News for February 2013

Lone Twin inspiring the Library

Lone Twins performance Ghost Dance is an interesting display which I believe may be beneficial towards our performance in the library. This piece of art is constructed of two men dressed as cowboys, blindfolded and simply doing a line dance in unison continuously for 12 hours in silence. Performed only once or twice a year in different locations, this performance is not advertised before hand and audience members would all merely stumble across it in the street, art gallery etc.

RealTime Arts magazine Photography: Lone Twin Performance

However, although audience members did not purposefully go to see Lone Twin’s piece, it was common for members of the public to join in with this well known dance throughout the 12 hours, supporting and cheering on the two performers. This created a communal spirit in environments where strangers would not usually interact and this is what we hope to create in our performance. By putting ourselves in a unique position infront of the public we may be able to force upon them an interaction, such as by wearing particular outfits (like Lone Twin in Cowboy costumes) or repeatng a routine an audience member would feel comfortable and enjoy joining in with.

However we approach it, I think it would be interesting to show that the environment is no longer isolated and everybody who enters the library is an individual, not a number. It may also be interesting to take a photograph of each audience member we interact with holding a white board with their student number on and leave these photos as a collage in th library, to clearly state that they are an individual and not a number. I will explain more about that idea in my next post.

 

Posted: February 28th, 2013
Categories: Performance Art
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Making the Content Site Specific– ‘Is architecture the concept of space, the space and the definition of space?’ (Tschumi 1995, p.32)

METAPHYSICS

AUTONOMY

PERCEPTION

KINETIC

BOOK

‘to develop work that responds to the environment’1 .

* The Bible: too broad a concept but in development.

*I offered the idea of blending in with the library’s architecture, making our actions parallel to the building.  Rather than focus on what is contained on the insides of the library, examine its outside.  The building is a modern development and we could examine its development over time.  Could we bring the outside inside or vice versa? Reverse the unexpected.  This image was taken during a Practitioners class when studying Edward Gordon Craig.  He focussed on the architecture of theatrical sets and the symbolism of simple gestures to produce Kinetic Theatre; a combination of architecture and dance, concentrating on the ‘actors movement and body in space’2 that would create the intended image, whatever that may be, without emotion but with physical intensity.  For Craig, this was just as effective, as together the elements would create an illusory world far away from Naturalism.  It was all based on artistic meaning, to ‘mystify’3 the audience and help them search for meaning, to reinvent a space anew.

Nicholls, Natasha 28/02/13, University of Lincoln Library.

Nicholls, Natasha 28/02/13, University of Lincoln Library.

With this in mind, I can see each one of us on a different floor travelling up/down the stairs, being with and in close proximity to the building as if one, to reach our destination.  It would be aesthetically pleasing to outside audience members and would integrate 3 different types of audience which for Peter Brook is described as ‘links between the actor and his inner life, his partners and the audience’4; the audience performer, the audience that chooses to come and watch and the audience who observes unintentionally.   Distancing the audience but enlightening them simultaneously to the structure of the building and its functionality.

‘The real power of site specific work is that it somehow activates or engages with…the formal architecture or history of the building’5 .

The walking = Sharing MY personal experience.

Looking at the exterior of a building in a different light reminded me of a past performance created by Laurence Payot who, in 2011, covered houses in Lincoln in mesh giving the ‘building a new poetic meaning.  By placing an image over the façade of scaffolding, she asks us to consider what may have been there, what the city should become, or what it may never be’6, entering other realms beyond what we perceive to be there.  We are the façade.

Payot, Laurence 2011

Payot, Laurence 2011

Payot’s work was created as part of a series of site specific performances around Lincoln by A WORKING TITLE, who aim ‘to explore the modernisation of situation, exploring how situations develop as a consequence of modernisation’7 .

This is not unlike the work created by Christo and Jean Claude who, in 1970, wrapped monuments in Milano out of fabric and rope that lasted from 2 days-1 week.  For Pearson, this is an ‘interruption of human activity [on the environment] by employing man made materials to draw attention to frame or harness natural elements’8 .  Integration into the site.

