The Crypt Residencywas a week-long group residency held in an arts space in the crypt beneath St Pancras church in Euston. The environment is intensely gothic, which suited me very well at the time; I was in the midst of writing my novel Anomaline, which has gothic themes running all the way through it. Here was a chance for me to live in my lone protagonist and to really embody her.
I turned the opportunity into something of a 'performative writing residency'. I spent the entire week in the chilly crypt, working in the dark, with visitors freely coming in and out as I and the other residents worked. I would turn the whole enterprise of writing into fiction - the author would be a character as much as the protagonist. The writing process was staged, and made palpable for public viewing. To do this, I created several 'stations' in the chambers of the crypt, for different activities: writing, reading aloud, screening, and dancing. By the end of the week, I had written a chapter of my novel, as well as made a series of 'nowhere pages' - illustrated pages of the novel that will never really appear in the finished work. I spent time stalking the shadowy passageways imagining I was my character, and occasionally breaking out into dance. I also screened some earlier, gothic-themed video work throughout the crypt. It was an experimental period in which I mixed a number of projects I was working on at the time into one space.
The Crypt, London
10 - 16 October 2016
I stalked these passageways in the guise of my novel's protagonist, occasionally breaking into dance.
The writing station.
The reading station.
Work in progress at the writing station.
nowhere pages. You can see more of those in high resolution here.