Posts Tagged ‘Final Performance’

6. The Final Piece

The matter of where we performed the piece was something that required lots of discussion. We had to think about how we would be framed and unfortunately construction work had begun in the spot we originally wanted to perform so we had to think again. In a bit of a eureka moment, I found myself thinking that this wasn’t such a terrible thing because we were looking at the deconstruction of language in front of the construction of the new section of the library, tying together the present and the future.

We originally found our inspiration in the structure of the GCW Library itself, a place that has a very rigid structure in both the way it’s set out and the activities that take place in there. The floors are organised by noise level, on every floor the shelves are organised by subjects on every shelf the books are organised by the Dewey Decimal System. There are rules and regulations that you must follow while using the library. The standard procedure is people scanning themselves into the library in order to gain access to the book. Then they sit inside the library and read the pages between the cover.

We decided that we would do the opposite of this. By reading the covers of the books outside the library we are making them accessible to the public without them having to scan in and out of the library system and proving the books have more potential than to be just leafed through for quotes, like I discussed in my speech, “there are infinite ways of handling a book”.

This brings me onto the development of my section of the piece. Originally, I was going to be reading a list like Beth, Kim and Kristina and my method of deconstructing language involved demonstrating my ability to be able to read words backwards. Research told me that this means that I have above average visual perception. I just thought I was a bit odd. As I was researching this topic, I found myself interested in the idea that there is infinity within what appears to be a rigid structure, and by reading backwards I was demonstrating this.

I ended up changing my mind about my area of study and began to look further into the idea of infinity. I read The Library of Babel and the ‘second chapters’ that we had to write in order to inspire another creative piece of writing, that I originally intended to be used in the performance, about the infinity that can be found within the pages of a book. I began this writing with a list of synonyms for infinity, Wes really liked this list and told me that this should become the main feature of what I was saying. At first I wasn’t sure, but then I realised that every single word that I said in my list probably resided in one of the books in the library so it made perfect sense.

Posted: May 13th, 2013
Categories: Taking the Library Outside
Tags: ,
Comments: No Comments.

Rehearsals, Feedback and Final Performances

Feedback and Rehearsals

Due to our tutor being unavailable, we had two other tutors from the module watch our piece. We wanted to run our piece a couple of times to get as much feedback from the tutors as possible to improve our piece as much as we could before the performance day.

final perf 1


01.05.13 Performance 1

Once Dan and Michael watched our piece we sat in the LPAC cafe to receive some feedback. As Dan had to shoot off we sat down with Michael whilst he talked through his ideas and pointers.

Michael’s Feedback:

  • Maybe think about changing the order.
  • Jess: Perhaps change side when talking about the side of the brain.
  • Maybe use cue cards, so paper is not blowing about.
  • Doing something with the cards – make part of set, archive, individual performer do something.

We then had another rehearsal with Wes with all the previous feedback fully imbedding into our piece.

final perf 2


01.05.13 Performance 1

Wes’ feedback for myself:

  • Talked way too fast, slow it down.
  • Due to talking to fast – lost interest after first sentence.
  • Standing on the spot looked to static.
  • Need to make speech even more personal to me.

The main point from Wes’ feedback I focused on was making my speech at lot more personal. I started to think about life in a philosophical state mainly, I started to think about thing such as, the name of things, who decided the names of things, if a tree falls in an abandoned area does it make a sound?, my fears and why humanity exists.

I also took on aboard the fact I was very static in the last performance, so I decided to take the microphone out of the stand to walk around a bit. We as a group and with Wes had come the conclusion that my speech was critical to the piece as to make sure that it did not seem to flat line and become boring. My speech/performance was to lift the piece – to break out to break up the formal, functional system of reading a list and to drop in something that was on total opposite end of the spectrum.

Performance day.

During our break between the first and second performance a lady came up to us and asked what it was that we were doing. She took a very keen insight to what the performance was and hoped see would see one of our performance times over the two days. Later during the second performance a lady approached my whist Kristina was speak and said that she though what we were doing was very brave and she was amazed by our confidence.

final perf 3


01.05.13 Performance 2

For our last performance we had a bit of an audience gathering outside the library entrance. Whilst I was performing for the last time I focused on one guy to the right of me, I asked him questions to which he replied ‘I don’t know, why are you asking me?’, which seemed to make the rest of the gathering chuckle. I also asked people that were walking through but did not really get much of a response from them.

final perf 4


01.05.13 Performance 2

As a whole I thought that our final performance had improved massively, the group as a whole seemed to be a lot more confident. The piece itself looked and felt a lot more structured than is had felt initially.

Posted: May 11th, 2013
Categories: Taking the Library Outside, Uncategorized
Tags: ,
Comments: No Comments.

24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds.

As that final hour hit we knew we’d done it, we’d completed what we set out to accomplish so many months back. Our bodies had slowly deteriorated until we were unsure where we were anymore. 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86400 seconds is the amount of time I was in the library on the 3rd May 2013. We arrived at 23:00PM that night and we began our performance 00.00AM on the dot. I realise now how naïve I was when I signed myself up for this because this has been one of the most challenging performances I’ve completed.

