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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Parkin

Poo-tee-weet? Life doesn’t have to be ugly.

Once again, I have ventured forth into the realms of participatory arts…

This time, for a night at the Cube Cinema in Bristol called Beacons, Icons and Dykons, in honour of John Waters this time. The night consisted of various performances, some music and then a screening of ‘Pink Flamingoes’, Waters’ proto-gross-out disgusting-fest starring the inimitable Divine.

The equally inimitable performance artist Paul Hurley (as my partner I would call him that, wouldn’t I?) performed an epic cross-stage-licking piece inspired by this scene from the film:

Suffice to say there was no kissing until a significant amount of tooth-brushing and drinking had washed away the stage-residue.

For my part, I carried out a sound piece called ‘Poo-tee-weet?/Life Doesn’t Have To Be Ugly’ where I asked people to emulate Kathleen Turner ‘Serial Mom’ demonstrating her innocence to the visiting police officers by calling to the birds outside the window…

‘Officers, life doesn’t have to be ugly: just listening to the birds out there…’

It reminded me of the last moments of Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse Five’, in which a bird calls ‘Poo-tee-weet?’ in the wreckage of Dresden after the Allied bombing there.

Even though they are a mating call, a territorial cry, we see bird song as somehow innocent, free of mankind’s apparent urge to destroy one another. So I thought it would be fun (well – interesting) to get people to emulate the bird song of the person who came before them and create a ‘dawn chorus’ of human birds to play in the foyer of the cinema. I’ll aim to put up the results, perhaps with Serial Mom at the beginnning, once I get the technology sorted.

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