• a little closer still

    Since we first shaped and performed it back in late 2019, as our last major public proposition before the following lockdowns and pandemic years enveloped us, the acts and intentions of this particular thread of our work have only been feeling increasingly close and current for us…  Encouragingly, it has also become increasingly apparent that […]

  • and in the end, no end…

    Tonight we gather for the final public episode and evening of On a clear day you can see for ever here in TNC in Barcelona. After all the work of the last few days, the floor of this space is now covered with seemingly impossible amounts of plastic and rubber, fabric and foam, copper and […]

  • On a clear day you can see for ever

    We have taken up residency in the main studio of Teatre Nacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, for the next couple of weeks, where we have been commissioned to further develop and perform a new version of the five-episode performance work Rosa and I first created and performed in Chile and Madrid – under the initial […]

  • more divine matter

    The current gallery manifestation of our Divine matter project – commissioned by Núria Güell as a guest work within her major retrospective Tot order es vol pur at Fabra i Coats in Barcelona – has been extended to run into the new year… Our explorations of the material pigments and mediums of the painting at […]

  • piles and holes

    As we follow the questions and understandings arising from our recent work – from our explorations of the wider connections and perspectives we might perform, through meetings with the material stuff of the things and places we find ourselves working with – we have increasingly come to recognise the importance that the phrase ‘piles and […]

  • divine matter

    Our new gallery work Divine Matter is now open, as an invited guest work and intervention within Tot order es vol pur – a retrospective of approaches and project works by Núria Güell – at the centre for contemporary arts Fabra i Coats in Barcelona. The painter Pere Llobera, who we are collaborating with for […]

  • a godly tale ?

    We are working on a new gallery project, provoked by an invitation from Spanish artist Núria Güell – who has commissioned us to make a new work, in response to one of her previous projects, as a contribution and intervention into a section of her forthcoming retrospective that she is calling a ‘retrospective in the […]

  • day 28 / a good friday

    The centre of this city at midday, at the end of the first month of its lockdown… capital / centre / midday [Gran Via] and capital / centre / midday [Sol], webcam grabs, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2020 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • the last bus ?

    A new and complete set of the one hundred images resulting from the last bus [of the millennium] (1999) have now been reprocessed and added to the archive. A restoration project that began in the new year, as a couple of things began to bring the work back to mind – not least, I guess, […]

  • day one, of something…

    The storm and sky that rolled in to cover the end of our first day of full lockdown here… As seen from a window that is no doubt going to become an increasingly valued and familiar viewpoint over the coming weeks… sunset / storm / social distance, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2020 – from the […]

  • a work in five episodes

    This week we are opening the doors on to The sky was clearer in those days / El cielo era más claro en aquellos días…  The work is the culmination, and first full-scale public manifestation, of ideas and work we have been developing since late last year. And is being presented as the opening project […]

  • somewhere to look out from

    We are stepping into the final phase of our The sky was clearer in those days / El cielo era más claro en aquellos días process in Madrid. And have now taken up pretty permanent residence within the main Nave 11 space of Matadero, which we have stripped out and reconfigured to support us and […]

  • collecting skies

    Beginning to process the many and varied skies – or more precisely, the sky colours – that we collected while in Chile… To find a graphic form for the shifts in perceived sky colour, in relation to levels of airborne dust and other pollutants floating around us, that were always going to be a part […]

  • autopsy #1

    We are ending our research and development work here in Chile with a couple of exploratory public events. The first of which was our first public car autopsy… A day-long event, realised in collaboration with the staff of a local technical college in the port city of Valparaiso. Who, with 350 of their student mechanics, […]

  • walking a world already past

    Our final days in the Atacama, and as far and as high into the mountains and desert here as our bodies would allow, we reached these salt flats. A national park, holding one of the world’s largest and purest active lithium deposits – lithium increasingly in demand, and being extracted, for the batteries required by […]

  • a very big hole in the ground

    The first phase of our work on The sky was clearer in those days… is ongoing, with a two-month period of research and development in Chile – facilitated in collaboration with NAVE in Santiago, and supported by Wales Arts International, British Council and Centro Cultural de España in Chile. And after six extraordinary weeks of […]

  • the problem with choosing

    The problem with choosing is that it just goes on, moment by moment, for an entire lifetime, and happens without reason. I guess I just still want to feel that I can always re-choose. That no choice I make will be so bad that I can’t be saved from it, from myself… Over the past […]

  • we are the asteroid

    This new year is beginning with a shift of focus, as we turn our heads to a new large-scale piece of work. We have been commissioned by Naves Matadero in Madrid, in partnership with the Siemens Stiftung Foundation, to create a new work to premiere and open the venue’s 2019-2020 international performance programme this coming […]

