Feeling the Blues

An interdisciplinary, sculptural live art work in three movements (and six parts).


The appoggiatura is a musical ornament that temporarily displaces the melodically expected note. It is a grace note that unlike the acciaccatura, which exists to highlight resolution in its swift move to the main note, places emphasis on the dissonance. It is the melancholic swing of the bluesy flattened third and seventh, a minor- in place of the expected major-. Within improvisation, it is this ‘wrong’ note that becomes the note of interest. Rather than course-correcting through ignoring, skimming over, or reversing, this mistake or bad turn is picked up as the point of departure. It is the injury – from the Latin ‘wrongful’ (iniurius) – and injustice – ‘not-right’ (in+iustus) – that is lifted and moved-with. This provides continuation through indeterminate movement that is attentively open to the unpredictability of the moment, an ongoing sensitivity to that which is arising. In its curious and highly responsive feeling-through, it is deeply erotic. Capable of expanding the possible as it responsively produces sounds and ways of moving that were not predetermined. In stretching the limits of the pre-established, it queerly produces possibility in a process of active unknowing. In short, it is invention.

In Italian, appoggiare means to lay, lean or rest on; to support or sustain. In this way, the appoggiatura can be understood as a leaning into dissonance that itself provides the support, or that which holds you. This move marked the turn of the 20th Century Blues scene, an under-researched lesbian environment in which the dissonance of living within the manifold conditions of oppression and abuse was leant into through the poetic expression of personal and collective trauma. A feeling-through that was characterised by improvisation – materialising, lifting, and circulating the weight of the blues, through the Blues. This cultural scene provided not only the means for survival by and for black, queer people amidst subjugation but the creation of aliveness beyond endurance – pleasure, joy, togetherness. This leaning into produced spaces of queer alliance and collectivity; the smoky, sweaty, erotically charged jazz club was a malleable harmonic hold and rhythmic foundation that perverted the major- with and through the minor- in a way that sustained movement. A moving-with that was supported by and at once produced structures for meaningful queer existence.

coma burrito

Movement One
4’45”, hold

HOLD! refold

Movement Two

Movement Three
re- as in again

riffing the repeat

Overture: coma burrito

Weathering at the Listening Ears, Dungeness
4’45”, February 2022

This work opens with an overture consisting of a collective argument. This unrehearsed live performance sets the scene; a two-speaker script created from a mistranscribed 4’45”-length audio recording. The edited sound recording of this was played on loop to the bodyweight of clay within Movement One, during the 24 hours leading up to the wrestle.

Movement One: 4’45”, hold

Unruly Encounters at Southwark Park Galleries, London UK
90″00′, March 2022

For Movement One a 46kg past-bodyweight of clay was wrestled through a movement score of 15 wrestling holds over 90 minutes. Exploring the nuances of holding through the metered environment of the competitive fight created a framework for ritualised power play to take place. A temporal dislocation, in which the repeat of what-has-happened was at once transposed, remixed, and folded into present experience, set into motion, and thickened by the what-is-happening, thus opening greater potential for what-could-happen. Each hold was felt-through live, timed at 4’45” by artist Linn Phyllis Seeger, and marked by the exclamation ‘hold’. The pre- and re-mains of this work were on display for the duration of this exhibition.

Codetta: HOLD! refold

Sticky Matters at London Conference in Critical Thought
July 2022

A performance lecture that shook out a text moving through the multiple phrases and facets of hold/ing, delivered wearing the suit and to the sound of Movement One. This was followed with the screening of 3’33” a sound and video remix of Movement One, created in collaboration with sound artist Lyndon Lewis.

Movement Two: MAKE ME WET

Hopscotch at Copeland Gallery, London UK
45’00”, June 2023

The wrestled clay, dried to 36kg, was pulverised through the rub and friction of the body during the second movement. Working with looping systems, the sounds produced were remixed live by sound artist Lyndon Lewis. This 45-minute performance was entirely improvised, working with a music-movement score created from 12 of the holds from Movement One and activated while wearing a suit created with the potential to break the set material down, tempering the toxicity of the dried clay through wet frottage. The pre- and re-mains of this movement were exhibited at Beaconsfield Gallery as part of Earthwise, June-July 2023.

Movement Three: re- as in again

Queereal Secretions at venue tbc, Glasgow Scotland
November 2023

In preparation for the third and final movement, the transshaped, powdered down clay will be rehydrated, re-turning a malleable body. This now workable clay will be re-wrestled. Not a retroactive re- but a re- as in again, in an otherwise, collectively wet way. This will be led through a somatic approach to the improvised movement, working with the circulating imprint of past events through sensual, embodied knowledge. The re-mains of this movement, will be exhibited alongside those of the first and second movements for the duration of the exhibition: The Complete Works.

Coda: riffing the repeat


The coda will close this work, not a fixed or definite ending but an ongoing tending to that will indefinitely maintain the malleability of the bodyweight of clay. More to come…