Elizabeth Lane -Final Blog

Framing Statement

“Site-specific performance – acts of theatre and performative events at landscape locations, in village streets, in urban situations. In houses, chapels, barns, disused factories, railway stations; on hillsides, in forest clearings, underwater. At the scale of civil engineering; as intimate as a guided walk.” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

My understanding of site specific work is that you either pick a site or are granted a site to work in and with this you look at the site, the history within that site and with the information you gather you think about how you can create a piece of theatre that will, inform, or question your audience or even create a piece which will gather a new kind of audience which wouldn’t usually see that style of theatre.

When given Steep Hill and the whole of Bailgate to work with its amazing to let your imagination wander to the different points of history which you believe you know as well as let yourself wander the lengths even if you find new places which you were unaware of. Starting off we looked at key points off interest throughout the group:

  • Exploring the senses – Heightening and Blocking
    • Using Audio, Video or picture
    • Abstract, concentrate on energy
    • Cathedral (choir)
    • Playing with heights
    • RAF
    • Pathways/footprints
    • Video of site
    • Subtle mob – video pin point participants
    • History
    • Suggestive
    • Different experiences.

We decided collectively to explore some of these aspects as we explored the top of the hill more so we could see which points we felt were going to be more effective to work with.

Throughout the process I have had a great admiration for the work of Janet Cardiff, the way she incorporates the past, the present and the future into her pieces, its almost like a capsule of time. Every memory is overlapped by another, so what if you can walk across them all while being introduced to different aspects of each of them. Cardiff also uses audio in an imaginative way as she over lays each time, such as her work Memory Walk (Link- http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/jena.html) the diary extracts read over the sounds of a battle ground and then also tanks following, each time period is heard yet one is more distinct than the other.

The Cathedral has faced a number of significant obstacles through the years since it was first built, however not everyone knows just how much it has taken for it to still be standing to this day. Therefore with the influence of Janet Cardiff’s work the audio walk of Disturbance was created, showing the 1185 earthquake which carried the fall of part of the Cathedral.

However the idea followed that the audio would emit a normal day up Bailgate with children shouting in the street, conversations being heard, the sound of horses in the street, of shop doors opening and buskers in the street, slowly building up, church bells ringing then eventually turmoil begins when the rumbles become too loud and violent to not acknowledge, and as you are looking at the Cathedral you can hear the crashing of rocks and stone around you, until a silence emits and eventually a letter is read out inviting anymore information about the 1185 earthquake to be given to Lincoln council.

These ideas then led to the performance which occurred on the 6th of May 2015 which occurred for 11 minutes and 15 seconds (audio walk); however with the starting speech and any queries or answering questions at the end the overall performance was generally 15 minutes.

Analysis of Process

Taking inspiration from Prototype and their idea of games within theatre, specifically looking at their installation Through the Wall which was a six channel video and poetic audio instillation, looking at the inspiration behind the surface of Chester walls and how there is the potential to re-orientate the flow of movement through and into the history of the walls, set on the Roman Walls within the Roman Gardens. Through looking at this we thought about orientation, and how this can affect a persons perspective on something or even change their ideas on an object, or an idea or maybe something that has already occurred. Can you twist someone’s perspective? With this idea in mind we thought about how we could integrate the idea of past present and future initiated by Janet Cardiff by re- orientating our audience’s perspectives.

Also inspired by Blast Theory, specifically looking at their game Uncle Roy All Around You, we looked into the idea of stylising two or three games which would interlink into one another and would cross paths at various points. Uncle Roy All Around You looked into the idea of digitalisation and the real world,

“blurring of fictional and real experiences” (Adams, 2006, 2)

Within our generation now we often rely on technology as a central relationship and we lose contact with what is real city spaces and which are virtual, this becomes clear through this game as different questions are asked to the ‘live’ player and ‘online’ players and at different points players work out that the answers they give affects the game they play. We often lose reality through technology, so what if we do the opposite, what if we exemplify and accentuatereality through audio?

Using the Bailgate as a base we looked further into the history of the RAF, Army and Navy which had been a point of interest for everyone.

In the Cathedral there were numerous flags as well as the names of people who were in the Army, RAF and Navy who fell during the war. In one of our audio games we want it to be as if the players are in a war, the sounds, the moves, each game will interlink however it will be in different ways. For instance in this game the players may be told that the person next to them is an enemy trying to attack them, however the person in that game may have been told to try and make friends with that person and stick by them therefore they have to try and solve this problem.

We wanted the Cathedral as a base for a beginning and an end as we love:

 

  • The echo of voices you hear inside
  • The design of the windows
  • The prayers that are made
  • Thoughts that are given
  • What was made in the War

 

We hoped to end the 3 games link in the church listening to the choir singing, as each voice radiates against the walls its so pure and delicate, we believed we could create a small story within this about how each step and each footpath was led to this destination where all thoughts are free, and everyone can be welcomed as well as forgiven for what they have done, or even guided to where they may want to be.

We would like to open people’s eyes to the opportunity of following different footpaths which they are told to, and then given the light to create their own. It’s interesting to look at the perception of each and every person and how one can change their perception, as well as how perceptions can change from one person to another. However do we truly think about how this may affect someone else? It is shown that people are more likely to care when the decisions that they make influence others, they feel connected as well as having a sense of empowerment.

Although we really liked this idea, looking at how appropriate it would be we soon found many obstacles, including the fact that there wasn’t an actual RAF base in Lincoln or up Steep Hill itself to face and we found ourselves on a slightly different route thinking more along the lines of just the one route, going more down the path of the 1185 Earthquake that occurred in Lincoln. Although this was a major natural disaster that occurred there is very little information kept on it, and not a lot of people actually know that it occurred, and the extent in which the damage it made.  Therefore we went on an adventure to find out as much information as we could, I believe some of the best pieces of evidence we found was from Lincoln Library in which we found letters which had been written by the council and members of the public as well as a date book which stated:

 

“An earthquake which overthrew a Church and1185

did considerable damage to the Cathedral, of

which Benedict, the Abbot of Peterborough says,

the like had not been heard in England: –

That the rocks were rent, and the Cathedral

Church of Lincoln was cleft from top to bottom

….” (The Date Book, 31)

 

Prototype’s idea of orientation soon cropped up again within our idea here as we could use the idea of re-orientation and playing with people’s perspectives to place the idea of an earthquake happening now.

 

I took inspiration from Hamish Fulton and his idea behind,

“I am an artist who walks, not a walker who makes art”

(Marsh, 2012, 8)

Fulton looked into the body of work behind walking as an art form. The method of walking is often seen as one where you can create art through walking if you do something along the way, however Fulton sees walking as being part of the art in itself,

“The belief in walking as an art form in its own right.”

(Marsh, 2012, 8)

I found this interesting as a lot of people find themselves walking to get to a destination, however what if you just walk without an end result, without an idea in mind as to where to go , would that make a difference, would it lengthen the journey? Would it be as interesting, or maybe more interesting as there would be the sights to focus on as you walked along.

I feel that this physical idea could be incorporated into our audio within our route as we want our route to carry a simple path yet encourage a concentration from our audience so they view the sights they go past while listening to the audio incorporating what they hear to what they see. In this case would a simple path then allow our audience to walk as artists feeling the piece they are hearing and their surroundings, therefore allowing them to engage fully in the process.

Our Designated Route

Our route started before Newport Arch, and ended going through Exchequer Gate and standing at the Cathedral, we wanted the arch’s to act as a tunnel to venture through and to think about the start and the finishing of different times, as I was going to read the history of each Arch before the audience embarked on the audio walk I felt this would echo the idea of past, present and future aspects which we wanted the audience to identify throughout the piece. Especially Newport Arch as it is thnewport arche most famous Roman remains in Lincoln as well as the best preserved, but it is also the only Roman Arch still in use for daily transportation. So the use of the Arch in itself shows how one place was used many years ago yet is still to this day such an important part of our society.

(Geograph, 2006)

 

Janet Cardiff stated:

 

“Walking is very calming. One step after another,

one foot moving into the future and one in the

past. Did you ever think about that? Our bodies

are caught in the middle. The hardest part is

staying in the present. Really being here.”

(Cardiff 2004: Her Long Black Hair)

(Nedelkopoulou, 2011)

 

Cardiff emphasises the different states of past, present and future and how each can interlink, people dream about the future, they reminisce about the past, however they find it hard to live each day as it is. We want our audio walk to mix the different capsules of time, yet to make the audience think about how they would feel if such a disaster happened now.

  • How would they cope?
  • How would they feel?
  • Where would they go?

We want each question to echo around their minds as they are thrown from feeling they are in one world to then finding out about the natural disaster which occurred in 1185.

Audio

Creating the audio has been a constant tackle, with having to record most of it ourselves and then putting it together sometimes it did not overlay right, and therefore the audience would not get the full effect of what we were trying to create. Constantly going back to the start to try and recreate certain parts, however once we established a grounding point that we would have such instalments as:

  • Shop doors opening
  • Footsteps
  • Cars
  • Music (from buskers)
  • The Cathedral bells
  • By passers talking

We were then able to start layering each part to see what fit and what needed rethinking, then once we had the initial audio we could start introducing the rumbles which would create a build up to the final grand moment.

Its interesting sitting in one place and hitting record, you never know the extent of the sounds or noises that you will pick up, the music from the buskers, the questions that you are asked from strangers, the squeals from children as they run past, the snippets of conversations you over hear. Even sitting for the minimal 5 minutes its amazing the sounds that are collected, as we did this each time we found something new which could be used within the audio adding a new focal point for the audience to be captured by along the walk. We wanted certain noises to almost distract our audience so we added in conversations or squeals which were louder to make it seem as if they were right next to the audience member hoping they would turn to see, as well as a door opening and a bike going past ringing a bell therefore the participant would hopefully keep a look out for each different occurrence.

