Bryony Kimmings on getting drunk in the name of art
Do you have to suffer (hangovers) for your art? Bryony Kimmings reveals the fruits of her liquor-fuelled experiment…
Performer and artist Bryony Kimmings takes seriously the parts of life we often dismiss as frivolous. (Her last show, 'Sex Idiot', was a prime example.) Kimmings has long been fascinated by the supposed links between heavy drinking and artistic output - the idea that carousing and creativity go hand in hand.
So last year she conducted an experiment: over seven days, under professional medical guidance and constant video surveillance, she got increasingly blotto and made art. Her new show, '7 Day Drunk', presents some of the resulting work, along with her thoughts and feelings about the whole project. Here are some of the things she learned…
1 Scientists are cool.
'I worked with five of them to devise my experiment and they all offered new ways of looking at the world. I respect the science bods a lot more now… I love to imagine them spending their days quantifying rock 'n' roll, rocking out to Jimi Hendrix in a lab somewhere.'
2 Everything comes out all pink and shiny.
'The new show, at points, looks like a My Little Pony threw up. When I was drunk I craved bows, cuddly toys and Barbies. What can I say? Vodka cranberry is regressive!'
3 I like to be filmed.
'I am a show-off at the best of times - have been since I was a wee lass. To be locked in a room for seven days with six cameras on you might sound like hell to some but to me - what with a new jumpsuit each day and getting visited by the make-up artist - this was poser heaven.'
4 Alcohol is VERY bad for you.
'Duh! “Stating the obvious,” you cry. But because it's such a huge and accepted part of our culture, I don't think we always see it for the drug it is. It was a sobering experience hearing all the facts and figures about its effects on the body.'
5 I collaborate better when drunk.
'My brain is less controlled and I am, in turn, less controlling. David Curtis Ring, my costume designer, went to town for “7 Day Drunk” because I was in a stupor and agreed to everything. One outfit has a purple tail, butterfly shoulders and pink glitter mohican helmet to match. Lush.'
6 I love to blog.
'For the whole week (and ever since), I wrote a blog about the project. It was very well received, even hailed as one of the blogs of last year's Edinburgh Festival by The Guardian. Even so, I am constantly amazed by how people read the ravings of a madwoman!'
7 You booze, you lose.
'Reading so much about the phenomenon of alcohol-fuelled creativity, you realise how many great talents are lost to the bottle. Three weeks after the experiment, Amy Winehouse died and it hit home how important the social question of why our culture idolises alcoholism in the creative realm really is.'
Bryony Kimmings's blog can be found here.