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Most of the responses I got from audience members was that it was shocking and captivating as a performance. What I found particularly interesting is their responses when I asked them what their interpretation was. Nearly everyone said a different thing which is great because I want my piece to leave people with something that they created a link to in their own mind.
Some people saw the sheet to resemble dirt and dust on furniture.
Others received imagery of women being stoned to death.
Some people saw the sheet as a barrier between them and their fears - people became comfortable looking at the moving sheet and didn't want me to remove it.
Some saw it as being about a reflection of ones own negative self-image and identity.
People particularly liked my use of breath, crying and percussion of feet to break up the slow movements.
People enjoyed the use of projection giving the piece another dimension.
There were some discretions about the use of projection - the setting within the projection to some didn't quite fit in with the rest of the piece.
Some people didn't like the run out of the room as this meant that I revealed myself and left the space to which I had been confined.
All of this feedback was gratefully received and has been taken on for the next performance that I do. It is the most enjoyable thing to receive a variation of feedback from people as it proves that the ambiguity of my piece has done it's job!
On to the next Performance Art Piece!!!
Here is a link to a mash up of the 3 practice performances from Week 9 with some feedback from people in the audience as well as the perspective of Danielle Ash, who saw all three as she was on technical support. It has been seriously interesting talking about the artwork and hearing other people's interpretations of the work. I feel ready to move on to the next stages with this piece and potentially developing it into group work with a more durational style.
Key things that I learnt from the project:
- The importance of the open metaphor within a piece: not focusing on one concept, but letting multiple areas of research guide my process as opposed to control my process.
- It's sometimes effective to not have total control over your final aesthetic in live art - it differs slightly each time.
VIMEO LINK: https://vimeo.com/158695471
I have decided to use projection within my piece, onto the sheet to add another layer to the narrative. I chose to place the projection element into the piece in the second half as a signification of another level of stress and pain. When projected onto the sheet, the contours in the sheet make it look like it now is a transparent cloth showing the audience a potential person underneath the sheet.
The video is a mix up of some of the footage I retrieved from multiple improvisation sessions as a physical response to my research on the oppression of women. The setting of the room was not intended to be important in the improvisation, it was more about the movement and the fact that I was in nude underwear. I tried the projection of the video onto the sheet and found that the background within the video actually worked quite well - it didn't particularly showcase or override the movement and created an abstract effect on the sheet - a kind of unfamiliar reality.
The structure of the projection video involved a lot of repetition to create the effect of exhaustion. Also I sped up the movement using Premiere Pro in order to create a frantic high energy moment to contrast with the slow moving sheet at the beginning. As I was editing the video to build the choreographic structure, I kept trying to picture how my brain works and thoughts drop in when I'm at high levels of stress and so tried to create a blackout every time the thought was supposed to change but didn't, creating a constant exhausting repetition.
When experimenting with projection, I thought it would be a great opportunity to play with sounds and chose to do 3 different things in the 3 practice performances I carried out this week. I firstly started just randomly breathing getting louder and heavier as the video played. The second performance I tried to stop breathing during the movement and start breathing when it went black which I found effective but there was no real climatic moment. In the third performance I decided to sob and to build up to hyperventilating - despite my initial apprehension about crying on stage, it felt right to me so decided to go with crying as my sound accompaniment.
The piece has quite a clear structure. Through experimentation, it has turned out to be split into two very different halves by the fast exit of the room.
It begins with me morphing through the different positions of Wilhem de Brucke's sculptural positions and exploring some movements based on ritual and worship. Of course all of these movements look totally different to the audience as the dance underneath aims to give the sheet a life of it's own to the audience, making them question what is underneath.
I chose one motif to feature throughout the piece which involves breath in order to signify a transition into another part of the piece. In this movement I progressively get faster and faster in a deep plie with my left arm reaching out to the left in the lateral plane with a bend of the torso, up and over to repeat on the other side, and repeating these motions until I then jump to the ground/my sheet comes off and I run out of the room/I slide to the ground.
The last part I intended for the tension to increase between my body and the sheet in order to portray a kind of conflict between the two things on stage and to then finish as I pile on the floor, creating contrast between the penultimate section and the finishing moment. Also in this section, I chose to have more eye contact with the audience, as they now know who is under the sheet, so I wanted to show some further exploration of the possible interactions I could have with the sheet as a person. It felt natural to be in conflict with the sheet, having it pulling on my skin putting a great amount of pressure on my skin and shoulders as I'm pulling it tight across myself. I experimented with different ways of doing this within the performances last week to figure out which were most effective.
I have chosen to do my piece in silence as I want the main focus to be the movements, my breath and my interaction with the floor. I have found in A23 ( the installation space) the floor squeaks creating an uncomfortable noise when you drag your feet/hands along it which adds to the disturbing atmosphere that I want to create in the space. Also the acoustics of the room are brilliant for echoing the sound of breathing. I want the contrast between silence and breathing to hint suggestions of life and lack of life underneath the sheet. I want to continue to play with this element during my performances to see which breathing is most affective.
I am looking to add sound to my piece next term as an additional element to my style and focus on the female body when I look at the female body within a different context.
In terms of lighting, I have chose to use a spotlight as this is the most effective light at showing the contours changing within the sheet, also it creates a shadow and a circle of light around me which works really well with the atmosphere I'm trying to create. The idea of isolation from the audience and the fact that they have no choice other than to watch the subject, being me and the sheet.