Each dress rehearsal showed us something new to change, however we had the repetitive comment of needing more build up as the moment at the end although piercing was almost a shock but not in the right way and we know what was happening, so for an audience which did not understand we did not feel this would work. The build up needed to be subtle but still there, so we created a list of minutes where there needed to be rumbles:

 

  • 2:30-3
  • 4:00
  • 6:00
  • 8:30
  • 10:10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYCMGL2QHTw&feature=youtu.be (audio link)

With these rumbles added in the build up seemed to work better, we also added in some speech at the beginning and the end. The beginning speech although not mentioning earthquakes it described what happened when an earthquake occurs. So it gives the audience a glimpse ass to what is going to occur through the audio walk, however it does not give too much away. Then at the end one of the letters which we found in the library asking for any information to be recalled is read out, the letter mentions the earthquake which occurred in 1185. We felt this would allow the audience to understand the audio they had just heard, and then they could fit together everything they had been told and the walk they had just done and why at the end they were looking at the cathedral.

photo 1

 

 

 

Performance Evaluation

Performance day was one of both relief and terror, we took time out before the actual performance to make sure that the audio worked, that we all knew where each member of the group would be, and what our parts were. As the first person the audience members would see and speak to I knew I needed to make sure I was friendly and approachable, although the weather showed difficult through wind and rain we persevered for the 2 hours we were there however, audience members were less persistent with only 5 appearing, 2 being the assessors.

What did work well was that each member seemed to come at different times so I could stagger them through the walk meaning they could really involve themselves in the process, rather than getting distracted by other members of a group.

I started the walk off with some history about Newport Arch where they would be crossing under to follow the path down to Castle square where they would turn to then go under Exchequer Gate and eventually end the audio looking at the Cathedral. The comments we were granted were that the end moment was breath taking; it gave people goose bumps which was a positive comment to hear as the disaster that occurred was disturbing, and occurred to an incredibly huge scale, therefore for us to create the end moment which built to that extremity was very rewarding. We were also told that we had created a piece of work that most members of the audience had never experienced before, so they were able to experience a new type of performance where they were actually involved as not only the audience members but also the performers in an audio walk as the expressions on their faces, the way that they walked, the pace, the movements and each time they stopped to look at a different space was part of the performance.

I fear because of the small sample of audience which got to participate with our audio walk we did not get the coverage we expected, and therefore did not truly see the reactions of our audience, as one person reacts differently to another. Also the idea of a continuous line of audience members would have been very interesting as it would have meant audience members had others to follow to see they were not alone, hopefully within this would have fully committed to what they had been asked to do, as well as what they were listening to.

If I were to do this specific audio walk again I would definitely rethink the route taken as I feel it needed to be slightly longer as well as covering areas in which would cause more people to turn and look.

The idea was thought of to let audience members search their own paths and therefore end up at their own destinations for the end result, however there is a fear held in this that some would go straight back down steep hill and not listen properly to the surrounding sounds on the audio. A step that could be taken to rethink this process would be an instruction I learned from looking at Janet Cardiff’s work where she would almost constantly be with the walkers on their path as certain stages the audio would almost pause, and she would talk to them as if she was their with them, whether it was to assure them of where they were, or tell them a route to go, or instructing them to take something out of a bag they had been given. It made the participants feel like they weren’t alone, if we used this as a template for instructions for a route, we could get away with having a longer path, as well as taking them in different directions without the fear of our audience getting lost and feeling uncomfortable as it would almost feel like we were always with them.

 

Bibliography

 

Adams, K. (2006) The Threshold of the real: A Site for Participatory Resistance in Blast Theory’s Uncle Roy All Around You (2003). Brunel University, 1-8.

The Date Book, R.E. Leary.

Galletly, J. A. (1985) Earthquakes in Lincoln. [letter] Sent to S Gates, 19 December. Lincoln: [Accessed 23 March 2015].

(Cardiff 2004: Her Long Black Hair)

Marsh, L. (2012) Hamish Fulton: Walk. Prospect, 2 (190)8-9

Nedelkopoulou, E. (2011) Walking Out on Our Bodies Participation as ecstasis in Janet Cardiff’s Walks. Performance Research, 16 (4) 117-123

Palgrave Macmillan (2010) Site Specific Performance. [online] Available from: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/sitespecific-performance-mike-pearson/?K=9780230576704 [Accessed 25 April 2015]

Proto-type (2015) Through the wall. [online] Available from http://proto-type.org/projects/past/ [Accessed 4 March 2015]

Geograph, (2006). Newport Arch. [image] Available at: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/173894 [Accessed 15 May 2015].

Clay walkers: Final Blog by Georgia Green

Framing Statement

After reviewing my group’s Site Specific performance, I can confirm that Clay Walkers was greatly inspired by Antony Gormley’s work ‘Field for the British Isles’ and Robert Wilson’s ‘Walking’; we were also encouraged by Mike Pearson’s understanding and definitions of performance in his book Site Specific Performance. As a group, we initially encountered some stumbling blocks regarding what we wanted to do at our chosen sites which were Pottergate and Lincoln Cathedral Garden. We intended to devise a pathway which had a sense of pilgrimage about it and tasks to complete on the way; this we likened to Robert Wilson’s slow walk through the Norfolk countryside which was called ‘Walking’. At Saint Anne’s well there is a tale of ritual whereby someone has to walk round it 7 times and then stick a finger in one of the 6 holes in the door; a ‘good’ person will feel the devil’s breath on their finger whereas a ‘bad’ person will have their finger bitten off by the devil. We decided that this site could be compared to one of Wilson’s installations as it was a religious place en route to the Cathedral garden. As participants followed our pathway, their journey would be partly meditative and partly immersive theatre as they encountered our choice of ‘installations’. Wilson’s Walking encouraged participants to think up “rules that [they] need to break” as this fosters “feeling tranquil” (Hydar Dewachi, 2012). We too wanted the participants on our pathway to experience a similar feeling of reflection and tranquillity as they rambled along our experiential trail which was segmented by activities.

The decision to associate ourselves with Antony Gormley’s work came later on in our thinking process when we came up with the idea of working with clay at Pottergate. Antony Gormley’s “Field for the British Isles” is a multifaceted visual event whereby forward facing clay figures fill a specific space. Under his direction, people formed these little figures with their own hands. “I wanted to work with people and to make a work about our collective future and our responsibility for it” (Gormley, 2014). My idea of working with clay at Pottergate was inspired by Gormley’s work; Pottergate is a forgotten and neglected once important gateway to Lincoln and as a group, we wanted to fleetingly give it life again.

Our final performance took place on May 6th May 2015 between 9 am and 5pm. Unfortunately, because of the extremely unpleasant weather conditions, our invited participants did not turn up so we had to requisition our markers who agreed to take part in homage to the potters of Lincoln who plied their wares outside Pottergate. The pagan like ritual allegedly performed at Queen Anne’s well was included in the venture from Pottergate to the garden where an old furnace can be found built into the wall. Our modern day participants made their clay figurines just like the potters of Pottergate long ago thus bringing history into the here and now; they would then journey through the market place to the city walls where the gardens are now established.

 

An Analysis of Process

 

“Archaeology…. A process of cultural production- a form of active apprehension, a particular sensibility to material traces- that takes the remains of the past and makes something to material traces.” (Pearson, 2010, 44)

 

Archaeology was included in our performance as we were engaging with important historical landmarks in Lincoln such as Pottergate and the Cathedral garden, each one being marked “ by our presence and by our passing” (Pearson, 2010, 42). We wanted to create a piece which linked the past with the present by connecting an activity of long ago with something similarly performed today; this would be undertaken as part of a spiritual pilgrimage which involved rituals, misguided tours and clay making whilst following in the footsteps of the medieval potters.

Initially we were going to encompass Pottergate, Queen Anne’s well and the garden in that order.

We wanted to “take the remains of the past and [it] makes something to material traces” (Pearson, 2010, 44) hence the inclusion of ‘monuments’ such as Pottergate and the garden in the Cathedral as both are steeped in history. On their journey from Pottergate to the garden, our participants would undertake tasks on the way to show “the examination of the relationship between culture and human behaviour” (Pearson, 2010, 44). To create this relationship between the participants and these ‘monuments’ we thought about what tasks or jobs were typically carried out in Lincoln from medieval times onwards. Beth found a good source of myths and the paranormal on a website called ‘Paranormal Database’; it was here she found the legend associated with Queen Anne’s Well so we decided that as it was on the way to the garden, our participants could revive the olden time custom as a modern day ritual; this fuelled our thoughts for our final piece “as modes of cultural production, archaeology and performance might take up the fragments of the past and make something out of them in the present” (Pearson, 2010, 45).

 

Despite many ideas being proposed, we remained constant to the one which was to highlight the history surrounding Pottergate. There is an information board besides the building but little is known about it other than it was used for “practises of labour, trade and social life” (Mike Pearson, 2010, 44). I delved into The Buildings of England. Lincolnshire by Nickolas Pevsner and John Harris book and discovered that the Pottergate area stretched from the south east to the north east corners of uphill Lincoln near the cathedral; it was the “stairway in the SW corner, now represented by the polygonal torrent, which allowed communications between the upper chamber and the gate hall” (Nicholas Antram, 1995, 484). From this we realised that it was an important communication point; a gateway where people had to state their business before being allowed into the city and where certain traders plied their wares. We did not use this as the main idea of our performance although we did use the subject of communications to stimulate our thoughts.

