All My Lives
17 July - 2 August 2017
I want more lives, father...to try out all the choices I never had or made, with all the people I never had or made.
This exhibition is an arranged pile of objects constructed by artist Louise Ashcroft to chronicle the many lives she lived in 2016 when she developed a bizarre hobby under the guise of an ‘art project’ titled Why Don’t We Live Together? which involved inviting members of the public to plan shared future lives with her while she helped them with household chores. It was a cleaning service with a difference. Bonding over bathroom bleach and dreaming through dirty dishes, Louise and her 17 different life partners invented fictional futures together: businesses, families, boat trips, feuds, sub-cultures, secret societies, strange events, discoveries, anthropological disciplines, protests, architectural movements, bands, and psychological disorders; all conjured from the Cif Kitchen spray. It was a secret and personal process, none of which was documented, except in the memories of those involved.
For her exhibition at arebyte LASER, Louise presents a room full of objects and images she has found and fabricated based on her recollections of Why don’t we live together?, offering viewers a speculative reliquary* of her hypothetical shared futures.
* Pyramids are Ancient Egyptian self-storage units, but your flat’s quite small so you cram all the clutter under the bed. Decades later, in the house clearance corner of Deptford Market, Ebay-4D ‘micropreneurs’ unsentimentally paw through Ikea bag obituaries looking for something worthwhile in your life-rubble; phantom flashbacks defibrillating like handfuls of baby eels. And it’s tempting isn’t it? Sometimes. It’s tempting to buy the whole stall, to ditch your reality and live through a stranger’s. Wrasse Fish feed on the parasites lodged in the Black Sea Bass’s body.
If you would like a cleaning & life planning session with Louise in your home, for a limited time only you can book her ‘Why don't we live together?’ service free of charge by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org during the show and requesting a visit.
Louise Ashcroft is a performance artist who makes videos, installations, live stand-up and participatory projects. She has exhibited widely including at The Koppel Project, Latitude Festival, Westminster Waste, Guest Projects, The Boring Conference, AVU Prague, AmbikaP3, Performance Studies International, Christies, The Function Room, Turner Contemporary and Modern Art Oxford. She recently did participatory performance residencies at Tate and Camden Arts Centre. Louise studied at Oxford University, Birkbeck and The Royal College of Art. She is a visiting lecturer at various universities and arts organisations, and is co- founder of the alternative art school AltMFA.