1st dress run and product making

So Monday’s rehearsal & prodution meeting was based around making our clay from salt dough. It was an experience I must say.

It was a first time experience creating salt dough for me. I didn’t think it was going to take nearly 4 hours to create 190 hand size dough balls. That time doesn’t include the 45 minute trip to morrisons to buy more products, by more products it was Salt (12 bags), plain flour (6 bags) and two bottles of vegatable oils as well as three rolls of cling film. All coming to a grand total of £12.

As agreed from the last production meeting we as a group we’d planned on doing a full day dress run on Tuesday 21st to see what works and what needs improving or editing for the actual performance day.

Things didn’t go excatly to plan, we arrived at the garden just after 9am to start the cycle of exchanging clay with a handshake down at the Pottergate to walk a planned route to the garden.

We did 4 hours straight without proper breaks as we had orignally planned in previous meetings that we would take breaks when we were in the garden. Luckily we were blessed with beautiful sunny weather which we thought was perfect however the sun wasn’t really the best thing as we discovered. One of the members within the group started developing the onset of sun stroke from the heat. So we had to call the dress run short.

I felt we did have a positive response and interest by the general public who were using the garden for tea & cake but when I was sat in the Pottergate people walking past or on public transport were giving strange looks as the salt dough wrapped up in cling film looked similar to wrapped up drugs.

As a group we have discussed that we will do another dress run this week coming, change the colour of the dough so it doesn’t look as strange when its wrapped up. Have a one hour break to split up the day. We have taken on board with Rachel’s comment that the model clay figures need to be bigger than a hand full, but by doing this we need to add lolly sticks to the mixture so the figures can stand up and be slightly stronger.

Till the next blog

Working 9 til 5!

Hi all,

After many weeks of piecing our little moments together on a trial and error bases im pleased to say we are finally decided on our end product (so far).

Our piece having many names ‘the secret garden group’, ‘the pottersgate group’, ‘the potters’ to our final title ‘the clay walkers’. Being titled ‘the clay walkers’ should give the participants a better understanding of what we are doing, which is:

We are going to be separated into three different areas. Someone will start at Pottersgate measuring out lumps of clay (or in our case salt dough) and this person will be greeting our participants explaining the tasks and handing them the clay. Another person within our group will also start the day at Pottersgate as this person is going to be taking the participants up to the secret garden with their clay. The third person in our group will be starting in the Secret Garden. This person will be inviting the participants to put their clay on display with the others and ask them if they would like to stay a while maybe to have a drink with us and enjoy the beautiful scenery. This person once doing all this will then make their way down to Pottersgate to swap roles with the person stationed there. The person stationed there becomes the person that takes the participants to the secret garden and the person who took them to the secret garden last stays in the secret garden until the ‘walker’ gets there. This should rotate all day.

So what are we actually doing with the clay?

We would like our participants to meet us at Pottersgate where we hand them a piece of clay. We would like them to make a figurine of how they see themselves. They have as much time to do this as they want. When the ‘Walker’ within our group gets to Pottersgate they also make a figurine. When the ‘Walker’ is finished they ask the participants if they would like to follow them to display their figurine within the Secret Garden. If they are not ready, they simply stay there, the ‘Walker’ heads off anyway, leaving the participants to wait for the next ‘walker’.

So where did this idea come from?

We have been playing around with our sites for many weeks looking in depth in their historys and stumbled across and tried many ideas but we have always gone back to what we knew from the second week was that Pottersgate was once a communications portal that potters from different places outside the city would come through to bring their goods to sell within the town. Knowing this and being in the area we finally felt that pottery is what we intended to do. The idea of asking the participants to sculpt themselves is inspired by Antony Gormley’s instalation piece “FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES”. “Antony Gormley’s FIELD FOR THE BRITISH ISLES is a startling and arresting sight: thousands of unglazed, fired, small clay figures, standing closely together, all staring towards the viewer and filling a large enclosed space. There are more figures than can be counted, more still disappearing out of sight into a further space. Their number seems to be endless.” (Searle, 1996).

When is this happenining? What is the duration of the piece?

We are performing this on Wednesday 6th May 2015. The duration of the piece will be eight hours long, we are starting at 9am in the morning and finishing at 5pm at night. This is because we are essentially working potters and we would like to do this within the working hours of the day which is usually 9am until 5pm.

Bibliography:

Searle, A. (1996) Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles. [Online] London: Hayward Gallery. Available from: http://www.antonygormley.com/resources/essay-item/id/108 [Accessed 25 March 2015].

 

 

 

Trying to understand

Today’s demonstration was to present the range of ideas we have discussed and wish to include in our final piece so we worked on what we thought we wanted and what our work should be based on.

We worked on the writing with chalk task in Pottersgate (https://flic.kr/p/rxyLQB ) and the ritual with St Anne’s well (https://flic.kr/p/qAzbDY ).

The chalk task consists of the participants thinking of a wish or a good memory that they would like to reflect on and then them actually transferring that into a physical mark on Pottersgate. By making this physical mark, they have, in effect, ‘set it in stone’ on stone as that is what the pavement is made of. The participants will have already been made aware that this will not be a permanent mark and that they will be washing it away however, before they do that, the very act of making the mark is a tangible confirmation of their wish or memory being made permanent albeit fleetingly.

At St Anne’s Well, we wanted to make our own version of the folklore ritual which involves walking round the well 7 times and then placing a finger in one of the holes in the door to find out if that person is going to heaven or hell. We wanted to add some new rules to the ceremony so, as the participants went round the well, they might be asked to ‘place your hands on the roof’, ‘turn around and shout the first thing you see in your surroundings,’ or ‘make a wish on one of the bricks’ for example; this would add our own little twist to the whole procedure.

As these were the only things we could come up with, we were aware that we were not fully connecting and linking together so eventually, as a group, we decided on the idea of giving a misguided tour from Pottersgate to the Cathedral garden whereby we tell real stories of the places as well as sham stories that we have created.

Since I did not properly understand the meaning of a ‘misguided tour’, I searched for it on Google and found some very interesting websites one of which included: http://www.foolsfestival.com/2013/misguided-tours/ .

These ‘misguided tours’ are very popular with the public and obviously great fun as they involve the participants listening to ‘hidden stories’. These can only be described as real stories with a mysterious or magical twist that have been recounted by local people or are similarly made up tales. The idea of doing some ‘hidden stories’ really appealed to me especially if we could find some by asking those  people who are longstanding natives of Lincoln.

I still wanted a clear description of a misguided tour however so I found a good 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.”

This great quote is from Fuse Performance who base their work on the events or the place they go to such as Belfast, Glastonbury festival etc. http://www.fuseperformance.co.uk/fuse_Performance/Gallery/Pages/Misguided_Tours.html

I continued with my research and came across a fascinating YouTube video of an interesting artist called Willard Morgan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMUT53tjNY.  He created a character called ‘Gino Gelati’ who, from the YouTube description, is “possibly the world’s worst travel guide.”  His special ability is that he can make the truth merge with obviously fake ideas that just pop into his head and while it is not believable, it is very funny and quite amusing to watch. I researched him further and found his website http://willardmorgan.com/ only to discover that he is a filmmaker, artist, photographer, actor and comedian and is involved in many different materials of the arts such as music and film.

So, the next step is for my group and I to reflect on what I have researched and then consider the idea of searching out some hidden stories told by the public and/or making up our own interesting stories associated with our chosen areas.

My next job is to look at psycho-geography and myth-geography in urban areas.

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