Space as a Performance

Through reading Mike Pearson’s introduction on Site Specific Performance I have found an interesting quote; “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 in a site specific performance you take more interest in the space and you start to notice what makes it unique, whether it be the people, the time of day or the weather, these factors all have an impact on what the space is used for. The space ‘performs’ as itself like we did today practising every day occurrences such as ‘pause from time to time and take a photograph’, except it becomes a performance because it is forced, not natural. Just as the space is recognised as a liminal space in performance yet perhaps not in every day life. When you take a space in its natural form, for example not dressed up for performance, many different factors affect the outcome as it can’t be controlled. ┬áToday for instance – the weather was cold, people were not socialising outside perhaps as much as if it were a sunny day. Most people were in a rush, therefore there was a high volume of people in a fairly small space. That is the beauty of a liminal space; lots of different people with different objectives cross its path daily never really noticing the space until something slightly strange catches their eye. Today for example we merged two instructions together: ‘Pause from time to time and look up’ and ‘Find a raised point to stand and wait for others to join you’ which resulted in catching the interest of a few onlookers curious to know about our seemingly hidden objective.

1 thought on “Space as a Performance

  1. Hi Jessica,

    That is a great quote from Pearson and something I hope we’ll be able to explore more over the coming weeks.
    (A quick note on referencing, I’m glad you’re doing it, it should be (Wiles, 2003: 1) and you need to include the full bibliographic entry at the end of the post)

    There is some nice detail here from you about the physical and temporal variables that can affect a site – and ultimately our experience of it. I also really like the idea of a ‘hidden objective’ perhaps this is something that would be fun and fruitful for you to explore further?

    Liminal comes from the Latin word ‘Limens’ which literally means ‘threshold’. While I agree that the square we worked in is ‘neither here nor there’ and is often populated by those passing through or waiting to move on, I wonder how the space would present itself to you differently under different circumstance. On open days for example (or even when it is sunny) it becomes a social space and this new purpose would redefine how we work in the space as artists.

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