Upon arriving we set up our equipment, tested our ear pieces and prepared ourselves for 24 hours of intensity. As the countdown began to midnight we stood in our positions ready to begin our work. The one thing on my mind was that during the next 24 hours, everyone entering the building would be so oblivious to what they could possibly be a part of during that day.

Unfortunately we had to lose the projection and the sound that we had originally planned to have due to technical difficulties however it was only a scrap of what our idea was all about. The main concept of our work was to document a day in the library and collect words and conversations and type them up. During the times when this could not be done we would read from books related to how we personally were feeling, using other voices to voice ourselves.

We warned everyone of our presence with posters around the library and we also had information typed up for people to read to prevent them from starting a conversation with us.

‘BABEL: Lost Words’, University of Lincoln Library, 2013


‘Poster One’, Abigail Perry, 2013.


‘Poster Two’, Abigail Perry, 2013.

Tiredness crept in and it was a battle to stay awake which was expected. We prepared ourselves in any way we could and luckily the prep got us by. We arranged our time so that one person was always on their break for an hour, then we would swap round. Waking – Typing – Break. We were  able to get some footage of the 24 hour process which I have cut, edited and attached. The interesting thing about looking at this footage is the you can see how we were all affected by the tiredness.

We were acknowledged by almost everyone that entered the library and some had a look at what we were typing and the pages we had already created. Others were not so interested but that is to be expected. We were very lucky in that no one complained about the typewriter as it a very noisy contraption despite the sounds being far from irritating, but more musical.

At 23:30PM on the 4th May 2013, we packed the typewriter and cleared the desk and awaited our audience for the final element to our performance where we binded the book using the ribbons that we had worn around our neck through the entire process. We did this as a symbolic attempt to show how we all made the book and all went through the process together. We then walked with the book to the next floor of the library and placed the book amongst the rest of the history books. We chose history because that was exactly what the book is, a part of history. We have taken the library and placed it amongst history, that same history that is situated in the library. A paradox. An infinite paradox.

I would like to end this experience from the words of the man who was at the very beginning of our process, Borges, and how he states that “I suspect that the human species — the unique species — is about to be extinguished, but the Library will endure”1 and so we like to think that now it has taken it’s place, our book will endure as long as the library itself does.

Perry, A (2013) Lincoln University 24 Hour Typewriting Challenge, Online:

  1. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
Posted: May 10th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Library
Tags: ,
Comments: No Comments.


00.52AM on Saturday morning. I have no idea how i’m writing this post right now as I have just completed my 24 hour performance in the library. I’m experiencing more pain than I would’ve imagined I could feel, this could be the dramatic side of me coming out, or I genuinely have completed something quite marvellous. My body feels like it’s been in a battle with a raging dragon that has set me on fire a few times and I’ve tried everything in grasp to fight it off and I succeeded, now that could be my nerd side coming out. I don’t think i’ll be rushing to do something like this again in a while, but I would definitely do it again, in a different context.

Posted: May 10th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.


'it can stage and frame those who inhabit its spaces' (Pearson 2010, p.21) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library.

‘it can stage and frame those who inhabit its spaces’ (Pearson 2010, p.21) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library.

'writing composed of the marks of nature itself' (Foucault 1989, p.43) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library.

‘writing composed of the marks of nature itself’ (Foucault 1989, p.43) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library.

'invasion of space by text' (Augé, Marc 1995, p.99) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library

‘invasion of space by text’ (Augé, Marc 1995, p.99) Cox, Emily 03/05/13, University of Lincoln Library

THE IMAGE= Immersive. Engaging.  We took inspiration from Allan Kaprow and Duncan Speakman’s flash/subtle mobs, spontaneous events happening in ‘unexpected places’1 to connect people in the space and to ground the books used in its site, its home.  This then enabled us to take advantage of the architecture of the building, manipulating its structure and using the bookshelves to house the performance.

The library is a ‘non-place’2 one that ‘encourages people to travel through a landscape rather than inhabit it (ibid).  TIME= to create a durational but non-lasting, momentary performance = leave the scattered debris for a couple of hours.  It allowed the audience passing through the library to observe the performance and/or remains that alerted them to the different functions of a library.  The difference in audience opinion is what helped to enhance the ambiguity in our meaning = MOMENTARY.

A reason why we also chose to DOCUMENT our performance with photographs.  Photographs are fragmented, the gaps in between the taking of photos allowing the audience to interpret the performance and create their own story from what they see.  (Also influenced by Poiret.  See Fashion blog post).

Small ‘fragments of text’3, translating small sections of L’art Religieux combined with the theme of sacrifice inspired by its images, created our journey; –

France-1908-history-era/content of L’art Religieux-13th Century-sacrifice-statues-rituals-Religion versus Science-belief-INFINITY of KNOWLEDGE =  THE LIBRARY OF BABEL.

Word Count: 288

Overall Word Count: 3,988 (inc.’Final Thoughts’ group blog)

Works Cited:

(1)    Witts, Noel (2010) Tadeusz Kantor: Routledge Performance Practitioners, London and New York: Routledge, p.18.

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

(3) (2012) forced entertainment, Online:  (accessed 30 Apr 2013).

  1. Witts 2010, p.18 []
  2. Govan 2007, p.127 []
  3. 2012 []
Posted: May 9th, 2013
Categories: Les dames des livres, Library
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.
© 2018 Babel. Hosted by University of Lincoln Blogs.