Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us, Final Blog Submission.

Framing Statement

On Wednesday 6th May 2015 we will present our Site Specific performance ‘Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us’ in Castle Square between the hours of 9:00am-9:30am, 12:30pm-1:00pm and 17:30pm-18:00pm. Our key aim is to portray the concerning notions of surveillance regarding the violations of privacy, this is important to us as a group as we want to raise awareness to the public that we are constantly being watched as a nation.

As we are a group of five we will display this by dividing up certain roles and tasks between us, to give our performance variation whilst still performing as a unit. Firstly, another group member and I will place ourselves in the very centre of Castle Square, so that we almost become unavoidable to passers-by. We will be standing back to back, rotating in unison as the CCTV camera moves – by doing this we are illuminating the cameras presence to the public.  Whilst rotating in the space and following the camera we will also be presenting a live feed of the space back to the audience through the use of an iPad and GoPro camera. Filming the public and presenting the footage back to them, will make them conscious of the fact that they are constantly being observed.

Whilst we have this system operating in the centre of Castle Square, the three other group members will be analysing the public who enter and exit the site. This will be achieved by following and noting down peoples personal journeys on a map. Castle Square entails a varied range of entrances into sites, generating a diverse mix of spectators to fill the space. ‘The people trackers’, will record their information onto maps and bring it back to the bigger source of power, ‘the hub’. The relevance of this will enable us to see how the public operate the space, with the clear understanding that they are being observed.

Audience participation is vital for our piece, as we require them for filming, they become part of our performance. We have made the decision to not advertise or invite people to our performance, as we want to encounter an accidental audience from the public. If any members of the public want to engage with us directly, or question what it is we are doing we are going to hand them a small flyer directing them towards the blog where everything can be explained in further detail. Although we have decided against marketing our play, we have agreed to make a statement poster of our performance to inform people what will be happening in the area on the specific date.

Our main influences for our performance include The Surveillance Camera Players and Tehching Hsieh. We took a high interest into these two practitioners as their work has massively influenced our piece. Documentation and surveillance have been two key areas throughout our process that have inspired us and stuck with us for the majority of our process.


Analysis of Process


Initial Thoughts and Ideas

An original idea that my group and I decided on was to pursue a guided tour around the back of the Cathedral. As we were fascinated by the mystical sculptures we discovered there.

We gained inspiration for this idea from watching the Mythogeography  at the Royal William Victualling Yard:

Watching this empowered us with ideas on how we could create a truly fascinating mythology to incorporate into our piece. Taking our audience on an eerie journey around the back end of the Cathedral that does not appear as popular as the front of it.


Photo: (Smart, 2015).

As we moved further with this idea we began to recognize that most of our mythologies that we had made up were in fact already ‘Lincoln myths’. After this discovery we were left feeling slightly disappointed as we did not want to be seen as though we were presenting a generic ghost walk to the public.

‘Nothing Happens Here Apart From us’

Progressing on from our mythology ideas we decided to move onto something else. “Nothing happens here apart from us” an interesting quote that a group member overheard in Castle Square during our second week of Site Specific.

What really caught our attention about this quote was that it was delivered from an elderly local assuming that we were a group of tourists. Developing the quote further we started to think of ideas about how we could present a busy environment back to an audience. We wanted to show an audience how much a space can be operated by us all, encouraging them to consider what it would entail if it was constantly unoccupied.

The first thing to enable us to emerge further with this idea was to pick a space. After a lot of thought and consideration we decided to use Castle Square. What highly motivated us to choose Castle Square was the fact that it is Steep Hill’s most popular and busiest site. However, it is also a site that entails historical, religious, tourist and commercial values; broadening the combination of people who visit it. This is an important aspect for us as it generates a more varied audience for our performance. We will be able to present to this audience how many different people use and encounter this site, showcasing the site’s significance, pushing the spectators to acknowledge it would be ‘nothing’ without them.

To get familiar with our new space we decided to put into practice Mike Pearson’s Some Exercises Towards Relating Space. Following these instructions allowed us to discover interesting and unique pinpoints of the area. In particular, after visiting the site we carried on with the exercise and came across the question “What would you have remembered had you gone there without a camera?” (Pearson, 2011). My group and I all agreed that the CCTV camera above The Magna Carta pub was something that stood out for us and caught our attention.

After this, we spent a whole rehearsal analysing the CCTV camera and following its every move. We started to think deeper into the CCTV camera, and the way it worked. Who was operating it? What were they looking for? Were they following us? We became so intrigued with the way the camera moved and the angles it would record. From this we acknowledged four main points of Castle Square that the camera kept returning too, these were: the road going down steep hill, the area that covers the ground before the cathedral, the area that covers the ground before the entrance of the castle and upper steep hill.


Photos: (Smart, 2015).

As the camera mainly tackled these areas, we believe that they are immensely significant to the space, it is likely that the CCTV camera chose these angles as they are entrances to the square. The CCTV is almost acting as a guard to the site, keeping an eye on the people who enter. This became important to us because it made us recognise how the general public are not always fully aware they are being observed.


As we became so enthralled with the CCTV camera, we decided to research into the wider topics of surveillance, public privacy and how we are constantly being monitored as a country. We discovered some eye opening facts:

“The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimated there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit television cameras in the country”

“The survey’s maximum estimate works out at one for every 11 people in the UK”

“Surgeries and health centres have an estimated 80,000 to 159,000, while there are believed to be between 53,000 and 159,000 cameras in restaurants”

(Barrett, 2013).

After discovering these facts, it left us feeling shocked and slightly disturbed. We felt highly influenced to circulate our piece around observing others and being watched. We wanted to raise awareness within our space regarding these concerns.

We came across a group called The Surveillance Camera Players, they have highly inspired us with our process. The American group completely oppose to the idea of CCTV cameras monitoring public areas.

“they are fundamentally a pro-privacy group that sees CCTV as unable to offer any useful social function but to violate human rights. They are not professional actors but decided to use performance to mount a protest against the use of surveillance cameras in social spaces.[…] the company seeks to activate consciousness about the control of public space through performance” (Govan et al, 2007, 128-130).

Following this, our research into The Surveillance Camera Players has helped shape the basis of our piece. They inspired us to raise awareness to our audience regarding the presence of CCTV cameras, to inform our audience that they are always being constantly watched by a higher authority.

Evolving from this, an interesting factor we took into consideration is that when an individual is continually being watched, it can alter their behaviour. When you place a camera in front of somebody, they are conscious that they are being monitored and tend to act less natural. We had taken interest in the behaviours of people, whilst being recorded. An idea relating to this that we looked into was The Panopticon, the idea originating from the 1700’s of an architectural prison plan by Jeremy Bentham. The idea of the plan allows the prison officer to view the prisoners however the prisoners are unable to tell when they are being watched.

“Assuming that the omnipotent governor was always watching them, Bentham expected that this ‘new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example’ would ensure that the prisoners would modify their behaviour and work hard, in order to avoid chastisement and avoid punishment.” (UCL, 2015).

This relates to notions of our piece as we want to document the behaviour and attitudes of people when they are clearly being recorded.

More information on The Panopticon can be found at:

Documenting the Space

Having a CCTV camera, surveillance and crowd behaviour at the core of our idea, we wanted to develop something from them. We decided to record time lapse videos of the four angles that the CCTV camera always encountered. We did this as often as we could, to see if we could discover any differences in behaviour with a change in the in time, date or weather.  With the assumptions that ‘people are always happy when it’s the weekend’ or ‘people are always miserable when it rains’ we wanted to see if people still portrayed these attitudes whilst clearly being watched.

Looking further into documentation as performance we came across the work of Tehching Hsieh, particularly looking at his “One Year Performance 1980-1981”. Available from:

We felt extremely influenced by the constant documentation of the work, the persistence of it inspired us to film our site as frequently as we could to gather as much information as possible about the behaviours of people, relating back to the powers of a CCTV camera. Like Hsieh’s performance ours would also be durational, the time lapse videos we are gathered would be part of our final piece. Our idea at this point was to present the audience with the videos we had recorded. We would achieve this by playing the footage through iPads, whilst holding them and standing in the four main CCTV angles.  We would present the space back to the audience, getting them to acknowledge how much Castle Square is watched by CCTV. The public are the reason CCTV occupies the space, relating back to our original point – without them the space would be nothing.

