Tumbleweed Lectures

Various Location

Ongoing

I am going to peroform the first “Tumbleweed Lecture” at the Greenroom, Manchester on 20th June 2008.

I will try to deconstruct and dispel the myths behind American tumbleweeds through a playful, interactive PowerPoint presentation. The audience will be introduced to the tumbleweeds (Russian Thistles); their origins and examples of how previous filmmakers and amateurs have used these plants. Expect to see images and video; including extracts of the performative Tumbleweed series (2006-08), where I used a leaf-blower to escort my unusual companion through city centres and beyond. Through subverting normal behaviour, these performances seek to gently question British rituals, social normality and the Americanisation of our culture and spaces.

Tumbleweeds are commonly recognisable despite being alien to this country. Through looking “out-of-place” they can act as a visual metaphor for internal struggles and conflict; feeling emotionally, socially uncomfortable or alienated from others. Overall, tumbleweeds often connote awkwardness and tension. People reacted to my performances with amusement, frustration or bewilderment. I would be seen as the local freak or celebrity for the day. Attempts will be made to analyse these findings using handouts, images, bar charts, evaluations and merchandise.

Claire Blundell Jones has performed “Tumbleweed” in Hastings, London, Sheffield, Leeds, Hertford, Loughborough and Kuopio, Finland (ANTI-Festival). She collaborated with filmmaker Ed Hartwell to produce Tumbleweed in London which has been screened internationally and nominated for an international shorts competition at Red Rock Film Festival (Utah). Blundell Jones practice includes performance, video, installations and participatory public art. She creates work mainly in the public realm, which develops directly out of the relationships built between the audience and herself. Her recent “Kissing” project has been exhibited at Tate Liverpool and been awarded an Arts Council Grant to be re-create the piece around Leeds.