Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cixous Ghost: Yan Bourke

Photographer and music enthusiast Yan Bourke was among the slightly bemused audience to which Cixous Ghost played last Friday for the Darklight Film Festival at The Grand Social (formerly Pravda). We were under-prepared and the energy was way high! As per recent Cixous tradition I failed to get my visuals prepared in time, which was a gaping whole in my sense of satisfaction post-gig. It was technical mostly, so I shouldn't feel too guilty, I had worked hard. But I think I'm giving you the wrong impression - I loved every moment of playing my music and performing with JK and JD who accompany me in Cixous, and I felt determined to own it as much as I could, despite currently feeling slightly under pressure to be 'entertaining', which is of course Boring!

I'm not feeling well in my music persona. It isn't fitting neatly. I think I know why this is - I'm not giving it enough time. Time. Time. Time. I want to spend more time on my music. I am hugely grateful of the support Skinny Wolves have shown Cixous thus far, especially being invited to play at the Darklight event with Xiu Xiu; it activated me and provided some Cixous fuel. I hope to start developing the music and exploring what IT IS (what is it?) as a creative project. A friend recently admitted that he 'didn't get' Cixous. This friend knows me as a drummer, he is a Emily Drum Fan (the few that there are, are hard core), and is into his electro-pop more than most. I know what he means, but at the same time, there is something worthwhile there and playing this gig has invoked a curiosity in me to discover what that is. To take the time and put in the energy to seek that meaning out.

The night itself was terrific - I felt huge with goodness, passion and support. There were so many cool people around and nice interactions and the peeps who did like the music shared their compliments and thoughts on how it made them feel which I always find fascinating in extremes. Yan was one of these people. It's bizarre how one's perception of one's own creations can differ so radically from the perception of others. Recently, a film maker Donal Foreman contacted me about collaborating together. He saw me perform at Transversal in Block T, playing improvised music with contact improv dancers. The experience of working in this way, with dancers especially, had been enormously liberating with gorgeous processes, but unfortunately, I was awfully sick on the evening of the show and had in my mindlessness, forgotten some of my most vital equipment. As a result, the music was very pared back and the experience was personally unpleasant. Then, over a month later, Donal wrote to me and said how inspired he had been by the music I played. So much so, that he sought contact! That is the amazing thing about being a creative and a performer - making connections, starting collaborations, being part of other people's creative and emotional energies.

Here are some of the photos Yan took of the set, it's mostly me, one of JK and none of JD (aww)! But I really like the photos he took of me. They are unlike a lot of the images I now see of myself which are largely fabricated, posed, in performance or character or somehow alien to how I feel internally. These images reflect me in a way that I feel is closer to what my internal state is. I won't use the word authentic, as I believe we have many authentic selves and anyone who reads this blog will know that I am both fragmented and chameleonic. Fabricated and posed or planned or performative photos are still awesome, but I like when my visual landscape is interrupted, especially in portraiture - when you get to see yourself afresh or unawares.


  1. sorry i missed this gig. really wonna see you guys!

  2. Hey! No worries, was a good night but there shall be plenty of those! Let's butt heads soon eh?

  3. Hey, glad you like these! I did take some of JD but none of them really came out well. They never light us drummers well :(

    A couple of photos also went up on The 405 with some Xiu Xiu shots, but they didn't use my (short, badly-written) review with them so there's nothing saying who you are, sorry!

  4. Hello Yan, how was your pizza? What did you say about Xiu Xiu? I loved the night, but spent most of it chatting and hanging around agog at how lovely the venue is. Smerp. I'm a criminal.

  5. Haha, the pizza was great! They messed up our order, but then they gave us loads of free stuff :)
    I moe or less completely failed to describe Xiu Xiu, which is probably why The 405 decided to just use my photos and run a review of the Xiu Xiu gig in London that someone else wrote later. They were amazing, though!