Continued Development

After receiving some constructive feedback, we have decided to change our performance ideas slightly. Firstly, we have acknowledged that presenting our documentations back to the audience could be slightly confusing as the videos are not real CCTV footage. A better way to present the space back to the audience will be through a live feed with a GoPro camera and an iPad, as it is a truthful and definite presentation of the current space.

We also took into consideration the possibility of performing to a CCTV camera, performing to an unknown audience. Forcing the CCTV operator to watch us as we are constantly in view. We believe it will be interesting for us to be so deeply into our performance with no regard for an audience, people will click that we are performing for the CCTV and become naturally intrigued.

CCTV Ballet

On the 26th March, my group and I decided to pursue the idea of performing to a CCTV camera. We performed to the CCTV camera between the times of 10.00am-10.32am. We took the theory from The Surveillance Camera Players and experimented with it. Throughout this task, I followed the CCTV camera every time it moved, making sure I was always in the vision of the operator. I stared at the camera, not breaking eye contact with it for the whole duration of the performance. I performed like this this to oppose against The Panopticon theory. The theory entails the thought process of not wanting to behave out of character due to being watched. I believe that I opposed against the theories by acting completely unnatural, and staring straight into the camera lens – making light of the fact I know its there.  Whilst doing this, the other group members were entering and exiting the space portraying what is deemed to be more of a ‘normal’ behaviour. Every time the camera moved angle, the rest of the group members would join me and stare at it, and then move off into the space. Doing this enabled us to present the camera with different behaviours, making the statement we realise it is there but will behave how we choose. Our idea was to request for the CCTV footage from the council and use it on the iPads as part of our performance.


Photo: (Bingham-Davis, 2015).

Further Development

Unfortunately we were unable to obtain the footage of our CCTV ballet due to there not being enough time for the council to process it for our performance date. The ballet has still been part of our process, and it helped us shape ideas around it.

At this point, we decided to reform our ideas. We believed that two of us should mimic aspects of the CCTV camera by: moving every time the camera moves, looking as though we are being controlled by a higher force and by moving in mechanism.  Whilst one of us would be filming from a GoPro and the other will be presenting what the GoPro is filming through a live stream on an iPad. Through doing this, we are being operated by the CCTV camera, filming the public right in the middle of castle square. The audience will be highly aware they are being filmed by us.

Another aspect of our performance will be the use of maps. The other group members will be following members of the public on their personal journeys entering and exiting the space. After they have recorded their journeys they will report them back to myself and Lily imitating the CCTV camera. The other group members are acting as information feeders that report back to the hub. This relates to our idea of surveillance, we are representing a higher political procedure. The fact that as a nation we are so closely watched, we cannot escape surveillance. Our performance is extremely relevant as on the day it is being performed, it is the day before the general elections. We are illustrating the power of political forces and how information is fed into a bigger system.


Performance Evaluation

Yi-Fu Tuan asks: “how long does it take to get to know a place?” (1997, 183). Do we ever fully get to know a place? Over a twelve week period we analysed and documented our space, researching it and investigating differences in time and day. The space never felt the same, different people and events within the location made the visit unique every time.  However, when we came to perform in our site – the atmosphere totally changed. We had played a part in changing the space.

Our site had gone from presenting the welcoming aspects of a historical, religious and tourist fuelled environment to protesting something a little bit more invasive. After making the decision to not have an audience present, we understood that almost certainly we would be questioned on what we were doing in the space. When asked one of the three group members walking from place to place in the site would briefly answer and hand them a flyer which lead to further information on our blog. Myself and the other group member imitating the CCTV camera, decided it would be best not to communicate with any spectator as we wanted to remain focused throughout the entire process, and believed this would present a more powerful truth. Remaining silent and heavily focused naturally intrigued the public. One group member overheard a spectator say in reflection to our performance “Everyone around here is so nosey”, which we found quite ironic, but mostly it made the performance feel like it had partially achieved what it had set out to do.

The use of maps worked particularly well for our performance as the space never ran empty, there was always people to follow and journeys to be recorded. Only towards the end of the day the site became slightly quieter, which in a way could be looked upon as more powerful as it allowed us to be clearly visible by the few spectators passing through the space. It enabled the group members with maps to follow a clear route without any potential obstacles in the way.

The GoPro and iPad were key elements for the performance as they were what was being presented to the audience. After testing out the software many times in the process, the technology never failed us once and we had high confidence in it. Unfortunately, on the day of our performance the live stream between the GoPro and the iPad failed and refused to connect. To resolve this we had to turn on the iPads front camera and film from that. We encountered this problem for the first two performances of the day however, for the evening performance the live feed started working again. This did slightly affect our performance as it meant we had two cameras filming from two different angles, and our aim of representing the CCTV camera may have confused people.

If we were to develop the piece further and perform it again, I would definitely not be so reliant on technology. Although the technology was a prime element, there are definitely other ways in which we could have symbolized the CCTV. We could have made light of the CCTV camera through approaching it in a more performative aspect, similar to how we experimented with it in the process.

After studying Site Specific performance, I have understood the importance embedded in significance of a location. The cultural and historical values of a site can never be transferred to a conventional theatre. To be in the site gives a richer performance, the space involves the audience which makes a departure from traditional theatre. Our performance  ‘Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us’ would not have the same impact if it were to be performed in a theatre, as we acquired an accidental audience. We wanted to put our performance into the community, to study the public and make them aware of CCTV.

For further information, results and documentation on our performance, visit our Flickr site:


 Works Cited:

Barrett, D. (2013) One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey. The Telegraph, 10 July. [online] Available from [Accessed 7 March 2015].

Bingham-Davis, L. (2015) Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us: CCTV Ballet. [Flickr] 26th March. Available from [Accessed 12 May].

Das Platforms (2014) Tehching Hsieh: One Year Performance 1980-1981. [online video] Available from: [Accessed 7 April 2015].

Govan, E., Nicholson, H. and Normington, K. (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. USA and Canada: Routledge.

Mythogeography (2010) Mythogeography at the Royal William Victualling Yard. [online video] Available from [Accessed 1 May 2015].

Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us (2015) Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us. [Flickr]. Available from [Accessed 15 May].

Pearson, M. (2011) Some Exercises Towards Relating Space. [online] Available from [Accessed 1 May 2015].

Smart, T. (2015) Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us: CCTV Angles. [Flickr] 15th May. Available from [Accessed 15 May].

University College London. (2015) The Panopticon. [online] London: UCL. Available from [Accessed 5 May].

Bethany-Leigh Tweddell – Final Blog Post!

A Framing Statement:

Site-specific performance is “a variety of productions that involve taking the audience to a number of non-theatrical venues to see drama that, in some way, has grown organically from those spaces” (Pickering, 2010, 170). Myself and my group; Georgia and Sophie had 12 weeks to choose a site for our performance and devise it. “For a piece to be ‘site specific’ it must, in some way be not only shaped by the space but have a profound association with it.” (Pickering, 2010, 170). With considering this statement at all times when creating our performance and deliberating through many ideas, we finally came up with the idea of Clay Walkers.

Clay Walkers was heavily influenced by our sites the Pottergate and Lincoln’s very own Secret Garden and our main practitioner that inspired our piece Antony Gormley.

Our main inspiration for our piece was Antony Gormley’s ‘Field for the British Isles’. “Gormley’s FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES is startling and arresting sight: thousands of unglazed, fired, small clay figures, standing closely together, all staring towards the viewer and filling a large enclosed space” (Searle, 1996). This inspired us to create figurine representations of how we see ourselves and or how we felt that day as a part of our piece.

Our site Pottergate, situated in uphill Lincoln near the Cathedral, used to be a communications centre and was the potters would come through to sell their goods in the old town market. What inspired us to use Pottergate as a site was because to us every aspect of it drew us in. The history, the markings and even where it was situated, right from the very start we wanted to use this site.

Another site we used was The Secret Garden, or better known as the Lincoln Cathedral Centre Garden. The garden is built into the castle walls that once surrounded uphill Lincoln. This also drew us in; because again we loved every aspect of it.

Our piece initially entailed with two of us starting at Pottergate and one in the Garden ready to start our tasks of the day. We had planned to do this from 9am until 5pm, to reflect the working day as we took on the working day of a potter.

The process of our piece included; one person starting at Pottergate, handing out the salt dough and greeting the participants as they came to partake in the tasks, on the day Sophie was the person within the group who started here.

