a large bucket. My intention was to start to fill the empty space with clay and acclimatize to being naked in the space. I sat in the performance space poured a bucket of clay slip on myself and flicked it around. In the event, I slipped and threw the clay about a bit up the wall, in an attempt to keep control and vent frustration."

Slip Deluge on 1 April 2014
"In Slip Deluge, more than 300 litres of clay slip was poured over me from above. For the first time the clay became another body beating me down."

Coffin Slip on 5 April 2014
"In the pool of clay created by Slip Deluge, I scooped out a gap in the solidifying, viscous mass of clay, just big enough for me to lie in. Once the coffin shaped hole was made, I lay in it and spoke my feelings and thoughts, which were recorded by the video camera and an independent microphone. Drew Ippoliti came into the space to photograph me from time to time but there was no audience for this performance. Throughout the performance, I was considering the affect of the clay on my flesh and mind with reference to the implications of death.

"I have become aware of the corporeality of clay and how it 'performs' in a live body performance. What is new to me is the subtlety of the changes that the clay slip goes through as it flows onto my body and then settles around my body: paradoxically the huge volumes of clay slip have revealed the small, subtle changes in the clay - thickening and becoming sticky next to my flesh, subtle responses to movements - slower movements mean the clay stays thicker; there is an interaction between my body and the clay slip, a variation on the processes of autopoiesis."

Drowning Slip on 9 April 2014
"In the narrower performance space, I tied myself to the wall by the ankle and was then inundated by a flow of clay slip from above. The clay pool grew as I found it increasingly difficult to resist the clay and keep my foothold.

Visitors were asked to respond to the action-performance:

"Man in despair. 
Man fighting against the elements"

"Suffering, pity, loneliness"

"It seems a body fighting with clay, trying to survive on it and being part of it at the same time. Clay and body being just one thing. The limit of the body ... A penitence. Beautiful palette of greys with clay wet and dry, the composition of the room gives an idea of prison."

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