Lock-in Day One

There are twelve of us here, in Greve de Lecq barracks, at the bottom of a fishbowl. It’s half past eight and we have reached a break in proceedings. We will reconvene shortly and by the time we are done I’ll be clamouring to sleep so tomorrow I can go again. My body feels tired, and I’m a long way from being the oldest on this residency. But even in the breaks we all go and swim in the sea.

Normally under such circumstances I’d find myself saying that I’ll lose weight by mistake this week but they are truly feeding us. There is no chance in the world that we will starve. This is a week long residence with Jersey Art House. They call it an Artist’s Lock-in. I applied last time I was in Jersey, wanting to connect to the island of my birth through my artistic practice. Of the twelve of us, only two were born in this place. Most are here for the first time. It’s good to see things through their eyes.

Time passed. It’s quarter past ten. We are finished for the night. I’m pooped. Pablo has found some chamomile tea. He’s put the kettle on and he’s talking with Kyriakos about flamenco. I’m taking a second to write words.

Today we played together and found a mixture of joy and random strangeness. We started to understand again the way in which artistic imaginations and priorities overlap. This is a group of positive makers, and I’m proud to be included. I was involved in a number of happenings, stories and moments. We even found a way to bring the bees in to other people’s experience. With all the variance in people’s artistic view, it’s perhaps hardest for us to do what some brave souls attempted tonight – to give a ten minute presentation about the kind of things we make. I’m thinking perhaps I should just scream and weep for nine minutes and then give everybody a flower.

I’m in safe company here. The guys are dedicated and fun. One group had rehearsed short piece in the dry on the beach, without taking into account the speed at which the tide comes in around this island. When it came time to perform the piece they’d made the water was deeply rushing. We watched them walk into the sea singing ancient songs, and as they did so the wind stepped up and the breakers started really roaring in.

I also got to make a sandcastle. The last time I made one of those I was probably on this island. Ok it wasn’t called “The Island of Secrets,” and it didn’t have loads of things concealed in it. But I still had the almost forgotten joy of filling a bucket with sand and turning it upside down.

This is a joyful and playful way to connect with a load of other artists and makers. It’s fascinating sharing the similarities and differences in process and priorities. I’m absolutely knackered though. And I really hope I don’t snore like a chainsaw again… Unfamiliar single beds are the worst.

Kyriakos has started playing strange broken down half electronic Cypriot folk music. I’m gonna tune in momentarily. Then pass out.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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