16. Conversations

Using the advice from Rachel after our first run-through, we decided to re-write the audio script to have a conversational tone. Whilst we had previously written what we planned to say on paper and read it out for recording, this time we did not want it to sound too scripted. Thus, we recorded our entire conversation of our meeting as we went through every part of the audio saying ideas for what should be said. This naturally allowed for the words to sound friendly and relaxed, and helped us to experience what our audience would hear from our idea suggestions. After recording our conversation, we each went away and wrote up sections of the audio we now had. An example of the transcript I made is here:

“Why don’t we move on from this space to the next part of our journey, and press play on audio 2. (Audio 2) Lets turn around to face the picnic blanket where we started off our journey. If you look to your left there’s a black railing, why don’t we follow it around the corner of the Cathedral and see where it takes us? Keep an eye out for portals to Narnia and little pixie huts. Have you found what you were looking for? I’ve come this way before, if I remember right there’s a statue on the left of a man with his dog. Why don’t we go and find it? Why don’t you have a break from me for a while, and press pause whilst you make your way over to the statue.”

Once we have the entirety of the new audio script, we plan to record it again and do another run-through with the new audio, the planned moments and “guinea-pig” audience members.

In thinking of how to make our audio conversational, we all thought of the “Every day moments” podcasts that we had listened to in class. The podcasts were created by individual artists as audio pieces to listen to in particular moments and settings in the day. I went away and listened to two of them, one by Adrian Howels and one by Lemm Sissay, for inspiration. The first podcast, found here by Adrian Howels, is “designed to be listened to in the early hours of the morning, in bed with a hot drink”. (Howell, 2011) One aspect I found similar to what we wanted to use in our audio was the use of background noise, whether it be the noise of static, the television, a slurp of drink or a yawn. We also want to use sounds in our audio, such as the sound of birds or wedding bells, and hearing our idea used likewise has shown how effective they can be in enhancing an emotion or thought for the audience. The second podcast, Late Night Rain, found here by Lemm Sissay, is “designed to be listened to exactly then – late at night”. (Sissay, 2011) The tone of the voice in this audio is how I think we should aim to sound in our piece: talkative and fouced on the listener. The language used was simple and yet effective in portraying what they wanted to to the listener, which is what we also want to do. Listening to these podcasts was an effective way of understanding and hearing how our audience can experience our audio, by making myself an audience member to a different audio piece.

Howels, A. (2011) Everyday Moments 11: audio drama for private performance. The Guardian. [online] Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/nov/21/everyday-moments-podcast-adrian-howells [Accessed 24 April 2015].

Sissay, L. (2011) Everyday Moments 10: audio drama for private performance. The Guardian. [online] Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/oct/21/everyday-moments-podcast-lemn-sissay [Accessed 24 April 2015].

Rain, rain go away…but not really

We were set the task of listening to Adrian Howells’ podcast, created for The Guardian (2011). ‘Everyday Moments’ is a podcast series by theatre producers, Fuel and Roundhouse Radio. The nine minute audio track featured an assortment of noise and musical interludes which included rain, slurping, gasping, shipping forecast, static and classical music. The instructions for this piece were to listen to it in bed, in the early morning with a hot drink. I did not follow these instructions and this may be why I achieved different results to the podcast than other people did. I listened to the podcast in the library whilst completing some work, listening to other music (but putting it on pause to complete the podcast). My experience of the podcast became varied.

I found the slurping and gasping during and after Howells has a sip of his drink very annoying and infuriating, the chink of china was distracting and the static noise from tuning the radio, taxing. On the other hand, the rain and classical music was very soothing and I was enjoying listening to it but as soon as I was relaxed, Howells’ additions made me frustrated. Saying that, I did notice that my breathing and heart rate fell into time with the music and his breathing and I found that comforting. Due to the repetitive nature of the podcast, the nine minutes went by very quickly and I was shocked to hear the voice telling me it was over.I think I do enjoy these types of performance pieces, as they focus the mind and allow for concentration or they get you on your feet dancing in the privacy of your room like Hofesh Shechter’s podcast did. The ‘Everyday Moment’ series allows for expression through various ways and different people would enjoy some more than others.

 

The Guardian (2011) Everyday Moments Adrian Howells. [podcast] 21 November. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/nov/21/everyday-moments-podcast-adrian-howells [Accessed 17 February 2015].

Podcasts

I found it very hard to put how I felt when listening to these podcasts into words. Therefore I am going to simply list what I scribbled down on my notepad whist listening to them.

Adrian Howells’ podcast: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/nov/21/everyday-moments-podcast-adrian-howells

  • Calming
  • My breathing ending up following his, therefore it slowed it down and made me quite tired and chilled out.
  • When the classical music started playing, it made me fell as if I was in an old fashion black and white movie. Sitting in my small one bed apartment in New York drinking a cup of tea whilst watching the world go by from my window.
  • The constant running water (which I presumed was a shower at the time) grounded the piece a little. It was the one constant sound that played all the way through. It because so constant that I forgot it was happening towards the end.
  • The chime at the end felt a little odd and out of place. For me it broke the relaxation of the piece, and as I was in bed with a cup of tea I could have easily fallen asleep after the podcast if it wasn’t for the chime. Despite it being a soft and none obtrusive noise, it brought me back to reality a little. Perhaps this was his intention?

