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The sight of one hand clapping... / 14 March 2016

There has been a long transit between this blog and my last. The reasons are many and varied. I’m in the last throes of completing a Dispatches programme for Channel Four, it is a demanding taskmaster, the last area of television in which you must be factually accurate a difficult thing to achieve in any arena.

Facts are like eels, slippery and cunning, hard to pin down.  You may want to watch if you have a passing 30 minutes and a television set (or a computer). The subject matter is connected to disability and will open some eyes. Others, however wide open, will remain unseeing no matter what. 

I’ve also been fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Artists International Development Fund run by the Arts Council. I was shocked in a pleasant way. I never expect grant applications to succeed and yet here I am the happy recipient of a grant that will enable me to go to Japan and work on developing an interactive video/dance piece in collaboration with Kazuyo Morita in Osaka. 

I have never visited Japan and the chance is the realization of a long held desire. I’d like to make the observation that one should always produce work – with or without grant money, and if you procure any money from anywhere it’s a bonus, but the work comes first not the money.

There’s a fanfare of whinging about grants and money for the arts. Some of it is valid, but there will never be enough money to fund all the ideas (not even just the good ones) and while we must continue besieging the doors of those inside the fortress of funding. We must, more importantly make art.

Another other project I’m working on at the moment is called 'Thewitheredhand'. It’s an Instagram photo album about the adventures of a withered hand – mine – in this instance. I have always been of the opinion that my withered hand has a mind all of it’s own and I’d fail to be surprised to find out it’s been living a separate life, hidden from me.  The photos will span a year in the life of the hand and then I’ll do something with the work.  

Now, you may say, it’s easy for him to say with ACE money in his back pocket and his relentless compulsion to create, create, create, and I suppose you might be right. Obviously I could not go to Japan to make this work without the grant and my response is, I would just have done something else and then another thing, and another. My Instagram project is just Me, My hand and my iPhone – I don’t need a grant for that.