18. The Dress Rehearsal

We spent the final weekend before the performance day recording the final audio (an example below is of the first audio piece), using the small changes Rachel had suggested to us. Though having to record the audio several times over this process has been difficult at times, we are all pleased with the final version of the audio, and finally have it at a place where it is ready to be released to our audience.

After collecting together all the coincidental moments that we needed for performance and deciding where we as performers would be placed, we prepared for the dress performance for our piece. Prior to Rachel’s visit, we placed all the coincidental moments around the site, such as confetti near the corner and a child’s book-bag on a bench, and made scallop shell “necklaces” for our audience to accept. Jess and I began the tour with an introductory welcome, with Rachel then walking the tour whereby Charlie would hand her a drink at the Tennyson statue and Fleur would take photos within Castle Square. Afterwards, Rachel gave us some positive feedback, as well as smaller details she suggested we look at if we have time, which we plan to do so.

Overall, I think our performance piece is finally ready to be shown to our audience in two days time, and I am incredibly proud of all our hard work and time that we have dedicated to this module. Inspired by Fortnight, I hope that “the personal nature of this audio walk, its solitary and embodied performance in the streets…creates an ever-expanding series of unique experiences in the city”. (Hui, 2001, 5)

Hui, Allison. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University.

15. The First Practice

After spending the weekend recording all our audio pieces (an example below is of the first audio piece), we decided to test out our working version of the performance within the site.

Although we had planned to walk around the site using the audio tour, we were met with several obstacles that prevented us from doing this fully. The area itself was very busy with a crowd of people outside to see the unveiling of the floral tribute to Operation Manna, which was placed near the beginning of our tour, whilst we were also unable to walk up the steps near the Tennyson statue due to it being repainted. As such, we could not truly listen to the audio, and had to pause it several times to walk around the area. However, this event did allow us to take several photos, as documented here, of moments happening within our site that would not have been there otherwise. Taken inspiration from Fortnight, which said to be “offering the opportunity to fit moments for art into everyday life…creating reasons to question and alter taken-for-granted ways of engaging with the city” (Hui, 2011, 17), we used such obstacles to our advantage to see our site in a new light through different people’s perspectives and uses.

Once Rachel had experienced our tour in its current version, she gave us several comments to use to improve our piece further in these last few weeks. We need to work on the length of pauses and the timings of our site overall, allowing our audience to wait and move around the site at a comfortable pace. We need to make sure our directions are clear to our audience, as at times it can be confusing. We need to work on the tone of the voice we use in the audio, making it seem as if we are a companion to the individual, to help build a relationship between the two. We need to use words like “I” and “we” to reflect our own thoughts and experiences, rather than asking reflective questions, as such a reflection should occur naturally. Overall, we need to make the audio more poetic and suggestive, keeping in mind words like “inviting”, “encouraging” and “generosity” as we move forward, as if there is the feeling, as Rachel put it, “we are holding their hand”.

Hui, Allison. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University.

13. Generosity

Now that our piece is in its final making stages before the performance, we have been working on the final touches to help our audience experience our piece to the fullest. Once again we met with Rachel, who spoke to us about “giving generously” to our audience, a phrase which I feel really summaries what we want to do with our performance. This also contrasts with what we had previously thought we wanted to do, with the small activities in each site, which was a much more forceful treatrment of our audience. Taking the theme of generosity, we want to expand upon our coincediental moments or “orchestrated serendipity” (as Rachel said) throughout the tour, allowing our audience extra symbols and images for them to connect the audio too if they see them. So far our ideas for this have included a lost glove, teas and coffees, a lost book, a newspaper, confetti and a fundraising bucket. Taking inspiration from Fortnight, I also feel our tour is based upon “the ever-mutating process of taking on new perspectives and interacting in the city – any city – that is central to Fortnight’s intervention”. (Hui, 2011, 8) Moreover, we have also spent time on intervening the “All the world’s a stage…” speech into the audio tour, allowing for it to have more gravity within the tour and not feel like an added extra. We have found ways for each “seven age of man” to be represented symbolically and visually in the tour, hoping that our audience will come to a slow realisationthat the journey of the tour does not just mean a physical walk, but also as a metaphor for life.

  • The judgement doors shall represent birth.
  • “At first the infant” – Tennyson’s Cradle Song.
  • “the whining school-boy” – The sound of school bells and relfective questions on childhood.
  • “then the lover” – The sound of wedding bells with confetti scattered on the floor.
  • “a soldier” – Castle Square, with a fundraising bucket for a war charity.
  • “the justice” – Exchquer gate and the library above, Tennyson’s quote of “knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers” along with questions reflecting life up until this point as they pass through the gate.
  • “the lean and slippered pantaloon” – Futher rheotrical questions about life but in the past tense.
  • “second childishness and mere oblivion” – The speech itself read aloud by an elderly gentleman.

Hui, Allison. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University.