We gave some consideration to the markings on the stone at Pottergate and in particular the oldest one which reveals the name of P.Pickering and is dated 1895 (Green, 2015).

pickering

Green, G. (2015) P. Pinkering 1895. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/r9LZrL [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

“We deliberately ‘tag’ the environment: proclaiming and affiliations, demarcating territory” (Mike Pearson, 2010, 42).

Over the years there has been some vandalism to the archway in the form of graffiti dating from 1895 to 2010, so it is interesting to note that these old habits still continue.

Beth and I noted these markings to show how diverse they were and so we decided to start our journey at Pottergate and give the participants the opportunity to make their own mark here. This would not involve any damage being done to the building as the participants would ‘make their mark’ on post it type notes which could be attached temporarily to the archway. This linked well to another form of communication within the building’s confines whereby utility companies had ‘made their mark’ on the man hole covers situated around the building which displayed their names such as post office or telegraph. After some consideration we decided that paper notes were not environmentally friendly and would deface the building so we decided to use a more appropriate material which the participants could write their messages on.

We found it difficult to formulate our ideas for our sites especially Pottersgate, even though we were passionate to have it in our piece. I eventually discounted the idea of the participants marking their names on wood and leaving them in Pottersgate and proposed that the participants use chalk to mark the pavement around the building. Once they had written their message, they could wipe it away as though they were wiping it from their memory; that way, they start the walk with a fresh mind and a new beginning. This then kindled another idea which was linked to “Sand Mandala sculptures” (Buddhanet, 2012). The idea behind these sculptures is that the maker is “[stepping] along the path of enlightenment” and that was exactly what we wanted our participants to feel as they followed our path; it also linked very well with the concept behind Robert Wilson’s piece entitled “Walking” ((Hydar Dewachi, 2012).

 

The theme of pilgrimage came to mind however, we did not want our piece to be regarded as religious just because Lincoln Cathedral loomed around us so, I thought it prudent to ascertain the definition of the word ‘pilgrim’. The Oxford Dictionary says it is “Chiefly literary, a person regarded as journeying through life.” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2015) With this definition in mind, I liked the idea of our piece being an adventure of personal interest whereby the performance unfolds a story so we worked on perfecting the chalk task in Pottergate and the ritual at St Anne’s well. The chalk task was to encourage participants to think of a wish or a memory that they would like to physically mark on Pottergate’s pavement as a temporary memorial to it. At St Anne’s well, we wanted to create our own version of the age old ritual performed there so we came up with new moves to execute when going round the well such as ‘placing your hands on the roof’, ‘turning around and shouting the first thing you see in your surroundings’. Unfortunately, we could not agree on anything other than to go with the misguided tour idea from Pottergate to the cathedral garden which involved us telling genuine and phony stories about each place. I was unsure about the meaning of a ‘misguided tour’ and so I researched the internet; I found some interesting facts including the staging of a Fools Festival (Fool Festival, 2013) which is very popular with the public and involves the telling of ‘hidden stories’ which describe an event based on some facts and some fiction. I liked this idea so I looked for a clear description of a misguided tour and found  this explanation:

“We like to blur the distinctions and play across the boundaries of the real and the fake…They will amuse you with their irrelevant insights and entertain you with their opinions on everything but the hard facts” (Fool Festival, 2013). After some discussion, we eventually came to the conclusion that this was not exactly what we were aiming to do and was not very appropriate for our sites and our lecturer concurred with this.

Our next idea was to use the information on the board at Pottergate; we found out that it was “built in the 14th century” (Green, 2015) yet “Pottergate as a street dates back to the Viking period: ‘the street (Danish gata) of the potters’” (Green, 2015).

pottergate

Green, G. (2015) Description of Pottergate. Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/rxsM4R [Accessed on: 13 May 2015].

After reading this we decided we could build a misguided tour around the oldest marking on Pottergate’s wall which is by P.Pickering. He would be a potter and we would follow his life until he succumbed to the plague. This would link well with actual historical facts for the area and kindled a pooling of ideas amongst my group members. Our main aim was to enable the past to overlap with the present and our ideas were helping us to bring this to fruition so we could “Demonstrate for the popular imagination how we ourselves and our immediate environment are the part of the historical process, how constituents of material culture exist within overlapping frames and trajectories of time, drawing attention to how we are continuously generating the archaeological record” (Pearson, 2010, 45).

When it came to the time for us to explain to our module leader what we were aiming to do he listened intently and watched our piece with interest however, when we talked it through afterwards he had some reservations. He commended the idea of making clay models and taking them from Pottergate to the garden but condemned the ritual enactment at Queen Anne’s well. He did suggest however, that we take the concept of a ritual into the journey of the clay.

So now we were only working with two sites and needed to consider some artists who work with figures to ensure we remained true to our idea that “we are continually generating the archaeological record” (Pearson, 2010, 45). We wanted the participants to create something which represented a little of themselves so as to continue the history of the places by contributing their work to them and thereby leaving a little bit of themselves behind.

Antony Gormley’s sculptures are recognised all over the world with his most famous one probably being the ‘angel of the north’ (Gormley, 2015) however, his piece entitled ‘Field for the British Isles’ is the one which has inspired us because it was created by volunteers. Every person made one terracotta figure which was then placed in a room from corner to corner, end to end. When you look at their faces, you feel accountable for each and every one as they constantly stare back at you because, as Gormley points out, we are “responsible for the world that it [FIELD] and we were in” (Gormley, 2014).

Having figurines spread all over the cathedral garden would bring a dramatic end to the journey our participants began in Pottergate. Forming their own images in salt dough (more environmentally friendly than clay) and taking them to their final resting ground would I feel, emulate the theatricality of Gormley’s work and impact on the garden and the participants themselves. As Pearson says in his Site Specific Performance book, the “French archaeologist Laurent Olivier has termed a ‘relationship of proximity maintained regarding places, objects, ways of life or practices that are still ours and still nourish our collective identity’” (Pearson, 2010,43). We made an impact on those places and developed a “relationship between material culture and human behaviour” (Pearson, 2010, 44). These places are often neglected or ignored so the public should be reminded of their heritage and popularity in their heyday. Using salt dough figures and following a path between the hidden gems of Pottergate and The Cathedral Garden definitely gives you a connection to the piece and a feeling of responsibility.

 

 

 

figures

Green, G. (2015) Complete Collection. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/rWJYYD  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Before rehearsing the performance, we copied Antony Gormley’s idea and made 190 salt dough figurines for the 9 till 5 rehearsal. We found it uncomfortable rehearsing in public and attracted some funny looks from people; we were really out of our confident zone but we carried on and got what we wanted out of it as well as realising we must take weather conditions into consideration and be prepared for all types. We also thought it would look more professional if we sited a table and chair at Pottergate with signs explaining what we were doing and saying ‘clay walkers in progress. When we placed the figurines on the stonework of the fire furnace in the garden, it really did loosely resemble Gormley’s work. There was a definite connection between the models and the sites and my own understanding of Site Specific was improved; we had engaged “intensively with the history and politics of that place, and with the resonance of these in the present” (Pearson, 2010, 10) As a group we had rediscovered two amazing locations and by placing our little figures within them I had been given an insight into the relationship between site and performance and could now understand why holding performative events in unusual locations is so enthralling. Our performance as potters was a bit scary at first, but it was a great way of introducing us into the world of Site Specific and it was fun to watch the public reaction to it; it was a very positive experience as we helped “the past to surge into the present” (Pearson, 2010, 10).

 

 

Performance Evaluation 

Final site

Green, G. (2015) Final Site. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/rTykuL  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Our final performance was difficult because of the poor weather conditions, the high risk of slipping on the wet stone slabs in Pottergate and the constant stream of traffic around the Pottergate area in general. In the early afternoon, Sophie was nearly accosted by a passer-by on a bike so we moved up to the garden to finish off the performance. It was definitely a bit of a struggle to perform under such conditions but it was nevertheless very rewarding.  When our assessor and module leader visited they commented on how they would have liked to have seen more than just the figures to show that we were taking “up the fragments of the past and something out of them in the present” (Pearson, 2015, 45).

We conceived, devised and staged our performance and made theatre in a location steeped in history; this not only showed its versatility as a place but also how it could be reconnected with its original purpose. This links well with what Gormley says about his ‘field’ project, “I like the idea of the physical area occupied being put at the service of the imaginative space of the witness” (Gormley, 2015).

Our only two actual audience members were our assessors but fortunately their reaction to each piece was good; they found it interesting and gave positive comments about it so we are confident that we managed to create a unique piece which incorporated and appreciated the history of the sites in all their glory. The “audience need not be categorised, or even consider themselves, as ‘audience’, (but) as a collective with common attributes” (Pearson, 2010, 175).

The difficult weather conditions undoubtedly hampered not only our performance but our props as the salt dough became soggy nevertheless, creating the memories of this piece was rewarding as we saw our pathway “overlapping frames…of time” (Pearson, 2010, 45). It soon became obvious to us that the public do not respect the Pottergate area or recognise its importance in the past as they go about their business and they certainly were very unsure about approaching us to see what we were doing. Siting the table and chairs helped to reassure the public that we were not doing anything untoward as we moulded the multicoloured salt dough; it also gave a purpose to our work and enlightened the public about performance outside the auditorium.

