The Performance and Final Evaluation

Final Archive
Studio 1

Introduction

Over the course of the module I have learnt many things about Site-Specific theatre. The aspects which have been relevant to my final piece are; documentation, audience participation, the mapping of a journey, awareness of space and inner meaning. In the process, I learnt about documentation through the photographs and videos I have taken along the way and how this can sometimes become the performance itself. The mapping of a journey are all the elements I have recorded and wrote about, showing the process of learning. Audience became an important factor in the Carl Lavery task, ‘making the private public’ and when we chose to board the train wearing our bin-bag suits. I began to understand space in the early stages when we did the ‘wool task’ in class and inner meaning when I thought deeply about what my Utopia meant. With this came research into practitioners in this field of work. In my group, we looked at Knowbotiq Maghille; an artist exploring identity, Jacques Derrida who focuses on documentation in the archive, Diana Taylor who looks at objects and their status and Marc Augé who theorises about the non-place. Overall, these aspects have all impacted the creation of our final piece.

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Marc Auge

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Taken from flickr.com

For our final piece, an artist we are taking inspiration from is Marc Augѐ. In the article ‘An ethnologist in Disneyland’, Augѐ describes a trip he took to Disneyland. His focus is on the behaviour of those within the theme park and how documentation becomes so easily accepted. He also raises an interesting point on the placing of Disneyland, saying that it is ‘a fairground attraction in the middle of nowhere’ ((Augѐ, Marc (1999) Disneyland e altri nonluoghi, p. 191)). All of these ideas relate to the theme of our piece at the train station. We are exploring the idea that the train is constantly in the middle of nowhere, a non-place as such. In this non-place, people can adhere stereotypical repetitions  and do what is seen as performing.

There are certain behavioural patterns of people in a theme park, as with at a train station. Augѐ talks about how adults allow their children to take direction. This explores the idea that a theme park setting allows new rules of social convention, the child guiding the adult rather than the adult guiding the child and he says ‘The child [is] a king’ ((ibid, p. 186)). On a train, it becomes a social normality to exclude yourself from those around you. Individuals choose to block out the world by reading or listening to music. The lack of interaction would seem rude in another setting, but on the train the person becomes the individual and excludes themselves from the world around them, losing their identity.

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Taken from flickr.com

Another interesting point raised was about documentation. Augѐ was at first concerned why no one noticed their huge camera in the theme park; but he declares ‘One does not enter Disneyland armed without at least one camera’ ((ibid, p.184)). By recording their every movement, the tourists hide behind their camera. Their focus is more the product of the experience rather than the experience itself. This is very similar to a train journey, as the focus is on the destination we are taking ourselves to, and whilst we are stuck in the stages of the in-between, we are hidden by distractions of books, magazines, snacks and music.

All of these concepts relate back to the idea that at some point ‘Everyone … is performing’ ((ibid, p. 186)). When we step into a theme park we know we are going to perform as tourist, similarly we know when we step aboard a train we are performing as passenger. Each of these roles include repetitions, an idea we will explore in our piece.

From a non place to a site

Starting of standing outside the train station, (a non pace), in our paper yetty costumes, inspired by…. We got the class to join us with the choreographed gestures and then allowed them t write on me. Locals joined in with enthusiasm, writing their memories on me. During this time it became clear that we are not meant to perform, everything we do should be real.

One group found that locals wandering by reacted badly to them ‘performing’ in the street. But when you think about it why would we expect people to tolerate us when we are taking up space in their street. One member mentioned, that without even ‘performing’ we were getting peoples attention mealy for being in a large group.

We then decided to take what we had done and put it on a train. The three of us got on a train to Newark, dressed in our paper bags…

Whilst dressed in paper, and having people write on me, I felt like an object. Something which s there purely to hold something else. Very much like the train station being there to hold the trains. This made the idea of loosing ones identity very real.

We recorded our journey on the train, this will be shown in our final ‘performance’. We were inspired by the idea that it’s already happened, showing the audience the past.

For the final ‘performance’ we have decided that we want to wear this paper bag, full of the Newark passengers memories on. Throughout the performance paper will be ripped of, leaving a trail of our journey, or their journey. By the end most of the paper, if not all,  should have been ripped from the dress. This represents us trying to get our own identity back. Just like the train station trying to attain a identity, or the train, or the people who have isolated themselves from a city.imageimage 1

Ideas for the performance

To emphasise this idea of ‘no identity’ and a ‘none place’, we’ve decided to set one of our studio based performances in a restricted cage. We will have different areas, that could possibly represent the different platforms. Each cage section will show something different, through the use of earphones, pictures and more. The imagery of a cage also represents the idea that once you’re on a train, your stuck on it till it reaches a stop, there’s is a sense of restriction and claustrophobia.

