Perceptions and audio

Last week’s research in and around Lincoln Cathedral inspired us to delve deeper into the layers of perception that are attached to ‘well known’ buildings such as the Cathedral. But how would you describe the phrase ‘well known’? Is there just one way of knowing something, does everyone know the same thing? There is so much to know about one site, there is always going to be something you didn’t know, be that a fact or fiction. We went away after last week’s session and asked our housemates to tell us about a picture, (the headless statues on the cathedral). We then compared our findings and had a handful of interpretations on one single site. This abundance of layers from one stimulus is similar to Sophie Calle’s work Take Care of Yourself (2007). She created ‘a survey of interpretation’ (Fisher, 2009) by asking 107 women to share their opinion on a single email. These opinions that both Sophie Calle and our group received were ‘translations of reality’ (ibid, 2009), not necessarily fact, but translations of real thought and imagination. Several participants of our research told elaborate stories, obviously untrue, about the headless statues. One person stated that two people stole from the king and as punishment they were beheaded; their bodies were turned into stone and placed on the cathedral as a warning, whilst their heads were left to haunt the steps of steep hill. Although obviously a fictional story, this has now personally made me understand the cathedral in a different light. Forced Entertainment’s Nights in this City (1995) sort to write over Sheffield’s conventional history and tell their own. I found that this related a lot to our idea of portraying a different side to something people believe they know so well. They explored ‘the different histories written in urban space – the official history, the personal, the mythical and the imaginary’ (Etchells, 1999, 80) and ‘avoided facts in search of a different truth’ (ibid, 1999, 80). Personal truths are just as valid as fact. Children have the most elaborate imagination and don’t possess the social filter that strikes us down as we grow up. Their minds are much more open to interpretation and can see places and objects with a more imaginative outlook. How a child would perceive the cathedral might be very different to how an adult would. This childish truth was something we also wanted to explore. Tim Echells’ That Night Follows Day (2007) explored relationship between adults and children and how what adults say can influence a child. (Click here for video)  This made me think of the natural hierarchy of adults and children, making me wonder what would happen if we reversed the roles. Through the use of audio, a child could take a group of adults for a tour around the cathedral grounds telling them their ‘truth’, putting them in control of what the adults hear.

Also within our research we discovered the advantages of audio recordings. Hearing first-hand opinions allowed a sense of honesty to come across. We then came up with the idea of a possible audio tour to make it more of a personal experience. Linked (2003) by Greame Miller was something that caught my eye regarding the way the audience were in control of the performance through audio. They were given an mp3 player and left to follow the map at their own speed, and their own time. This independence of the audience really interested me. I thought about how using the audio could enhance the audience’s experience during the performance, and also before/after. I thought about the possibility of making mp3 downloads of the recordings for the audience to download prior to the performance on their own devices, and using their own headphones to listen to it during the performance. This would make the performance more casual, and puts them in control of their experience, engaging them with the site before they even get there. Moreover, through downloading the files on their own devices they are able to keep them. Maybe one day they’ll stumble across it on their iPod and it will make them think about the performance again. Leaving them with a token of their experience, similar to the books from Proto-type Theatre’s performances.

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

Fisher, C. (2009) Sophie Calle: Take Care of Yourself. [online] Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Rail. Available from [Accessed 28 February 2015].

Small town


Carrying through my theme of miniatures and perspectives, I created a map of a town using the patterns of a stone floor. It already had the characteristics of a place with its shapes and levels, all it needed was someone to see it. I started off by choosing a piece of the floor that I thought had the most potential; this involved traits such as daylight, shadows, litter and shapes and depth of stones!

This was the area I chose for the birds eye view map:

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I figured that there was no need to be 100% realistic in what I was doing and this allowed the simplist of things to become important. This notion has become very relevant and useful in site specific performance as it has taught me to look beneath the view.
Stones became buildings, cigarette butts became crash sites from where they had fallen from the sky, scratches on the stone became the aftermath of a tiger escaping from the local zoo, the daylight and shadows became the separation between AM and PM in the town and so forth.
After blowing the picture up and printing it off I was able to draw my imagination…
I also made a key to accompany my map, so it makes sense to everyone else too!


Drop everything now, Meet me in the pouring rain

Walking into the Cathedral, I was in awe. The pure beauty of the building was all around; in every nook and crevice, every stained glass window and every buttress.

During the workshop session, Lizzie, Kia and I decided to shelter from the pouring rain inside the Cathedral. At this point, we thought it would be a good time to discuss and make plans of what we would like to create for our Site Specific performance.

We liked the idea of an audio walk but to add a twist onto it. One of our ideas was to have our audience participate in an audio game (almost like a scavenger hunt). The idea of incorporating the Cathedral into our performance intrigued us so, bearing this in mind, we looked around the building for some ideas to use. That was when we came across the war memorial part of the Cathedral, the side room dedicated to those who perished in WWI, WWII and the most recent wars. It was quite daunting, walking around that room as there were historical artefacts such as old battered Union flags from the different time periods and old records which listed the dead. It struck a chord as in that moment the wars became all too real and also highlighted just how important Lincolnshire was during the wars and even to this day. We knew at that moment we wanted to use this as some sort of basis.

We would start our audience off with a pre recorded tour which would have instructions on it to follow. We had the idea of having three different walks so that our audience members could experience different things and could discuss their findings with each other. One of the walks could incorporate the war memorial in the Cathedral. The audio could include bomb sound affects along with the audience being told to duck or find somewhere to hide. Their path could start at the castle, thus including the historical elements of wars and battles and would lead to the Cathedral. We could also tell the audience members who were taking the tour facts about Lincoln during the war.

The only problems with this idea would be getting the permission to go inside the Cathedral and use it as part of our tour as well as the issue of entrance fees.

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 [Accessed 17 February 2015].

The Cathedral

Due to the weather last Monday we took shelter in the Cathedral as it was one of the places in which we wanted to use for our walk/game. We also knew that 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 will try and use 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 and thoughts that are given as well as what was made in the War. We hope to end the 3 game links in the church listening to the choir singing as each voice radiates against the walls is so pure and delicate, we believe we can 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.