  • together and alone

    I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how to discuss things at the moment; when opposition is dismissed as ‘fake’, and arguments and information are replaced with slogans designed to ‘win the narrative’ by stirring emotions rather than ideas – slogans that can mean whatever I want them to mean. Questions about which of us […]

  • wild scenes in Cardiff

    We are in Cardiff completing the final stages of Storm.2, the second public work of The Storm Cycle, that we have titled Things come apart. We are trying to activate a running description of four days and nights of violence and rioting that erupted here a century ago, in the June of 1919. A description, […]

  • a thing done

    A five minute extract from reference footage captured of the burning tree, as it happened during the opening performance of Storm.1: Nothing remains the same – Pontrhydfendigaid, Cerdigion, February 15th…

  • things told, and things done

    The first public step and proposition of The Storm Cycle, designated Storm.1, and titled Nothing remains the same, has taken its place amongst the possibilities of the real, amongst those things that can happen – and was performed, for the 350 people who travelled to gather and meet it, in Pafiliwn Bont, Pontrhydfendigaid. The work, […]

  • there is a storm coming…

    I’m setting out on the path of a new collaboration and relationship with National Theatre Wales (NTW), that we hope might allow us to more openly explore some of the needs and possibilities of future work. Over the coming few years, as NTW imagines and then steps into its second decade of production, I’ll be […]

  • grey line [twilight]

    Tomorrow we perform Grey Line – an interventional new public art work for radio, that Rosa Casado and I have been developing since spring, and that has turned out be simultaneously one of our smallest and largest scale works. The piece has been commissioned by Consonni, and takes as its context and broadcast platform an […]

  • Carrying Rubén [exhibit]

    The traces of the carry and assemblege are now set-up and running within this open and developing public gallery space here at Azkuna Zentroa. In other parts of the gallery are now also an accumulating mountain of the city’s rubbish – already about a tonne of it, diverted into the gallery from its usual route […]

  • Carrying Rubén

    As I write these notes – in the gallery space of the Azkuna Zentroa here in Bilbao – Salut Bueno, Nazario Díaz, Amai Fernández, Axier, Joel and Rubén Mateos Lima are preparing to help each other across the city centre, on foot, and without the aid of Rubén’s wheelchair. We have already made this journey […]

  • reconsidering ‘Carrying Lyn’

    I am currently in Bilbao, preparing Carrying Rubén – a commissioned reconsideration and re-enactment of the multi-site Pearson/Brookes work Carrying Lyn, that Mike Pearson and I conceived and performed in Cardiff back in 2001, as our first multi-site city work… Almost exactly fifteen years later, next Wednesday May 25th, I’ll perform Carrying Rubén – with Rubén […]

  • iliad [compressed]

    With the slightly refreshed perspective provided by a few months of hindsight, I have finally had a little time to start sorting through some of the documentation gathered during our epic ILIAD project – our durational verbatim performance of Christopher Logue’s poetic text War Music, and mine and Mike Pearson’s third large-scale collaboration with National Theatre Wales. Specifically, […]

  • no matter how many people believe in it

    Here are a handful of photographs taken during our performance of What if everything we know is wrong? within a cleared out floor of Alhóndiga in Bilbao last weekend. This latest manifestation of the work was commissioned by Azkuna Zentroa as part of their final 3, 2, 1 programme – and was again retitled specifically […]

  • small pieces of paper

    Characteristically, while thinking about bigger and more complicated things, I’ve been drawing again – and accumulating a series of small pieces of paper, marked with drawings of small pieces of paper… piece of paper #2, #7 and #8, pigment pen and watercolour on paper, 15cm x 10cm, Mike Brookes 2015 – from the ongoing pieces […]

  • a crowded room

    I have just left Cardiff, after finalising the structure and animation of an immersive performance environment for the new production by my old friends Earthfall – which they will be touring across this, their twenty-fifth anniversary year. I have wanted to see Earthfall perform close up in and amongst a crowd of promenade spectators for […]

  • in the beginning…

    Today sees the public launch of ILIAD – our new large-scale collaboration with National Theatre Wales. The project is our third work for NTW, since the company’s inauguration. It continues our attempts to reactivate classic and historic narrative texts in contemporary Wales, as reflective or resonant situations in the present. And will hopefully push forward some of the propositions we […]

  • holiday

    nearly a third and almost a quarter [ La Laguna 18/07/2014 ], pair of digital photographs, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2014 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • about 1000 people

       Your browser does not support the video tag.   untitled [ Spanish-Moroccan border, Melilla, 23:54, 16/12/2013 ], one minute of found infrared surveillance footing, modified and looped, dimensions and duration variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.  

