Lee was surfing on a friend’s couch nearly a year ago now, whilst in Berlin for a performance during his association with ‘Litter Shitter’, functioning group of performers formed in London’s South. The name is pretty captivating and induces a sense of curiosity…
‘’Rubbish is a statement in itself. When we performed in London’s Soho for example, we found loads of porn memorabilia, vibrators and stuff – there was always this locality of the trash, you could tell the contingent of people in the area.
What people throw out says a lot about their life and their consumer habits. There is always a story within the garbage.
There were three members of the Litter Shitter project at first. To begin with, it was more of a ‘lets throw recycled rubbish around’ attitude; we were experimenting with just picking certain bits of rubbish and trying to make some sounds and filming. We’d make these metal boards that had a contact mic underneath so when you whack a piece of rubbish onto the board you’d get ‘the sound of the trash’, so to speak.
From then on, the project grew into a more expressive, artistic and dramatic movement. We started building our own costumes from scratch, creating these characters and making body armor from the trash we obtained. That wasn’t entirely pragmatic because some of the rubbish was really dangerous, there’d be broken glass within it, I mean, I had numerous cuts, really deep wounds and infections afterwards. We figured that we have to find a different approach and protect ourselves. We also had to move forward and find more interesting methods to the performances as well so we’d invent a story line behind each performance.
The acts progressed into being more interactive with the audiences, we’d find ways to surprise them for example, jump out from behind a pile of bin bags during a set.
Whilst living at Bedford house in Shoreditch, where we had one of our big performances we hung all the trash over people’s heads which then became an all round installation. That was a hugely intense experience… the first time someone set me on fire! That’s what it was, there’d be a lot of reactions to our shows, and it was almost impossible to simply be a bystander. You were either confronted by the foul smells or you’d get a bin bag in your face. People would be pissed off; some of them would be happy or scared. Some would even dive into the rubbish and join in with the performance.
The end of my involvement with Litter came during summer last year. I wanted to make this final statement with a huge performance so the Berlin gig we performed was perfect in that respect. We built massive cardboard skyscrapers and filled them with kindergarten dipper trash – as far as the performance was concerned that was quality material (chuckles). Extreme reactions were provoked by the performance – as the act and music was coming to an end someone set off a fire extinguisher in the enclosed venue space. At first I thought ‘Oh someone’s got a smoke machine, cool!’ then I realized I can’t breath because the extinguisher had burned out all the oxygen, everyone panicked and set out to run outside. The entire music tech was ruined! Basically, the people that did it were known to have a mad rep during parties, like cutting off guitar cables and spilling drinks over mixers on purpose, I see it as their contribution to the performance and sharing the chaos but the organizers were really pissed off because a lot of expensive equipment was damaged for the sake of art. I think the experience was a great success – went out with a bang, so to speak.
I believe the rest of the group is still doing some performances in squats in London.’’
Lee went on to explain the reasons behind his discontinued involvement with Litter. He mentioned that he wanted a better contribution, mainly for himself, other than working with rubbish. He tells us of ‘The Golden Age Enlightenment’ (The term is derived from mythology and astrology). It has bought great changes to his life; he refers to the Litter performances as a darker time…
‘’I sprouted out of it’s foulness, I felt like a phoenix actually.
The ‘Golden Age’ is a time of transcendence and growth into a new state of consciousness and levels of awareness. It is a time during which people are more integrated with the planet; it’s a moment of change. The ‘old world’ is kind of collapsing and the new is sprouting out from its cadaver. For me, it is about spreading this message at the moment and exploring different, untapped grounds of the subconscious.
I’m now part of a project, which began in Berlin during summer ’11. It incorporates fashion and ritualistic elements, poetry, movement and DIY instruments.
Our choice of material for the instruments – metal, this is because it was believed to have spiritual and mythological properties and that it kept bad spirits away. For example, in Greek mythology copper was used for protection.
During our time in Berlin, we lived in a garden colony by Sonnenallee, which was abandoned. It seemed like a wild haven amongst the urban city life. I guess that’s why it was so inspiring to be there, we had everything we needed to serve our creative purpose. It was a hugely significant time of discovery. That’s where the idea of the natural and the unnatural morphing to form one came to life. I find that old structures that are crumbling together with the human interference with the earth – a fascinating occurrence.
We were thinking of how to incorporate this closeness that we feel to this moment of transcendence, analyzing shape and form. Wanting to keep ourselves separate from the audience we thought we’d try shadow theatre. This gave us the freedom to fall into a state of meditation during the performance.
We embarked ‘pon exploration of the human form. What you can achieve with your voice, body movement and mind and go beyond that.
The last performance that we had, during the opening of fashion week in Berlin in the winter season – we had an installation in the basement of Urban Spree – two boilers that worked in our favor – a lot of pipes all over the place, very urban, it was the strongest performance we’ve had.
I’m interested in provoking a reaction in my audience. I enjoy being able to make a statement whilst getting something out of it. Pushing the boundaries of modern art and performance, it seems I’ve found the perfect outlet of emotion as well as a way to progress intellectually and physically.
My advice – spiritual or not, 2013, or ‘The Golden Age’, should be a perfect opportunity to become more in touch with ourselves. Lose the frivolity, shake of the idleness and become better people. It’s an opportunity to float away from the stigma of the past and dive into something new and exciting!’’