I’ve decided tomorrow evening I’m going to do the forks.

It’s more of an experiment, just for myself, to see how I can make a narrative out of objects. I’m interested in how this piece would stand next to a work like What To Do or Conversation Piece, which are more clearly descriptive and durational. In the context of my practice, the forks piece follows a line through language and translation to ‘translating’ objects, and trying to make objects do what words do, which has in turn developed analogies with another strand in my work that involves inventing domestic objects or appropriating them to new ends.

But it’s the durational/performative aspect of the work that I’m interested in thinking about and experimenting with tomorrow night.

This forks thing is a very simple moveable arrangement of forks and rotary motors, which collide and go wrong if left to their own devices. The piece doesn’t work without me constantly being there to maintain it and stop it breaking, and my presence in the work does a few things that interest me.

If I’m continually taking the forks out and replacing them, and unplugging motors to resynchronize them, and moving them around to allow wider circles (but not too wide or the game would stop…) then in many ways I’m telling the story, rather than the objects. I have to respond to the needs of the objects, but my choices of response are relatively open.

And if I moved the motors wide enough apart, then no forks would collide and I’d be able to go off and leave them going round without me like clockwork. I don’t want to do that: it isn’t part of the game.

Both these things open up the dreaded issue of the ‘persona’, and the related but less dreaded issue of pretending, and framing. Why don’t I want to stop the game? Why do I want to be playing it in the first place? Is it a game, and am I playing? And anyway who is this person who wants to be doing this, and how does that person relate to me?

The work I’m doing tomorrow night won’t be announced or labeled as a performance in any way. It will take place at the private view of an exhibition in a domestic house, so there’ll be people milling around, many of whom I know socially. This means I’m going to be behaving as I normally do when I have people around me, which cuts out a whole range of slightly stylized behaviours I was considering in the case of What To Do (tone of voice, not looking at the audience, stilted manner of delivery…) and leaves me in the situation that I’ll be there, as myself, but just doing something a bit odd. I have an idea that it’s only through persevering with the work over the course of the evening that I’ll start to understand what does and doesn’t work. For now it’s all a bit incoherent.

The place is 38 Shakespeare Road SE24 OJZ, and the exhibition is called Changing Rooms.