The second person that started at Pottergate was the guide. The guide before setting off would take a piece of measured out salt dough, which would be two hands worth, and create a figurine of how they were feeling that day or how they see themselves as a person. Then once this was made, the guide would set off taking the participants, if ready, up to the Secret Garden.

Once at the secret garden the guide would knock three times on the garden gate, to let the person in the garden know that they were coming, then walk in. everyone in turn would then hand over their figurines to the warden of the garden, so that she could display the figurines in the furnace within the garden wall, which would gradually feed down to the floor by the end of the day. We chose to do this because within the secret garden, in medieval times, there were shops along the inside wall. We can still see the markings of where the shops were today, the furnace would have once been in one of the shops; perhaps a bakers or even a potters workplace. Displaying them in the furnace represented them being baked.

We required participants to help us with our task during this day, because we had initially aimed to make 200 figurines. Without audience we knew that it would be very difficult to get to our target because we would be rotating every 12-15 minutes. This meant that there would be only one figurine coming into the garden every 12-15 minutes, leaving us very short on our target if only we took part in it.


Process Analysis

From my first Site-specific lesson I had a mixed set of emotions for it. Site Specific was not something I was looking forward to as I didn’t really understand it fully and it just didn’t interest me. However, upon starting this module with an interesting task – the subtle mob – and talking about things that site performance can include, I found that I was actually quite interested in this module. When we was first given the task, my initial thoughts were “Oh no, this is going to be embarrassing!” Walking around doing things that would draw me out from the crowd really didn’t appeal to me. However, I gave it a go and to my surprise I really enjoyed being out of my comfort zone, testing my abilities.


(Picture of class doing a subtle mob, taken by me).

After this, in the seminar we watched a video As if it were the last time by Duncan Speakman. It shows a subtle mob with people being interviewed on it. I found this rather moving and inspirational and this made me want to do something like this.

When drifting around uphill Lincoln many thoughts occurred to me about the history of the places and what meanings I could take from the place. A statement that followed me around the site was from Govan, saying “in such work place becomes an important element within artistic encounter and there is recognition that a space is not empty but full of meaning” (Govan, 2007, 121). With this in mind I tried to look into some of the sites with a bit more passion and meaning. Some of the sites at first came across to me as dull empty, as nothing really stood out prominently in those particular sites. Other sites were full of life, history and horizon. The ‘bigger’ more ‘fuller’ sites I was more interested in working with, in interest of creating a performance. However I still went around all the sites again with an open mind with another statement taken from Wrights & Sites, as addressed by Govan, “allow yourself to be stopped and diverted as often as possible. Accept these delays for whatever they seem to offer you” (Wrights & Sites 2003: 40). Bearing this in mind, I did manage to open my mind in some aspects. For example, at the Windmill I took a photograph of a water tap. To anyone else it could have just been an ordinary tap, to me the style of the tap triggered a picture of a face, so when editing my pictures I had taken around uphill Lincoln, I had a little fun editing the tap.


(Edited picture of the tap at the Windmill, taken and edited by me).

Venturing uphill Lincoln made a few other things stick out to me also. The places hold many secrets, historical context and mythologies and values not yet explored. Lincoln is a very historical city and has a lot to offer when looking for sites for our site-specific performance. Everywhere we went had some sort of sign, portal or doorway. These particular places did not have a lot of information about them, which to me reflects secrets. This stimulated me to look at the signs and portals, looking more into them and opening my eyes and mind to them. As Phil Smith points out in ‘The Devils footprint’s video’ that people take signs for granted and that they could actually tell us a story. Another thing that stood out to me was that Lincoln is a very spiritual city. I was very aware of the Cathedral when walking round as it was always in view. After the lesson me and a few other classmates who were also inspired by the same things, decided to take a look inside the Cathedral to see what it is that was pulling us toward it. Upon going in we discovered that it was captivating and very inspiring. It was peaceful and quiet, which further motivated my thoughts to the secrets and its spiritual side.

Eventually, after walking around uphill Lincoln for a couple of weeks and researching into the history of all the sites, I finally had my heart set on Pottergate and the Secret Garden, along with Sophie and Georgia, and that’s when our group formed.

We had a range of different ideas such as:

  • A misguided tour.
  • A stairway to heaven
  • Setting out clues and riddles as maps to invite people to find us.
  • Time traveling through Pottergate. This was inspired by our tutor Rachel as she doesn’t like to go through the arch as she fears that she will time travel if she did.

Whilst thinking of ideas this statement by Kaye was always on my mind “representation of site is always subject to being written over” (Kaye, 2000, 100). This reflected that I needed to take the literal meanings of the site out, strip it back and go into our sites with a fresh pair of eyes.

Eventually we decided that we was going to start at Pottergate asking our audience a series of questions inviting them to partake in different activities before leaving to go up to St Anne’s Well, doing some sort of activity there, then finally moving on to the Secret Garden.

We started by inviting our audience to find a slab on the floor under the Pottergate, and in chalk write a wish or a memory of any kind, look at it for a minute then wash it away. We did this due to spending time within the Pottergate, finding many names and messages inscribed into the wall from many different dates. Also knowing that Pottergate was used, when first built, for communications, having to say why you came to the city.

This is when we looked into a group of monks called the ‘Sand Mandala Monks’. They made patterns meaning the circle of life and they would then wash them away to cleanse the mind and soul. This is what stimulated and inspired the idea of writing a memory or a wish to cleanse the body and soul of it. We then wanted them to step outside the arch and look up at the sky for 10 seconds. Then close their eyes, thinking of a bad memory and asked them to concentrate on that memory. Once they had opened their eyes we hoped that their mind would be somewhat cleansed of the bad memory. When we tried this out we had a number of different responses, one of which made one of our participants cry. This was important to consider as why wanted our performance to be a mythical adventure and not a self-help pilgrimage.

We then walked toward Saint Anne’s Well. Ledged has it that if a person walks around the well seven times, goes up to the door putting their finger through one of the holes in the door, they would be rewarded with the feeling of the devils breath, meaning they would be going to heaven, or if they were a bad person they would be going to hell and this would be shown to them by having a part of their finger being bitten into. Again, we wanted this to be fun and not taken too seriously as Rachel advised that this again could be like self-help. So when I arrived home I was thinking about the potential for the well and creating some sort of ritual tying in with Folk tales and myths, so I came up with a little poem that could perhaps be read out before they did the tasks as a little intro to why we took them there.

For example, part of the poem I came up with was

“There once was a Devil in a well,
He decided if you were going to Heaven or to Hell.
You had to walk around in a ring,
And put your finger in.
For that naughty little Devil in the well!”

This is when I thought back to Kaye’s statement about the representation being subject to be written over and also this statement from Govan, “performers will blend fact and fiction […] in order to  develop the creative project” (Govan et al, 2007, 131). This was because I had thought about the literal meanings and stories of the well and stripped them back, putting our own interpretation by following P. Pinkering’s potters journey, taken from the inscribing on the wall.

However, when we pitched our ideas to Conan he didn’t want us to use the well as he didn’t see the point of it because we couldn’t get in it. This is what took us back to the drawing board. This was when we finally came up with our ideas for our final piece.

Upon doing a dress rehearsal a week before the final piece we addressed many issues and important decisions. We started the day at 9:15am once we was all set up. Important decisions made during this rehearsal were that we needed to make the salt dough a brighter color, because it looked like we were doing a drug deal. We needed the figurines to be taller, and that if we were running 9-5 that we needed a break. We resolved these ready for our final performance the following week.

Evaluating our Performance:

‘Clay Walkers’ went ahead on Wednesday 6 May 2015, despite it being cold, wet and windy. We started our day at 9am setting up our tools and things we would need during that day, such as the camera to record how our piece developed every hour on the hour, or when the cathedrals bells chimed. By the time everything was set up, it was 9:15am and we were ready to go.

We started with Sophie at the gate ready to greet and hand out the salt dough to our potential participants. We were feeling very doubtful that anyone would come at this time but we started anyway as we were reflecting a working day, which usually consists of 9am until 5pm. However once Rachel and Conan came to asses for the last time at half 4, we were told we could pack up as the weather was horrible and we had ran out of salt dough.

I also started at Pottergate, but, I started as the guide. I followed Sophie down to our starting point, with some of the items we needed at this site; a small table, a chair and bags of salt dough. Once there and set up, Sophie handed me a lump of salt dough, measured at two hands worth, and asked me to create a figure of how I saw myself. The first figurine I made was a Princess.

