MerzBarn: Resisting Absence

The context of this project sits within the current Arts Council funded consultancy into the future of The Elterwater MerzBarn. Littoral Arts Trust are intensifying artists networking processes, to activate the protection of the cultural legacy of Kurt Schwitters, and the MerzBarn as a symbolic site, research platform, and production space.

A collective of Manchester based artists and curators are exploring the theme of ‘Resisting Absence’ as a way of demonstrating the creative and cultural legacy of the MerzBarn.

A visit to the site, in January 2015, with the intention to further explore the experiential dialogue with the place, informed ‘Breathe: A Place For Artists.’

Considering legacy, within the context of resistance and absence, presented an urge to create a presence, and to focus upon the presence of the artist. This performance, or drawing, was made, by breathing upon each of the window panes of the MerzBarn for one minute.

The action makes visible the accumulation of layers of dust, cobwebs, and remnants of the presence of the ‘degenerate’. Its purpose is to salute Schwitters’ intention of creating ‘a place for artists.’

Inspired by the integrity of Merz – and a reflection of the absence of the presence over time of anything other than a place for artists and explorers, seeking freedom of expression:

‘We, the founders of Dada-movement try to give time it’s own reflection in the mirror’, Schwitters, Merz Magazine 1923

The development of this work will reference the influence of Kaprows’ Happenings- and their roots within Dada performance. I will invite other artists to perform this action in synchronicity, collectively for one minute at dawn and one at dusk.