Boston, USA 2015
Material: 3 silver metal buckets for soft honey (5kg), black paint (2L) and urine. Pen (chisel nib), pencils (pure graphite), plain white postcards, roll of white paper (5m), roll of brown paper (5m), white-tak, and white leather bound plain paper notebook (A5 Moleskin). White cotton pillow cases (x2), white towels (x2) and glass bowels filled with water (x2). Fruit Sherbets (Marks & Spencer 225g). A repurposed second hand feather duvet. Scissors, sterile scalpel and domestic sewing needles and thread. A large natural sponge. Black satin double sided berisfold 7 mm width ribbon (50m) and a No. 15 Swann-Morton sterile disposable scalpel (retractable). Red glitter (500g), black glitter (500g), party-poppers, and red lipstick (unused in the action). A soldering iron, a comfortable wooden chair, birdie white lights (x2) and mineral water to drink for the duration. A metonym on a 10 second click running for 13 hours and 1 hour of "uncredited" noise running through a mid size stereo PA.
Action: Over three years, 13 actions were collected from peer artists and sealed in a series of numbered envelopes. Each contained an action that Thomas John Bacon could not prepare for. Each was designed to stimulate the potential for failure through impossibility or risk. On the 20th June 2015 at the Mobius Gallery in Boston, USA, xe opened one an hour for 13 hours and sought to attempt to continually engage with the stimuli within before immediately moving on to the next. Performing in the height of summer, xe never left the space, choosing to defecate in a bucket if necessary, and only drinking water, so the fatigue of the duration would add to the emotional, physical and mental toll of each new action.
This was a conceptual artwork, that can only ever be encountered in this unique way once. While the concept may have life beyond the 13 hours, these actions will never be performed again in this way.
Each encounter offered the spectator an opportunity for the phenomenological examination of the shifts in perception of a Being in action. As illustrated in the picture above, taken from the end of hour 10, the work had the potential to reveal the construction and deconstruction of a multiplicity of Self/s. Each moment of psycho-physical toil opened the potential to perceive this manifestation within the presence of the Being of the artist who was encountering these unknown risks.
With sincere thanks to all at Mobius in facilitating this, including but not limited to Philip Fryer, Daniel DeLuca, Vela Phelan, Alice Vogler, Marilyn Arsem and Chelsea Coon. And with further love and deep gratitude to the artists who donated the stimulus for these actions:
1 Ernst Fischer (UK/Germany), 2 Franko B (UK/Italy), 3 Sharon Smith (UK/Germany), 4 Helena Sands (Wales), 5 Paul Clarke (UK), 6 Rudolf Eb.er (Japan), 7 Leif Elggren (Sweden), 8 Jamie Lewis Hadley (UK), 9 Kira O'Reilly (UK), 10 Joke Lanz (Germany/Switzerland), 11 Helen Spackman (UK/Italy), 12 Hellen Burrough (UK), 13 Allan Taylor (UK).
This work was shown with the generous support of the Post-Graduate Arts Research Centre at University of Bristol, UK & Mobius Boston, USA.