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Residency Artists

Rich Beale aka Don Mandarin

13-29 December 2023

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The residency I organised / curated at the Launderette between 13/12/23 and 29/12/23 came about initially as a means of ‘releasing’ / introducing a collaborative book of illustrated prose published by Ross Bathtub at Bathtub publishing (Bristol). The book ‘I Sleep Gently in the Womb’ is written and illustrated by myself. I designed it with Ryan Broom.

Ryan, Ross Bathtub and myself are more familiar with ‘gigs’ and record releases as vehicles for our work, less so gallery projects or readings. However, two other artists featured here, Vic Coombes and Nick Greenglass have had thriving studio practices at Spike Island (Bristol). The main point here is that we have all, in various combinations, spoken about ‘doing something together’ because of a feeling of artistic camaraderie and mutual respect.

I have always had a gang mentality. My ‘thing’ is counterculture, the underground, ‘scenes’. It was I who sat in the project space for at least 6 hours a day pondering this. I thought about something Alexander Trocchi said about some of his artist friends, that they were a sort of ‘spectral elite’. That is what can happen to artists, and yet by and large we demand community, we need to share, however challenging the process of doing so is. I spoke to scores of people coming in ‘off the street’ about the work on show here throughout the fortnight we were ‘live’. I was forced to articulate my enthusiasms and speak on behalf of the other artists.

The five of us were all aware of each other’s work, but largely online rather than in ‘real life’. We have realised that the apparent separation in our practices is one we would like to overcome with shared projects. We all work across several ‘media’, including the production of Noise cassettes and CDs and zines. Noise artists / Experimental musicians Big Fuss (Harry) Prior (Lauren) and Shit FM (Marcus) joined us in performance at odd dates throughout the residency. The main thread that binds us is the very fact that we have now worked and shown together, we have ‘created a scene’!!!!

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