Celebrating the Salon

This year we’ve been delving into the HLA archives to explore our Salon past, and in our latest blog we talk about our home roots and some of the artists we worked with through our Salon programme.

HLA launched in 1999 presenting experimental live and performance art work in a fully inhabited family house in South London. We produced over 50 different shows using spaces all over the house – kitchen, bedroom, basement and even the bath included! The home set up remained in place and performances occurred very much alongside the everyday family home environment.Over the 7 years we were  based in this venue we were investigating ‘the home’ as space to make and experience art. Artists were invited to come and make new work – or develop existing ideas – in response to the house, around the many themes evoked by ‘the home’: e.g. domesticity, family relationships, gender stereotypes, rituals and traditions, food, cultural differences in home making. Audiences were intentionally small (from 40 maximum, down to 1 for our one to one series) conducive to creating really unique and powerful art experiences.

These were important formative years laying the foundations of the core concepts and values we hold now – namely to support innovative experimental live art practice, site-responsiveness, attention to the role of audience, the value of intimacy and direct interaction.
Some salon highlights include –

Kazuko Hohki The Four Aspects of Japanese Cooking
29th October 2004 

In this performance Kazuko Hohki and The Frank Chickens explored in their customary direct, humorous and incisive way four aspects of Japanese eating; sensuality, presentation, ritual and rawness, ending up with fun!?The audience enjoyed sushi, tea ceremonies, beautifully prepared compositions and some karaoke.

Salon 23 Howard Matthew ‘Designs that don’t work: a demonstration of ill-fated furniture’
19 & 20th April 2005

home presented Howard Mathew, in four intense, choreographed performance tours around the house at 1a Flodden Road, London. In the performance Howard built and demonstrated a series of extraordinary pieces of ill-fated furniture, which were placed around the house. Using a wide variety of spaces from the kitchen to playroom, he explained and demonstrated the furniture, employing the hapless and risky devices of slapstick, i.e. the jammed piano and collapsing chair. To accompany the ‘rigged’ furniture he presented technical drawings arranged into a manual which was used in the performance and was available for viewing by the audience.

Eve Dent Anchorage 

Eve Dent presented an extraordinary performance installation inside the house at 1a Flodden Road. Exploring the boundaries between the body of the performer and the body of the house, Anchorage was a performed installation over two sites, linking upstairs, downstairs and the space between. By intervening in the structural fabric of the house and placing the body within it, body parts, from the outside seemingly isolated and cut off, were made whole again by becoming part of the larger architectural and imaginative body of the house. Through their innate vitality, these body parts expressed the hidden poetic life of the building as well as the body of memory or traces of existence and experience that remain invisibly lodged within the makeup of the home. Performance was assisted by Lorna Stewart.

Marisa Carnesky
‘Passover Rooms’
October 31st 2003
Why is this night different from all other nights?
Passover Rooms used the biblical Passover story to create a series of performance installations that explored elements of the story, symbols and rituals of Passover.The audience were invited to reinact tasks in different rooms of the house, guided by performers who will brought into play an examination of age old dilemmas surrounding notions of homeland, territory and conflict. The work included special magic illusions, a coconut pyramid, and a cup of warm milk and honey.