Monthly Archives: November 2013

Surrealism and Subversion

In the process of developing the script for 33 minutes, the group were strongly influenced by French surrealist writers such as Breton and Eluard, and dadaists such as Tristen Tzara. These writers, who were strongly influenced by fruedianist theory and the world of dreams, created performances and literature which were bizzarre and “extraordinarily difficult to read” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) due to the way that they were “interested in the  associations and implications of words, rather than their literal meanings” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) this definition of what surrealist writers were interested in, explains exactly what 33 Minutes was looking at portraying, the meaning and connotations of individual words and phrases and not the literal meaning. By taking fragmented text and subverting its meaning by exploring how it is said or even sung, will hopefully have this effect. Another influence on the use of language within the piece is Beckett. By borrowing fragments of the script and playing with the way language is presented and broken down, the piece could be compared to Beckett’s work, as “Beckett may have recognised the possibilities of a delirious use of language, which by playing with conventions of sense and meaning, could subvert and challenge established literary techniques” (Keatinge, (2008), p.88) The subversion of language is an important factor within our process, looking at how to portray an emotional sentence, for example, with no emotion in the voice, or an opposite emotion to what an audience would be expecting is a crucial part of the piece.

Another style of writing which has influenced our scripting process is ‘verbatim’, “Albert Einstein once observed that ‘The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.’…Verbatim does the opposite.” (Hammond, (2008), p.1)  the group took the phone conversation that Amanda Berry had with the police when she escaped confinement and created a transcript which would be used in the final script as an ending to the piece. The word for word presentation of the phone call caused some issues however. As we had already decided to create a subverted version of this verbatim script, we needed to decide how to subvert it. We eventually decided to give the conversation a different situation, we decided on presenting it as a game show, in which the meaning of each line was completely changed by tone of voice and the semiotics of language, that are learnt through the medium of intonation and sound, when one experiences such things as game shows.

Phone Call Gameshow Transcript

 

Works Cited

Hammond, W (2008) Verbatim, Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre, London: Oberon Books

“Verbatim.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2013.

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Movement – A Response to the MA Workshop

I took part in the MA ‘Choreography for Non-dancers’ Workshop on Tuesday 26th November, which deconstructed the perceptions surrounding movement, and explored the awareness of each individual movement that we make as performers. Personally, the workshop aroused an enquiry into what shapes societies perception of choreography and the limitations that affect body movement in general. Similarly, Peter Merriman has raised the question of “how (and to what extent) are human agents’ actions and movements choreographed, codified, entrained or constrained by ‘outside’ agents, structures, architectures and discursive regimes?” (2010, p. 428). I feel that this question is central to our understanding of choreography and its relation to contemporary performance.

Our performance of 33 Minutes will be sound-driven. However, in order to emphasise our theme of entrapment further, we are limiting our ability to move naturally, by tangling our bodies in the ‘dog lead sculpture’ installation. Therefore, our inability to move freely has caused us to think more abstractly about physicality, and how to present movement in a distorted state. For example, jerking hand or arm movements might help to indicate that our bodies, in the performance, are seeking freedom. In the warm-up, during the workshop, Hannah taught us to stretch every inch of our bodies and work every muscle to its limit. The restraints that we will have during the performance will, in effect, set us a challenge physically. We will be using our strength to push the boundaries that are caused by us being tied up, and help us to perform as rigorously as possible.

Libby Soper exploring small spaces

Libby Soper exploring small spaces

During the Contemporary Experimental Performance workshops, led by Dan Hunt, we have experimented with the use of our bodies, and how we are faced with limitations in particular spaces or settings. As a group, we have explored the different ways of responding to these spaces and the new choreography that they create. In a recent workshop, based on one-to-one performance, a number of class members inhabited small spaces around the LPAC. For example, the space underneath a table was occupied by Libby Soper, who invited a single audience member under the table, for a discussion. The work of Richard Schechner “overcame a sense of place in order to create a malleable space that the actors and audience could share” (Govan et al, 2007, p. 107), suggesting a need for intimacy in the audience-performer relationship. The workshop based on one-to-one performances also highlighted how the solo audience member and the performer can feel at one with the space, since there is a genuine closeness that develops within that setting.

By Sophie Bullivant

 

Works Cited:

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

Merriman, Peter (2010) Architecture/dance: choreographing and inhabiting spaces with Anna and Lawrence Halprin. Cultural Geographies, 17 (4) pp. 427-449.

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Sculptural Textures and the work of Sharon Kelly

The sculpture that 33 Minutes aspired to create was imagined as one of a natural and raw look. Taking everyday objects and textures and amalgamating them into something that is peculiar but beautiful. Looking into ways of creating a sculpture that resembled a cocoon, the group experimented with many different materials. Beginning with black, red and blue dog leads with wire running throughout them to enable an angular aesthetic to the sculpture, the group made a prototype sculpture but ran into difficulty when trying to determine how to make the wire less obvious aesthetically. After deciding that wire was not the right material to use, the group also realised that the colours were taking away from something that was originally intended to be an organic looking mass of dog leads and therefore, decided that bleaching or painting them was the obvious answer, as this decision aided the scent of the piece which added another level of intrigue and meaning. When we had decided to have the sculpture completely white, we looked into ways of layering and texturizing the materials to create the organic look that we wanted. Sharon Kelly’s art work portrays cloth and garments in varying ways, Sverakova states that “the aesthetic function [of the cloth] isolates the object from the everyday use and fastens our attention powerfully to it” Kelly did this with garments and cloth; however, we would be using dog leads, coat hangers, toilet paper and baby powder. Although this creates an entirely different outcome to Kelly’s work, it has a similar goal. Kelly’s installations also encompass drawings of body parts, people appear to be trapped within the sculpture, this visual relates strongly with the vision that we have as a group of the sculpture. The difference being that we as performers would be ‘trapped’ inside the sculpture instead of it being pictures of people and body parts. 

