Be it theatre, dance, rap or poetry, performance transports us from one immediate and local reality to another: our senses and imagination the trigger and tether to both. To physically travel or to engage in something new is a similar experience: our bodies, thoughts and sensations are the link; a point of reference and calibration. In turn, natural phenomena of mountains, glaciers, oceans, storms and volcanoes, are both an endless source of sublime artistic (and scientific) inspiration, and are “perfomative” in their own right.
To begin our exploration of how architecture might respond to the choreography of place and the inter-connection between people on-stage, backstage, front-of-house, and in the audience, we will start by making a spatial record of a specific memorable performance from multiple perspectives; carefully considering the reciprocal spatial qualities of the performance and the experience of the audience; the reciprocal social and cultural references of the performance with the expectations and experience of the audience.
We need to look, and then to see; we need to tune-in our senses, calibrate our experiences, and discover methods of testing, recording, mapping and documenting to capture the physical, environmental, cultural and emotional findings, both as register, and an instruction for repetition.
Start by choosing a memorable performance to “record”; it may be from any form of performing arts: music, cinema, theatre, puppetry, mime, circus, dance, opera; whatever is most memorable to you. And from this choice everything will follow, and you will need to consider and try to capture many things:
How is the performance is defined? What are the edges and boundaries that make this a performance?
How is the performance prepared? How is it repeated? How is the audience prepared?
Where and when does it take place? What are the conditions for success? What is going on around the performance? What is the edge?
Who or what is the performer? Who or what is the audience?
What is the history behind the performance, the place, the performers, the audience?
What is the idea? Who is telling this story? Why?
What happens during the performance to make it work? And by whom? And what happens afterwards? How long does it take?
What does it feel like? Look like? smell like? sound like? For audience….for the performer…
How can you capture the multiple movements, activities and experiences?
Work quickly, don’t try to think too much before starting, instead “think through doing”, working to capture your first thoughts in whatever media is appropriate. To develop your “Record” you will need to find and experience the performance (or another version of it) again: live on stage, on video, on the net; you may need to participate in the performance yourself; you may need to work closely with the original the instructions conveyed to the performers: script, score, sketch or whatever.
Lastly consider how your “Record” could capture both the experience AND give instruction to repeat; think how might the “Record” be “played”?.
By “Recording” you will actively interrogate the performance: sketching, photographing, modelling, video, sound recording, research, making and experimenting, to define your personal response to the critical qualities of the performance. The completed “Record” should be crafted: the fabrication itself another response to the act of recording; a register of the “observer” and the “observed”; the city, the place, the landscape; is the “Record” a “performance” in it’s own right?
Materials, Media and Drawing: Any media, material or technique appropriate to best communicate your ideas, the equivalent of 2 x A1 Hybrid sheets + 4 x A1 process/testing sheet
Review: Monday 3rd October, Week 2