Welcome Drinks (For Nowhereisland)
Plymouth Arts Centre commissioned me to create a performance for the Nowhereisland Open Meeting event, on 7 April 2011. Nowhereisland is a large scale contemporary art commission and the winning project of Artists Taking the Lead for the South West England, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. It is led by artist Alex Hartley and produced with Situations, at the University of the West of England, Bristol.
To welcome Nowhereisland, I collaborated with a team of mixologists from Avenue Bars to create bespoke, island themed cocktails for the Open Meeting event.
The Batter Street studio at Plymouth Arts Centre was transformed into an intimate cocktail bar with a smartly dressed cocktail waiters and trained mixologists. By drinking the specially created cocktails guests were unwittingly participating in the work. A text piece accompanying the performance will be printed on coasters in the space, and as the evening progressed rings from glasses left a physical trace of the event on the coasters.
Each cocktail, or artwork, was titled after an event or notion that related to Nowhereisland in some way:
1. Ny Oppdagelsen (4 lemon juice, 5 gin, 2 gomme, 2 blue curacao)
Translates as 'New Discovery' in norwegian.
2. Project Habbakuk (3 pineapple, 3 lime, 6 rum, 1 gomme, 1 orgeat)
A failed plan by the British in WW2 to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete
(a mixture of wood pulp and ice), thus creating artificial ice-islands.
3. Islomania (12 Apple juice, 2 Vanilla gomme, 2 Lemon juice)
A craze for or a strong attraction to islands.
The condition was first identified by Lawrence Durrell in his book Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953).
Welcome Drinks also explores what it means for an artist to finance a decadent or frivolous gesture, particularly at this point in time, and the idea of creating a pleasant or even luxurious experience for a ‘durational’ performance audience, referencing works such as Klein’s La Vide; and the craftsmanship, aesthetic frivolity, nostalgia and celebratory atmosphere serving cocktails create.