Talks with Emma
What are some of your inspirations for the work you are currently creating?
I have been on exchange at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm since January so naturally that has had a big impact on the way I have been thinking and the work I have been making. Simple things such as new personal relationships with people over there have been kind of sparks for writing – a way for me to process how I am feeling I suppose.
I think you can really get used to the work you are around if you are always working amongst the same people, for example in one studio space with one peer group, so being around people working in a different way has affected my approach to working. I feel much less pressure when creating at the moment, not worrying whether something will be deemed ‘good art’ or not – I think this is a very real pressure which exists in London. In Sweden, creating was more individualistic and I therefore felt there to be less pressure to answer to anyone else’s expectations – you created what you wanted to create for you.
I also went through quite a big personal change recently and therefore have been thinking about self-perception and existing and accepting a multiplicity of selves.
How would you describe your methods for making your written pieces?
Immediate. They are a stream of consciousness and I rarely go back and edit them. I enjoy walking and observing – experience of real life is my starting point for my work. Often I see something and a phrase kind of crystallizes that moment in my head. I have a whole collection of memo’s of them in my phone. From there, I just kind of write. Often things organically develop in the written pieces and I find I am writing about something I had no idea I wanted to write about. It is great to be surprised by your own head like that.
Is there something you hold in mind when writing that aids the imagery you create in your text?
As I said previously, these kind of snapshots of experience which cohere in my head. I suppose I am trying to make the intangible tangible – give the reader some small insight into a feeling or thought, trying to explain the way I see something, for example, in the hope to provoke their observation and processing of the world around them.
What other mediums have you used in the past to make work?
I have worked performatively, whether that be small actions or more constructed performances. Recently I have been setting up participatory situations which almost act like workshops, where the material of the work is really the ‘doing’ rather than whatever is outputted. I also enjoy working with video material, usually documentation of the performances, which I then explore, prodding and manipulating the material in the same way a sculptor might mould clay. There have also been some small experiments with more object based work, such as casting, which I am planning to experiment with in the very near future.
What are some of things that interest you that become apart of the work you make?
The way that people ‘work’ – what they do and why they do it. I am interested by the idea we all process the world in unique ways. Something I notice on the street might not mean anything to someone else. I think this alludes a lot to our characters – what is important to you, what takes your eye.
I am also an active person and walking has played a large part in the inspiration and production of my work in the past. I am becoming increasingly intrigued by movement based art and the use of people and their movements, how they respond to situations and instructions.
In a few words describe what your piece ‘ the brain is housed’ is about?
A struggle with feeling at home in your own skin. A difficulty in acknowledging, accepting and nurturing your multiple selves. A lack of care and space for this in society. And the location, dislocation and relocation of yourself in relation to someone important.