I made a figurine of a princess because I am very girly and I enjoy all things to do with Princesses. Once this was made I made my way to the secret garden, taking my figurine with me. At this point I would have asked participants, if ready to come with me to display their figurines. However, we didn’t get anyone come to partake during the whole day.

When I got to the garden I knocked on the door three times, this was to let the warden of the garden, in this case it was Georgia, know that I was at the door and ready to bring my goods to display. After knocking I went into the garden and handed my figurine to Georgia were she displayed it on the furnace.

Once Georgia had done this, we shook hands to which I relieved her of her position, to which she would leave, inviting participants if they would like to do it again (if we had any, but we didn’t). When devising this process we decided that at this point we would invite the participants to stay and enjoy the garden, or they could do it again, or they could just leave if they wished. However, with the weather being horrible and prior to this day a large branch from the tree, nearest to the garden entrance, had broken off, leaving a health and safety issue. We were asked that if we had any participants come in during the day that we would ask them to leave once we had done what was needed within our performance, as the garden was closed to the general public on this day. We were very lucky to have the use of the garden on this day due to this health and safety issue, as the owners were not so keen on us being in there for our own safety. If we weren’t allowed in the garden that day we would have faced a huge problem, as our site performance wouldn’t have been able to go ahead without the use of the garden, or we would have had to quickly change and develop another idea within a couple of hours maximum time period, thus defeating the object of site-specific performance, and therefore “the production could have ‘worked’ in no other space and was therefore site-specific” (Pickering, 2010, 171).

Georgia left the garden heading back down to Pottergate, relieving Sophie of her position, Sophie would then move on to be the guide, we would rotate throughout the whole day. “Repetition can confer value by maintaining that some particular act is noble enough to merit being repeated” (Howell, 1999, 37). By repeating everything that we did during the day we maintained a professional, working manner keeping our objective and drive throughout.

On the day we did not receive any participants, except Rachel (our tutor) and Conan (our second marker). Our performance was not sacrificed due to this. Before our performance this was a major worry as we had a target of 200 figurines to be made. However, we managed to carry on with what we were doing and managed to use all our salt dough up.

This was due to when Conan and Rachel first came to assess, Conan had asked why we were ‘obsessed’ with the human figure, and that we should develop this idea during the day to get different kinds of sculptures. To develop we started making little sculptures of things from the site, so to start with I made a telephone, because Pottergate used to be a communications portal. Eventually, I started working on a board made of salt dough bricks with the carvings that were on Pottergate wall.

P1020719 - Copy

(Miniature wall made by me in our performance).


I did this because it was what originally inspired us. However, not long after doing this, Sophie was nearly attacked so we brought all our stuff up to the garden and started sculpting there. In the end we had made a mural of things that our site reflects to us with a brick wall at the bottom of it, with words carved into the dough bricks of what we felt, what we saw and what site may particularly had meant to us. This idea came from the wall carvings on Pottergate.


Our end product


If I were to do this performance again, I would develop it by making a brick at the Pottergate instead of a figurine, asking participants to inscribe their name, why they were here or what they were feeling on the brick, then take it to the secret garden and build our own wall out of them.


Click here for Flipagram of the end results proccess.


Works Cited

  • Circumstance (2009) OFFICIAL “As if it were the Last Time” [online video] Available from [Accessed 28 January 2015].
  • Govan, E., Nicholson, H., and Normington, K. (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. New York: Routledge.
  • Kaye, N. (2000) site-specific art: performance, place and documentation. London: Routledge.
  • Pickering, K. (2010) Key Concepts in Drama and Performance. 2nd Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Searle, A. (1996) FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES, 1996. [online] London: Hayward Gallery. Available from: [Accessed 25 March 2015].
  • Siobhan Mckeown (2011) The Devils Footprints PART 1 [online video] Available from [Accessed 5 February 2015].
  • Wrights & Cites,2003 in Govan, E. Helen Nicholson and Katie Normington. (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices. Routledge: Oxon.



Final Blog Post – Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us

The ‘Top of the Hill’ was our initial given site; as Pearson explains, ‘site specificity’ is a loose term, open for interpretation and ‘no longer a fixed location, now it is somewhere, or something constituted through social, economic, cultural and political processes’ (Pearson, 2010, p. 11). ‘Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us’ is a three part performance situated in Castle Square, Lincoln. The performance challenges various issues of the space such as; surveillance, liminal spacing and the concept of ‘us’. The performances are to be carried out at three contrasting times of the day; 9:00-9:30, 12:30-13:00 and 17:30-18:00 to an unsuspecting, accidental audience that will be the everyday users of the space.


Site Specific

Pearson describes calling site specific performance ‘that undertaken in non-theatrical spaces’ as ‘barely adequate’ (Pearson, 2010, p.66) – the introductory workshop alone demonstrated to me the accuracy of this comment, as well as the vast amount of possibilities and complexities the experimentation with ‘site’ provides.

We began by experimenting by looking at Duncan Speakman’s ‘subtle mob’ outside the LPAC Theatre and watching a clip on his sound-walk piece “As If It Were The Last Time”. Afterwards I did some further research into the development and planning of this moving piece and learnt about the possible positive effects site specific performance can have upon participants and passers-by – with one Londoner saying how it had made them feel like they were in ‘a movie’.

As the top of the hill/ or the ‘cathedral quarter’ is a location often so focused on history I felt this was an obvious and important aspect of research. In particular I looked into Jen Harvie and Dan Rebellato’s ‘Theatre and Architecture’ as it highlights how the relationship between architecture and theatre is often overlooked but for French Theatre Director Jacques Copeau ‘architecture is the most fundamental aspect of theatre’ ( p.2) As we had the possibility of performing around some grand pieces of history and architecture such as the Cathedral, the Castle etc I felt that this needed considering. Whilst researching the history of the site and walking around the Cathedral I spotted the Latin words ‘pereunt et imputantur’ carved on one of the sides of the Cathedral walls, which translated means ‘They (hours) pass away and are reckoned on (our) account. This again made me think of Speakman’s ‘As If It Were The Last Time’ and the possibility of creating a piece that involves some kind of spiritual journey or one that encaptures the history as well as just the ‘now’ of our site.

Initially, my group and I thought of creating a ghost walk, or a kind of guided tour combined with small installations of orchestrated serendipity between. However upon further research we soon got rid of this idea as we felt it wasn’t original enough and existing ghost walks around the Cathedral meant innovation of myths and stories would be difficult despite looking into the possibilities of a  misguided tour.


Nothing Happens Here Apart From Us

After taking inspiration from a comment a member of our group overheard during a workshop- ‘nothing happens here apart from us’- my group and I began to discuss our interpretations of the quote and the meaning of ‘us’, as in site specific performance ‘opportunities reside in the multiple creative articulations of ‘us’, ’them and ‘there’’ (Pearson, 2010, p.19). By saying that nothing happens in the site apart from them it suggests that as a community they feel as if they simply just live, when in fact it is because of them living that the place thrives. In a space of historical importance it is easy to forget about the present, our individual importance and our collective importance. We therefore decided to rather than create a performance in our chosen site, use our site as the performance.



To help further develop this idea my group and I tried some of Pearson’s ‘exercises towards place’; during which he asks ‘what we would have noticed if we had gone there without a camera’ (Pearson, 2011). We found ourselves particularly drawn to the CCTV camera situated above the entrance to the Magna Carta pub near the centre of the Square. We watched the camera and recorded the four main angles it took; these were, towards Steep Hill, the Cathedral, the Castle and the Exchequer Gate.

This raised an interesting discussion into the political issue of surveillance and pervasive media (any experience that uses sensors and/or mobile/wireless networks to bring you content (film, music, images, a game…) that’s sensitive to your situation), (Pervasive Media Studio, 2015). It is predicted that there is 1 camera to every 11 people in Britain, and the British Security Industry Authority estimates there are up to 59 million closed circuit television cameras in the country. (Barrett, 2011)

I found it particularly interesting that this modern phenomenon of being constantly watched is so focal in a site with such historical importance (see figure 1). The juxtaposition between the historical and the contemporary, the political and the poetic (Pearson, 2010, p.25) allowed us to begin to think of ways in which we may interpret this dynamic in our piece.

