In Spirit

A game about description, memory, sharing by Andy Field…

In Spirit was a game created for the spirit collection at the Natural History Museum.

In one cordoned-off corner of the collection stood shelves of creatures in glass jars so fragile that even looking at them with a grown-up’s eyes might cause them to start to grow faint and then disappear completely. In pairs, one adult and one child, players were asked to help us try and remember what was in the collection. The child would choose three creatures and describe them as best they could, whilst their accompanying adult (blindfolded for the safety of the specimens) had to listen and remember everything that was described to them. At the end of the game each pair were interviewed about what they saw.

Out of those interviews I have created this audio-piece. It is intended for listening on headphones either at home or, preferably, whilst walking through the spirit collection at the museum.

Both the original game and this audio piece were created by Andy Field.  You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/andy-field-1/in-spirit

In Order to Control

The interactive typographic installation titled In Order to Control features a constant loop of selected text about “the threshold [of] ethics and morality” projected on the ground. (You can read the full transcript of the projection here.) The most interesting thing about the project is the interactivity and its reliance on audience participation. As spectators step into the installation to read the projected content, their blackened silhouette covers the words on the floor and transfers them to the proximate wall.



One could marvel at this technological magic trick for a very long time, especially since there’s still scrolling text to be read. In order to actually read the text, one could technically run back and forth across the screen but it seems far more convenient to form an assembly of people, standing in tandem, eliminating spaces in which words can get lost.
This interactive element also alludes to the idea of interconnectivity and how we can all help each other, sharing information.

About LaNua:

We focus on movement and choreography in various contexts – research, performance and across art forms.

We develop performance projects that explore the boundaries of choreographic practice in dialogue with other art forms while exploring alternative spaces, and interaction with objects, video, sound, and text.

Have a look here

Performances Royal Botanic Gardens Sat 3 noon and Sun 4 Nov 2012 noon + 2.45 pm

A day to play

During the Fringe I attended a Playroom led by the Bellrock co with 8 artists, mainly performers.   The methods were designed to work with the whole person and we quickly felt comfortable together.  One of the first exercises was a quick fire drawing one, and we knew there were no wrongs.

The permission to play for a day was to remind us of the fun we had and can have; the reason we got involved in the arts.  Sandy’s enthusiasm was contagious and along with her energy and diverse interests, we didn’t know what to expect.  But the morning was surprisingly calm.  Working with an actress I started to explore the relationship between breathing techniques and drawing – the impact of one on the other.  I experienced the sounds of drawing and rhythm of drawing as relaxing and was reminded of the physicality of the activity.

The afternoon with Jen and Mark Traynor was much more mischievous.  We climbed trees, got told off for littering and phoned strangers following instructions on a found post-it note.  We talked about the tipping point when games go too far………..then we did.

The idea of permission seems to keep popping up at the moment, see Playable Spaces, Tourist in Residence and Zoe Beloff and now I’ll add to it responsibility.  How do we give/offer permission to experience spaces differently, even just talking in a gallery.  Once permisison is given what responsibilites do we assume?


Let Loose

As a way to develop the work from Let Loose  I am looking into text based art practise.

During the project, we experienced new dance at Dancebase as it was developing.  We were surprise by the amount of spoken word used in dance and this was inaccessible to the group.  Practical solutions were found and this has opened an exciting area for exploration.

In the next project, we plan to explore collaborative ways of working with participants with hearing loss.  Text will be integrated throughout the development of a performance, not added at the end as captions.  The resulting work will be developed through accessible collaboration.  Participation, not access, will be the experience for all involved.

To develop the project idea, we are planning a series of creative labs.  How could we communicate within the labs?  The instruction-based performances of this years Forest Fringe and the work of Abigail Conway are perhaps a starting point .  See also Nothing About Us Without Us, a public art event using obsolete technology to hurl language across the River Clyde

Opening Lines

[Draft] project idea

Explore one site from a range of perspectives to develop different ways to experience and understand the space.  This could involve a frequent visitor, a security guard, an architect, an artist in residence, an audio describer.

The project will also explore how these observations could be combined in one event – paying attention to physical movement through the space and the information this provides for visually impaired participants.

This proposal developed from a series of events in 2011/12 exploring site specific art with visually impaired participants.  Initialy tours were led and described from particiular expert positions; a poet, architect, ceramicist and a cleaner.  These tours gave fascintaing and unexpected insights, it was interesting to think about how this knowledge developed in different ways; through academic study, observation, action.

The cleaner of a historic house described to us how she moved through some rooms in her stocking soles, having to first remove her shoes and the varying frequency for dusting different book cases.  This led to our suppositions on the value of the objects in the rooms and imagine the ones she is never allowed to dust.

Following this there were events to find out more about particular artists practise, the Bellrock co and Martin Parker.  The discussion with sandy from Bellrock was really enjoyable to meet a writer and director interested to work with visually impaired audiences and think about how verbal description could be incorporated into the voices of a play.
The final events were led by Anthony Schrag focussing on walking.  Anthony combined stories, myths and geology drawing on array of sources (including participants).  Physically walking through spaces connected ideas in different ways, similarly a museum display may be read differently depending on the order of encounters.  The curator can encorage this, or attempt to control it.

Presumably these connections and interpretations can also be left open in a promenade performance.  So there are still areas to research and consider to form a structure for the initial visits and final tour.  Who to involve, which artists might be intersted, what skills and observations will they bring?  Also thanks and more queries to be sent to Beverley at NLS and Rita Simpson for the initial suggestion.

A performance of Beats by Kieran Hurley with very visceral descriptions has also inspired the project idea.  The project should consider ways to explore and describe space with the group members, not for them.

pacing the night

During  a seminar about Haptic Experiments, David Feeney gave an interesting comparison between artists walking practises which aim to disrupt our usual experience of the environment, sometimes useing tactics to purposefully get lost or disorientate, including walking while blind folded and the walking experiences of individuals with a visual impaiment.

In his presentation: ” An account of the importance of order and route-learning in the pedestrian experiences of individuals with visual impairments is posited between what Robin Jarvis refers to as the stroller’s ‘freedom to resist the imperative of destination’ .

Feeney argues that tactics such as blind folds and night walking, privilage the visual and suggests artist apprenticed with visually impaired individuals as a way to reach new understandings (find out more about this ideas).  This suggestion draws on James Winchester’s idea that “To understand each other across cultural divides, we must leave our comfort zone and become students of the many worlds out of which each artwork arises.”

research mentioned to find out more about:

Kevin Hetherington

David Bolt

Nina Morris “the uncritical way in which visibility is incorporated into many post-phenomenological accounts of landscape”