Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Who has control at Old Vic Tunnels

Performed in Lautes Licht in a similar venue to that of Shunt Vaults, though at the even darker and duster venue of the Old Vic Tunnels, as part of their dark clown carnival and red light themed night.
This time it was interesting as the audiences members were able to be in the same space as the performers, and as some did able to talk directly to the performers.

The concept was still the same, the audience member control a dimmer pack which controlled the intensity of a profile light. The change in intensity controlled the performers performance intensity;

Low light=soft actions/ voice whispered
Full light= big actions/ full voice etc

The space really worked well for this type of work, as the audience were finding the performers in different 'pockets' of space throughout the tunnel area we had. Although, as I realised, because the spectator had direct control very close to the individual performer, they were unable to see the concept of creating a narrative with all the performers together. The spectator seemed much more interested in playing with the one performer and making them do crazy things at full light/ high intensity.
But on the other hand, what I liked about this; one of my actions was running (at full intensity) which what the audience put me through the most. I still had control of my own body and knew how far I could push myself, but because I could directly look and be very close to the light controller and other audience members in the space, the relationship changed when they could see that I was actually doing that action. I wasn't faking the result or 'acting', then after a while and the 'controlling' effect wore off, the spectator began to feel bad about the way they were pushing the performers to carry out their tasks. Which from my part, I had more control than they did, as little did they know I could of kept on going!

ONIZ at Horseplay!

ONIZ Performance Company were at Horseplay Live Arts event last night in Camden for the start of our process into creating a performance around the idea of flooding and water.
This first performance research installment looked at how an audience reacts to material we presented.
We became a fictional animal charity for the night; SOR - Save Our Relatives. In which we approached audiences members and engaged in a conversation about gorilla's, giving statistics and information about these animals. We then invited them to a playful adoption auction, where they could adopt a gorilla from the four case studies we had. Not for the exchange of money, but more to raise awareness in a fun spirit way for our charity.
During this process of our auction, we included flood images from recent Pakistan events but also the Cumbria floodings back in 2009, saying (in the same charity tone) that you could adopt someone from these two places also.

We weren't giving our opinion about animal adoption, or sponsoring a person, or even about auctioning. This performance was about gauging an audiences reaction from being lighthearted and 'cute' about gorilla's to having the same tone about recent natural events that have occurred.

What became interesting was some peoples reactions.

Some audiences members really became upset or showed their cared for the gorilla's, and wanted to find out more about where they are from, their names and if they get to see them etc.
Where there was one comment relating to the Cumbria image of; 'Do I get to know their name if I win them'- which struck me as their choice of words became really apparent.

Also from feedback from members of the audience who caught on to the device we were using, and said they became shocked that other spectators who choosing the Gorilla's to adopt and not someone from Pakistan.

Which I felt support my initial understanding that a majority of our society would rather help animals first, then other countries before a neighbour. Which I think feels more easy to do because their is a distance from yourself to the Charity, and is not 'on your doorstep'. Which I have to admit I've noticed in myself, in that I cant look at images of tortured animals, and yet I have become desensitised to human suffering through media images.

Ethically each audience member knew afterwards our process and that it was a performance piece, but hopefully they could see their own reactions within the event we held.

This is a beginning of our practical exploration, which I think is really beneficial to practically do a performance experiment to see how it is responded by a viewer.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Living 'My Mistake', 06/08/10

Created by Carmen Martinez & Liz Wilks, movement work devised with a company of performers from structured improvisation, creating material based directly derived from the installation structure and layout.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Is failing dangerous?

R&D Project taking place tomorrow. With glass of wine in hand, and a head full of questions unanswered.

So what happens now?

Let the exploration begin right? I feel in a position to follow my instincts, but I know Im following only half of them- is this enough?

And am I ready to take a fall? Though know inside I wouldnt have pushed the risk, am I playing it too safe?

we'll see...

Monday, 2 August 2010

Playing Tuazon!

At the moment myself and Carmen Martinez (lighting designer) are collaborating together on a research and development project, that is investigating body space and light.

Question... Can space be an equal collaborator? If not space then can structure?

There was a debate when I brought this topic up for discussion, that actually space and structure cannot be equal collaborators. As to 'collaborate' means 'what I do, directly effects what you do' and vice versa. As space cannot freefall and leap about like a swan, then it cannot be classed as an equal collaborator.

But what changes when the space/ structure is actually an installation, a piece of art?

Surely any space that 'another' enters, whether it be movement performer, or lighting equipment and designer, is automatically changing the intention for the art piece. A body in space changes the original view of the intended work, the installation/ structure would have to re-present itself to affirm its originality. As a viewer I would have to re just my view and thoughts to accommodate these two different practices coinciding in one space together to make sense.

Then maybe should we also class the spectator as equal collaborator within this mix. For the spectator is the 4Th party who is having to work harder in order to connect and link these different mediums together to make sense?

What im investigating is whether space/ an insatllation can be a basis to create material/ work.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

blAck Eye pERcePtioNS!