Figure 1

Figure 1

In 1980-1981 Tehching Hsieh carried out his second durational performance, entitled ‘1 year performance 1980-1981’, informally known as the ‘Time Clock Piece’, where he punched a time clock every hour on the hour for the duration of a year. The documentation of this piece has ultimately become the artwork and the photographic evidence and time cards provide a lasting existence of Hsieh’s performance. This inspired me to start experimenting with time-lapse videos and photographs; filming in the four main angles that the CCTV camera took of Castle Square, at varying times and days in order to capture as much activity as possible. With this, my group and I thought we could somehow present the videos back to the audience showing how they- the ‘us’- make the space what it is. Initially we thought of having a computer set up in the Magna Carter pub replaying these videos and our request to do this was approved.

Like Hsieh, our time lapse videos were a vital part of our process as ‘sometimes the performance will only exist through its documentation’ (Lavery, 2005) While there may be tensions between the live nature of practice and a recording of the work, documentation can be seen as a potentially dynamic and interactive process. Video, for one an example of documentation, ‘is the process of preserving and making present to see and know something that without being recorded would have been inaccessible and unavailable.’ (Reason, 2008, p.80) without our time lapse videos of the Square from the position of the CCTV it is unlikely that the public will very be able to see themselves back in this way. ‘Documentation has a place within site specific practice precisely because it explicitly presents itself in the absence of its object.’  (Kaye, 2000, p.218)


CCTV Ballet

Using feedback from our peers we were made aware of the difficulties of trying to ‘become’ the CCTV camera; however we knew we still wanted to incorporate our ideas of surveillance and constantly being watched.

Therefore we looked back at The Surveillance Camera Players, formed in New York in 1966 the group is completely distrustful of all governments and are unconditionally opposed to the installation and use of video surveillance cameras in public places. Using similar ideas my group and I tried to carry out our own ‘CCTV Ballet’ where we spent thirty-minutes ‘performing’ to the CCTV camera, following it as it changes angle and staring directly at it when it is stationary (see figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2

We then looked into Freedom of Information Act and emailed Lincoln City Council requesting the CCTV footage from the date and time of our ballet. Unfortunately we never received the footage, however this exercise helped us to realise that we wanted to push forward a more political message. The Surveillance Camera Players’ performances can also be seen as a type of protest to the political issues of surveillance and privacy, opposing control and authority; “The Surveillance Camera Players are not watching you. They are watching the cameras, because we have forgotten to.” (Surveillance Camera Players, 2006)



Furthermore, we decided that just simply presenting back pre-recorded footage of the site was not performative enough and could easily become tedious to an audience member, and so we got rid of the idea of having a laptop set up in the Magna Carta and began to discuss the possibilities of using a Go-pro with a live stream to an ipad or alternative screen that remains in the square and could make the piece more playful and interactive with the public and more about the present, the ‘now’, rather than just the past.  By doing this, we gave our accidental audience the opportunity to be as actively involved in creating the performance as they chose, the interaction becomes a result of natural intrigue rather than forced viewing.

Another piece that helped inspire these ideas was ‘Shadowing’ by Jonathon Chomko and Matthew Rosier from the Pervasive Media Studio, I felt the piece was highly relevant as they too were trying to create a sense unity by using technology in a playful way…

technology is often used to drive us in different directions and onto different paths. [Shadowing] stops people for a moment to think about the same old street but in a different way” (Benjie, Shadowing Trailer, 2014)

Use of the Space

Castle Square is an interesting site, it is a crossing, a liminal space with never ending possibilities of entrances and exits. The people occupying this space vary greatly; our audience can vary from tourists visiting for the first time or local residence who see these historical points of interest as ‘everyday’. We therefore began to look into crowd behaviour and the way people both use and present themselves in the space; ‘Places betwixt and between… where all actions and motives are under scrutiny.’ (Pearson, 2010, p.28)

By practising an exercise introduced to us by our tutor, ‘drifting’ or ‘meandering’ allows ‘one to become aware of suburban details and social space.’ (Jones, 2010, p.87) Whilst walking around the site I used Pearson’s ‘Models and Approaches’ chapter to study the behaviour of the people occupying the space; although ‘the site’s architecture may ‘establish a certain social code’ (T and A p.5) I wanted to focus more on the concept on liminality and journeying to different final destinations. The two models which I felt were most accurate were looking at the public as either ‘nomad’ or ‘ramblers’…

‘As a nomad: shifting across the space… using points and locations to define paths rather than places to be. The enemy of the nomad is the authority that wants to take the space and enclose it and to create fixed and well directed paths for movement.’ (Pearson, 2010, p.20)

‘As a rambler, rethinking the city as a series of flows or movements in pursuit of pleasure, moving between sites of leisure, consumption, exchange and display. Rambling as a ‘mode of movement’ which celebrates the public spaces, streets and excitement of urban life’ (Pearson, 2010, p.20/21)

We then began to make connections between the behaviour of crowds and the awareness of surveillance. Thus leading us looking into the concept of the ‘Panopticon’; a type of industrial building designed in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe all inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The significance of this concept in relation to our site is that it is impossible to know when you are being watched by the CCTV camera and its operator, and so, as a nation we have altered our behaviour in case we are.

The idea of an unseen higher power, controlling the behaviour of the people in the site is also a relevant concept due to the upcoming elections in the days following our final performance. By using a single, recording go-pro, live streaming the footage to a single ipad in our performance we are attempting to bring the ‘high powers’ into the public space, challenging capitalist ideologies of hierarchy and control.



Like the Surveillance Camera Players we decided to incorporate maps into our performance, however ours would be records of the various routes taken in the space by random members of the public. The maps in-cooperate our messages of surveillance as  individually the audience are being watched and recorded, freedom as the results may show uses of the space that challenges authority and creates an impression of unity between ‘us’ as together we make the space thrive.

The background to my map was a photograph of the stone floor in Castle Square, I then used Google Maps to scale out from the site and overlay the image on top, relating back to the idea of the Panopticon and a higher being (For an example of one of my final maps see figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3



For our final performance we had two group members stood near to the entrance of the Magna Carta, in close proximity to the camera holding the live recording Go-Pro and an iPad replaying this, whilst the other three members created maps of the site and followed members of the public around, recording the routes they took.

The maps reflected the liminal space of the square, and city to be ‘consisting of endless intersecting narratives’ (Pearson, 2010, p.98) Highlighting how individual experiences of people in the space, collectively make it what it is. The Go-Pro and iPad represented the surveillance camera, constantly watching the square but making it accessible to the general public.

(For all our final maps and videos, see our Flickr page:

The recordings taken from the Go Pro and iPad provide evidence of the varied reaction we got from our accidental audience; some were intrigued by the camera, others, were not keen with one lady making a passing remark to me saying how ‘everybody today is so nosey’ – an ironic comment as our performance was an attempt to make people aware of the surveillance camera in the space and how it usually goes completely ignored, perhaps this showed to us though that the connection between our attempt at unifying the site and opposing surveillance was not strong enough.

However we also received some very positive reactions as well, during the third performance a man passed asking ‘if we had been there all day’ as he had passed and seen us during the morning performance also. This worked well and helped to reinforce our message of the constant watching and presence of surveillance in our everyday lives.

The positioning of the Go Pro and iPad worked well as it remained in close proximity to the surveillance camera and being near the centre of the Square meant they were visible from all directions. We decided not to encourage audience interaction and let this happen naturally in our final performances; achieved by displaying a clear focus into what we were doing, avoiding communication with the public and if we are approached we had printed business cards ready with a link to our blog and Flickr page. I felt this worked well and made us like the silent, faceless ‘higher-powers’ controlling the surveillance of the site. Prior rehearsals in the site meant that the synchronised moving of the Go-Pro and iPad in order to avoid traffic or to follow the CCTV as it changed angles, looked very effective, causing intrigue.

The technological difficulties we experienced on the day could have been dealt with better. Although we had rehearsed in the site with them before the unpredictability of technology meant we should have had some sort of alternative plan in place. Thankfully, the majority of the recording was successful and key issues surrounding video such as shaky camera work and poor quality were avoided by maintaining a still, strict pose throughout.