Goods

Green, G. (2015) Final Performance. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/smEPxm [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Site Specific performance in contemporary theatre is ever growing and my understanding of it is that it encourages thinking out of the box; it asks why? and what happens if I do this? And, as Mike Pearson explains “site specific involves an activity, and audience and a place then creative opportunities reside in the multiple creative articulations of us, them and there” (Pearson, 2010, 19). It makes people think and look at a place they know well in a new way just as we did by making the garden a monument to the potters of long ago and reminding the people of today of its importance and original purpose or by making metaphorical bricks from salt dough so people could make their mark on them just as they did on the bricks on the Pottergate arch as far back as 1895. “These marks we make, these traces we leave, are ineffably archaeological: ‘an archaeological of us’, of contemporary material culture, of the recent, of the immediate” (Pearson, 2010, 43) and it is this relationship with the site which is so unique to Site Specific Performance.

 

Bibliography

Antram, N. (eds) (1995) The Buildings of England. Lincolnshire. London: Penguin.

Buddhanet (2012) Chart of the Elements in Kalachakra Sand Mandala. Tullera: Buddhanet. Available from: http://www.buddhanet.net/kalimage.htm   [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Gormley, A. (2014) Field, 1989 – 2003. [online] London: Antony Gormley. Available from: http://www.antonygormley.com/projects/item-view/id/245#p0   [Accessed on 19 April 2015].

Green, G. (2015) Complete Collection.[online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/rWJYYD  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Green, G. (2015) Description of Pottergate. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from https://flic.kr/p/rxsM4R  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Green, G. (2015) Final Performance. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/smEPxm  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Green, G. (2015) Final Site. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from: https://flic.kr/p/rTykuL  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Green, G. (2015) P. Pinkering 1895. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from https://flic.kr/p/r9LZrL  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Hydar Dewachi (2012) Robert Wilson “Walking” [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8ih4GddMc4  [Accessed 10 May 2015].

Pearson, M. (2010) Site-Specific Performance. 1st edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan ltd.

Oxford Dictionaries (2015) Pilgrim. [online] Oxford: Oxford Dictionairies. Available from: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/pilgrim  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Fools Festival (2013) Misguided tours. [online] Belfast: Fools Festivals. Available from: http://www.foolsfestival.com/2013/misguided-tours/  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Fuse Performance (2015) Misguided Tours. [online] UK: Fuse Productions. Available from: http://www.fuseperformance.co.uk/fuse_Performance/Gallery/Pages/Misguided_Tours.html  [Accessed on 13 May 2015].

Kia Rochelle Moules – Final Blog Post (Disturbance)

Framing Statement

“Theatre has a long history of experimentation with a variety of spatial configurations and relationships, but it is only in the last two decades that the label `site-specific’ has been applied to theatrical performance” (Wilkie, 2004). The Site that our group was assigned was the uphill area of Lincoln. When we eventually got into groups we came up with a list of possible ideas we wanted to explore.

Our ideas list included:

  • Exploring the senses – Heightening and Blocking
  • Using Audio, Video or picture documentation
  • Abstract, concentrate on energy
  • Cathedral (choir)
  • Playing with heights
  • RAF
  • Pathways/footprints
  • Video of site
  • Subtle mob – video pin point participants
  • History
  • Suggestive
  • Different experiences.

Once we had reflected on the list of our ideas we came to the decision to make an audio walk centring on the Cathedral, Castle Square and Bailgate. We were inspired by the works of Blast Theory performance Can you see me now?

“Along with Botfighters, Can You See Me Now? is one of the first location based games. Online players compete against members of Blast Theory on the streets. Tracked by satellites, Blast Theory’s runners appear online next to your player on a map of the city. On the streets, handheld computers showing the positions of online players guide the runners in tracking you down.

With up to 100 people playing online at a time, players can exchange tactics and send messages to Blast Theory. An audio stream from the runner’s walkie talkies allowed you to eavesdrop on your pursuers: getting lost, cold and out of breath on the streets of the city.

Can You See Me Now? is the second major collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham after Desert Rain. As well as winning the Prix Ars Electronica this work was nominated for a BAFTA in Interactive Arts. It was developed during a long period of research and development in London and Nottingham exploring Global Positioning Systems and wireless networking. Steve Benford, Martin Flintham and Rob Anastasi from the Lab made particularly significant contributions to this work.”(Blast Theory,2015)

We also took inspiration from our own tutors theatre group Proto-type’s through the wall Site installation.

Through the Wall was a six channel video and poetic audio installation commissioned by Chester Performs for the Up The Wall arts festival.

Sited on the Roman Walls within the Roman Gardens, Through the Wall was inspired by the surface of the Chester walls and by the (metaphorical) potential of re-orienting the flow of movement through and into the history of the walls.

At three sites in the Roman Gardens, projections on both sides of the wall looped and linked, showing three wanderers moving from one frame to another and stopping to look at the scenery of places that have a real or imagined link to the walls themselves” (Proto-type, 2015).

Adding the group’s interest of the 1185 Lincoln Earthquake we made this the centre of our audio walk and aimed to create a disturbance in a place which is normally quiet and unexciting. Hence why we named our piece Disturbance.

“I’ve always been interested in the creation of physical narratives which take the place of words.”(Cousin, 1994) like Pearson’s answer in Geraldine Cousin’s interview in 1994 our group liked the idea of using something different to replace words to portray the disaster of 1185. Replacing A full spoken narrative we use sound and minimal spoken narrative to portray our piece “the use of technology does not efface the initial medium of the physical performer; rather photos, video and audio recordings maintain, multiply, moderate and even heighten some of the qualities of the performer’s presence.”(Nedelkopoulou, 2011) agreeing with this statement the group thought this would strengthen our performance and the idea to portray this disaster through an audio walk would be the most efficient way.

These ideas then led to our final performance which lasted 11 minutes and 15 seconds and followed a route in the uphill area of Lincoln on the 6th May 2015. The audience would arrive at a point just past Newport arch and follow the route (below) while listening to the audio (below) we made and provided. The participants not only acted as an audience but also a performer as the way they acted and reacted also was a performance in its own right.
https://soundcloud.com/george-murphy…/disturbance-audio-walk

map

Analysis of Process

During one of our sessions at the beginning of the process involved the group being led on a tour of the uphill area of Lincoln. We discovered the places that could be possible site performance areas. Whilst on the tour I began to collate different elements to make my idea which I would like to expand upon for my performance. My idea is to work with the perspective of the uphill ‘world’ through heightened senses. When reviewing my photos after the tour some of them inspired me to maybe use photography to portray different feelings or edit them in such a way (like the experimental ones below) to show what partially sighted, colour blind and disabled people may see or to maybe portray different emotions/feelings such as awe, wonder, hopelessness or confusion.

image3image2image

Once in groups my idea changed but the idea of keeping the performance an audio stayed. We were inspired by Blast Theory and there performance Can you see me now? And we particularly focused on the element of “exposition of virtual and physical modes of engagement in Can You See Me Now? That inspires a critical reflexivity on physical participation in the contemporary cultural landscape, where technology and virtual reality become progressively dominant ways of mediating reality.” (Woycicki,2014). We took this idea from Blast Theory and combined it the history that surrounds the uphill area of Lincoln and merge them into two audio tours. One would take the route of Heaven and the other hell. After presenting our idea to Rachael she made valid points about our idea not being appropriate and generic so we retreated to a coffee shop and conducted a group meeting to see if we could keep the structure but change the ‘flesh’  of the idea. “Within this social climate, performance has acquired significance in framing and reframing places and spaces as the changing routes and roots of communities, and individuals are negotiated, questioned and explored.” (Govan, Nicholson and Normington, 2007) bearing this in mind we did some more research into the history of Lincoln and later came up with the idea of war/RAF and also discovered the 1185 earthquake that hit Lincoln and cause extensive damage to the Cathedral. So we thought by only using audio and a map we could create a soundscape of both scenarios and leaving the listener to make up their own mind about what they are hearing and what it might be based on.

Throughout the weeks we have been developing the idea of our split audio walk, experimenting with different routes, sound, ways for the listener to know where to walk to ect as “Spatial relationships have always been integral to performance- making; the configuration of performance spaces and their effect on actor-audience exchanges have been richly and variously investigated by practitioners across histories and cultures.” (Govan, Nicholson and Normington, 2007) (Audio – RAF)

We then presented this idea to Conan and Rachael this was quite daunting we received good feedback such as:

  • The history of the RAF is in Lincoln/Lincolnshire and has no direct ties to the uphill area of Lincoln
  • The idea of the earthquake and making more of that could be something to expand on
  • Scrap the idea of split audio walk as each listener will have a different experience with just on tour

This aided us alter our idea, for the better and simplify and define our idea. Conan was particularly interested in the idea of the Earthquake and said to look behind the science and history of earthquakes and concentrate on that. Rachael also mentioned Janet Cardiff, “Janet Cardiff has been developing and devising her audio and video walks since 1991.”(Nedelkopoulou, 2011)

Aided with a new idea route Me, Elizabeth and George decided to go to the Lincoln Central Library archives the following Monday. Our time Lincoln Central Library Archives was central to our process. The people in there where more than happy to help and presented us with more than 10 things to helps us on our quest for information. We found that in several books there was only a line of information about the earthquake – Below are picture of the books we found on the earthquake but no more could be found.

photo 2photo 3

After looking for an hour we came across a letter (Below) sent out by a man looking for more information on the earthquake and he had a date book which took us down various different routes and brought up some things of interest we are looking to use in our piece.

photo 1

We met with the rest of the group to share the new information we had gathered and began to talk about plotting our routes and what our audio was going to sound like and what we may include. We had decided to make it about twenty minutes long and that based on the books we read our route will have a significance and not be an idle wonder as Cardiff says “Walking is very calming. One step after another, one foot moving into the future and one in the past. Did you ever think about that? Our bodies are caught in the middle. The hard part is staying in the present. Really being here. (Cardiff 2004: Her Long Black Hair)” (Nedelkopoulou, 2011) so we had to think about our route and what the significance of I would be and a good reasoning behind it. Easter was in the week commencing so we set a plan and hope to fulfil it by the end of Easter.

