We Share Air We Share Air
Nice to not really meet you properly, and by that I mean it’s nice to (not) meet you (properly), and by that I mean, whilst you are there reading this, and whilst I am here writing this, and whilst I don’t know you and might not ever physically meet you, you’re still there, and I am still here and that is nice. It's more than nice.
You’re all the way over there.
And I am all the way over here.
And I hope you know that that really matters.
My name is Peter (above, left). I am 33 years old. My child, Skye, is 2 and a half years old, and I have been with my partner Nic, for 12 and half years.
I live just outside Glasgow, on a boat, on the forth and clyde canal. I grew up in England, having been born in Scotland. I am from an Italian Catholic family, but don’t practice. I was an altar boy. I used to have a dog. I once fell through a second story window in the house of the people I was babysitting for when I was 14. I crashed through the glass conservatory ceiling that was just below the window, and only managed to get a graze on my elbow.
I can be really lazy. And I can work really hard. And I can despair at the state of the world, and I can also feel so in love with the smallest detail; the sun coming through the window on a warm evening, the way my child waves his little hand, the way my partner makes me laugh.
I am also a gardener, in that I work with plants, and I love watching things grow.
I hurt. I have fun. I grieve. I miss things. I wish that so much of the world could be different, so much so that sometimes I can’t see the point. I believe in holding your own, doing the hard work, finding the light and following the energy. And I don’t care much for bullshit. I am older now, and that is something I am understanding a bit more as I go.
In 2009 I graduated with an arts degree.
We Share Air We Share Air was a performance I made at this time, based on a process I went on to try and connect with the city I live in, framed by ecological crisis, framed by loneliness.
In many ways the performance was a catalogue of the interventions I tried to enact upon the city during the making of the work. These included leaving invitations in books in libraries for strangers to meet me at a certain place at a certain time. Leaving posters around town for an event that would happen in George square that anyone who noticed the poster would be invited to. I cycled my bike around the whole city and delivered pop-up-lectures on the back of it about the history of the oceans, and how all life came from the sea, and how thinking of that, thinking of us all coming from the same place, why are things so far apart? Why do I feel so unearthed?
this work was the first public performance I made by myselfand performed solo. It took about 12 weeks to make, but really I felt like I had been making it for years. I showed it in Glasgow, at The Arches. And then I went on to show it at a few more venues and festivals across the UK.
I look back on it now, fondly. It was hard to do. And there were things about it that didn't quite know themselves at the time; things that I would have liked to have given more time, to have looked after, to have understood more. But that is the way of it I suppose. Looking at it from this older place, I can still learn from all the questions it was asking but didn't quite get round to attempting to answer, that I didn't have the clarity to see back then.
I actually have very little good documentation of this process, and only a bit more of the performance so remember- it is really important to document!!
During this performance making, I read a book called The Sea Around Us, written by the astonishing environmentalist Rachel Carson and it really informed the work. In many ways the work was a kind of dialogue with this distant woman, who had died, in as much as it was an attempt at a dialogue with the city i was trying to inhabit.
That book allowed me to begin understanding the beauty of the water and the beauty of life at a time when I really needed to know.
And so a provocation for beginning anything:
What brought you to this place you find yourself in?
What do you want from this?
What are you yet to say 'Yes' to?
(Don’t feel the need to answer them out loud. But they are for you to have, and answer as you go along as and when you want them.)
Lastly, something else that informed my work from around this time iwas an essay by the artist Tim Etchells (the artistic director of Forced Entertainment). I have attached that here as well for you, as another gift. I hope it resonates.
It's been really nice to not meet you properly. And I want you to know that it is a privilege to share this stuff with you.
Until next time,