To improve our piece I feel a more direct aim and through-message should have been adopted. It was difficult trying to create a performance that encaptured all the different issues and aspects of the site that we wanted; including the juxtaposition between contemporary and the historical, creating a sense of community, the possibilities of liminality and the issue of surveillance. With hind sight I feel as though we should have included our time lapse videos more into our final piece than just in the process and as a part of documentation. By using a live go-pro and pre-recorded footage we perhaps could have highlighted the space as being reliant on both its history, present and the ‘us’ for making it.


Our Final Poster Design

Our Final Poster Design



Auslander, P (2006) ‘The Performativity of Performance Documentation’ Vol 28, p.1-10

Das Platforms (2014) Tehching Hsieh: One Year Performance 1980-1981. [online video] Available from: [Accessed 7 April 2015]

Harvie, J and Rebellato, D (2015) Theatre and Architecture. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Jones, Claire Blundell (2010) ‘Walking, the Western and the tumbleweed’, Visual Studies, 25: 1, p. 87-88

Kaye, N (2000) ‘Site Specific Art, Performance, Place and Documentation’, London: Routledge

Lavery, C (2005) ‘Teaching Performance Studies, 25 instructions for performance in cities’, Vol. 25, Issue 3, p.229-238

Ledger, J, Ellis, S and Wright, F.(2011) ‘The Questionof Documentation: Creative Strategies in Performance Research’, in Kershaw, B and Nicholson, H ‘Research Methods in Theatre and Performance’, Edinburgh: University Press

Pearson, M, (2010) Site Specific Performance. Basingtone: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pearson, M. (2011) Some Exercises Towards Relating Space. [online] Available from

Watershed, Pervasive Media Studio (2014) Shadowing [Online] Available from [Accessed: 8/3/2015]

Jessica Greaves – Final Blog Post.

Framing Statement

When first starting Site Specific, I was worried about what it would be like. I had heard mixed reviews on what we were going to have to do and why we were doing them, making me curious but weary of the module. My perspective on Site was negative to start off with as during the first lesson we had to immediately allow ourselves to be vulnerable in-front of our classmates, our teacher and strangers around the area; making me personally feel very uncomfortable. Our Site was based up in Castle Square and all around the Bail Gate area. For someone who doesn’t know Lincoln very well, I was surprised to see how far the outskirts went and what was up there. I hadn’t ventured very far up steep hill and I already started to notice things that I had never seen before; distressing me even more as I had to work in an environment that I knew nothing about.

Initially, I really struggled to find something that inspired me in Site Specific Drama. I was so used to working in a theatre or in a studio, on Naturalistic pieces of Drama, that the idea of working up a large hill with a Cathedral and high winds was not my idea of enjoyment or inspiration for a piece of Drama. I also did not know much about Site Specific Drama or why the artists included in it did what they did, therefore, I did not feel comfortable to start off with in this area; however, once we got started I became pretty open-minded about the different styles of work that we had to be involved in.

To start with, we wrote down a list of what we all wanted to focus on as a group. We thought this would help us narrow down our ideas into something that we all felt we would like to explore further.

Our Initial Group Ideas;

  • Senses – blocking out certain senses and enhancing other ones.
  • Footprints
  • Audio, pictures and recordings
  • Abstract – focusing on different energies
  • Cathedral
  • Hymns and choirs in the Cathedral
  • RAF/Army/Military
  • History
  • Heights? – different levels
  • Pathways – create your own
  • What time of day? Sun Rise/Sunset
  • Video/subtle mob
  • Contrasting experiences

Eventually I started to get a little more curious about what I had to do and felt especially inspired by an artist called Janet Cardiff. She did a piece of work called ‘Memory Walk’. This walk is about following other people’s footsteps that have been there before us. “They will be aware that they are walking on the site just as others have walked over the same earth the last two hundred years, their stories mixing with those in the past.” (Cardiff, 2015) This inspired me as it made me think about ideas of walking over land which already has memories, like being trapped in a time warp of past events. We wanted our audience to experience what the people who had walked there before us had experienced, allowing me to understand roughly what Site Specific is all about, giving me more of an idea of what to expect in the module.


An Analysis of Process

During our time studying Site Specific, we were informed to look into a group of performers called Prototype. This group focuses on using audio to allow their members to receive information or instructions about what they have to do making the audience, not know that they are in-fact, audience members. We were inspired by this group which allowed us to think about what to focus on the most. To begin with, we wanted to do an idea that was about a ‘game’ where our users would get a piece of equipment that can be used for audio and there would be a set of questions or statements on the audio that they would have to follow. Some of these statements could say things that the individual would have to collect from someone or they would be told to run and would be advised to, making it exciting for the audience member. This led us to the idea of definitely using audio in our final performance and enabled us to think about a ‘game’ idea, but focusing on the Armed Forces; mainly the RAF and the Army. We decided that we could not focus on the game idea as we would have to use too many objects and it was too complicated, however we soon thought of new ideas.

The Cathedral was an inspiration in itself and shaped our final idea. Any building, that beautiful would be overwhelming to anyone especially to think that humans could have built something this memorising, let alone thousands of years ago. It is also a shock that the building is still standing, as there have been many natural disasters that could have and did jeopardize the Cathedrals condition. I was inspired by just being in Cathedral itself, the stain glass windows took my imagination to another place, all of the colours and shapes that I saw made me almost feel like a child seeing something new for the first time. I took inspiration from the different rooms that were based in the Cathedral, especially a War Memorial room which was full of flags, paintings and artefacts about World War II. There was an interesting looking book in a glass cabinet which I took a particular curiosity to, as in it, had the names of all the soldiers that fought in the war, when they died and in what way. This was something that I was motivated by as it was relevant to our Site Specific area and the area in and around the Cathedral.


book for site blogsite footprint


We decided that we wanted to focus on doing two walks, one focusing on the RAF route and one focusing on an Earthquake. At this point we had found enough information on both to realistically think about what was going to work and what was not. We quickly realised that the RAF route was not feasible as there is not an RAF base in or near Lincoln that we could gain access to, pushing us completely onto the Earthquake idea, which we were all interested in.

We wanted our audience to go in two separate ways – have two separate walks, then meet in the middle, and either stop their walk or carry on to the other side and have a completely different experience. This is where the ‘Heaven and Hell’ idea originally sprouted from.

Before starting on the earthquake idea, we thought about another idea that we were eventually told to steer clear of because of Religious views, however it pushed us onto our final performance. This idea was based on a route about Heaven and Hell; we decided that Exchequer Gate would be the perfect place to start this piece as it is well known to most of the Lincoln public and is right next to the Cathedral. We also found that we could use the right hand arch as Heaven (as the right hand of God) the left hand arch as Hell (for the Devil) and the middle arch as purgatory. We thought of a few ideas that we could use, such as 10 points around the Cathedral that were relevant to religion in some way, where we could stop and express a about myth about that area. As we were told not to do this idea, it allowed us to think clearly about what we really wanted to do our piece about and it made us look deeper into what we could focus on and what would draw the audience in, taking us back to the Earthquake idea. After thinking about it properly we decided that would try and prepare ourselves to not change the idea again as we could not make our mind up for what we really wanted to do, so we decided to stay with this idea.

We went into the Cathedral to find a Hymn to sing in the audio for the final piece however we couldn’t use one because of copyright purposes. We had to think of something else to put in the audio so instead we used a dictionary definition of what an earthquake is and a letter insisting that anyone who has any information on the earthquake itself to help piece together the event.

We based our Site Specific performance on a devastating Earthquake that occurred in 1185, destroying most of the Cathedral that still stands today. We wanted to our audience to experience the fear and emotion that the people from the 1185 earthquake had felt, making an audio walk the best option for this idea. Our Site Specific Performance took place from Newport Arch to Exchequer Gate, on Wednesday the 6th May 2015 from 2-4pm.
newport arch

(Geograph, 2006)

exchequer gate

(Geograph, 2011)

Our audio for the walk consisted of one group member explaining what an earthquake is, and then it fades into a recording of the general public talking and the sound of someone softly playing the guitar. As the audio proceeds you hear several earthquake rumbles, a shop door opening and closing and then finally many rock slides, rumbles and a generic ‘earthquake’. This shows the overlapping of sounds as if it is past, present and future, referring back to Janet Cardiff’s Memory Field – “Here are also sound effects from battle scenes: cannons, muskets and horses galloping by. Time slips from one century to another as the listener walks, aware of their feet on the earth and the wind on their face.” (Cardiff, 2015) At the audios final point, it ends with another group member reading out a letter stating that anyone with any information on the 1185 earthquake, please step forward to the town council as then more information can be kept on it. Due to the cold, rainy and windy weather, we had a total of 5 audience members and were able to interview them at the end to acknowledge how they felt on their experience allowing us to see if our piece was successful or not. The feedback that we acquired enabled us to know that some audience members even felt goose-bumps on their experience, stating that they really felt connected with the audio and the area around them.