Roles:
Jade- Routes and Research
Elizabeth- Routes and Research
Jess – Marketing
George – Audio
Me – Audio

By the end of the Easter holidays we plan to have a solid route and our reasoning

After Easter we had a route planned (Below) and an audio in process. We didn’t meet up in Easter as much as we had like so fell behind a little bit but in the week after Easter mange to pick back up. We kept sharing ideas to add to our audio and some of us would go out a record in the site for material we could possibly use within the audio.

map

With the rough audio done (Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXUbt03RO0Q&feature=youtu.be) we decided to book a meeting with our tutor Rachael and give it a test run with her and get feedback on anything we needed to improve. After she completed our route with the audio she met back with us to give us her opinion on it and tell us any changes we could make to improve it. She loved the end moment which we very pleased with as this was our biggest challenge. Rachael also pointed out to us that even though she like the walk it was too short and she was standing at the Cathedral for too long and to maybe consider add things into our audio that would make people stop to extend the time they spend on the walk to allow them to end up at the cathedral at the right time. Finally she told us to add things such to build up to the final moment and to think about why we started at Newport arch and finished at Exchequer gate and find the significance in that in relation to our audio walk.

After taking into consideration the feedback we received from our tutor we edited and tweaked our audio accordingly and was happy with the finished product. We again booked a meeting with Rachael and this was our dress rehearsal before the performance day. Rachael then went on the route with the audio (Link -https://soundcloud.com/george-murphy…/disturbance-audio-walk) and came back and gave us feedback and suggested to us we should consider making the route longer as she was still standing at the Cathedral too long. The route stayed the same but we asked at the beginning of the tour for people to walk at a slow pace and to wonder around castle square before going through Exchequer gate. We also decide to have Elizabeth at the beginning of the walk to give a little ‘speech’ about the walk before the participants went away. My post was to stand near the Cathedral and be there if anyone wanted to ask any questions. The rest of the group was dotted around the route just in case people experienced difficulties. Below is Elizabeth and my speech:

Elizabeth – “The most famous Roman remain in Lincoln and the best preserved dates to the start of the 2nd century AD. It’s the only Roman arch still in use for daily transportation. In 1964 a lorry passed through the central arch dislodging bits of the arch way. (Beat) If you follow the path under Newport arch and follow the path along until you get to castle square. Turn left they will come to Exchequer gate where tenants who rented from the church came to pay their rent. Built in the 14th century it acted as the main ceremonial access point to the Cathedral close. Along the route if you experience any trouble there are fellow group members wearing headphones, so if remove your headphones they will approach you and help. At the end you will see a Kia standing near cathedral wearing headphones and a black and white chequered coat if you have every further questions.”

Kia – “Thank you for taking part today if you have any further question feel free to ask me or message us on Facebook and survey will be sent to everyone who participated today”

Performance Evaluation

Our audio walk did not attract much interest as the day of our performance there was bad weather which deferred people coming as it took place outside. We had three people complete our audio walk and then two assessor who participated as well. The feedback we received was good and included comments such as:

  • The end moment was fantastic
  • It was something different
  • I didn’t really get it but I enjoyed it

The uphill area of Lincoln is rich with history which inspired me to explore and there can be endless performances that could branch off this and considering the thriving environment it is today there are other opportunities for performance as well. Although apathetic towards site-specific performance I still would be interested in exploring and possibly creating another performance contrary to the ‘Disturbance’ piece and see the difference in experience, as I had an unpleasant experience performing my ‘Disturbance’ piece.

During our final performance there are a few things I would have improved and altered to make the audio walk better. The reasons being:

  • Making the Route longer
  • Break up the audio with some information linking to audio
  • Better communication between members of the group
  • Adding the information/speeches Me and Elizabeth had to the audio rather than us stand outside
  • Give the participants the route before hand
  • Build up the final moment
  • Better recording of the audio

“All of Cardiff and Miller’s walks are recorded in ‘binaural’ audio to create a three dimensional reproduction of sound. According to this technique, the recording system is based on the use of two miniature microphones placed in the ears of a dummy head, so that the sound is captured in the way that a person would ordinarily hear it (Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Walks).” (Nedelkopoulou, 2011). If my group had a longer rehearsal time we could take the pervious statement and put it into practice and use this method recording the audio “following the same route as their potential participants” (Nedelkopoulou, 2011).

As mentioned previously, although apathetic toward site-specific performance it has changed my perception of traditional theatre and allowed me to expand my knowledge in something I wouldn’t otherwise consider exploring.  It has taught me how to perform within a non-traditional setting and the challenges that come with it, such as:

  • Public Disturbance
  • Weather conditions
  • Various health and safety issues

Overall I learned information and expiernced something different that will help me in the theatre ‘world’ whether I chose to go into this genre of theatre or chose to use elements of knowledge or performance techniques in any devised piece I may do in the future. Although this module of my course was not an area that I was interested in as other areas, I feel the experience gained has been valuable.

Bibliography

Blasttheory.co.uk, (2013). Can You See Me Now? | Blast Theory. [online] Available at: https://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/can-you-see-me-now/ [Accessed 14 May 2015].

Cousin, G. (1994). An Interview with Mike Pearson of Brith Gof. Contemporary Theatre Review, 2(2), pp.37-47.

Govan, E., Nicholson, H. and Normington, K. (2007). Making a performance. London: Routledge

Nedelkopoulou, E. (2011). Walking Out on Our Bodies Participation as ecstasis in Janet Cardiff’s Walks. Performance Research, 16(4), pp.117-123.

Proto-type.org, (2015). Proto-type. [online] Available at: http://proto-type.org/ [Accessed 13 May 2015].

Wilkie, F. (2004). Out of Place The Negotiation of Space in Site-Specific Performance. Ph.D. University of Surrey.

Woycicki, P. (2014). A critical study of physical participation in Blast Theory’s Can You See Me Now ?. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 10(2), pp.193-204.

Charlotte Roberts, final blog post.

Framing Statement

Over the course of this module my group and I were challenged to create a site specific performance within an allocated site. Our site was the area uphill in Lincoln, around the castle, the cathedral, and the surrounding areas. My group decided to centre our piece around the cathedral due to it’s rich culture and history.

Our final performance piece was titled ‘All precious things, discovered late’ which was a quote taken from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Arrival (1853). We wanted our piece to highlight the importance of appreciating life before it’s too late, and we felt this phrase captured this nicely. We began by researching the cathedral to gain a historical knowledge of the site. We soon discovered that there were several interpretations of the cathedral’s history. From this we established our performance idea of individuality and perceptions. To develop this we looked into the idea of the life cycle. The Shakespearian speech ‘all the worlds a stage’ was highly influential for us, as it helped us form the specific stages of life that would be placed in different areas around the site. The speech begins referring to an infant, and continues through the life cycle until second childishness and then death. This complete circle inspired us to tailor the audio to emphasis the inevitability of death, and also to highlight the importance of treasuring life’s special moments.

The Guardian’s Everyday Podcasts proved to be one of our main inspirations. Listening to how voice alone could create such powerful performances was something that really interested us. The relaxed tone of the piece and the natural honesty within Adrian Howells’ podcast was an aspect that we took on board for our own piece. We wanted to create an audio that felt more like a companion than an instructional voice, and so the tone of voice and choice of words within his piece proved extremely inspirational.

Our final piece consisted of an audio walk around the cathedral grounds. It was performed on Wednesday 6th May 2015 at 11:00am. It began with the audience arriving at the green opposite the judgment doors, where they would be introduced to the performance and given a scallop shell to hang around their neck, before embarking on the walk. The piece lasted approximately 20 minutes per-person, but varied depending on the pace at which each participant walked. The audio files were released on the Facebook event page prior to performance, and the audience were encouraged to download them to their own devices. By listening to the audio on individual devices it separated them, making the experience purely their own and not influenced by other members of the audience.

An Analysis of Process

My initial research

During our first class we conducted a silent mob outside the library, where we all simultaneously followed silent physical instructions. The reactions of passers-by fascinated me, and I thrived off the thought that we had broken the formality of their everyday journeys, potentially opening their eyes to what was around them. It was this sense of purpose behind the performance that I enjoyed, and I liked the idea of using performances for audience enlightenment. We took a walk around the cathedral quarters and the surrounding areas and I discovered a side to Lincoln I never knew. Wandering off the beaten track opened my eyes to Lincoln’s rich history that I knew existed, but had never witnessed. Phil Smith, from site specific performance company Wrights and Sites, stated that drifting through a city can allow you ‘to see for the first time things you already know’ (Smith, 2010, 119), and it was this sense of discovery that really interested me. I really enjoyed the visual impact of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Wrapped Trees (Javacheff and Denat, 1998). When the sun shone on the wrapped trees, they took a new form, something mystical that distorted the assumptions of the everyday. These performance art installations unsettle the repetitive journeys of the public, and encouraged them to pause and acknowledge their surroundings.

Performance style

I also looked into performances that involve a structured audience rather than passers-by. Platform Theatre Company created site specific theatre that aimed to educate the public of global concerns. They created performances such as Oil City (Platform, 2013) which took the audience on a journey around the site and ‘deep into the underbelly of London’s oil economy’ (Platform, 2013). During their piece the audience were taken to several influential places, and encouraged to interact with various actors about the controversy of Britain’s economy. The use of promenade theatre worked well as it encouraged the audience to build a personal relationship with the environment around them. I found this very inspiring. I really wanted the audience to gain a connection with whatever site I ultimately used. Although, at this point of the process I wasn’t sure what I wanted the audience to actually gain from this connection. However, I knew that in order for a message to be effectively understood, a good connection with the stimulus (the site) was vital.

