An Invitation (Let’s Just Do It) (2015)

an invitation (let's just do it)

In March 2015, 38b Projects invited Laura to perform at Domestic Transmissions: 38b Presents… at their Peckham gallery. She wrote this piece for the occasion and performed it to a live audience, as well as being broadcast on Radio Anti, as part of their week-long programme of recordings and broadcasts from a range of domestic spaces across London. You can listen to the entire broadcast (which also features Sarah Bowker-Jones, Luke Drozd, Rita Evans, Eva Rowson, Mike Ryder, Rosalie Schweiker and Keef Winter) on the Radio Anti Mixcloud page.

 

I’d like to invite you inside.
It’s a pleasure
To meet you
And I’m keen
To get to know you more.
I want to show you my work:
A little more of myself.
The way you looked at me
At that private view,
When you entered,
I knew we had a connection.
I could tell you understood
What I was trying to express.
I was only sorry we didn’t speak more
Before you withdrew.
This gallery, this flat, this home, this enclave,
It’s open to us, tonight, to you and I.
Who knows what activities, what happenings
Have happened here, within these walls.
I run my finger along the emulsion
To see if I can find out.
You and I have a most desirable opportunity
To immerse ourselves,
To occupy this living room,
With our bodies.
And here we are, bodies and art,
Entwined in someone else’s lounge,
Excited
About what we see, hear, feel, touch,
Taste.
It took care To construct, to install.
There was, of course,
The erection
Of plinths
To display
My body
Of work.
And the work itself:
Hours of fingering The edges
To make it neat, like silk,
And soft.
On my knees,
On the carpet,
I pressed panels into place,
Inserted nails
And smoothed the surfaces
With silicone.
The cotton bed sheets
Were stretched
As far as I could reach
And further, if I felt ambitious.
No canvas was required.
I chose something softer, more delicate and supple
(Not so stiff.)
Now it sits, or rests, or hangs,
You gaze at it,
My work,
My extension of myself.
Parts of it, alabaster, highly polished and easily scratched
(But willing you to touch it.)
You can.
(If you are gentle.)
The paint on the walls
Is still wet.
In many shades,
It absorbs and reflects
Sunlight
And neon
And camera flashes,
As I pose, next to my work,
As my work,
My body of work
My exhibition.
You and I
Are this exhibition.
We are an exhibition,
Illuminated
By the gaze of others.
Our assemblage
Of conversation,
The to and fro
Of our dialogue –
Enhanced by this wonderful wine –
Holds us in a swell
Of provocative discourse,
Which stimulates my impulses
To probe you further.
We inch closer together
And I brush you with a hand gesture:
You don’t flinch
But you hold me there
With your attention
To my figurative
Studies,
Self portraits,
Nudes,
And a silhouette Of a woman,
Curved and lithe and lying in wait.
(Like me.)
You fill my subconscious
With an abstract impression
Of what you look like naked
And I resolve To paint you,
To draw something
From within you,
To trace your skin
On paper, with my pencil
And to smother that form
With acrylic or oil
And fixative
To preserve it
And observe it.
To bind you in a border,
And mount you
Behind glass,
So I can appreciate
Your frame
In any room of the house I choose.
And I do.
Enclosed and unclothed,
Tight, inside museum glass,
Your male gaze is mine now.
If I like I can have the work enlarged
To satisfy my predilection
For epic artworks,
Brutal and imposing forms
That intensify my experience
Of perception
And expand my understanding
Of sensation.
Engrossed, as I am
In staring at the marks
I etched into your skin,
I haven’t noticed until now
That I’m spattered,
Sticky and stained with pigment
In shades of skin tone and blush.
I’m saturated, sated, fascinated,
By you,
And your ability
To penetrate my perspective
And subvert it,
Distort it,
Encourage me to see
The world, anew.
Our viscous relations
And the way we handle each other
Delicately, like precious
Works of art,
But brutally, like cumbersome
Carvings,
Monoliths,
Weathered by wind and rain,
Reminds me that we are durable
But breakable,
Susceptible to damage
But essentially robust.
We are engraved with
Those who have worked on us before,
Printed with our pasts,
Cracked, sometimes bronzed,
Often hammered
Into curious shapes.
I could not exist as
I, without you
In this place,
Where you listen
And watch.
Where we are squeezed into a small space
Together,
And thrust into airwaves,
Together,
To be heard
To be handled, aurally,
To serve the ears of others.
You came,
Because of many things, of course,
But
You came
To appreciate me,
And my work.
The work I did here.
You came.

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