Red Like Our Room Used to Feel
Released by Forest Records on 1st February 2010, “Red, Like Our Room Used To Feel” is a collaboration between Ryan Van Winkle and Ragland. Featuring 18 tracks, merging poetry and soundscapes, the album is the soundtrack to Ryan’s performance piece which premièred at the Hidden Door festival in Edinburgh on 30th and 31st January 2010.
More details on the whole experience appear below the music player. Listen to the whole album and download for free below or by clicking on the album cover:
Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel in The Observer Magazine
In advance of my show at the London Literature Festival, there was a little interview (and big picture) of me in the Sunday Observer Magazine. I hope you’ll come see me for a glass of port and some poems while I’m in London.
Our Blurb for the performance at the Hidden Door festival
“Red Like Our Room Used To Feel” is many things. It is an intimate poetry performance from Ryan Van Winkle. It is an audial experience featuring new ambient noises from Ragland that will crawl up inside you. It is an art installation with paintings , photographs and object d’arte from a host of Edinburgh artists. It is joy, memory and loss condensed into fifteen minutes. So, come, lay down, have a cup of tea, enjoy a snifter of port, close your eyes and be where you want to be…
Each performance took about 15 minutes and I performed from noon – midnight, fitting in as many people as possible over the weekend at Hidden Door. I sincerely hope it was enjoyed. This cd is a chance for those who were not able to attend the performance to sample what it was like.
But What Was It?
I was scared to perform this piece. Essentially, it was an intimate, one on one performance in a space that, more or less, looked like my bedroom. Truthfully, it looked nothing like my actual bedroom but like the bedroom I have shared in my head. I’m not sure if that makes sense — it looked like the memory of a bedroom which never existed but in some, perhaps emotional, way did. The idea was people would be invited in, offered tea or port, could sit or stand or lay down, and I’d read 4 poems while Ragland’s soundtrack played in the background.This is pretty much how it happened with a variety of responses. An Italian woman asked me to marry her, a Scottish couple (when left alone) made-out vigorously and later said, “We found that very erotic.” One woman said she was embarrassed because it was so personal. A couple from London said it was the best thing at the festival (I thanked them but disagreed). One woman said I’d made her very uncomfortable because it reminded her of going to a random boy’s house. Uncomfortability was not my intent. But honesty was.
I simply wanted to do something that felt emotionally honest. I think, as performers and people, we regularly wear masks. This is not a new idea. James P Carse talks about “the veil” and Griel Marcus discusses this notion in depth in his excellent essays on America in ‘The Shape of Things To Come: Prophecy and the American Voice‘. Anyway, I am certainly aware that I have a public and a personal mask. A stage mask and an emotional mask. Over the past few years of Golden Hour tours and performances around the country, I’ve begun to feel trapped in that mask, trapped in that persona. So, when I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in Hidden Door, I wanted to do something different, collaborative and bare. Something that revealed my emotional face. I have a lot of poems that I would not or could not read to a larger audience. This is largely because of my own timidity and an ingrained eagerness to please an audience — to tell stories, make jokes and encourage a good time. That said, I very much wanted to perform these difficult, not very fun poems, to exorcise the worry and feelings in them. My objective, in a way, was totally selfish and personal. I considered the audience only in the sense that I needed the audience in order to testify. In the same way, perhaps, someone like Marina Abramovic requires her audience to act as witness. I’d say, largely, she is involved in a very personal form of absolution. Certainly the audience for “Red Like Our Room Used to Feel” will have had reactions to the space, poems, music and tone. While my hope, for them, was that they too would embark on an emotionally honest or real journey, truthfully, the self was my central motivation in this piece.
While this was a very personal piece it did require some work from friends and artists. Physically the space was built by Chris Palmer and Jamie Carmichael.
Artwork was provided by numerous friends including: Eric Brooks, Jason Pogo, Mike Sanzone, Martin McKenna, Faith Nicholson and Victor Fraser and Ericka Duffy. The room would not have looked the same without them.
More Pictures from the performance