I recently had a black eye, that if I do say so myself, was very 'cool'. Though unfortunately the story behind how I landed a black eye is slightly on the lame side of plastic shark and strings makes jaws!

Not by being a hero, not battling through the Antarctic or rough jungles of the Amazon, but by 'fake fighting'. - Aye that crazy world of stage combat.

I loved having my first black eye, I felt powerful like I was invincible etc. But what I noticed from seeing and observing other peoples reactions that saw my eye, began to make me feel self conscious. I felt judged, like I was a thug, and automatically other people placed a preconceived view on me, that I was trouble, and better still, that I deserved the black eye.

Through this experience my perception of myself and the black eye changed. I was no longer adopting a posture of 'I'm hard...look how cool I am'. But made to feel withdrawn and a recluse, and even ashamed of myself. Now this may be going to some extremes, but it was interesting to see this perception I and other people had and how it changed.

I questioned to myself; If I dressed more femininely in a dress and heels, or I was a heavily pregnant, or a sharp business suit, then would the perception and other peoples attitudes be different?
Or wearing ripped jeans, a band t-shirt, a lip piercing with a black eye place me in a category that is preconceived without knowing?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

ICA Oscar Tuazon's installation

The ICA is at the moment hosting a giant installation by Oscar Tuazon.

This installation takes over the lower gallery space and even pushes the boundaries (quite literally) and breaks off into the adjoining rooms.

As soon as you walk into this space you are created with the smell of wood, and 'workman'. The installation is made up in a serious of beams, that uses the distinct choice not to be sanded, but rough and ready. It is what it is, beams of wood connected.

So what is so special about it? As soon as I walked into the space there is a feeling of play within the room. The urge to run from one wall to another, jumping of the beams, balancing on them and ducking and diving through the middle.

There is a huge performativity element with this structure that openly invites you to be fully immersed within its space. Its intriguing to follow the beams that head straight to the walls, to later find out they actually continue through them. Leading from the far office room, you can trace a beam to a beam to a beam that leads you back into the gallery room.

What I've found exciting about this work, is the idea that this is a living structure, it has life, its own routes and directions. That this life of the structure is actually starting to weaken. Due to weather conditions and the atmosphere in the ICA gallery has actually caused the structure to break, weaken and disconnect. Showing the raw and real fragility of such a massive and powering structure.

This piece screams exposure to me; blank spaces, empty rooms, weakness in structure is enduring to see.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Antony Gormley installation at the White Cube

Saw Antony Gormley's piece at the White cube, as part of our research for the Tearaway Projects devised performance. In this installation, as an audience member you were free to enter the space from any direction and could walk straight through the middle of it.
Journing down the concrete stairs to the installation room, unaware of what to expect and see, allowed the effect of the installation in the dark space to resonate further for the spectator. Led by torch light to the glowing light of the wood beams made from rectangle to rectangle, rectangle in another rectangle, possessed a feeling of being involved in the set of the film the matrix.
As a spectator walking through the space, carefully not tripping on the beams that run across the floor, and ducking so the overhead ones don't hit you. You become in trance to the distance between one beam and another.
A feeling of being lost and restricted within rectangles with no walls was very surprising to me, and effected my confident stride to be demolished into a sheepish tip toe through the space.

A few minutes later and 'bam' the flood lights of more than 50 lamps come barking into the room. (The technical aspect of having to re-charge the paint on the beams to re-glow in the dark) Became the notion of exposing this structure for what it is. It lost its 4D visual effect, I was no longer in outer space or the matrix, but in a room of what could be described as simply wooden MDF beams of rectangles.

For the first time I entered the space I saw the faces and details of bodies of spectators who were also in the same room as me, unnoticed before as only a relationship of dark body in space, not a person infact.

A unique experience of locating which beam connected with which to complete the rectangle. The feeling of becoming trapped and lost within rooms, within rooms within rooms. A 'trip' experience not to be missed.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

How far can an audience member perform?

I went to go and see Jane Munro's piece; Invitations, last night. Which came at a great time within our company's process, as we were reaching the topic of 'how do we as performers interact physically with an audience member?'

The piece consisted of two performers entering and re-entering the space that the audience created within the round setting. Presenting themselves in a prominent stance which was effected by each different style of clothing they wore (Period dress, running gear and bare minimals).
Turning/ walking around in the circle space they engaged strong eye contact with each member of the audience, before 'selecting' one spectator. They approached that one person and invited them (through their gestures and movements alone) to perform/ dance/ move with them in the space, before returning them back to their original seat.

I was lucky enough to be invited to move with the performer, in which I realised the strength in setting up eye contact, from a distance, the subtle approach towards the spectator, then the 'invitation' of the hand/ the kneel down beside them. Continuing this through whilst in the dance/movement the contact between the two people was still connected and strong.

I felt very much safe and unembarrassed whilst I was experiencing this moment (even though I was the first participant) as I felt the connection I had with the performer was the only element that mattered. Even though I didn't know the 'steps' of the dance, I was allowed to be easily guided through the space without hesitation.

