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Chronicle, 2011 Video still

FRIEZE 2011: Cara Tolmie

The Glaswegian artist performs her multi-layered voice and narrative work on site at the prestigious art fair

As Frieze continues into the weekend young Glaswegian artist Cara Tolmie will be on site performing her new work outside the front entrance to the fair so that not only will visitors be able to encounter the work, but users of Regents Park as well.  Known for her multi-layered engagement with voice, narrative and fictions through video, installation and performance, the former LUX associate artist presents an ephemeral work that investigates the spatial and temporal nature of the structures which surround us. 

In contrast to the object-heavy nature of the work on display at Frieze, Tolmie will be using the minimal apparatus of her body, her voice, a rotating chair and occasionally a microphone in a live spatial mapping.  Intrigued, we were keen to find out more…

Dazed Digital: How does you work respond to the environment of the art fair?
Cara Tolmie: The performance is really an exercise in constructing temporary space through voice, narrative and movement. In this way, there are some obvious parallels that could be drawn between the endless booths inside the fair, the temporary yet epic nature of the space of the fair, the kind of narrative that is woven into the space over a short period of 5 days...

DD: What's you interest in voice and narrative?
Cara Tolmie: That's a very big question and difficult to answer shortly. The idea of the voice is a strange one, especially when you add singing. People relate in a very specific way to being sung to - it generally conjurers emotional associations in people. This is something I am interested in trying to break down a bit with performance. Voice and narrative are both immaterial but have a huge influence, narrative particularly, on how we understand tangible, solid things - objects, space etc. They are abstract but very powerful tools used to understand what goes on around us.

DD: Is it important for you to take people out of the art fair mindset?
Cara Tolmie: I would never attempt to guess the mindset of an audience. I think all you can do is make sure your work has an integrity and logic of its own and hope that it communicates on its own terms.

DD: What's your interest in fiction and creating a fictional space?
Cara Tolmie: I think all social space involves the building of fiction in some way or other - the building and inhabiting of space is very much wrapped up in narrative and history building.

DD: What stays the same in all of your process - regardless of whether you're making a video, text or performance work?
Cara Tolmie: Most of the development actually. The thinking process is the same no matter what medium I'm using. I think there is a lot of crossover, for instance I talk about the sections of this performance as 'frames', in kind of a filmic way.

DD: Do you use any theatre rehearsal/development techniques to create the work?
Cara Tolmie: No, I did do a lot of theater when I was younger though so my experience of that of course informs the way I perform.

DD: What is your intention in mapping the space of the fair through performance?
Cara Tolmie: I'm not mapping out the space of the actual fair. It's just a space. The performance is a study of what kind of structures help build and inform a space. I think this could be applied to any space, not just the fair.

DD: What's up post-Frieze?
Cara Tolmie: A lot of sleep...