  • hindsight

    The last still and silent trace of ‘what if everything we know is wrong? – as we performed it tonight, here in this cleared and appropriated Madrid studio – after we, our sounds, and the gathered crowd, have all left… Image: Mike Brookes

  • autumn in New York

    untitled [ West Broadway 29/10/2013 ], digital photograph, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • …almost time to leave

    untitled [ Firglade Avenue 23/10/2013 ], digital photograph, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • walking

    As our final public work here in Providence, Rhode Island, today we walked the now ascent shoreline of the natural cove that shaped the original geography of this city – a body of water and salt marsh reclaimed and almost completely covered by developments of the city’s centre over the last 150 years. Accompanied and […]

  • introduced birdsong

    Today we conclude our Historic parking lots of Providence project, highlighting thirty of downtown Providence’s surface level parking lots that – contrary to assumptions that they are spaces of transition, neglect, or failed development projects – have in fact been designated as parking lots, and have remained unchanged and in use as such, since at […]

  • chorus

    As the low evening sunlight floods the studio, we are opening its doors, for the first public prototyping of some of our introduced birdsong boxes. Installed, in this case, simply as a single fifteen metre choral row along one wall of our temporary home here in Salina – waiting to be met and triggered… Image: […]

  • greetings from Salina

    Wrapping up one thread of our engagement with aspects of this city’s past and present – as both a playful exploration of the shifting character of downtown Salina, and an attempt to generate a tangible trace and record of the people we have met here – we have been inviting locals to join us in […]

  • bison stew, beer, and entropy

    Closing the fourth week of our residency here in Salina, we have spent this weekend with the Land Institute – a small but world renowned agricultural research centre sitting just outside the city, now almost forty years into its ongoing mission to develop hybrid perennial grain and oil seed crop species, and practices of polyculture, […]

  • still thinking about parking lots

    Fountain Street and Mathewson Street, pen and watercolour on paper, 100cm x 175cm, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the parking lots of Providence series. Further details from the parking lots of Providence series can be found in the archive [ here ].

  • postcard from the past

    Greetings from Salina [looking north on Santa Fe Avenue], one of a series of twenty digital images adapted from archived postcards depicting 20th century views of Santa Fe Avenue in Salina KS, dimensions and proportions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the participatory image work Greetings from Salina / crossroads of the nation, part of […]

  • thinking about parking lots

    For the first time in quite a while, I find myself drawing as I think. I have never really sketched works, unless I need to describe them to someone else. I think them through, then make them. As usual, these drawings are really just another case of making more than one thing at once – […]

  • here we are…

    Eighteen months after the last public work in the series – in which we ‘revisited’ the now absent buildings of the former Euskalduna Shipyard in Bilbao – we have shifted our focus back to the development of our long term just a little bit of history repeating project. And for this phase, we have moved […]

  • drawing for a small boy

      el coche [requested drawing], pen and watercolour on paper, 15cm x 20cm, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the requested drawings series.  

  • speaking of art

    Gathering with our colleagues from NIDO here in Madrid, we have now initiated the Hablando de arte (Speaking of Art) audio and radio project, after a year of periodic planning. Drawing on William Furlong’s transcripts of interviews from the Audio Arts archive – we are inviting a selection of guest professionals, friends, and relations, to […]

  • party

    untitled [ Peroblasco 14/8/2013 ], digital photograph, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • but it will turn out wrong

    For as long as I can remember, the flow of my work has been punctuated by periods of disengagement. Moments when, for one reason or another, I find myself stepping out and distancing myself – at least far enough to be able to take a look at where I am and what I am doing. […]

  • the dyas sisters / the reading room

    Emptying my camera this morning, after returning from an intense and possibly overdue Quarantine gathering in Manchester, I first pulled out this short series of monochrome images. Together for ten days, in a stripped bare main-stage auditorium, with a twelve metre projection screen, a collection of old chairs, a photocopier, and as many floodlights as […]

  • confessions of a justified sinner

    After eighteen months of preparation Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner by Untitled Projects, co-produced by National Theatre of Scotland – my third collaboration with Stewart Laing – has now opened at Tramway in Glasgow, to a range of encouragingly personal and engaged reactions, and a series of 4 star reviews. The work – […]

  • village hall dance

    untitled [ Abercych twmpath 11/05/2013 ], digital photograph, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • neighbour

    untitled [ Llanon 22/04/2013 ], digital photograph, dimensions variable, Mike Brookes 2013 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • the salon revisited

