More TIME!! - We needed more time in the space with all of the technical equipment.
I think we also needed more time to choreograph and experiment with movement so we could make sections a bit clearer.
We also should've tested the performance with an audience before the actual thing because the running through the audience didn't quite work... and more tests with the silhouettes as well.
May have been better with one sheet?
The overall structure at this point didn't have enough changes.
The dancers didn't have enough cues to change every 5 minutes.
I've decided to add in a rush hour section (link can be found in the Soundscapes post) to add moments of fast pace both in sound and dance - the dancers run around the space frantically throwing cases and bags at each other to portray that they are going to be late for 2 minutes to music with sound footage from tube stations. This also was an opportunity for the audience to snap out of their meditative state into more of an urgent alert state.
On the day we had trouble with the seating - there was too much so we decided to place the performers seats slightly on the outside of the performance space facing in to avoid people not being able to sit down.
Rehearsals with dancers started 3 weeks before and aimed to block and practice improvisation to the music. Also, it was to develop more of a structure for the work.
Rehearsal one: Theatre space
I entered with more structures than I needed for the movement. I asked the dancers to pass on a movement to the other dancer to create a kind of chain reaction, going from one place to the next. After watching the videos back it didn't really work as well as I'd hoped.
I decided that the dancers would start in the audience seats with the audience and then look up to a point where you would expect to see the platform number of the train a customer would want to catch, and they left as if they were going to board a train, fairly naturalistically. We also played around with group movements where the dancers bundled together and bounced on the spot to show that they were waiting to get on the train. Here I wanted to show that they were all linked.
Rehearsal two: Ravensfield theatre
After reflecting on rehearsal one, I decided to simplify the movement to just slow motion improvisation. I set the dancers a time-frame to get from one end of the line (marking where the sheet would be) to the other which was 5 minutes. With the music, I think slow motion really worked because it shows how time can appear to slow down when you're on a train compared to the actual speed from the outside. I instructed the dancers to focus on starting movements in one point of their body and drawing attention to connecting each joint to that movement making a sequence - for example if I was to start a movement from my hand I would move my hand then wrist, then forearm then elbow then upper arm instead of focusing on one solid movement. I also said for the dancers to respond to the levels of the person in front of them in the line so that they were not doing the same thing - not aiming to be totally opposite from the person - but just ensuring their not copying.
After a couple of runs of this, I then asked for a variation - to see the slow motion movement with one person occasionally performing a very sudden movement in order to add a change - this could be related to fast movements and changes that occur during a train journey.
In this rehearsal I wanted to try adding in another variation to the overall structure of the piece. Until this point I had set up that the dancers were split into two groups in the audience space for 5 minutes and then travelled for 5 minutes in the same direction and repeated this on the alternative sides. The variation included different routes for each of the groups. Instead of 2 groups I decided it would be better to rotate 3 groups so that one group would always be in the centre and to alternate the directions of the dancers more as well.
Venue: First of all I had to make a series of emails to find the right space to hold the performance. I asked photography, TV studios and then the Ravensfield theatre to see if I could book a slot. I got a provisional booking which was then changed to an earlier date.
Sound: I worked with Peter Williams a lot to work out how to get the best out of the sound.
Dancers: I emailed tutors in the dance department to ask if students wanted to collaborate as well as students that I already knew from the Musical theatre society. There was a change in the people who could dance when the date changed so I managed to find other dancers fairly quickly.
Equipment: I went and borrowed large white sheets from the Theatre department as well as 2 large scale projectors. I worked with Ben Turnbill, Bruce Allen and Rory McAllister as to sorting out the Ravensfield and making sure there was a technician to support the evening.
Set-up: I arranged for a few extra theatre students to be there to help set up the projectors and received help from the TV department with the live-streaming of the performance.
Documentation: I contacted Zane Dedlow from the Film department to come and document my project for me using his film camera.
Black box theatre
Squares: Audience seats, Black lines: sheets for projection, Arrows: Silhouette performance space, Triangles: projection light, Circles: projectors.
On both sides, the videos are synced and the video of the train travels in the same direction.
Lighting - it will work if the projection light provides light.
Only time where there is more light - during the 'Rush hour' parts of the performance
I decided that within the soundscape amongst all of the other sounds, I wanted to feature words spoken in an abstract way featured words that blurred the idea of the definite in terms of time and placement. "gone", "nowhere" "anymore" were key words that feature in the score. I chose to totally blur the idea of certainty as a direct reflection on how it feels to travel alone without a set destination. This came from writing experiments where I wrote a list of words that I associated with this feeling and wrote them down in multiple columns repeatedly on paper. I churned out 50 minutes of sound from samples of the different instruments I recorded:
Recorder, flute, voice, piano, meditation bowls, drumstick and cowbells
Using Premiere Pro to create a time signiture or a rhythm is really interesting because you can select a phrase and then replicate it an then add a clashing alternative instrument which then creates a poly-rhythmic experience as opposed to a predictable recurring structure. When I was editing the sounds together I considered all of the different layers of sound that occur on trains: for instance, the friction between the wheels and the tracks (and how often this changes) the moving bags, the amounts of conversations going on at one time. While I was making decisions about where to place the sounds next to each other I would assess the mood and how that related to my own thoughts about travel, whether it triggered a particular memory. I then would try and work out what it was in the sound that was the trigger, and I amplified this - maybe by repetition of a particular phrase or by adding a 3rd up/down layer to increase the volume of the sound.