Word Count: 534

Works Cited (in footnote order):

(Title)    Tschumi, Bernard (1995) Questions on Space: Lectures on Architecture, London: E.G. Bond Ltd, p.32.

(1)    Govan, Emma, Helen Nicholson and Kate Normington (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices, Oxon: Routledge, p.120.

(2)    Allain Paul and Jen Harvie (2006) ‘Craig, Edward Gordon’, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, London and New York: Routledge, p.40.

(3)    Allain Paul and Jen Harvie (2006) ‘Craig, Edward Gordon’, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, London and New York: Routledge, p.40.

(4)    Brook, Peter (1993) The Open Door: Thoughts on Acting and Theatre, New York: Anchor Books Ltd, p.37.

(5)    Pearson, Mike (2010) Site Specific Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p.35.

(6)    Warner, Sophie (2011) A WORKING TITLE, 26-27 November:  Launch 25 November, programme, sophiewarner.tumblr.com.

(7)    Warner, Sophie (2011) A WORKING TITLE, 26-27 November:  Launch 25 November, programme, sophiewarner.tumblr.com.

(8)    Pearson, Mike (2010) Site Specific Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p.33.

  1. Govan 2007, p.120 []
  2. Allain 2006, p.40 []
  3. Allain 2006, p.40 []
  4. Brook 1993, p.37 []
  5. Pearson 2010, p.35 []
  6. Warner 2011 []
  7. Warner 2011 []
  8. Pearson 2010, p.33 []
Posted: February 28th, 2013
Categories: Les dames des livres, Library
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Taking a Journey in Someone Else’s Eyes…

‘Calling herself the grandmother of performance art’ (Allain and Harvie 2006, p.13)

After delving into more research on Marina Abramovic, I find myself to be more fascinated. I want to take one main element from her work and that’s to get the audience to be a part of the final performance.

Exploring the library in an early session gave me the idea of using headphones with the audience and setting out a list of instructions for them to follow. Myself and couple of others from the group experimented with this and had our tutor to be our “guinea pig” and test our experiment. Due to short amount of time he had set us to create the task we had to use mobile phones to communicate, this proved difficult as we lost signal and the call disconnected in certain parts of the building. The feed back we were giving from our tutor was that the piece did give some form of own meaning to the participant, but not quite what we wanted the responce to be.

We then sat down and discussed what we could adapt to make the piece have meaning.

  • Taking a journey through the library in someone else’s eye’s.
  • History of the build – What it was before the library.
  • Looking at the building as a grain factory.

I and a couple others from the group took a trip to the city library, where we found it has an archive of pictures of the city and it’s surrounding dating back to early 1800’s. Here we found a few documents that we thought we could incorporate into our piece:

  • Photographs of the city that surrounds.
  • Pictures of the library.
  • Pictures of the grain factory.

After deciding this I looked at some work by Janet Cardiff. Her pieces called Walks could be considered a high influence to our ideas.

All of my walks are recorded in binaural audio with multi-layers of sound effects, music, and voices (sometimes as many as 18 tracks) added to the main walking track to create a 3D sphere of sound.’ (Janet Cardiff: http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/audio_walk.html)

In these pieces the participant/audience listen to a pod cast/recording of Cardiff giving instructions and building a story, for example, in one of her pieces she tells the participant to sit on a bench and look out in front. She then continues to tell the listener to hold up a certain photograph out in front of them. The photograph is of a woman sat on the bench in front. She then starts to ask questions such as,’ what is the woman thinking?’, ‘Where is the woman now?’ She also rises the point of that the past is being brought to the present. This is one aspect of Janet Cardiff’s work I want to bring to the final idea.

Having to come up with 3 ideas for our next session, I would like to propose my idea of looking at the city through someone else’s eyes whilst telling a story.

  • Using audio.
  • Headphones to make the piece more intimate.
  • Photographs as a visual aid.

