a performance dialogue

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sketch plan of 19th step performance

In response to Dorothy some thoughts on to how the 19th step performance could look???.
I was inspired by the performance at the ICA Ear cinema to have the audience standing at the center of everything. In a way it makes the audience a kind of Aleph.
Also been reading The Theater and its Double by Antonin Artuad The Theater of Cruelty (First Manifesto)1958.
Thought it would be interesting to mark out with tape the torus and hexagon. Part of the hexagon floor area could be painted on with blackboard paint so Marcus could chalk on the floor (was imagining making a really long chalk holder so it could be done from standing) and dancers remove/scuff marks with their moves.
Imagined vast pile of paper (thinking of the idea of all the potential books that could be written) that could be written on that could then be hung on the opposite side of hexagon. Was thinking about Dorothys comments of the sound of paper when moved.
Marcus could be followed by a spotlight changing shape from square to circle etc. I was imagining a series of freestanding mirrors on wheels thinking of Carols post about Anne Hamiltons performance piece and the role of the mirror in the library "I prefer to dream that the polished surfaces feign and promise infinity....)that and on the opposite side I was imagining 3 pieces of gym equipment that are all about extending energy but going nowhere, all to be viewed in the mirror that detaches us from reality. I was imagining they could be used during the performance thinking about repeation and control too.
Wasn't sure where the musicians should go, thought maybe infront of screen that could be back and/or front projected.
At either ends of the hexagon, would be screens some thoughts on content ...would be great to use the software Seadragon and Photosynth demonstrated in the movie clip I posted recently. Also thinking about imagery linking patterns to control our bodies and natural movement eg tango, wrestling, football etc.. also the avatar of Marcus engaged in a Secondlife parrallel universe?
This are all just intitial ideas feel free to comment, alter etc thanks


Dorothy said...

I love this design - it's got such a great sense of fun and energy. There's a real sense already of motion across and around the space. I love the way it's so responsive to various ideas we've been thinking about and the potentiality within it for 'activities'. I feel that it's a really appropriate kind of space for Marcus to perform and ideal for the public engagement imperative.

What I'm not so sure about for myself: the geometrical shapes - on one level I love them, on another I am looking for shapes that are more subtle and 'complex';

the audience being in the centre means you're limiting the audience quite severely

also, though I liked the idea of Ear Cinema being around you, I found the experience a little bit taxing as a viewer and felt it would work much better if we were all sat on revolving stools

there is also that question of how you control the perspective of the audience

there is a whole network of performance venues in the UK that hold concerts 'in the round' but the audience is on the perimeter; if a string quartet is playing they change orientation for each piece

I can also see the audience here being around the perimeter, but elevated so they're looking down on it, (the speakers would surround the whole space) with the mirrors facing in different directions? or placed differently. transparent? screens could hang above the space (perhaps these would fulfil the role of mirrors (mirrors also being extremely heavy to carry around, not that we're trying to be too constrained by practical concerns at this stage).

Thanks Kate for such a great design. These are my initial thoughts.

Dorothy said...

alternatively I can see the audience sitting on two adjacent sides of the hexagon with the 'implication' of it being a circular space but kept so that projection (on transparent screens - I'm still quite keen on a many-surface projection environment hanging above the space) can be coherent (the right way around) from the audience's perspective. That way you keep the mirrors.

Carol said...

Thanks Kate for your inspired ideas for the design. I like the use of mirrors and screens and also the suggestion of paper as material. I have been working with old books with Rosemary, and performing the turning of their leaves with tongues and salivaed fingers. Finding a somatic language for relating flesh and page.

Its wonderful to have something to discuss about how we would like the performance elements to be stratified. I agree with Dorothy about the difficulties of placing audience in the centre of the event. In my view the articulation of the space is happening as much on a level of perception and consideration therefore needs to be given to how audiences engage with the layering of sound and movement and image in such a way that they can have a complex experience without being uncomfortable. My own preference is for a more pared back space with a subtle use of projection surfaces which are suspended from the grid and are possibly made of an opaque material so that they are disappear when not being projected onto. I discussed with Dorothy, the idea of the performers being embedded at times in a forest of words which stream vertically on these suspended forms. I see the audience sitting around the performers and a flexible use of space interms of the arrangements of dancers and musicians. Bear in mind that the dancers and musicians will need a large area to perform in (I would say about 10m x 9m). What venues are we imagining the work for? If we are thinking about conventional spaces like the Linbury we don't have that much flexibility about arranging the audience, however for reserach performances, such as at Roehampton we can be more playful and we could certainly have the audience seated around the event in a hexagonal.

The extended chalk is a great idea and would be fun to try out with Marcus. I was also thinking about ways he could 'write' the maths of the space.