Going through the process like this eventually led to making a series soundscapes that had a 2 or 3 main starting rhythms in them and developing them from that point. This allowed me to create miniture pieces that would eventually contribute to a more neutral, ambient tone.
Link to the tracks - These need further editting.
"The world is your kaleidoscope,and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment
it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted
pictures of your ever-moving thoughts."
When I was thinking of a title I looked for words that simultaneously acknowledged self in the past and the future. I wanted the piece to indicate how we are in a continuum and when we acknowledge a moment, we are already in the next. "Any" is nice because it's like "a" instead of "the" - its not specifying a particular thing which gives it an anonymous feeling which goes with my videos and my score. Anymore suggests to me that something is no longer going to happen. "She doesn't play tennis anymore" or "They're not married anymore" - its a trigger to think about the past and has a slightly existential tone. I also used 'anymore' as a noun to make a time-conjunctive-word the dominant subject of the piece - suggesting that the people and performers are occupying a different world where they are personifying a different time-frame - something is over but they are continuing anyway.
PHENOMENOLOGY - BEING AND TIME - MARTIN HEIDEGGER
Heidegger's essay 'Being and Time' proposes a destruction of traditional philosophical methods of thinking - he wants to depict our existence through lived experience. He accepts the existence of human beings but disregards the idea that we are the primal-thinkers and that are separate from objects. He proposes that we are beings who exist outside, alongside and in the world that we do not distinguish ourselves from.
Phenomenology aims to find commonalities in structure in people's average everyday lives instead of question our existence on a kind of spectrum against the 'external world', objects around us or the human-ness of other people around. He is critical, therefore, of the work of Descartes who questions our existence in relation to others. Heidegger, on the other hand, simplifies human existence to the inevitable pathway between birth and death.
I have found Simon Critchley's commentary on Being and Time interesting and helpful in understanding Heidegger's philosophical approach - here are some quotes that have helped:
A) " I am completely fascinated and absorbed by my world, not cut off from it in some sort of "mind" or what Heidegger calls "the cabinet of consciousness"."
- This is the feeling that I want to create within my installation - the idea that we are not separate from our environment. I have tested my videos on a few people who have described it as trippy - or that they went into a daze or a trance. In my head, that is my idea of connecting on a phenomenological level with the video, almost like an optical elusion.
B) "Heidegger insists that we have to "thrust aside our interpretative tendencies" which cover over our everyday experience of the world and attend much more closely to that which shows itself."
- I don't want to change the reality within the train videos themselves. The only thing I want to do is form an accumulation/saturation of a collection of moving landscape videos in order to show a multiplicity of experience and how these experiences look when they're placed on the same screen. Its a replay of the land being the land, on top of another land being the land, having no direct connection other than the fact that I am filming from the train window and that they occur nearby a train-line. The video is not my interpretation of the landscape, its purely my camera's and then put through a change of opacity and an overlay from another video, chosen with as little intention as possible.
C)"This is another way of approaching his central insight: that we cannot exist independently of our relation to the world; and this relationship is a matter of mood and appetite, not rational contemplation."
- Most of my creations within this work were created through improvisation and randomisation of a series of videos and demos which aren't necessarily directly related but all share the same mood and come from the same approach. By making less conscious decisions in my process, by Heidegger's approach, I have less independent existence from the world that I am portraying in my work.
The structure for the soundscapes was all intuitive. I split the recordings up into individual demo files and the made a separate line for each instrument - voice, piano, flute, recorder and percussion. I randomly placed each of these together and if the rhythms worked together it was by chance. A lot of the time the demos would be shorter and then I would repeat these short phrases which would form a rhythm with the software as opposed to practiced and recorded. I think that adding these layers in at random times makes the whole piece have a lot of depth and multiple rhythms to tune into. At first this was just an experiment to see how the sounds mixed but I actually really liked how these pieces of music enhanced the video. Because the scape is fairly unstructured, I discovered many tools and methods of giving the sound depth and variety.
THINGS TO INCLUDE:
- Quint up/down harmonies to vocals/piano and percussion
- Repetition of demos to form a rhythm
- Cross-over of 2 different percussions
- Reverb and convolution reverb on voice
- Speed up/slow down duration
- Audio gain
- Exponential fading and constant power transitions
When I first started to mix soundscapes, the whole thing changed very quickly from phrase to phrase - complying with my theme of impermanence and an unfixed state of flow. This worked well however although I don't want the piece to necessarily comply to the structure of classical music, I have found through experimenting that there has to be more of a pattern in the rhythms or a dominant instrument that people can follow consistently so that when it progresses into another phrase, it is a more clear shift to the listeners, having more impact on them than if it changed constantly.