Guided walks

During class we were asked to create an unconventional map around our site. Whist wandering around the cathedral, I stumbled across some devilish gargoyles and headless figures. My fascination with these statues took us on a completely different track, and we altered our map to mark where they were on the cathedral.

gargoyle map

The map of interesting statues

Phil Smith states that ‘certain things may begin to connect and once that starts happening, without obsessively pursuing a story, you can begin, collectively, to ‘compose’ your drift, allowing what has happened so far to determine your next choices’ (Smith, 2010, 199). The tangent we allowed ourselves to go on when creating the map meant that we developed something that was inspired purely from the site. I particularly liked the idea of a guide around the cathedral, creating stories about the gargoyles and headless statues, encouraging people to look beyond the typical tourist view. I wasn’t the only person who was interested in working around the cathedral so a group of four of us joined together to create our final performance group.

Ownership of a site

After reading Tim Etchells’ Certain Fragments (Etchells, 1999), the difference between seeing something and acknowledging its existence became apparent. Do we really appreciate what is standing right in front of us? Tim Etchells stated that ‘sight is nine-tenths of ownership’ (Etchells, 1999, 78). This phrase really made me think about what it means to own something. To own something literally is to have a connection with it, physically or emotionally, and from this you can develop appreciation. People see the cathedral in so many different ways; however it is normally from a touristic point of view. Through exposing local myths and stories about the site from the local residents, it encourages the audience to develop a deeper understanding of the cathedral, thus they can form a greater appreciation for it.

Speech and Audio

After discovering the devilish gargoyles, we were interested in recreating myths about the cathedral from the local residents. We wanted to recreate the telling of these stories though verbatim to give the piece a stronger connection to the site and its residents. Look Left Look Right Theatre Company’s performance The Caravan (Look Left Look Right, 2009) was ‘a half-hour verbatim show edited together from hours of transcribed conversations with […] victims of the UK floods in 2007’ (Moran, 2009). Verbatim worked well in this performance. It allowed the audience to experience the site in conjunction with ‘real life’ tales of its residents. The connection the audience gain from site specific verbatim performances was something we really wanted to achieve within our final piece.

I found listening to audio performances very influential for our final concept. Adrian Howells’ everyday moment (Howells, 2011) is an audio piece designed to be listened to in bed through headphones and with a hot drink. At first I felt slightly uneasy because his voice sounded like he was stood behind me, however as the podcast went on his voice became calming, almost reassuring. The honesty in the actor’s voice broke through my initial concerns and I ended up trusting his voice. The way he phrased what he was saying was incredibly cleaver. At the beginning, the words he used were general, however around about half way he began to use words like ‘us’ and ‘we’. By the time I had reached the end of the performance, I felt as if I knew him as a friend. Listening to these podcasts made me think about what can be defined as a performance, and how an audience doesn’t have to be present at a site for the piece to impact them.

I thought about the possibility of making mp3 downloads of the recordings that the audience could download to their own devices prior to the performance, putting the audience in control of their experience. As they are able to download the audio it to their own devices, they are able to keep the files, and if they wish to, redo the performance at their own time, leaving the audience with a token of their experience that they can reflect upon in the future.

Layers of perception

Focusing on speech in performance became something we were interested in so we went back to the site to see if we could overhear conversations about the cathedral. We overheard a father telling his child of the history of the building, although his youngest child lacked interest and continued to run around, shouting to see if his voice could echo. This made us think of the different perceptions that different ages can hold on one thing, such as the cathedral. This abundance of layers from one stimulus is similar to Forced Entertainment’s Night in this City (Etchells, 1995). They explored the ‘different histories written in an urban space – the official history, the personal, the mythical and the imaginary’ and ‘avoided facts in search of a different truth’ (Etchells, 1999, 80). Children have the most elaborate imagination and don’t posses any social filters. This gave us the idea of having an audio walk around the site with children giving their perspectives on objects such as the gargoyles.

Developing a performance

There were several points around the cathedral that we wanted to highlight on our walk. We knew we wanted to start and finish at the green opposite the judgment gates.

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Our original map

The statue of Alfred Lord Tennyson was a site that we really wanted to incorporate. His poem The Cradle Song (1809) speaks of birds and babies which linked with our theme of children’s perspectives. Our performance concept was about perception and imagination, and we realised that a poem has just as many layers as physical sites.

We researched into both adult’s and children’s imagination and gathered voice recordings from local shopkeepers and tourists about the cathedral.

We also got in touch with Westgate School, inquiring about recording children’s perceptions as well.

Aware that the audio alone wasn’t enough to create a performance, we developed creative tasks that the audience could do alongside the audio. We intended theses to stimulate a sense of childlike creativity, encouraging them to let their unconscious imagination come through.

From perspectives to a pilgrimage

Due to the lack of response from Westgate School, it forced us to scrap the concept of children’s perceptions, and we then focused on all ages. This linked back to our original idea of the layers of perception that surround the cathedral. The route we had picked out for our tour also influenced our process. It was an almost circular route, with the starting and finishing point at the same place. This made us think of a pilgrimage and the journeys of discovery the participants embark upon. Phil Couineau stated that ‘the object of a pilgrimage is not to rest and recreation […] To set out on a pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life’ (Smith, 1998). Within Robert MacFarlane’s article he quotes Hillaire Belloc saying ‘the volume and depth and intensity of the world is something that only those on foot will ever experience.’ (MacFarlane, 2012). Hopefully at the end of the performance the audience may feel more aware of the site and themselves.

Structuring the audio

After our piece’s sudden change of direction, we began creating a script.

Audio-Script-First-Draft

Whilst trialling the script in the site, a man approached us and asked us why the statues were headless? He mentioned that a lot of the smaller statues were also missing their heads. The man suggested stories of why they were headless, which inspired us to edit our audio to include several more recordings of perceptions as appose to one. To accompany the script we wanted to focus on the underlying message of the journey of life, so researched into poems and speeches that reflected this. We stumbled across the Shakespearian speech ‘all the words a stage’ which highlighted many stages of life and also emphasises the inevitability of a full circle to death. We decided to emphasise the progression of age we had my 86 year old granddad record it. To ensure this theme was evident, we allocated other sites between the Tennyson statue and the green to represent ages in between childhood and retirement. We looked at the stages of life spoken about in the speech and allocated a section of the performance to each stage.

  • Birth (the judgement gates)
  • Infant (the cradle song)
  • Schoolboy (commenting on the school that is on route, and asking them to reflect on their schooling experience)
  • Lover (confetti scattered on floor at Minster yard, and wedding bells in background of audio)
  • Solider (castle square, look at the people marching in the square)
  • Justice (walk through the archways, symbolising a change in time, and reflect upon journey)
  • Elderly (all the words a stage speech)

To achieve this we needed to change the route of the performance, carrying straight on at Minster year and heading through Bailgate to castle square.

Orchestrated serendipity

Although we had certified our audio, we decided that our performance needed more substance. We researched into creating orchestrated serendipities, which are moments of planned coincidence. This led us to look into Proto-Type theatre company’s project Fortnight (Lees and Petralia, 2011). They held two week long pervasive media performances around cities, where they create ‘complex geographies of encounters –some which feel strange, some which feel theatrical, some which feel immensely personal’ (Hui, 2011, 18). Alan Kaprow’s Happenings were also something that influenced our process. He commented on his work stating that ‘the line between the Happening and daily life should be kept as fluid and perhaps instinct as possible’ (Kaprow, 1993, 62). This fluidity is something we wanted to include. We decided to place scallop shells subtly around the route, scatter confetti at minster yard, and hang a child’s rucksack at the Tennyson statue, trying to make them look as coincidental as possible.

Creating the audio

After 4 month of research, it was finally time to condense our ideas and record the audio. We recorded the audio for each track then I took them home and edited them in the audio editing software Audacity.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 13.37.51

Editing the audio in Audacity

I looked back over the everyday podcasts, specifically Josie Long’s (Long, 2011). It was intended to be listened to whilst shopping in a supermarket. In the background there were sounds of tills bleeping and this was really effective at portraying the atmosphere of the piece. Therefore I tried the audio with subtle sound effects that correlated to the age we were representing.

Childhood

Elderly

 

Trial run

The feedback from our trial run suggested that we had over structured the audio. The way we had phrased the audio and Fleur’s tone of voice came across quite patronising, and suggestions had turned into orders. To gain a more conversation tone we recorded the following meeting on our phones. We then divided the audio into seven sections, and each took one or two home to transcript.

Recording real life conversations and creating a transcript linked with the concepts of verbatim theatre. Verbatim is when ‘the words of real people are recorded or transcribed by a dramatist during an interview or research project’ (Hammond and Steward, 2008). Although we were not transcribing the audio word for word, the creative process is extremely similar. Dramatists use verbatim to portray honesty in dialogue, and it was our intention to create a more casual, truthful audio.

The final audio

Our final collection of audios were exported off Audacity and made into mp3 files.

Download

The audio files in iTunes

These were uploaded to SoudCloud and the link was published on our Facebook event page.

 

Performance evaluation

On the day of the performance the inevitable happened, it rained. However it didn’t dampen our spirts. We arrived at the site early to lay out scallops and other orchestrated serendipities.

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Orchestrated serendipity in Langer 2015

The overall performance went well and we were happy to see the audience understanding the directions given on the audio and following the correct route. Personally, I believe that one of our strengths was the attention to detail of our audio. It took several attempts to get the phrasing of questions and the tone of voice right, as well as the correct local Lincolnshire knowledge. However, we believe that this detail was important in order to create an audio that would have maximum impact on the audience. However, I would prefer to have concentrated on our role in the performance more, possibly allocating more of a purpose to us, rather than simply being guide assistants and onlookers.

