Father's Head is a body of work spanning across a whole year, taking form across sonic, performative and textual iterations. A concoction of memory, fiction and dream in five verses about a house and its inhabitants through the eye of an estranged protagonist.
Father’s Head was born out of a series of writing exercises undertaken at my mother’s house during the first world-wide lockdown of 2020. It started as an experiment in fragmentary writing which I developed into spoken word accompanied by a soundscape composed by artist and musician Finbar Prior for the sonic iteration of Father’s Head which you can listen to above.
The excerpt below is from my essay Encountering the weird and the eerie in a time of urgency dissecting my interest in displacement within domesticity parallel to the theoretical reframing of Freud’s Unheimlich by Mark Fisher in his book The Weird and The Eerie. Father’s Head is situated at the forefront of this line of artistic research and rooted in my encounters with the weird and the eerie.
The weird and the eerie made itself known to me first through the odd small-town British landscape. When I was sixteen I went to college in the Midlands for a year, where I found myself displaced, living on my own for the first time, in the eerie company of sandstone churches, surrounded by crumbling Victorian headstones, neighboring vast postindustrial landscapes with pylons crackling with electricity – an environment so alien yet intriguing.
On the 19th of March 2020, I got off a plane at 9 PM local time at Budapest Terminal 2. Sinking into my seat on the ‘wrong’ side of my mother’s car we zoomed through the unlit motorway. While 100 km/h speed signs flashed across my eyes, I was on an emotional collision course faced with the rupture in my life due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the second time in my life, I was entirely displaced: severed from the known, the comfortable, and the trusted. Spending months in my mother’s house which was no longer my home but more like a living museum populated by relics of the past, animated by bygone conflicts and alliances so unexpectedly vivid and seemingly alive in this place, caused an acute and overwhelming sensation of the weird and eerie in me, despite and hence their intimate familiarity.
The sonic iteration of Father's Head is featured on Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud a compilation album of sound works by nine artists from the Contemporary Art Practice programme. The album will have a physical release on cassette, launching on 21 July 2021 in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Practice showcase at Cromwell Place, London, between 21–25 July 2021.
Preorder now via Shopify from a limited edition of 50 cassette tapes, featuring original design by Faye Rita Robinson.
The live performance of Father's Head sonic iteration will be broadcast on the CAP TV platform as part of Performance Relay on Saturday 4 July, 7.30 pm.
Father's Head will be performed as a spoken word piece featuring make-up by artist Christos Gkenoudis. The performance will take place at Cromwell Place, London in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Practice showcase between 21–25 July 2021. Attendance to this event will be dependent on visitor restrictions. Bookings will be released in mid-July. A live broadcast will be aired on CAP TV.
The transcript of Father's Head has been published in the The Pluralist and Mercurial Mist and is available on Issuu or to read below.