Holy Hiatus: untitled is an annual event created by artists Maura Hazelden and Lou Laurens and will be showing on May 22nd, from 4pm to 10.15, in Small World Theatre. Maura was originally commissioned by Ruth Jones to make a work for ‘Holy Hiatus: Ritual and Community in Public Art’, a symposium and series of commissioned works, including work by Alastair McLennan and Simon Whitehead, shown in Cardigan in 2008.
Maura invited Lou to work with her on a piece which explored repetition. In that first year, they had many discussions about the kind of rituals we all engage in, ranging from quotidian activities such as making and serving a meal, to events which mark the passing of the year, and religious festivals. Maura and Lou both had an interest in how simple acts might become devotional through intention and also how rituals develop over long periods of time, when circumstances change how they are celebrated. They created a durational event in Small World Theatre and have continued it as an annual event, now independently of the commission. Holy Hiatus: untitled is in its sixth year, each time having been different and yet the same, always on the same date: May 22nd.
This year there are particular challenges. Lou has recently given birth to her first child and Maura has photosensitivity and difficulty working bare foot. Their physical ability to perform in the event is likely to be limited and changed. Both artists feel that this in itself raises interesting questions about performance and ritual, questions which were inevitable in mounting such an ambitious project, such as: are we participants in the event or performers? Are the audience participants in this ritual? When we celebrate our daily and annual rituals what remains the same and what changes, and how much are the changes the way we remember? ‘Oh that was the Christmas that we had to…. because of such and such…’
Although, or perhaps because, this is an intense and deeply vulnerable time for both artists, the event promises to be a moving and wonderful experience for attendees. The event will include performance, video projection and an extraordinary evolving soundscape created by the process of recording the playback of each previous year’s performance, so that the layers are transformed by the acoustic response of the building itself.
There is an accompanying exhibition at Small World Theatre, open until the 24th of May