Confirmation and Denial 1989

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (1) by Sharon Kelly

confirmation and denial 1989 (3)

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (2) by Sharon Kelly

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (2)

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (3) by Sharon Kelly

(Photo’s: www.sharonkellyartist.com – Confirmation and Denial by Sharon Kelly. Accessed 22nd November 2013)

The varying mediums within Kelly’s work provide an interesting feel, and the suspension of the piece is incredibly fascinating. The clinical environment in which they are presented is also a stimulating factor for the 33 minutes performance as it gives an unnerving and sterile feeling to the artwork, contradicting the feeling of the actual piece of art completely and subverting emotion. Kelly’s website states that the “ephemeral nature of the work, imagery and choice of materials were a contemplation on the nature of the relationship between art and life” (Kelly, 2013)This comment is completely relevant to the 33 Minutes sculpture as it is a contemplation of nature, rebirth and also an attempt at creating something that combines living people with an art work.

 

Works Cited

Sverakova, S (2009) ‘ The Aesthetic Function of Cloth in Drawings by Sharon Kelly’, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. 7 (2) 204-215.

Kelly, S (2013) Drawing Installation [Online] Belfast. Available from: http://www.sharonkellyartist.com/galleries/drawing-installation-1989/ [Accessed 21 November 2013]

 

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Intimacy in Performance

Peter Franks states that intermedia is “all the areas of adventure and experiment lying in, among, and between” (Barton, 2008, p. 78) theatre as we know it. Therefore, intimacy in performance allows performers to reach out to the audience and become one, whilst creating an intensified experience. During Week Six, we explored the notions of intimacy in performance, and the effects on an audience-performer relationship. Intimacy in performances can occur where “technologically determined practices become sensuous and effective, and where the visceral is no more a purist fantasy but a contemporary reality” (Chatzichchristodoulou and Zerihan, 2012, p. 217), enabling the technological and the visceral to bond. For example, in our performance of 33 Minutes, we will manipulate the audience’s sense of time, as videos will be played of us in boxes, making it unclear whether this is live/non-live footage. Our performance will heighten the senses, as the sounds are to be played through headphones, which will clash or blend accordingly with what they see in the performance space. The very style of the performance, with the audience wearing headphones, means that the audience will individually feel that they are experiencing the performance on their own, rather than collectively. The intimacy that is created for the audience, through wearing the headphones, will also intensify the situation, and enables us to manipulate their emotions further.

The audience is also invited into the performance space, and can choose where to sit or stand. 33 Minutes is not a one-to-one experience, but can evoke unique understanding, dependent on where an audience member chooses to be, in the space. Thus, more senses are at play if an audience member was to sit on a box, as we can tap from inside the boxes, heightening what they feel physically.

The idea of the boundaries between art and life being intensified in intimate performances is directly explored in 33 Minutes, as the performance space will represent a museum. Furthermore, the glass casings and roped off spaces that protect pieces of art or artefacts in exhibitions symbolise this very division of art and life. In our performance, we are in effect inviting the audience to break those boundaries, and even become a ‘work of art’ in their own right. For example, the audience member that chooses to sit on one of the white ‘exhibitions stands’ will be aware of their significance to the performance, since we will display a plaque stating that the ‘artefact’ is a precious piece of art and must not be touched.

Intimacy in performance also questions the notion of generosity. For example, in order for the audience to feel more involved in the performance, they may sacrifice something or respond more actively. At the beginning of 33 Minutes, we will ask each audience member to donate a piece of clothing/jewellery, which will then be displayed as another exhibition piece, in a clear box. The audience will receive their items at the end of the performance, yet the fact that they are giving something up as part of experience will help to intensify their connection with the performance. It is important to note that this sacrificial element of the performance also ties in with our theme of imprisonment. During rehearsals, we discussed how the Jews had to hand over all of their possessions when entering the concentration camps, and how these artifacts are now displayed to the public, in a memorial museum at Auschwitz.

By Sophie Bullivant

 

Works Cited:

Barton, Bruce (2008) Subjectivity, Culture, Communications, Intermedia: A Meditation on the ‘Impure Interactions’ of Performance and the ‘in-between’ Space of Intimacy in a Wired World. Theatre Research in Canada, 29 (1) pp. 51-92.

Chatzichristodoulou, M. and Zerihan, R. (eds.) (2012) ‘A Discussion on the Subject of Intimacy in Performance, and an Afterword’ in Intimacy across Visceral and Digital Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 213-221.

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Waiting at the lights

An everyday occurance, but what goes on in all of these stationary cars? The thoughts that occur, the music that plays.

An everyday occurance, but what goes on in all of these stationary cars? The thoughts that occur, the music that plays.

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