Posts Tagged ‘Experimenting’

Playing With Ideas

‘If site-specific performance involves an activity, an audience and a place, then creative opportunities reside in the multiple creative articulations of us, them and there’ ((Pearson, M. (2010) Site-Specific Performance. Palgrave: Macmillan. p18))

How an idea forms ultimately comes down to what we are inspired by and the creative opportunities that surround us depending on space and activity. Do we need a trigger, or do things just come to us out of blue. Having now watched one of Marina Abramovic’s works Seven Easy Pieces where she stood heightened in a long dress, I found I too wanted to create an image within our performance that could be seen as such a spectacle.

Marina ab

(Marina Abramovic, “Entering the Other Side.” Courtesty of Microcinema.)

Having originally looked into doing a performance with blindfolds and previously testing the use of different senses, in controversy it seemed we were now focusing on the use of imagery and sight as opposed to taking it away with blindfolds. How we could relate this to the library would be the next step. It was now a case of beginning to think about the resources within the library and how we could relate them to this new idea. . It seems extremely simple, yet could be so effective if we were to use books that reside within the library to make dresses, whilst standing on the many podiums used around the library within the shelves.

This is where our next experiment would begin. We decided now was time to practise making one of these dresses, however, out of old magazines. During this process we began to think the actual making of these ‘dresses of knowledge’ could in itself be part of our performance. Making one practise dress took around an hour; however we will need to look into editing our design to give it more of a structure and look into the style of dress we wish to create. We would then perform within the dresses for a certain period of time, and afterwards destroy them. This would result in a circular process of making, wearing and destroying the dresses. Below, you will be able to see the end product.


(Jakins, 2013, University Of Lincoln Library.)

There were many different reactions to our final product. Some people simply ignored what was around them, whilst others questioned our motifs and asked what we were doing. This made us realise how crucial the placing of the pages and content we make the dresses out of will be. If our audience will look that in depth into what we create, we need to have a solid statement.

Having gained a range of reactions in the aisles, we decided to now move to the entrance of the library to get a different set of opinions. Everyone would have to leave the library eventually, so would have to view the statuesque image. Some people again were genuinely interested and began to take pictures and discuss what was right before them. Others, however, did not even notice Natasha due to the background we placed in front of her, which just shows how intently some people choose to use the library.

This initial experiment seemed to be successful in provoking a response, but now we need to look into the content we want to use to make the dresses out of and the style we want to form.


‘Workshop is the active research phase of the performance process. Some artists use workshops to explore processes that will be useful in rehearsals’1 This week, we decided to experiment with how we use our senses more in hope it would prove useful for our final performance. In order to do so, we went to the silent floor of the library and started to play around with movement, imagery and different senses. Rebecca was blindfolded and would experiment solely with the use of touch, and sound or lack of it as she was blindfolded. As you can see below, some beautiful images were created in this improvised piece. It makes me think how crucial the use of a strong image can be in provoking an audience response.

Key points from the experiment:

  • Improvised movement
  • Connection with the books
  • Inspiration from Marina Abramovic’s Seven Easy Pieces
  • How imagery can form a spectacle
  • Can we make a dress out of books to form interesting imagery?
  1. Schechner, R. (2006) Performance Studies: An Introduction 2nd Edition Routledge: London. p233 []
Posted: March 3rd, 2013
Categories: Les dames des livres, Library
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Can You See Me Now?

From the ideas I’d already started to develop I was able to get a group of people on board to test some ideas out with me. My starting point has been to focus on being seen and the extremes we would have to go for the public to acknowledge us. To go further than this I also want to play around with the idea of the human librarian and the unreadable book and combining both I have created a starting point for experimentation. Referring back to Borges and the history of the library “it is true that the most ancient men, the first librarians, used a language quite different from the one we now speak”1 and to me this says that history plays an important part in my idea as we can present how language in todays time is so altered and so often used in comparison to the Library of Babel and how they only had twenty -three letters so to speak, excuse the pun, language was not so easily understood, even when written.


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013

This experiment was good as a starter however I feel it lacked something and we could have done a lot more to play around with my ideas. We still have a long time before any solid ideas need to be down but I want to be as prepared as I can. Instead of holding plaque cards could we just instead be ourselves and try to watch everyone in the library, watching their body language, their actions, the conversations they have with one another. Effectively I want to be able to create a book, a book that is unreadable to most but understood by it’s writer/s because “In the vast Library there are no two identical books”2 and we could create a book that is impossible to copy. Would it be possible to create a diary or a log of every person that comes into the library and could there be people appointed around as ‘listeners’ almost ‘spying’ on everyone and see how they use the library.

  1. Borges, J. L (2000) TheLibrary of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
  2. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
Posted: February 7th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Early Research, Library
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You say jump. I say how high?

A violation of space can lead people to react in numerous ways and what we achieved today was to test how far we could go in a place where anything theatrical could almost be a taboo. Today we were each given a set of headphones and through them we received specific instructions varying from subtle to obvious. Walking around the library attempting to appear like a typical library student was hard when you were expecting an instruction at any moment, and not knowing what it would be, was almost a rush of willingness to do anything.

Abigail Perry, 31/01/2013

This activity enabled us to forget about the people around us but to instead focus on the space. To inhabit it in a spontaneous and creative way. The reason this is so beneficial to us is due to it’s ‘out there’ style and how we can become so unaware of the real world and simply become absorbed in this new world where we are the people in charge, we can do anything, regardless of what reactions we receive from the public.

As I walked I observed many of the students sitting at computers either working quietly or making idle chit chat to friends or nearby students. I felt like an intruder, like everyone in the library meant to be there where as I was simply there for a complete opposite reason however it is this very part of the task that I liked, being an intruder although the public were aware of me, how could I do this again without being seen or heard, what if I was hidden without hiding?

As Borges himself writes “Man, the imperfect librarian”1 and that we are all librarians of the library. I like to think there is another meaning to the word ‘librarian’, maybe that they can see everything, hear everything and know everything. If the library of Babel is infinite then the knowledge of the librarian is infinite. The library of Babel was filled with “inexhaustible stairways for the traveller and latrines for the seated librarian”2 and from this I am able to get an idea of making the librarian a physical being. If the librarian is ‘man’ and is omniscient (all – knowing) then how could this be presented. The idea I would like to follow is to focus on this librarian and the idea of his intrusion in the library. Reflecting back to my last post I am also curious as to whether I can combine my ideas of recreating an unreadable book with my development into the human librarian.

  1. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
  2. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
Posted: January 31st, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Early Research, Uncategorized
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Comments: 1 Comment.
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