‘We’ve landed,’ he said, waving his hands at the pile. ‘We will form a new society here, in this land of God. Once, we were on board ship, but now the body of the ship has become like unto the sea itself, this place –’ and he planted his foot roughly onto the stones, displacing most of them and exposing the straw ‘– is a pristine kingdom. Let no man or woman bedevil it with sin!’
This time it started when we went on a walk to the Minsmere Levels, land that was once marshy home to a religious community, then military test site and now bird reserve. The ‘Sluice Chapel’ was built in the 12th century but is now a ruin. We climbed in and over the chapel and could see the nuclear power station at Sizewell. There was a dead fox that smelt bad and later Boris wrote a story about a group of children and a Live Action Role Play that doesn’t quite end in disaster. This is often how SSEA develops environments for collaboration, and within these we construct rituals and relationships and develop forms of making that might help to understand or challenge or transcend accepted structures of meaning.
The Crocodile is the name of Boris’ story and it is also a spectre that haunts our games. It swims or slides or crawls in and makes something that was just pretend into something real. We become much smaller in ourselves. We are the birds that clean its teeth. But the crocodile is not a pristine kingdom. We think it could be some great vision of failure, it is magnificent. It is the reason we are friends and the image that makes our love of Avery so very sharp. We look above and see its great jaw but I think we sometimes worry it does not exist and we are just sitting on the ground.
SSEA is an independent teaching and research organisation based in London and Cambridge (UK). Its cross-disciplinary programme brings together three areas of expertise: science-studies, spirituality, and experimental art. Its members include Miriam Austin, Jenny Bangham, Matthew Drage, Paul Gwilliam, Boris Jardine, Lizzy Laurance and Al Page.
Miriam Austin, Jenny Bangham, Matthew Drage, Paul Gwilliam, Vincent Van Gogh,
Boris Jardine, Lizy Laurence, Al Page
4th October - 21st October 2018