Due to the appalling weather, our audience consisted of only our examiners. However, this meant that all of our energy and concentration could be given to them, hopefully making their experience as good and as beneficial possible. They had downloaded the audio files prior to the performance and had brought them along on their own devices. At several moments during the performance they appeared to take time to reflect upon the performance, and hopefully their journey. Allison Hui stated that ‘works of art are meant to provoke affective responses – to move and push people to new understandings and new relations’ (Hui, 2011). This development of understanding from the audience was our overall intention, and I feel that we did all we could to encourage this.

If I could do this performance again I would prefer to have created more movement of orchestrated serendipities. We could have created more moments like the scattering of confetti, which coincidently complimented the audio and highlighted the stages of life more prominently.

Engaging with site specific theory has opened my eyes to the different possibilities of performance. Prior to this module I had only engaged with auditorium-based theatre, but I can now appreciate the large range of performance possibilities. Audio as performance was one particular aspect of theatre I had never heard of, but after engaging with audio podcasts and our own audio performance, I now understand the impact such intimate performances can have on an audience. I also now understand the concept of walking as performance. Walking is not only ‘directed movement from one place to another, but a wandering, an odyssey of sight and sound, a quest for knowledge and stimulation, a grand roaming expedition, and a living breathing work of art in its own right’ (Wrights and sites, 2006).

The cathedral has always been a site I was aware of, but only from a tourist’s perspective, but after engaging with the site throughout this process, I now see it in a completely different way. I understand not only the factual history of the building, but also the local history. The numerous stories and the imaginative interpretations attached to the cathedral allow me to appreciate the individuality that surrounds such a prominent well-known site.

 

Work Cited

Etchells, T. (1997) Nights in this City. [performance] Tim Etchells (dir.) Forced Entertainment. Sheffield, 8 April.

Etchells, T. (1999) Certain Fragments: Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment. London: Routledge.

Hammond, W. Steward, D. (eds.) (2008) Introduction in Verbatim Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre. London: London Oberon Books.

Howells, A. (2011) Everyday Moments 11: Audio drama for private performance. [podcast] 21 November. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/nov/21/everyday-moments-podcast-adrian-howells [Accessed 17 February 2015].

Hui, A. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. The Association of American Geographers’ Conference, New York, 25 February 2012 [unpublished].

Javacheff, C, V. Denat, M, J. (1998) Wrapped Trees. [performance] Riehen, Switzerland: Fondation Beyelerand Bevower Park, 13 November.

Kaprow, A. (1993) Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. California: University of California Press.

Langer, M. (2015) A Hidden Scallop. [online] Lincoln: Flickr. Available from https://www.flickr.com/photos/130320609@N04/ [Accessed 9 May 2015].

Lees, G. Petralia, P. (2011) Fortnight. [performance] Proto-Type Theatre. Bristol: 2nd – 15th May.

Long, J. (2011) Everyday Moments 8: audio drama for private performance. [podcast] 23 August. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/aug/23/theatre-josie-long [Accessed 20 April 2015].

Look Left Look Right. (2009) The Caravan. [performance] Knightsbridge: Sloane Square, 10 February.

Platform. (2013) Oil City. [performance] London: around London’s business quarters, 10th -21st June.

Platform (2013) Oil City – Site Specific theatre by Platform 10th-21st June 2013. [online advertisement] Available from http://platformlondon.org/p-eventnew/oil-city-site-specific-theatre-by-platform-10th-21st-june-2013/ [Accessed 8th February 2015].

Smith, H. (1998) Forward in The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred. California: Conari Press.

Smith, P. (2010) Mythogrography: A Guide to Walking Sideways. Devon: Axminster Triarchy Press.

MacFarlane, R. (2012) Rites of way: Behind the pilgrimage revival. [online] London: The Guardian. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jun/15/rites-of-way-pilgrimage-walks [Accessed 23 March 2014].

Moran, C. (2009) The Royal Court’s Caravan: a flood victim writes. [blog entry] 19 February. The Guardian. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2009/feb/19/royal-court-caravan-flood-victim [Accessed 15 February 2015].

Watson Bain, A. (1933) A poetry book for boys and girls. Cambridge: University Press.

Wrights and sites, (2006) ‘Dealing with the city’ [in press] A manifesto for a new walking culture. Available from http://www.mis-guide.com/ws/documents/dealing.html [Accessed on 27th April].

Final Blog post: Jessica Martin

Framing Statement:

Our Site Specific performance was an audio walk based around the Cathedral with the overall objective to be a reflection of life as a journey. This is because we found, with the route we had chosen, there seemed to be a theme of life and death around the Cathedral. Once we started exploring we found more examples of ageing in life along our route; starting at the heaven and hell gates making our way through the grass filled with ‘pixie huts’ and ‘portals to Narnia’, past the school, the castle and the overwhelming façade of the Cathedral. We wanted to do this to encourage our audience to look at a site they may or may not know well and view it with a fresh perspective. We decided to use the Cathedral as the place is an obvious tourist spot, but we used it quite differently; we focused on the non tourist areas of attraction in order to encourage our audience to look past the norm and explore the hidden depths places have to offer. We had a similar performance methodology to Wrights and sights: Our intention is to show walking not only as directed movement from one place to another, but a wandering, an odyssey of sight and sound, a quest for knowledge and stimulation, a grand roaming expedition, and a living breathing work of art in its own right.” (Wrights and sites, 2006). We took inspiration from this quote and decided our aim was to take our audience on a personal journey, to encourage them to look up and around and consequently make the most out of everything thrown at them. We hoped to convey to the audience that life too was a journey, so to encourage them to make the most out of life.

Our piece was performed in the morning as we believed starting off a person’s day completely different to normal, meant they would benefit the most from their walk. This was in order to demonstrate to the audience how different things look if they alter their perspective. Our audio was based on a personal journey and was available to download prior to the performance.The idea was that people downloaded it onto their own devices so it could be listened to through headphones as they made their personal voyage. The audience were greeted by two of our group members and handed the gift of a scallop shell, which is the international sign of a pilgrimage.They were then encouraged to make their way over to site one and begin the audio when they were ready. We used recordings of conversations we had with Lincoln locals on the subject of the headless figures that appeared at site one. This was to offer different perspectives, in order to encourage our audience to discard their primary thoughts and be more accepting to others opinions. Our audio was recorded to last around half an hour, however, when welcoming our audience to the tour, we informed them it is a personal journey and to take as long as they need by pausing the audio if necessary. On the day of performance, unfortunately due to bad weather conditions our audience consisted of two people. However, our performance was focused on a personal journey meaning that for our two participants their experience was unaltered by the small turnout. As our audio is available to download online, should one of our invitees decide at a later date they want to participate on our walk, it is available for them to do so. The experience however, would be different as there would be no orchestrated serendipities along their journey; a phrase inspired by Fortnight that essentially entails creating ‘accidents’ for our audience to encounter, which makes them question if they are intentional or coincidental.

Analysis of process

Theory informed ideas:

Mike Pearson’s introduction to Site Specific Performance offers an interesting insight to space as a performance: “The play as an event belongs to the space, and makes the space perform as much as it makes the actors perform”. (Wiles, 2003, 1) I believe this means when you study a space in any performance, it appears to ‘perform’ as itself; all the everyday elements that occur in the space seem forced, not natural. This has enabled me to see how site specific differs from conventional performance and how it is “a shift away from the primacy of metropolitan theatre building” (Holdsworth et al, 2013, 87).

Social practices and space: 

I was exposed to the boundaries of performance by looking at ‘Salon Adrienne’  by Adrian Howells (homotopiafestival, 2007). This idea particularly played on my mind as I think taking on a persona of a hairdresser is genius. Hairdressing is a very unique environment which Howells quite rightly recognises the unspoken relationship that seems to appear between hairdresser and client, which is the exchange of personal information between two people in a seemingly confidential environment. This led me to contemplate site in relation to The Place of the Artist, it is stated that: “What becomes important is not just the geographical place in which the work is sited but also the social practises that are engendered as part of the space” (Govan et al, 2007, 121). This is because it is not the building of the hairdressers that make ‘confess’, it is the social practise and the trust that happens between people there that allows people to feel comfortable to open up. This has led me to focus more on the social practises of a place as well as the site itself as both help make the site unique.

Exploring the site:

When it came to choosing our location we struggled with the idea of going with the obvious or selecting an area off the beaten track. I thought given the opportunity to perform anywhere, I should grab this and choose somewhere a little off the beaten track.

I believed performing somewhere different would inspire our audience members to explore more as they will see what can be found from deriving from the usual tourist areas, not just in Lincoln but everywhere. This links back to the reading from Between Routes and Roots where “contemporary devisers have sought to develop performative practises that invite audiences to re-envision and re-imagine familiar places and recognise the multiplicity of meanings they carry” (Govan et al, 2007, 138). As our ideas progressed we decided we were going about it the wrong way and the best thing was actually to go with the obvious – if the audiences are to ‘re-envision’ and ‘re-imagine’ a place – why not let it be the most obvious choice of site in steep hill – The Cathedral? However, we still had a long way to come before we discovered the cathedral was the best place.

