Posts Tagged ‘Janet Cardiff’

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:

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 (accessed: 10.05.13)

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