We have decided that in our ‘performance’ we will offer the audience a tray of food and drinks that you can buy on a train. However to represent the past and present, we would just offer them the wrappers. Furthermore this represents peoples disrespect for the train when leaving their rubbish behind.

We will use the different areas to represent different ethical perspectives. For example one ‘platform’ will identify the distortion between public and private, where we could use the woman’s voice. Whereas one ‘platform’ might represent the isolation of having no identity, we could do this with silence or just the sound of train tracks. The idea of using earphones came about when we brainstormed what people do on a train or whist they are sat waiting. A incredible amount of people listen to music, which is isolating yourself. This idea of isolation i first discovered when i thought about the train barriers, the imagery of these could be seen as separating the sides of the city.

Below is a picture of the earphones in a archive from the final performance.

listen

 

You can see how this  progressed by looking at the blog based on the final performance by clicking on this link.  

 

A Train Journey

 

 

Hayley Moohan says:

Inspiration

Identity:

The motif ‘identity’ was explored throughout our piece. Inspired by Marc Auge who states; ‘subjective attitude toward spaces that may be alienating for the onlooker while being meaningful and a source of identity for the inhabitant’. [1] Relating to Auge’s theory, the space which is alienated in our Site Specific piece is the train station. A space which is referred to as a non-space which is a universal institution. People feel alienated in a train station as they are walking in to the unknown. Is their train going to arrive on time? Who will they sit next to? Will they even get a seat? Relating to identity within a train station, as people are alienated from one another the non-place allows a lack of identity to commence. Thus moves onto my next point about the artist Knowbotiq Macghillie.

Knowbotiq Macghillie:

Macghillie is an artist who explores loss of identity. Macghillie inspired our idea of connecting taking a journey and losing identity. Loss of identity will be shown by covering ourselves with pieces of paper, just as Macghillie did. Our body will be covered in thoughts of those around us, as we become the journey itself. We are lost in the journey of the non-space and lack of identity, like the rest of the people around us. The non-space being a place where everyone becomes alienated, an institutional place.

Below are images which show our costumes which display neither the traits of an individual nor of a person. The lack of identity allowed people around us to lose their identity on us. As we participated in train journeys and allowed the public to write ideas and thoughts on to our costumes, this allowed us in to their thoughts they had about their journey, trains and travelling.

Journey

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 Images which show one journey where we wore our ‘costumes’ which allowed the public to document their identity onto us.

[1] Emer O’Beirne, ‘MARC AUGÉ’S THEORETICAL EICTIONS’, Romanic Review, 101 (May 2010), pp 445-466, (447).

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Jade Beastall says:

The Feeling of Losing Identity

When we got on the train we asked people to write where they were coming from, going to or an aspect of their journey. In doing this we covered ourselves in the journeys of those around us, losing our own identity. This is inspired by Knowbotiq MacGhillie ‘an actor without identity, transforming past and future into here and now, oscillating between the hyper presence of a mask and visual redundancy’ ((Author and date not mentioned, Interventions, Online: http://rearttheurban.org/info/Knowbotiq.html (accessed 29 Apr 2013).)) When I covered myself in the journeys of other people I felt as though I had lost my identity and I was no longer an individual. My body became an organised archive of journeys, just like the one we will create in our live performance from snack wrappers, newspapers, bottles and train tickets. The two ideas link in a way that show both loss of identity and Jacques Derrida’s archiving, an inspiration explored in another one of our group’s posts.

Implications

There were many implications with getting on the train and filming. I emailed numerous times and rang through to three different customer service representatives. After not receiving a reply after two weeks, the time came to find an alternative. We originally wanted to film professionally, but instead took a personal camera and filmed only ourselves discretely. Obstacles like these are a learning process and give us the chance to use our initiative.

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Jade Fallon says:

The feeling of isolation

During our train journey I could feel people’s eyes on my constantly, no wonder considering the costumes we were wearing. We looked at people having no identity, loosing it. Although that’s the concept which we looked at, inspired by Macghillie, it was interesting to be involuntary  receiving attention from other passengers, making me rem-inis about  how the hysterical woman might have felt.

  Notes

This train journey is were we collected a huge amount of the rubbish, which was situated on the first floor of our performance and was organised in our archive of memories.

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 Enjoy our video – The audio is part of the train journey that I recorded

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl3JVa8oIqw