Braewell House and Bargain Spot
Our flow of temporality varied throughout the two weeks, mostly staying constant throughout Braewell House. As the out-of-country residents had each arrived one-by-one into Waverley station over the course of several days, the very first meeting to journey out to Gifford was, of course, exciting and cordial, as all our six energies coalesced for the first time. The time didn’t speed or slow, in my reflection, but just remained steady, as did the five days across Gifford. We had a slight crescendo faster as we moved during the night of Gifford Open House, perhaps just due to the possibilities of publics coming into our very closed private space in Braewell house, or maybe because we knew that we’d soon be leaving this incubation place and transplanting into the City. This night held a zingy energy that seemed to move from resident to resident like a pinball. Several artist friends came out from the city, and some of James’ family came early on, but otherwise it was just us. This low-key Open House event was expected, and so I’m not sure why it was such zany energy, but it was so, and lasted until the morning.
EDI Started out slow, almost like a hangover from Braewell. I had embedded a day off before we were set to arrive into Bargain Spot HQ, and so the Guest residents – Andy, Anne-Laure and Luke, all bunked in at Steph’s or my Flat and ventured out into city life on our own for a day. Once we accessed Bargain Spot and settled in there, we had a steady temporality, which began to ramp up towards the end – our last four days intersected with the madness of the last three days of the Edinburgh Art Festival, which had the local art scene and many of our peers in a frenzy. We intersected with aspects of the EAF, but operated outside of it entirely.
One aspect to the residency I’d tried to keep up from past years was a Dinner and Conversation with a Guest Lecturer, which has been someone or several who I’ve lined up previously to join us. This is a bit more formal, and we have it catered, but it’s a way to embrace an outside but revered guest for an evening. Now, i’d spent at least two weeks trying to line up a dinner guest, but nobody could come due to Festival, as they had previous commitments or were already speaking at another gallery, and this all SPED UP past me, very quickly. In the end, I just paid to have a nice dinner sent in to our space and we all ate it and shared the work we had been making so far.
We’d decided to have an Open House on the Friday night, our next to last day, which did coincide with the end of the EAF the night before. This meant much of the EAF frenzy spilled over onto our door for our Open House. By Wednesday, it seemed we too were RUNNING UP to our Open House which the res group had turned into a SHOW, without my instigating this at all. I’d always regarded the Open House as such- a time for curious art publics and peers to come in as they like and see our works-in-progress in our social studio, and chat with the residents; it’s not an exhibition. This one, however, was a flat-out, take everything off the walls and sweep the floors, each artist taking an area to show their work, and the studio HQ quite turned into a gallery. It’s sudden and unexpected transformation was really fairly stunning, and all of our local community came through that night, even many out-of-town art cognoscenti who were through for the EAF came along, including some I’d met at earlier scholarly symposiums in Galway and other locales.
We crashed hard the next day, and had a fairly slow and evenly paced breakdown of the work. That nobody was leaving town right away made this tolerable and we were able to keep our emotions in check. That night, we’d booked a karaoke room in New Town, something I was an old hand at- I carried my song list scribbled on a square paper kept in my back jeans pocket where I lived in Minneapolis. We moved evenly-paced into this night, which then, once in the room together, seemed to last for a very long time. We kept adding more time, and then finally left at the very end of the night because the rooms were closing.
The next two days saw each of us casually crossing paths for brunch and other art events in town, until Luke was the first to go back to London. We all met for a long intimate goodbye to him. Then, Anne-Laure and Andy stayed on with us for several more days and nights, playing golf in the Links and enjoying the slow decrescendo wind down, Anne-Laure anticipating seeing her husband after “two more sleeps”, though we didn’t see much of Steph or Collette, the two local residents, after that.