How we progressed to our final idea:

Once we had our initial interest in the cathedral we decided to explore it further. Like many Lincoln residents we have all seen the Cathedral probably hundreds of times, yet never noticed the interesting additions its stonework has to offer. This gave us the idea of doing a walking tour around the cathedral of the non conventional areas of attraction such as; unusual gargoyles. We had the idea of doing a misguide accompanied by a map, drawing attention to the less obvious areas of attraction which would be complemented by audio. Our idea was to emphasise the more ordinary or darker bits to the cathedral either based on fact or fiction. This idea is also spoken about in Making a performance: Devising Histories and contemporary practises: “The emphasis on localism in community theatre has done much to challenge the idea that there was one official history.”  (Govan et al, 2007,138) The idea which arose from this was to challenge the facts that people cling to. We had the idea to change these in order to encourage our audience to question the facts they are familiar with.

gargoyle map

The map for our misguide

The weather

Throughout our process we found the weather affected people’s behaviour. We decided to go into the cathedral due to bad weather conditions and what we found was quite interesting: there was a family including two small children that we encountered and we noticed something very interesting. Children’s perspectives on things are not only very different to an adults, but their insight seems to provide much more excitement to a place. We thought this could be a good idea for our performance; looking at a place from a child’s perspective. Throughout research for our piece we came across a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson called ‘Cradle Song’. The poem talks of a ‘birdie’ who wants to fly away but his mother insists he stay until he is stronger, this gave us the idea to instil the freedom on our audience that a child should have. We had the idea to encourage our audience to leave their bags and coats with us on a picnic blanket to give them ultimate freedom to be alone with their thoughts and explore the grounds like they never have before.

Pilgrimage

Due to some issues gaining access to Westgate School, we decided all the viewpoints may not need to be from children, which inspired us to incorporate view points from people of all ages. We had the idea to subtly incorporate this into our walk in the form of a pilgrimage, viewpoints starting off as more imaginative in the start while becoming more realistic as the journey/pilgrimage goes on.  Unknowingly to us there was a theatre called Southbank centre in London with a similar vision of “Part walking tour, part site-specific performance, this urban pilgrimage combines poetry, soundscapes and storytelling to scrape away at the surface of the city, revealing the hidden histories and geological realities beneath our feet.” (Chivers, 2013).

Sites and Scallops

Simon Reeve’s documentary about Pilgrimage has cemented the idea that the purpose of our audio walk needed the focus of a ‘journey’ (DocumentaryTube, BBC 2013). Pilgrimages are filled with symbolism –a scallop is a symbol of a pilgrimage all over the world. As part of an initiation process for our walk we had the idea for people to take something as an acceptance into our journey, and we agreed the scallop was a good idea both practically and symbolically.

Session with Conan

We learnt a lot from our session with Conan; listening to an audio tour while holding a map is very distracting and most likely means our audience will not take in the site around them, which is exactly what we did not want to happen. Instead, we decided to get rid of the map and guide them only using the audio. As we discovered we had over complicated our tour, we decided instead of activities we should have ‘coincidences’ such as one member playing cats cradle on the bench at the Tennyson site, while the audience listen to the ‘cradle song’. (We later decided against this and to incorporate subtle orchestrated serendipities into our piece instead). We decided we should stick to the circular side of our journey as making the passage back to the beginning of the tour would hopefully inspire our audience to look at the Cathedral in a whole new light on their arrival to the site at the end of their journey.

“Orchestrated Serendipity”

“A place owes its character to the experiences it affords to those who spend time there – to the sights, sounds and indeed smells that constitute its specific ambience” (Ingold, 2000,192)

Our original idea for our audio walk involved a lot of forced audience participation, however, things worked out differently as our ideas panned out. Instead, we had the idea of a ‘gifting’ approach with our audience; to look after and ‘nurture’ them so they could have a fruitful experience. We wanted them to feel comfortable, not forced to do things that are out of their comfort zone, but create the time to allow them to be alone with their thoughts.

Referring to the earlier quote from The Perception of the environment we decided to regard the locals of Lincoln in our piece. Originally we avoided any perceptions that could be a distraction to our audiences own ideas instead of realising we could use this to our advantage. The Cathedral wouldn’t be as it is today without the people making it so and we have decided to pay homage to that and note them on our journey. In Mike Pearson’s introduction to Site Specific Performance Sue Palmer states “It is not just about a place, but the people who normally inhabit and use that space. For it wouldn’t exist without them” (Wilkie, 2002, 145) therefore we decided to incorporate ‘orchestrated serendipity’ into our piece. (In our final audio we referred to the locals as Soldiers in the square and asked the audience to question what brought them here and made their paths cross on this very day). The orchestrated serendipities were inspired by Fortnight a project by Proto-type Theatre (Lees et al, 2011) which happens in only a handful of cities and allows the participants, who are locals, to see the place with fresh eyes – which is exactly what we intended to do.

When things don’t quite go to plan…

Throughout a trial run of our piece we discovered faults in our audio. These faults were easily rectifiable; such as tone of voice and some sound effects which did not work. More recently I have been looking into Fortnight and their understanding of theatre as a “theatrical intervention into … daily lives” (Hui, 2011) which is exactly what we wanted to achieve by the chatty style of conversation and how the words spoken can infiltrate a persons thought process at that moment in time. Fortnight understands that “works of art are meant to provoke affective responses – to move and push people to new understandings and new relations” (Hui, 2011) something we only felt was achievable by the informal conversational style audio. We did not want to be patronising, our intention was to put our audience at ease in order to allow them to reach ‘new understandings’. Therefore after analysing our audio we realised that this sense of ease was not achieved and we needed to change it slightly. Editing this was quite hard as writing a script in the past had always resulted in us creating formal dialogue, so we had the idea to voice record our rehearsal and to talk about the site. Then we wrote a script based on what we said in an informal conversation, almost verbatim like.

Dress rehearsal

The day before our dress rehearsal with Rachel, we all undertook the journey ourselves to see if we thought any further improvements needed to be made. One thing I found was that the instructions could be misinterpreted wrongly and I believed we needed an indicator along the way. Therefore, I bought a chalkboard which we drew an arrow and also a scallop shell on, something so simple could stop a lot of confusion for our audience who are independent along the journey (besides our companion of course). We then decided on where to place our orchestrated serendipity’s for our performance. All in all we hoped to demonstrate the aim of our performance; to take our audience on a personal journey, to encourage them to look up and around and consequently make the most out of everything thrown at them. This was inspired by Sarah Gorman in Wandering and Wondering: “My perceptions of street activity, the sounds around me and my sense of ‘belonging’ in that environment were heightened, I had a greater sense of visual stimulation, and was amused rather than irritated by the idiosyncrasies of people who passed by” (Gorman, 2006, 168) this is what we hoped to achieve in our piece; a journey which focused on everything in the environment, heightening and stimulating all of the senses. We decided in our dress rehearsal to ask for casual feedback from the audience after our performance. We decided on questioning them in an informal manner, such as “how was that for you?” which we thought was an ideal question as it offered no biased inclination for where the question should go as we wanted honest answers.

Performance Evaluation.

“Imagine a winter landscape. Your senses working overtime: you shiver and squint, stamp and blow. Only then perhaps do you look, listen, touch. You flog through the snow your feet and fingers freeze. You are aware of surface, climate and ambience” –  (Pearson, 2010, 29)

The inevitable happened; it rained, meaning devastatingly we only had 2 participants on our tour. But all was not lost – the audio was our main piece of work, which was of course unaltered by the weather and all instructions were executed perfectly by our participants. However, I cannot help feel that our performance was hindered by the weather; instances such as the handing out of drinks, I feel would have worked better on a drier day as would the ending; as people may have felt more inclined to stay and give feedback on the picnic blanket.

The most disappointing thing about not having any fresh eyes (and ears) to our piece was not being able to collate detailed feedback. We were excited to ask people of their opinions in a hope that in the future we could perhaps take this further providing it was successful. I believe an honest amount of constructive criticism would have been very helpful for our plans to perhaps expand our tour further. This feedback was of a different kind, it was more how we could improve for our performance day as oppose to looking upon our audio as a finished product. Overall, our spirits were not dampened; if we were to do this again I would suggest multiple performances at different times over a week period. This, I believe would offer our tour a different dimension; people could pick times that suited them which may inspire more people to participate.

The performance itself demonstrated to me the seemingly limitless boundaries of Site Specific performance. Allowing myself to engage with the concept has been truly rewarding; along my own journey I have been inspired to step away from the traditional side of theatre and to venture into the unknown world of Site Specific performance. The theory behind the concept has allowed me to see how a performance can be as simple as two people in a hairdressers and has also taught me the different modes of performance; from audio to walking as a form of art. I will treasure this learning experience as I intend to take inspiration from it for further creations.

I have documented some of the day on my flickr which can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/130413370@N08/sets/72157650150127103/

Works Cited:

Auslander, P. (2006) The Performativity of performance documentation. PAJ 28:3

DocumentaryTube BBC (2013) Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve episode1BBC full documentary 2013 greatest adventures on earth. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w2TA42ZnZ0 [Accessed March 17 2015].

Gorman, S. (2006) Following Janet Cardiff’s Missing Voice. Wandering and Wondering 167-178.

Govan, E. Nicholson, H. Normington, K. (2007) Making a performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practises. Oxon: Routledge.

Holdsworth, N. Luckhurst, M (eds.) (2013) Contemporary British and Irish Drama. Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

homotopiafestival (2007) Salon Adrienne. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmUn2ZTzeY0 [Accessed ????????]

Hui, A. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. The Association of American Geographers’ Conference, New York, 25 February 2012 [unpublished].

Ingold, T (2000) The Perception of the Environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge.

Lees, G.Petralia, P. (2011) Fortnight. [Performance] Proto-type Theatre. Bristol: 2nd May – 15th.

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

Tom Chivers (2013) Southbank Centre. [Online] Available from http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/tom-chivers-73727 [Accessed on 17th March 2015]