Fitting In research photo for exhibition Making Space at the Minories, Nov/Dec 2015

Darren and I occupied The Minories during the exhibition and the two resulting films completed our installation, see films Fitting In and Fitting In (Drawing)

Text from the exibition Making Space:

Space can be made or defined across times, through sounds, via actions or by other means. Space is one of the tools we use to define ourselves – the space between us and other things positions us, and is how we help to locate ourselves within the world and plan our next move. Space can be physical or psychological, or both. Making Space presents work by artists who have explored ways of documenting, recording or responding to space, whether as a physical or psychological environment.

A parallel incidental exploration also occurs around the question of the making of an artwork, and when an artwork becomes completed. This is particularly relevant in relation to artworks that are performed. The “making space” that is referred to in this case is the space where something is made, or perhaps where something manifests itself – sometimes these two things may occur within the same space, at others they are clearly defined and distinct.

Choreographer Darren Ellis and artist Barbara Dougan have been collaborating since 2012, aiming to find a space between them; a common space to make work between visual art and choreography. Over the last two years they have been engaged in a process of research on the broad theme of ‘unentitled’. This process involves bringing together their separate interests in how circumstances inform movement, and the aesthetics and traces of that movement via a shared physical exploration in a particular environment. The environments they have created have involved mental and/ or physical barriers with ideas of restraint or constraint.

The invitation to exhibit at The Minories has prompted parallel experiments in film, photography and drawing, delving into how they fit into and adapt to new and unknown spaces or environments. The emerging work focuses on creating a personal space in a public space, or adapting to making a ‘home’ in a temporary space, one that is unfamiliar and not necessarily comfortable. The factors that disrupt their ability to fit in, to relax, or even to sleep, range from deliberate design to noise, smells and a change in routine. 

Leading towards the exhibition both artists are travelling and documenting attempts and rituals used to settle into new spaces and places. Documentation of this process will be presented in the galleries as a precursor and introduction to an ‘occupation’. The occupation will involve activities within the galleries that negotiate the space of the exhibition (the space made by the physical gallery and building structure (and perhaps outside that structure) and the works that are part of it, in an attempt to find a ‘comfort zone’ or equilibrium of being.