When it came to starting the audio, I was worried as I would have no idea where to start. Luckily, one member of the group had a device on his laptop that enabled him to mix all the sounds together. Because I didn’t know how to help with creating the audio, I felt it was best for me to stay out of that department and simply give my opinion on what I though was useable and what needed to be worked on. To start with, we needed to discuss, as a group what sounds we wanted in the audio and to know exactly what sounds we were looking for. We initially decided that we wanted general noise/background noise, such as people talking, a song of some sorts; a Hymn or a prayer, an Earthquake rumble and an actual Earthquake. However, we needed to record everything ourselves, what sounds we wanted to be included in the audio, so Steep Hill and the surrounding areas was the best place to find these sounds. This soon proved difficult as Steep Hill is a main tourist attraction; making a lot of the reordered sounds people shouting or babies crying, not knowing that this was eventually usable in our final track. Another problem that occurred was the wind, with Lincoln being known for having high winds, it made it impossible to record anything on a windy day because of the sensitivity of the microphone. This affected the quality of any recording that we did get, and just made a muffled sound – not giving us any useable recordings, or so we thought. When we listened back to the wind on the recordings, we found that it sounded like a quiet earthquake rumble, making most of the recordings with wind, useable for a small Earthquake rumble in the middle of the audio.

Another difficult aspect that we faced when producing the audio was trying to layer the sounds over each other to make it sound like the rumbles were happening over everyday life. We needed to make sure that rumbles were clear and effective and that they were occasional throughout the track. We also needed to make sure that the fades, from each recording were seamless so the audience would get the full experience without getting distracted from faults in the audio. It was vital to make sure that that everyone in the group was happy with the recordings and the process of the audio. If one group member wanted to change a part of the audio, it was important to discuss why and how we could achieve a sense of content throughout the group.

Lastly, it was interesting for me to hear the change in the audio, from start to finish. From listening to the recordings by themselves, to them being overlapped, changed and cut was fantastic, especially for someone who does not know a lot about audio. Finally, we wanted to add in speech at the beginning and the end to create a sense of closure in the audio. – A link to listen to the final track.



When it got to performance day, I was nervous about how the day was going to plan out. We were prepared for our piece to start and all we had to do was wait for our audience members to turn up and experience what we had planned. I was assigned to stand on the corner of Castle square and help anyone with any issues that they may have had with the audio, or the end part of the route. As I said before, overall we had 5 audience members and their reaction to our performance was noted after they had finished listening to the audio. One audience member stated that she, “found it really interesting and informative, it was a really good experience and I learnt things about Lincoln that I didn’t know”, this states that her experience was informative which was not the main intention for our performance but it is optimistic making it a strength in our piece. Another strength of our performance would be in the audio itself; the end section with the main earthquake gave myself and several of our own group member’s goose-bumps when listening to it for the first time, achieving our original goal of making the piece emotionally effective. However, a weakness occurred when watching some of the audience members on the route. I felt that some individuals were very unsure about where to go on the route and I was asked by one audience member which way the route continued, “at the start tell people exactly where to go, I got a bit confused”. This distracted this individual from the main purpose of the performance; to feel like they were in a different time, resulting in the audio not having a full effect on its user. Another obvious weakness to us was the weather. The rain obstructed most of our invited audience members but overall I was happy with having 5 as it is better than zero.

I feel the final performance could have been improved by making the route longer so the audience members were not stood at the Cathedral for so long and so that when they did get to the Cathedral the Earthquake was more of an instant shock. I would change the piece so that the audience members didn’t just listen to something, instead I would make it so that they received instructions on what to do, at certain points in the route, so that they didn’t feel like they were doing the performance alone, or didn’t get confused about why or what they were doing there. This would have cut out the confusion with the route all together as in theory; the audience member would have the choice on where to go. This is where I feel that Janet Cardiff was a big inspiration to me as I loved the idea of our audience members almost travelling through time and experiencing something that happened 830 years ago, in 2015, when most of the Cathedral has been changed in colour, re-built and expanded.





Cardiff, J. (2015). Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2015].

Geograph, (2006). Newport Arch. [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2015].

Geograph, (2011). Exchequer Gate. [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2015].

George Murphy (2015) Disturbance Audio Walk. [online video] Available from [Access 15 May 2015].

Final Blog Submission: This Is Water – Jamie Dunn

Framing Statement:

This Is Water was a lengthy process, as we struggled to find inspiration. One of the artists studied was Tehching Hsieh. Tehching, or Sam, Hsieh is a former performance artist, who performed duration performances. This fascinated us and as we studied his work, we began to draw influences from his performances. All of his performances were fascinating but one of his year-long performances, Time Clock Piece, was particularly interesting. The themes we liked were that of repetition and the exploration of time. We hoped to use these themes in our performance, yet struggled to think of a way to interpret these into our own ideas.

We started developing the idea of a duration performance based around repetition, when we discovered the Water Tower in Wickham Gardens. Situated on Steep Hill, the Water Tower is a short walk from the cathedral, and has an unkempt children’s play area. Through further exploration of the area my group partner and I came up with the idea of using water in our duration-based performance and decided to use the repetitive rituals contained in our everyday lives.

Considering this framework we decided which rituals would be the focus of our performance. We noticed there were sections in the ground where playground structures had been removed. These created ‘frames’, and we decided to include these in our performance using daily routines based around water as our theme. We would perform five separate rituals using water, in each of the five sections in the ground. These rituals, which are normally done in day to day life in a matter of minutes, would be stretched out to the length of an hour each.

The performance would start with a ‘morning’ routine; brushing teeth and washing faces. Our use of repetition in this routine would be through our actions, for example brushing the bottom row of teeth, then the top, spit and restart. We would change who did which action every fifteen minutes to avoid any irritation that may have been caused.

Next would be clothes washing. I would place a washed article of clothing on a climbing frame in the play area, my group partner would take it off, wear it and make it dirty again. Whenever I would finish cleaning one article of clothing, another would come back to me dirty, signalling the repetitiveness of this ritual.

The third routine would be that of lunch. My partner and I would set up two small tables in the smallest of the sections and have water-based foods and drinks. We would take it in turns to eat/drink these items.

Fourth would be washing the dishes. We would wash our lunch time dishes incredibly slowly, attempting to make it as long and drawn out as possible, exploring the passage of time in banal everyday routines.

Finally we would bathe each other in a paddling pool set up in the largest of sections in the play area. Every fifteen minutes we would change whose turn it was. The site that we were performing in used to be that of a public bath (source) and we wanted to reference the history of our site in this section.

Analysis Of Performance:

As I started the site specific module, I remember being fairly excited to get started on performances based on location, and how we could best use this throughout the module. When we were greeted at the LPAC stage with a list of instructions to perform in public, it grasped my curiosity. The idea of performing in a public place has never intimidated me personally. As somebody who adores performing on stage, I never thought that site specific would be that much different. However, I quickly learned that there were many other layers to performance in a public location than just simply that of a stage in a theatre. The reactions we got on our first day from people passing by as we performed were much different from that I normally get while performing, and I don’t know why I thought they wouldn’t be. My experience to date with drama has mainly been stage based, and people have viewed them with ‘theatre’ expectations. However when you take a performance to a public place, it can take on a whole new meaning. There is no longer any expectation of performance, and the performers themselves have to work that much harder because of this fact.

As a class, we were then taken on a guided tour around parts of Lincoln, mainly up Steep Hill. We were shown several areas of historical significance and given the option of selecting any location we wanted for our site specific performances. As my selected group partner and I walked around Lincoln, attempting to decide where we’d like our site location to be, we found ourselves eventually drawn to Wickham Gardens, in which stood the large water tower of Lincoln. Our first thoughts when entering Wickham Gardens was that we really wanted to do something with the children’s play area located inside of it. With the massive backdrop of the Lincoln water tower there as well, we began to think if there was any way that we could link the two together.

