Many of the rhythms of our life are set to a steady continuousness. A heartbeat. The intonation of our voices. Breath. The process of learning and activating the body to create a feeling of difference requires us to become comfortable with breaking these rhythms. We must unlearn their common and familiar tones before we begin. Be it learning an instrument or going about our daily lives, we speak of a level of understanding and a crystallisation of mind and body. We want things to ‘click’ but our frustrations return us to our body rather than allowing it to flow. With an ever-present desire for order, how can you arrive at syncopation? When does the incidental become automatic and what tools do we need to forget and upset our balance?
Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, in Before, During & After: Here Now (How To Keep The Balance), shows us “how infrequently we are permitted to fail.” Through a mixture of visuals, sound and space, the work centres on the process of learning to play the drums. As we walk into the artist's installation at Site Gallery, we are met with a jarring darkness. The unknown is not designed to be comfy. While at first it feels inaccessible and distant, over time your eyes adjust. A visual metaphor for escaping your comfort zone.
Haphazard seating is arranged in the centre, with screens of varying sizes enveloping you. Cushions and benches of different heights and levels all play into the improvisational nature of the space. Rather than feeling imposing, this arrangement reflects the mixed abilities of the work's contributors. The message is not immediately obvious, and it isn’t meant to be. Through interacting with these architectural arrangements, the struggle of Boakye-Yiadom’s project meets you where you are.