LIFE doesn't stand still for Dr Claire Hind, course leader for the MA in Theatre and Performance at York St John University, and Gary Winters, co-artistic director of international performance company Lone Twin.
Regularly, they collaborate on exhibitions, and live performance pieces for the city and for the studio, gallery or museum, or make Super 8mm short films, printed artworks and boxed archives that slip "between performance documentation and artefact".
The Press last caught up with the duo as they worked on their Gillygate Sleeps project, charting the life in a day on this York street of independent shops and businesses and its historic link with St Giles, the patron saint of hermits and nocturnal terrors, who stood in the path of an arrow intended for a hind.
Claire and Gary collated stories of the street by inviting people to donate anecdotes, historical facts and dreams into a series of collection boxes to help create a portrait of this medieval thoroughfare. They spent many hours there conversing with people about Gillygate, developing interest in the street as a site for cultural events, and could be seen on the Feast of St Giles attired in deers' antlers and cloaks conducting their artistic endeavours in a four-hour performance.
Two of their artefacts are being shown at York Art Gallery until mid-March, on the wall opposite the gallery's L S Lowry works: their film of the businesses and people of Gillygate and their neon sign capturing the essence of the independent and creative spirit of the street; both entitled We Made Something Of This.
Their intention is for these works to return to the street. "We had this idea that the street should become the gallery, the venue," says Claire.
"Janet Jacobi, a resident of Number 29 Gillygate, will house a neon sign, as we hope others will do along that row of houses. It was in this house that Mr Vickers lived: he was renowned by locals as a person responsible for leading the campaign to save the street when the ring road was proposed in the 1980s and was very much a local character and hero."
The Inkwell record and book shop will display the film in their shop window and The Gillygate pub already has Claire and Gary's series of panoramic prints of Gillygate's shop fronts, photographed in sequence over the duration of a day and night, on permanent show on the pub walls. Earlier they were shown at City Screen, York.
"Janet Jacobi, The Gillygate landlord Brian Furey and Paul Lowman, who runs The Inkwell, all feature in the film, along with other people who live or work on the street," says Claire, whose work with Gary is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. "People in the street have said our work is now an archive for Gillygate and we'll be offering the film to the Yorkshire Film Archive."
Claire Hind and Gary Winters in Central Park, New York. Picture: Gary Winters and Claire Hind
Since their work went on show at York Art Gallery, they have conducted a similar project in Gillygate in Pontefract and travelled to the United States last autumn. There they gave a talk on St Giles and Gillygate at the TISCH School of the Arts at New York University and also took the opportunity to perform in Central Park. They spent time in Chicago too, presenting a talk on We Made Something Of This at the School of the Arts Institute Chicago.
"We couldn't take our antlers to America, but we could take our capes, so we travelled on the subway in them, then found some twigs in Central Park to make antlers and set up a pop-up cave, to mirror Giles the hermit in his cave. All the animals came out at night to visit us," recalls Claire.
Norwich is on their map too, with its own St Giles Church on St Giles Street. "What these streets have in common is a history of independent trading and an also an independent spirit, which St Giles was renowned for," says Claire.
"We'll be returning to Norwich in the summer to do a project collecting dreams, like we did in York, and we'll do our walking tour of dreams, like we did in York too," says Gary.
Before then, Claire and Gary will explore the concept of deadness in a theatre project with students at the Norwegian Theatre Academy in Fredrikstad, south of Oslo, in March. "We're looking at deadness in relation to play; how people rehearse death, how possums play dead," says Gary.
As well as projects abroad, the duo will be exhibiting a new film and neon sign at Shandy Hall, Coxwold, later this year, responding to the inscription on the memorial tomb of Thomas, the first Viscount Fauconberg, and his wife Barbara, at the Church of St Michael in the village. "We're interested in the last sentence, 'Every man is a bubble: All flesh is grass'; words that the husband wrote to his wife," says Claire.
As it happens, bubbles already feature in their Gillygate film, floating through the shops until they....pop.