I want to take the listener on a journey through the library in the eyes of a worker in the factory. By setting up numbered points in the library to look out the windows and hold up the photographs matching that number. This will firstly, bring the element of making the familiar unfamiliar and secondly bring the past to the present.

I’m excited to see the outcome of the experiment and the ways in which we can develop this into something better and stronger. I’d like there to be volunteers from our group and possibly people outside our group to be a second “guinea pig” for this idea and to give feedback on how we can improve it.

 

Allain, Paul and Havie, Jen (2006) The Routledge Companion the Theatre and Performance, US and Canada: Routledge.

Cardiff, Janet http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/index.html (accessed: 10.05.13)

Physically making literature, art

 

Entering the other side, Marina

We took great inspiration from one of Marina Abramovic’s pieces in ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ which was her seventh night’s performance of ‘Entering the Other Side’1 performed in 2005 at the Guggenheim Museum. We found her work truly beautiful as she completely captured the impressive presence the Guggenheim has through the size of her gorgeous dress.

This huge dress had us thinking about what we could do in the library and with the concept of ‘pre-performance, performance and post-performance’ taken from ‘The Many Headed Monster’, we created a new concept.

Dress

By in-keeping with the library we investigated how we could adapt Marina’s performance. We decided we could make our own dresses out of paper from books that we would rip up in the library and create our outfit. A friend had previously made a dress from magazines, shopping bags and other materials for a textiles exam, and I thought the dress looked absolutely stunning.2

We would purchase books from charity shops and let the librarians know what we are doing in case they panicked, but it would be really interesting to see what people think of what we do, which could be classed as a pre performance. We would then wear the dresses around the library striking poses like Marina for a lengthy period of time, and afterwards, tear off our dresses to then be left as ‘art’. It reveals the simplicity of the infinity of language and how it books can be shaped in different ways to create new books, very much like the library of babel.

It also means that we are being part of the libraries architecture, and the fact we are wearing ‘books’ means we are making the familiar – unfamiliar. As we are making a book into art, but isn’t literature and language already an art? Therefore are we making it a visual art, and drawing attention to that fact as it is something we usually take advantage of.

Word count: 346

Works Cited

Abramovic, Marina Entering the Other Side (2005) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on November 15, 2005.

 

  1. Photograph by Kathryn Carr, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. []
  2. Design by Sukie Buzzacot 2009 Photographed by Sukie Buzzacot []
Posted: February 27th, 2013
Categories: Borges, Early Research, Les dames des livres, Library, Marina Abramovic, Performance Art
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A sensory journey

Our first exploration of using blindfolds in performance involved a group of us typing in unison. We really love the images that we created in that experiment, however I felt that it would be beneficial to try other tasks in the library blindfolded to discover what else could work as part of our performance.

This time I was blindfolded alone on the third floor of the library.  I wrote down all the sounds that I could hear around me which was an idea that came after watching Tim Etchells and Ant Hampton’s The Quiet Volume. In this performance the audience are in a library with headphones and are made aware of how noisy a library can be despite it being dedicated to silence.

IMG_0326

What I wrote down when blindfolded1

After this exercise I decided to try something different. In The Quiet Volume, the participants were asked to complete tasks such as reading upside down and touching the pages of the books. This allowed them to experience books and literature in a completely new way. Tim Etchells says that ‘the piece exposes the strange magic at the heart of the reading experience’2 which is something I wanted to experience for myself but while being blindfolded. The blindfold means that you have to treat the books differently-  you have to use your other senses to explore the books. I spent an hour  exploring the books through smell and touch and this seemed to have more potential for further development. There was something quite powerful about having a connection between the body and a book- this is something we are considering through creating clothing out of a book.

 

  1. Sowter, R. 2013 []
  2. Etchells 2010. http://www.timetchells.com/projects/performances/the-quiet-volume/ []
Posted: February 27th, 2013
Categories: Les dames des livres, Library, Uncategorized
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Comments: 2 Comments.
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