Keep on keeping on

The Silver Jumpsuits are hanging up, the stadium has been packed away, but the spirit of Three Step Endeavour lives on! Intended as a playful intervention, appearing from nowhere, staying for as long as needed and then leaving, 3SE offered the chance to experience the simple joy of momentarily leaving the ground beneath your feet.

This concept has stayed with me – and somehow the exploration of simple joy led me to run 26 marathons in 26 days – which had moments of feeling very far removed from anything resembling joy at all. Having previously run one marathon as an artist in response to the Olympics coming to London, and then exploring the crossover point between sport and art in hopscotch (you quite literally draw on the ground and then move over it), again in response to the Olympics, I found I was keen to continue in a similar vein.

This gave me the opportunity to develop the relationship I had built with The Human Performance Unit at Essex University as they agreed to provide training support, nutritional advice and psychological support not only in the run-up to the marathons but whilst I was doing them too. They also collected a lot of data, such as how many calories I ate, how many I burnt, how fast I ran, my heart rate, my perceived effort, my emotional state and the intensity of those emotions. I’m now in ┬áthe process of putting together a publication and a performance using all that data, as well as personal data, looking at endurance as a concept within sport and art and life – how our internal/external worlds affect our ability/desire to perform; the relationship between the mind and the body; how the body reacts to the stress of endurance. It’s exciting to work with scientists (even though I somethings struggle to understand their language), as that relationship offers the opportunity to find another way of questioning, exploring, probing and provoking. The combination of art and science together seems to me to be a natural partnership: one informs the other, each opens up new audiences for the other.

Working within LACE has helped me to make these connections – an unexpected bonus to our collective. I expected to strengthen relationships and networks with other artists and venues within the region, but the development of relationships with people outside of the live art world has helped to inform, shape, develop and improve my own practice as an artist.