Watching back from the outside, I observed the levels in which the performers were pushing with the individual spectators, and even guided one person to lie on the floor, so that the performer was comfortable enough to lie on top of them. Which I thought was extraordinary that this progression of trust and (in a way) manipulation allowed itself to emerge in such a small space of time. Through the performance the boundaries of who lead who started to blur, with a spectator choosing different options and the performer following and vice-versa, was lovely to watch unfold.

Though unfortunately one feeling I expressed to Jane afterwards, was at the moment I had my 'scene' with the performer, and every time they re-entered the space to chose another spectator, I felt his gaze brush over me, with the feeling that; 'he had already engaged with me, and therefore wouldn't be able to react with again'. Which I felt slightly lost, because I felt the relationship we had previously established was then lost.

From seeing this performance it was clear to see the importance of how you establish and build up trust between the performer and spectator. By not rushing straight to them to physically shake their hand or immediately touch them. But by finding that true connection first, establishing simple eye contact, then from their you have captured their attention and trust. (Well in my personal case that was true). Through this idea of stages and levels of trust, then I feel it could be quite possible to guide the audience to doing anything you wanted through a performance.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Why do we question? Can we not simply be and do?

Is it not interesting to have bodies in space which can be, and allow a spectator/ audience to decipher the meanings through all the elements presented? I.e. space, location, body, time, tone, rhythm etc?

If you as a performer have a clear idea of what action you are doing and why? But then the audience has a different meaning, then does that mean the performer was unclear in their options? Or that actually more than one meaning can be interrupted, and still make coherent sense?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Talking about puppets....

4th June 2010, I was involved in a performance at SHUNT Lounge called Lautes Licht, Directed by Adrian Figueroa and Designed by Kristen Gilmore. The concept of the performance was that the audience had the power to control the performers actions, by controlling the intensity and presence of the lights that were pre-rigged in the space.
Simply the higher the intensity the 'bigger' or more erratic the performance was, and the opposite when the lights had a lower intensity.

There were moments when the operator would erratically play with the lights in quick succession by turning them on and off, meaning the 'performance' couldn't really be understood. But then there were careful and thoughtful moments, when the levels of intensity between 0 and 100% were used. Then moments of slow dancing, whispering speech and muted violin playing would happen, when exploring intensity's of 30% 40% 80% etc. This then created micro stories and narratives that were devised from the spectator controlling and manipulating the lights to control what performance and performer were being exposed when.

So the idea of roles had to be clear and in place for the performance to happen. The performers were performers acting from the direction that the intensity the lights gave. Whilst the spectator acted as operator and 'puppet master' of the performance.

I guess in this clear example the idea of the performers being used as puppets worked, though whilst performing in this piece, I didn't feel like I was being exposed as merely a puppet, doing what I'm told.
The challenge came in one of my moments, where I was drinking a beer. The low light setting meant I could look at the bottle, hold it in a particular way, whilst the full intensity meant I had to drink the beer. Which for the 'puppet master' became interesting to play with that action with myself, as the idea that I was really being controlled by the lights, by the operator, by the spectator, was clear. The audience could see I was drinking, they understood the rules that I had fixed in place. Which made it interesting, and also for myself to perform, because thoughts and reasons were naturally being made and presumed by this action of turning the lights on and off, which controlled how much beer I drunk.

A really interesting experience to be apart of, by allowing the intention of your performance to be in the observers hands to control your rhythms.

Lautes Licht SHUNT Vaults

Photographs by Minyahil K. Giorgis
Shunt Lounge, 4 June, 2010
Lautes Licht
Directed by Adrian Figueroa
Designed by Kristen Gilmore

Friday, 11 June 2010

Are we all puppets?

From reading a peers blog about a recent devising process that we are both going through; about the idea of hierarchy within a theatre company, got me thinking also about roles which we fulfil.
The question I ask is do we need these roles to function to create new work? If roles are given out and appointed, then are we actually in danger of merely becoming performance puppets? Should a performer think or just do?

Though I realise the strength in improvisation and devising work is to have boundaries and structure, and the possibility of instruction from the 'outside'. After our last improv. session I felt vulnerable as that control was taken out of my hands. The rule was to 'just be', but with that construction I felt I lost the power of being a practitioner in making work, and became a puppet performer.

Thinking about this I do see the need to have a company structure to allow work to follow a path of moving forward, but I think I do agree with what happens to the chaos? When we are told to do, not think, then the option of going against the 'rules' and to challenge becomes non existent.

I feel within a performance company the strength is in the individual and their practice to disrupt and irritate the norm and flow of the work created. To juxtapose the the ideas to create a 'new' new.

The word is now...

Welcome to my blog, set to be a web presence where ideas, thoughts, inspirations and ideas can be highlighted and discussed. I welcome you to share and debate your ideas with me in an online collaboration that will push the practice of portraying the 'real' life, if that can be?

What is real life?
And how do we show if not expose it?
What makes performance work hold the reality of thoughts?
How do we show the real?

These are some of the questions I have been asking myself through this year in terms of my performance practice and to make work for a contemporary audience.