Hofesh Shechter’s podcast: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/may/20/everyday-moments-podcast-audio-drama

  • This was my personal favorite.
  • At first I felt slightly uneasy, his voice sounded so close it felt as if he was standing right behind me.
  • The build in music really enhanced the overall experience of the podcast. It followed the emotions you were supposed to feel.
  • As the podcast went on his voice became calming, almost reassuring. Therefore when he asked me to feel and imagine these feelings, I did. I ended up trusting his voice.
  • Possibly the accent helped.
  • The music became very hypnotic, helping me get into that trance-like state. Personally it made me feel like I was in some sort of Si-Fi film.
  • The way he phrased what he was saying was incredibly clever. At the beginning it was very general, not personal at all. However when you start to fully immerse yourself into it, he begins to use phrases like ‘no one can see us‘ and ‘we did well’. By the time you reach the end, I honestly felt as if I knew him. Very very clever.

I really enjoyed these site-generic podcasts, especially Hofesh Shechter’s! It has made me really think about what a performance is, and how an audience doesn’t have to be present to make an impact. I was completely taken in by the atmosphere the podcasts created. As an audience member I felt similar emotions to those I would feel if I had visually watched a performance.

 

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].

Shechter, H. (2011) Everyday Moments 5: Audio drama for private performance. [podcast] 20 May. Available from http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/may/20/everyday-moments-podcast-audio-drama [Accessed 17 February 2015].

Week 3: Performance

In ‘The Performativity of Performance Documentation’[i] Philip Auslander explores the various ways ‘performance’ and ‘performance documentation’ may be interpreted and classified. He begins by categorising performance documentation into either documentary or theatrical and then gives many examples of both.

Auslander deeply explores the possibilities and complexities of using ‘photographs’ and ‘performed photography’ as a method of performance documentation, with focus on Vito Acconci’s ‘Photo- Piece’ (1969) as it questions the ‘relationship between performance and documentation’(ibid. p.4). This piece gave me ideas of using time-lapse photographs and studying the possibilities of performing at particular times of the day.

 

This week I also listened to a few of the podcasts from Fuel Theatre Company’s ‘Everyday Moments’ Project as it combines elements of both site-specific and one-on-one theatre. A podcast was released once a month through the course of 2011, each by a different artist and designed to be listened to at a certain time and place, ranging from on top of a hill at sunrise to in an express supermarket at 5:30pm.

Adrian Howell’s podcast was intended to be listened to in the morning with a hot drink. The 9-minute long soundscape uses the sound effects of rain, clock chimes, breathing and background radio news and classical music to create a momentary setting with a feeling of peace and relaxation. Although this piece (like a few others in the series) does not include any kind of ‘narration’ I felt that no sense of the piece being ‘personal’ was lost as the sound effects and obvious presence of Howells was enough for the listener to be able to envision and appreciate themselves in a certain moment.

[i] Auslander, P (2006) ‘The Performativity of Performance Documentation’

Experiencing Audio Performances

After last weeks lesson, I went home and listened to a few audio pieces, mainly The Guardian Culture Podcasts, which are meant to be listened to independently as an individual type of performance art. Now, when originally asked to participate in something like this, I wondered how an earth something like listening to audio could be classed as a ‘performance’. We listen to audio through our headphones most days, don’t we? Some listen to music whilst walking to various locations, some to podcasts of their favourite radio shows and much more, yet I had never once considered this to be a performance.

The first audio I listened to was read by Adrian Howells and is number eleven in part of the Everyday Moments Podcasts, whereby audience members listen to this ‘audio drama’, in order for them to participate in and become their very own ‘private performance.’ (Howells, 2011). Each audio in this series are to be listened to at different moments throughout the day. This particular one is to be listened to in the early hours of the morning whilst sipping on a hot drink. Whilst getting myself sat comfortably, I was awaiting to hear some sort of instruction. Instead, I was acquainted with the sounds of some sort of running water – rain, a warm shower or bath running, perhaps? I then heard sounds of rustling paper, as if someone was reading a newspaper and loud sipping and loud ‘ahhh’ sounds after drinking it. At first, I didn’t find this irritating, but as the audio went on I found myself getting frustrated with his ‘ahhh’ ritual. Although I found this of annoyance, I did find myself doing it with him in synchronisation. In order to try and change my perception on private audio’s, I thought it would be wise to try out another order. This time it was from Fuel Theatre, in their collection of ‘While You Wait‘ for something, to ‘allow for a moment of reflection’. (Fuel Theatre, 2015). I took part in the first one called ‘Waiting Now’ and found something very intriguing about this piece. Unlike the Everyday Moments Podcasts being audio from one individual, Fuel Theatre culminated various different sounds, recordings, and telephone calls. There were lots of pauses to give the audience member time to reflect and reoccurring sounds. One aspect that particularly stood out to me, was the use of everyday phone calls. They were all to the same person ‘Paul’, and all followed similar topics of conversation: “Hi/Hello, its … er [name]“, “erm”, “The reason I’m calling”, and “I’m ringing today regarding”. In a way it was quite humorous listening to the same sentences, just with different tones of voice. It almost made me realise how staged our voices tend to sound when we ring people on a day to day basis. Similar to people working in retail when they ask the same questions to each customer. I remember repeating “would you be interested in any of our discounted offers for you today?” and it became almost second nature saying it. Towards the end of the recording, Fuel perfectly edited people responding about a certain time they would call or meet and fitted them in order so that they counted up from 1. After that, I then began to here words such as: “afternoon”, “about half 4?”,” tomorrow evening” and “last night”. As listening to this, I wrote down these specific things and realised it was all linked with ‘time’ and how life is sometimes perceived to be going by fast and in other cases, going slowly.

Works Cited:

Fuel Theatre (2015) While You Wait. [online]. London: Fuel. Available from: http://fueltheatre.com/projects/while-you-wait. [Accessed 13th February 2015].

The Guardian (2011) Everyday Moments 11: audio drama for private performance. [online]. London: The Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/audio/2011/nov/21/everyday-moments-podcast-adrian-howells