Maryam Hashemi

- Pink Fish Ensemble (article by Stev Ash)

Experimental Performances with the Pink Fish Ensemble

The Pink Fish Ensemble is a loose collective of performers partly coordinated by Maryam Hashemi in a series of experimental events.


The Pink Fish Picnic  25 July 2006 (Organised by Evrah ,the first painting performance by Maryam Hashemi )

A live multi-discipline 'happening' at the Foundry, featuring improvised music, spontaneous poetry and live spicy painting by Maryam. 

“A performance centred on the creation of a painting on a large canvas, spread on the floor of the Foundry's basement, using spices and food as pigments, mixed as if in some strange avant garde picnic, surrounded by the ambience of four experimental musicians, a wandering poet and an entranced audience!”  Audience member review.

The final painting prominently featured a large pink fish, from which would be derived the name of the ensemble. Pink fishes were at that time regularly appearing in Maryam's work. 

The Surrealist House Party  Summer 2006

A private house party recreating the spirit of Surrealism for the 20th century. Featuring illustrious corpses, poetry in the toilet, cut ups, the play room, the holy bathroom, the haunted room, strange ambience, surreal musical jams and bizarre guests.

“I entered an ordinary suburban house in
North London and was escorted from the front door to the kitchen under the cover of a huge umbrella, 'in case of rain', the kitchen was full of guests cutting up old newspapers, but I was soon whisked away for a tour of the house, in which every room was themed. My favourite being the 'haunted room', with its spooky ambient music, bone sculpture installations and walls covered in strange notelets. I had to use the bathroom and found it decorated like a chapel, with even the toilet flushing 'holy water', I could hear a Gregorian choir that            seemed to be coming from the washing machine! I must confess it was all a bit too much for me and I left after leaving a note in the cryptic guest book. As I left someone was reading poetry in the toilet while a small group pressed their ears to the door. On the way to the station I passed a man  wearing frogman's flippers and mask, I had no doubt of his destination!” Guest review. 




Photo by Alex Guri

Paint Therapy  27 Feb 2007

A second multi-discipline 'happening' at the Foundry, featuring the 'Painted Lady', a human canvas for spontaneous painting, supported by ambient music and 'the scary poet'.

 “This one was a little different to the last one, the canvas was worn by a young woman, refered to as 'the painted lady', as Maryam manifested a spontaneous painting on her as if performing some surgical operation. The musicians were as entrancing as ever and a very sinister looking poet read a poem he had written during the performance, about Jezebel”. Audience member review. 

The Mellow Jello Affair @ Echo Chamber  8 June 2007

An interactive 'energy working' entitled Mellow Jello by an audience member, creating 'psychic sculptures' in the Windmill Pub, Brixton, accompanied by the electronic ambience of Ragnorak.

“A strange ritual involving Reiki-like 'energy raising' was performed by two 'energisers' with ambient background music from the famous electronic group Ragnorak, who had played a session earlier. They then moved around the audience performing 'magnetic' exchanges between each others hands, all the while making constantly linked, sweeping gestures, compacting, stretching and pulling the 'energy'. They then connected the audience into the 'energy circuit', via non touching hand exchanges, encouraging the creation 'psychic sculptures' with this palpable energy produced between us, and the whole pub was turned into an invisible installation of entwined living energy, so they said!”. A review from a drinker at pub.

One audience member on the wall outside the pub refered to the energy he felt in his hands after he joined 'the chain' as 'mellow jello', a name that was then officially adopted. 



Photos by Maryam Ashrafi

Alien Energy @ Destination Area 10   23 June 2007

An interactive alien communique in the form of 'psychic sculpting' and 'energy exchange', performed to the live spontaneous music of the Pink Fish Ensemble's legendary house musicians.

This was a more complex form of sculpting, contextualised as the only way two 'aliens' could communicate with an audience on 'monkey planet'. The sculpture was extended into a larger warehouse area, with a more spaced out audience of artists and aficionados, taking on a form more like an experimental dance, described by one audience member as 'Isadora Duncan leads the psychic hokey cokey”, while another was moved to tears!



Photos by Devorah Jane

Living Puppet Show  29 March 2008

The Pink Fish Ensemble's last performance at the Foundry. A spontaneous theatre performance, composed by members of the audience acting as 'living puppets', and incorporating random props.

“A guy with a big black book read spontaneous sentences at first initiating and then describing  a series of dramatic scenes on the Foundry floor, connecting the random acts of the performers into a surreal narrative, led by Maryam who orchestrated events 'on stage'. As the event unfolded an increasing number of audience members were given props and encouraged to join in with the performance, with occasional stage suggestion by Maryam, acting as a grand 'puppet mistress'. Soon almost the whole audience were 'on stage' randomly interacting with each other in the strangest play I've ever seen”. Audience member review.


Performers :

Maryam Hashemi
: Artist, Party Hostess, Possessed Surgeon, Energiser,  Alien, Puppet Mistress.

Steve Ash
: Surgeon's Assistant, Energiser Two, Alien Two, Reader (for Living Puppet Show)

Stella Damiana : The Painted Lady

David Blank : Scary Poet (for Paint Therapy)

John Gibbens : Live Writing Poet (for Pink Fish Picnic)

And not forgeting 'the Audience'!

Musicians :

Pink Fish Picnic : Evra (voice), Stuart Fisher (electronics,environmental sounds),  Andy Knight (pocket cornet), Steve Moyes (electric guitar, cello, xaphoon)

Paint Therapy:  Alison Blunt (violin), Ivor Kallin (viola), Sandy Kindness (clarinets, saxophone), Steve Moyes (cello,flute).

Destination Area 10 : Evrah (vocals), Steve Moyes (guitar), Sandy Kindness (clarinets), Chris Leeds(drum)

Mellow Jello Affair : Mark Pilkington and Raagnagrok