Once we had decided for certain that this was the location we wanted to use, we conducted background research into the water tower and Wickham Gardens. During this research, we discovered that our site had previously been the location of a public bath in the 1900s. (Heritage Connect). As a group we wanted to link in as much of the history of our site as we could, and so we made a mental note to include this in our performance in some way.

Through our initial research, we had early ideas of using frames. In our very early creative process we wanted to use a picture frame to create a scene that related to our site, with the theme of water being present. Our initial idea didn’t sit too well within our group or with our peers, however through the ideas of framing and water, our group eventually settled on an idea we were quite proud of. My group partner and I sat down in our site and attempted to think of a way to link our early ideas into our new thought for a performance. Thankfully our playground site had five separate sections in the ground, where play equipment had previously been removed. And so this was where our idea for framing could be incorporated in to our new idea. There were five sections of artificial flooring, in varying sizes in different locations throughout the play ground. We decided that we’d like to include all of them in our performance in some way. We also began to think about how we could include the water tower, and water itself.

It was then that I remembered a speech given by David Foster Wallace entitled; “This Is Water” (Wallace, 2005). In this speech he talks about the repetitiveness of everyday life, and the ‘day in, day out’ routines that every person goes through. David Foster Wallace goes onto say about finding meaning in the mundanities of life and how; “…the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance” (Wallace 2005, 1). While it may be fairly over exaggerated, we took this to mean that there is importance in every single routine that we perform in life, despite how repetitive and mundane it may first appear.

As site specific classes continued, we were introduced to artist Tehching Hshieh, and his performances based on duration. One of them in particular stood out to both of us, and this was his Time Clock Piece (Hshieh, T 1980-1981). In it, Tehching Hsieh performs a repetitive action for a year. We liked the ideas of both taking duration and repetitiveness, and began to think of ways that we could link this in with our initial ideas of framing and water. Thankfully, we could see some correlation between the repetitiveness of Tehching Hsieh’s piece, and David Foster Wallace’s speech about finding meaning in repetitive routines. It was then that we decided to model our performance around the repetitive and mundane routines that we use water for in our everyday life, and hopefully finding some meaning to them when elongating the period of time that we performed them for.

The first thing that we would have to do then, would be to think of these routines and which ones we would like to be the main focus of our duration performance. Seeing as we had five separate sections of ‘frames’ in our site, we decided that we would perform a different routine in each one, lasting an hour each. The duration of our performance then would be five hours, changing each daily routine on the hour, commencing each change with the sound of the church bells. Basing it on a daily routine, we began to consider how we would start and finish, before filling in the rest. We decided to focus upon an average daily routine of water use, from the start of the day when you get out of bed and wash your face and then brush your teeth, to the end of the day when you relax in a nice bath and wash yourself clean. And so we began to think of a way we could show the average day and the use of water in it.

Of course we started with the face washing and brushing of teeth. To link in with the repetitiveness that Tehching Hsieh influenced us to perform, we would have a specific set of actions when performing these routines. With the face washing, we would go from washing the right side of our face, to the left, to the forehead and to the chin, before drying with a towel in the same order. With the teeth brushing, we decided upon the bottom row of teeth to start with, doing the front of the row, the top of the row and then the back. The same would be done again on the top row, before spitting and starting again. This completed our first ritual.

Then we would go onto the washing of dirty clothes, with ideas of how we could make the clothes dirty again after washing them to show the cycle that clothes go through, and how no matter how much we clean them they are just going to get dirty again. This links in with the repetitive banality of daily routines.


(Dunn, J 2015).

We would then go on to have our lunch. We took this at first to be our ‘break’ in performance. Starting with drinks before lunch, we would pour out squash into a cup, and then pour water into it, before taking it in turns to have sips. We would then move on to the main course of lunch, having hot soup already prepared in a flask. Then would come desert, which we would eat in the form of jelly. The plan was to put the pot of jelly on a plate and take it in turns to eat little bits of it. And finally for our lunch routine, we would make coffee or tea, and once again take it in turns to drink from our mugs. We would perform each of these four routines for fifteen minutes each, so that our ‘lunch break’ successfully lasted an hour.

After that would come the washing of the utensils we used during lunch. One of us would wash a utensil that we used in a bowl of water over the course of the hour, while the other dried a utensil that we used over the course of the hour. We would use very minute actions to do this to explore the passage of time and how long and boring we consider this particular ritual to be in our everyday life.

Finally, we would enter a paddling pool, and bathe each other in it. One of us would wash the other with a sponge for fifteen minutes before it would be the other’s turn. This linked in well with the history of our site, and the fact it used to be a public bath. We would bathe each other instead of bathing ourselves to show the interdependence of the performers.

As we began to rehearse these rituals, there were a few problems that arose throughout. First and foremost was the earliest rehearsal that I attempted, which was the washing of my face and brushing of my teeth.

(Dunn, J 2015).

The main issue that I encountered during this rehearsal was the effect that the water was taking on my skin. By washing my face over and over again for an extended period of time my face began to sting, and eventually turned red and began to swell slightly. After a discussion with my group, we put this down to the use of soap. It had somehow irritated my face, and we decided to cut the use of it in our performance all together for safety reasons.

Another problem that occurred was of our personal opinion. During a rehearsal of the lunch scene, we began to be concerned with how visually interesting this section of the performance was. While we did want to show that these actions aren’t exactly that interesting, simply because we don’t think so much about them, we were worried that our audience would become bored or uninterested in our performance at this part. To put our worries at ease, we consulted this with our tutor and agreed that as long as we did it with enough focus and determination, it would become plenty interesting.


(Dunn, J 2015)

As our site specific dress rehearsal came around, we realised that we hadn’t quite been as organised as we had hoped. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the paddling pool for our final section hadn’t yet arrived, and so we had to do the dress run without it. Thankfully though the dress run had been planned a few days before our actual performance, so we had enough time to rehearse this section when it did eventually arrive. Apart from that however, our dress rehearsal went well, and we were confident going into our performance that we would be able to perform all of our sections with the determination and focus that we wanted.


(Dunn, J 2015) 

Performance Evaluation:

On the day of our performance, we realised that there was one thing we hadn’t taken into consideration. The weather. Sadly on the day it was against us, with high winds and unseasonably cold temperatures, which was a huge shame as every other time we had rehearsed it had been warm and sunny. Still however, we soldiered on and performed our site piece to the best of our abilities, until at 12pm, during the lunch section, it had to be cut short due to health and safety concerns. It was eventually the mixture of performing these actions with cold water and the weather that led to the concerns. Our group was disappointed that we hadn’t been able to complete this challenge that we set out for ourselves, but were grateful to be out of the wet and cold.

Thankfully we did have a few people show up to our performance, and the reviews that we heard were mainly that of a positive note. One person who came stated that while they liked the signs that we had put around the play area informing people that there was a performance underway, there could have been more information on the history of the site and the water tower in general, as well as the background information about the performance.

Overall however, we were happy with how our final performance went, despite being cut short. We feel like we performed what we wanted to, and hopefully made people more aware of their usage of water and to think deeper when dealing with some of the rituals we performed. For me in the end, this became more of a personal challenge, and I’m glad that I managed to complete what I could. There were however a few things that we would have liked to have changed in relation to our performance. It would have been a good idea to take into consideration the weather, and possibly look into a way of working around that, maybe through the use of warm water in our stations instead of simple cold tap water. To link in with the water tower more as well, we could have collected rain water from when we began this creative process, purified it, and used it in all of our sections. This would have reflected nicely with the way the water tower was used, in the purification of water.

While there were issues with this performance in the end, the entire process has given me a deeper understanding of what duration artists go through, and just how long time can take to pass when you’re focussing on one repetitive task. I find myself now with a greater appreciation for the artists that we studied throughout the course, particularly with Tehching Hsieh. Duration based art is something that continues to fascinate me and hopefully will continue to have an impact on the way I look at everyday life, and at performance art in general.


Heritage Connect, Swimming Pools, [online] Lincoln: Heritage Connect. Available from [accessed 14th May 2015]

Wallace, D F, (2005) This is Water, [online video] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Wallace, D F, (2005) This is Water, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Hshieh, T, (1980-1981) Time Clock Piece, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Dunn, J (2015) Washing Clothes 1, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Dunn, J (2015) Endurance Performance Rehearsal, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Dunn, J (2015) Lunch 1, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]

Dunn, J (2015) Teeth Face 1, [online] Available from [accessed 15 May 2015]