Last year’s winner and performance provocateur Faye Green spills all about new work and winning £5,000
A year ago, fresh young Newcastle University graduate Faye Green dazzled the judges and assembled crowds with her provocative performance of “NOT TO DISCOU[RAGE] YOU” at our Shoreditch exhibition. Influenced by Jean-Martin Charcot’s stages of hysterical attack, her movement and dance came together for a psychically charged performance. The crowds were enthralled. She went on to win the Dazed x Converse Emerging Artists Award and a £5,000 prize.
We catch up with Green to ask her how winning the Emerging Artists Award affected her practice and we hear about her brave new work “Undone”, merging dance and language to address the complex issue of gender identity.
What provided inspiration for your new piece ‘Undone’ and how did this inspiration develop into a performance?
Faye Green: “Undone” feels like a work that was provoked, rather than inspired. At the time I felt a real urgency to process some of the concerns around gender identity that were very present to me. My struggle to articulate these concerns became central to the work; the piece enacts the troubled telling of a series of encounters. I made the piece during an intensive period on the Making Space residency as part of the Decoda Summer Dancing Festival. The residency allowed me to hone my ideas, and the particular context of the residency, with its focus on dance, really fuelled the making of the work. My own relationship with dance is intensely linked to notions of gender, and this all came together to make “Undone”.
Could you talk a little bit about the relationship between your performances and text?
Faye Green: Much of my work explores the telling of bodily histories, the body’s troubled relationship to language and narrative. Text is central to my practice – to the making process as well as the finished works. Writing is how I process ideas and figure things out. But my fascination with language, its power and inadequacy, is also the content of much of my work. I’m interested in how language relates to the body, how we speak about the body, or how the body speaks itself. I’m interested in the gaps – the inevitable failure of language to articulate the body, and what is generated in the space in-between.
“I’m interested in how language relates to the body, how we speak about the body, or how the body speaks itself. I’m interested in the gaps – the inevitable failure of language to articulate the body, and what is generated in the space in-between” – Faye Green
The judges last year enjoyed the rebelliousness of your piece last year. Is that something that chimed with you?
Faye Green: I don’t think about my work as necessarily being rebellious, but what I make is always entangled in some kind of struggle. I hope to make work that is provocative in some ways; my solo works are often marked by a sense of embodiment somehow haunted, complex and uneasy.
How did winning the award affect you?
Faye Green: Maybe the most significant affect of winning was the impact it had on my sense of my identity as an artist. I had graduated from my BA less than six months before winning the award – I was really still in the hangover period from the end of my degree. Establishing myself beyond the University context has been one of the most important challenges since graduating, and winning the Converse x Dazed award was really significant in that process. It also gave me an entirely different kind of confidence in my work.
What are your plans for next year?
Faye Green: I really just want to continue to build on this last year, to develop and challenge my practice. I have some shows coming up in the New Year, and hope to spend some more time away on residencies. I enjoy the intensity of working on residencies, and placing myself in new and invigorating contexts. I will be beginning 2015 with a bursary project connected to the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths, which I’m really excited about.