    A few days in Glasgow, with Stewart Laing and Untitled Projects, where we had all gathered to reopen the doors of The Salon Project. Originally realised in Edinburgh almost eighteen months ago, the immersive impression of a 19th-century Parisian salon – hosting an audience entirely costumed in full period dress, within an evening of discussion […]

  • merry go round

    untitled [ Plaza Mayor 21/12/2012 ], camera phone image, dimensions and proportions variable, Mike Brookes 2012 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • things we do

    Continuing to follow the proposition and possibilities of the perfect human (and the things we do), across its various manifestations – most recently including our occupation of the striped out studio of HAU 2 in Berlin, and our appropriation of a multi-storey carpark in Bilbao – today we are preparing to travel to Bellinzona in […]

  • a pool of water

    My last day in Glasgow, of this visit, where I have been lighting the teaching pool room of a recently derelict WW1 period public bath house in the city’s south side – structuring the light within its tiled walls, using only the skylight openings and internal fixtures provided by its existing architecture. The pool hosts Lifeguard, […]

  • bits of somewhere far away

    While considering possible futures for our ongoing What if everything we know is wrong? project, Rosa Casado and I have been sorting through the remnants of its recent past – here are just a handful of scanned polaroids, selected from the fragments we generated across its last phase… sky #3, #5, #7 and #9 [polaroid series #2] : polaroid […]

  • screens and headphones

    Giving myself a little time and distance to reflect on the realities of our run of Coriolan/us last month, I have been spending some of my days slowly reviewing and combining the continuous camera and headphone feeds that we generated and broadcast live within the work – and which were captured and recorded on the evening […]

  • an emptied place

    Before more detailed traces and remnants of our Coriolan/us project begin to gather, I thought that I would mark its completion with a quick camera phone image, snapped across that portion of hangar 858 temporarily designated ‘rome’, a few minutes after being vacated by the 350 of us who had populated it for the duration […]

  • danger

    danger of death 1.1 + 1.2, graphic image work, modified found sign, dimensions and colours variable, Mike Brookes 2012 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • Houston, we’ve had a problem

    Yesterday saw the latest version of our initial work from What if everything we know is wrong? – performed under soft early evening sunlight, within one of the large empty shower rooms of this former pit head bath house, amongst the vast Zollverein colliery site here in Essen. This time we subtitled the event Houston, […]

  • quiet queen

    Your browser does not support the video tag. five minute queen [silent], video fragment captured on mobile phone, sound removed, dimensions and proportions variable, Mike Brookes 2012 – from the ongoing small pieces of everything series.

  • what if everything we know is wrong?

    Last weekend, commissioned to perform the initial work from our developing What if everything we know is wrong? project, Rosa Casado and I stepped into a large clear room in Artium – Vitoria’s ten year old contemporary art gallery – carrying a bag of pocket dictaphones, a small roll of tape, a black marker pen, […]

  • hangar 858

    Today the site for our production of Coriolan/us this coming August has officially been announced – Hangar 858 – a decommissioned WW2 aircraft hanger in St Athan, South Wales. Built in the late 1930’s, and beautifully directly engineered, the vast open space contained and framed below its sweeping single span cast cement ceiling is providing us […]

  • some things happen, some things don’t

    At the heart of any event – memorable or otherwise – something concrete is happening. An obvious statement in itself, but still an acknowledgement that has engaged my thoughts a lot in recent years. And is again. As I find myself focusing more and more on the structures and behaivours that might balance our intentions […]

  • b

    Last year I was approached by the Swiss company Trickster-p, and asked to design a proposal for the second work within their ongoing trilogy of theatre installation pieces, structured as audio led journeys through theatrical environments – not a form that I have an affinity for, as they well knew – but that in itself made the […]

  • lifeguard

    A few short days in Glasgow, catching up with old friends and new – discussing Lifeguard, a new work with Adrian Howells and the National Theatre of Scotland, planned for this coming autumn. A work that hopes to locate itself within a recently derelict public baths in the city, requiring at least a partial restoration […]

  • are we there yet?

    I always look forward to site visits. Even when they are likely to end in disappointment, they are still revealing. The collective decision to step beyond the theoretical that provokes them is always helpful in itself. Looking for somewhere to meet, a place where our intentions might actually happen – in reality – requires a […]

  • ¿todo bajo control? [ everything under control? ]

    Rosa Casado and I [foreground] snapped at a successful ‘bring your own wine and headphones’ silent concert experiment in a small Madrid apartment last weekend – courtesy of colleagues Gichi-Gichi Do. And the sound experiments continue…

  • located or camping?

