Words at the Black Swan – Session 10

Date: Sunday 3rd August 2014 16:30 – 18:00
Workshop Leader: Rick Rycroft

Responding to the exhibition ‘Fifthwall – Tristan Stevens’ curated by Christopher Bucklow, July 14th – August 30th 2014


Exhibition Information

Tristan Stevens’ new installation at Black Swan Arts hosts a multitude of visual wonders from animation to light boxes and his very own Zen Garden. But if you think the show is only about conceptual art, then think again! Using his ideas around the fluid state of networks, Tristan explores his own self reflections. The use of humour and the everyday conveys feelings and ideas that we can all relate to in different ways.
This exhibition tells you what the artist feels about himself & the world. The zen garden could be a metaphor for the world or for the artist. Objects within the garden are sacred.



Where shall i start?
Will the sand slip through the crevices grain by grain throughout the exhibition?
What is the word for a being before it comes into being?
Invitation or Display?


The earth beneath
or the sky above
What came before
The elsewhereness
Of what’s assembled here

You can have anything
In this world you want,
See, take a handful
Pour it grain by grain
Into the hand below

Anything in this world you want.
As long as you want this world.
What – you want another one?
You don’t buy this?
What’s wrong with you,
Take some time out,
Take another look,
Think again,
Breathe deeply

Everything is taken care of
There’s nothing you need to do
Just sit.
Leaf through those glossies.
Someone will be along shortly
to sign you in.

Emily Gerard



Why is it easier to engage with through my camera lens?
Are the leads and plugs important too?
Why does so much of it seem lonely?

Thoughts about the questions:

You can’t hug sand or screens
and there’s only the sound of traffic as lullaby.
Perhaps they all fled, too abruptly
even to turn off the lights, leaving only
the tainted scent that hid their humanity.
What dreadful epidemic drove them all away,
from so much wasted striving for perfection
all somehow sullied
all as lonely as a handful of sand.

Crysse Morrison

Twenty Questions of FIFTHWALL

Is this space a front?
Is it an invitation or a display?
Where shall I start?
Can I touch this?
Am I clean enough?
Why do I feel dirty in comparison?
Can I hug this?
Why does so much of it feel so lonely?
Is this what will remain of me?
Is it a departure or a destination?
Why does it feel stand-offish?
What is the word for a being before it comes into being?
Why do I find it easier to engage with this through my camera?
How are the leads part of it?
Will the sand slip through crevices beneath as time goes on?
Why do these look like abandoned props from a Tom Cruise movie?
What music would play here?
How connected do I want to be?
What am I missing?
How should I live?

Compiled by Rick Rycroft from responses of members of the group


The meter flutters red
1’s to 0’s and back
lip-syncing fluorescent silence
translating flashcards of intersections
frame by frame
clocking combination numbers
of date time stamp when I step
into the anti-chamber of the night pavement
filmed walking into the foyer
a still life hibernated by standby
ventilated by the rhythm of executive scent doses
gathering questions abandoned by us
I had the feeling that this is what will remain of me
– a departure point, somewhere to get off
the removal of the possibility of me being good enough
replaced by the promise of becoming individual.

Then the corridor towards this room
– one in a million –
and I’m thinking can I touch this
can I hug you, knowing this is something that
can only be seen through a camera lens?

And it occurs to me
what is the word for something the moment before
something begins?

David Davies



What music would play here?
What is the meaning of perfection?
Can I touch this?
Am I clean enough?
Am I good enough?


So much washing, wash your mouth out, cutting words, anime, the foyer of abandonment, lost humanity, nice is not a word I would normally use but here I am struck by its appropriateness, adrift, lonely, lose oneself, homogeny, surface cleaner, sparkling whites, veneer, poisoned apple, enamel, anti-bacterial, Logan’s run, Brasil, Carousel, Soylent Green, waiting for the dentist and the secretary smiles perfectly. When I was a kid (very young) I wanted the toothpaste that was advertised on the television with a sparkling ring (animated). When my mother finally bought me the toothpaste, I was utterly devastated to find the ring was not real.

Words in progress:

What price perfection?
How can we ever touch this with our grubby little hands?
It started with soap as a young boy
From humble beginnings my sublimation progressed

In this enlightened age
I use something far more sophisticated
And I am pleased to say…
My body is now completely removed

Kim Wood