I let someone do whatever they wanted to me recently. I was totally passive. Not ragdoll-passive though: I could use my muscles, but I couldn’t respond or reply. They said that in my cute little top I was too cute, they took photos of me cross-legged on the floor and showed them to me while I tried my best not to laugh at my cute little face. They said I should be more of a bad guy. We swapped tops so I was now wearing a grungy, ripped grey sweater, and they are in my billowing clownish tee. They weren’t finished, and got a poster pen to draw a goatee and sideburns on me. They said that I definitely looked like a bad guy now. I was lifted into a standing position, so they could take some more photos of me as the bad guy. ‘Don’t you feel good as the bad guy, don’t you like exerting your dominance, don’t you love your threatening appearance, don’t you feel comfortable being bad?’ They gave me a wooden plank, had me carry it across my chest and walked me out of the door into public. A parade of bad guy-ness. We walked through the drizzly modernist architecture, holding still when we encountered people. We found some carved wooden sculptures of the Virgin Mary outside a wood workshop with some latent chopped tree trunks at her base. Gestured with the wooden plank for a while: before and after. Then, I’m positioned at the end in a puddle as if the pinnacle of artistic progress, me the bad guy. ‘Art of the 21st Century’, I am dubbed sarcastically as I swallow the roaring jest.
Gordon Douglas is a performance artist in Glasgow. He plays games with organisational staff and their stakeholders, celebrates birthdays amidst austerity, and holds it together before breaking down in offices. He is currently cardbearer for Good on Paper.
Cicely Farrer is a curator on the North East Coast of Scotland. Day to day she facilitates artist residencies, pedagogical events and workshops and supports artists to create new work including performance. She invests her time considering the invisible support structures for artists.
Good on Paper is a research project initiated by Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer looking into the futures of performance art making in Scotland. They are working with MAP Magazine on a series of texts through spring/summer 2022.
Good on Paper is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
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