    As Mike Pearson and I simultaneously turn up the heat on our Coriolan/us process with the new year, trading thoughts over distance for little while longer, it seems that we have reached that familiar turning point where we both start re-asking the hard and big questions – but this time in order to really answer […]

  • looking for something

    As a busy and productive year comes to an end, and having finally landed on my own sofa for a while, with a little space and time to think, I have found myself wandering the web, in search of something – traces of some refreshing proposal or idea that I have missed, that might bring […]

  • standing still in cities

    Here are three short fragments of video I have been revisiting – from CCTV surveillance footage recorded by South Wales Police during work that Mike Pearson, Ed Thomas and I were doing together in Cardiff, back in 2002 – and posted simply on the assumption that when something comes into focus enough for me to […]

  • a map to find meetings in places that aren’t there

  • time lapse

    Three photos of the just a little bit of history repeating site in Bilbao – firstly the working Euskalduna shipyard and docks, then its subsequent dereliction, and the present (the Guggenheim is nestling behind the tower block that now stands over one end of the site):

  • visiting absent buildings

    Rosa Casado and I are back in Bilbao, a city that we have begun to form a bit of a relationship with over recent years, having been awarded two separate residencies here, and now two public commissions. We will be based here for the next two weeks, as we complete a new located work from […]

  • entitled

    Tonight sees the final performance of this year’s tour of Entitled  – my eleventh collaboration with old friends and long-term colleagues Quarantine. “…devised with three technicians (Greg Akehurst, Chris Whitwood and Lisa Mattocks), three dancers (John Killroy, Joanne Fong and Fiona Wright), and a writer (Sonia Hughes), Entitled takes the form of a theatrical ‘get-in’ and a […]

  • the salon project wardrobe

    …a couple more shots from The Salon Project, Edinburgh, but this time from the other side of the salon walls – amongst audience members at the beginning of their evening, being dressed before entering – again, courtesy of photographer Tommy Ga-Ken Wan:

  • the salon project

    I have just left Edinburgh, after opening The Salon Project – my second collaboration with Stewart Laing, and his company Untitled Projects. We have built and structured somewhere, a specifically temporary place, that might context and sustain the immersive social gathering of seventy five fully costumed spectators and participants – each individually fitted from a vast […]

  • twenty five thousand words, spoken one at a time

    A day in Cardiff. Mike Pearson and I met a cast of fourteen actors, with colleagues from the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre Wales, for an open cold reading of the full unedited text of Coriolanus, amongst an informal gathering within the public space of the Senedd in Caridff Bay. Culminating, as the building […]

  • can everyone see me if I stand on this chair?

    Last night Rosa Casado and I performed the first public work from our What if everything we know wrong? project, under the chandeliers and crystal wall lights of Brown’s Alumnae Hall, where we tried to reconstruct somewhere else – somewhere specific that we know, and have been trying to unpick. From a bag containing thirty pocket […]

  • unnecessary activity in a room

    Over this past week it has become increasingly clear that the work we are trying to propose here is simply a visible public attempt to construct one place, from collected fragments and details, within another place, where it wouldn’t otherwise be present – and the use of that attempt to allow the possible meeting place […]

  • an act of representation

    Today I am packing for a month long residency in the States – an invitation split between New York and Rhode Island, culminating in an event at Brown University. The invitation, and our intention, is to find form for a new performance project we are calling What if everything we know is wrong?. Creatively, all […]

  • a title recycled for works containing nothing new

    As I head off to Bilbao to meet ex-workers from the Euskalduna shipyards, who have kindly agreed to work with Rosa and I on the next work from our just a little bit of history repeating project – commissioned for this coming autumn – I have been revisiting some of the project’s previous thoughts and proposals, […]

  • one thing leads to another

    As a small detail and taster of mine and Rosa’s intervention in Olot last weekend – a model cement town laid out in public space from 1500 individually cast small cement houses, some of them burning – here is the 2009 image work it began with and built on… One thing leads to another, digital […]

  • enactment + autopsy

    THE ASSASSINATION OF LLWYD AP IWAN BY THE OUTLAWS WILSON AND EVANS   A couple of months ago, picking up threads from our recent conversations, Mike and I proposed a performance event sustained by the attempt to realise a screenplay live, visibly and with specifically limited resources, within a crowded room. In collaboration with nine […]

  • welcome

    Following the success of our located production of The Persians, within the landscape of an MOD range in the Brecon Beacons, for the 2010 inaugural session of National Theatre Wales; Mike Pearson and I have been asked to develop a new large scale theatre event based on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, in collaboration with National Theatre Wales […]