blog February

 

After abandoning the idea I had over the winter break I felt a lost and did not know what direction to go in. however I did feel it would be best to go back to an installed performance I like the structure it gives the piece and the engagement I had with the audience. I chose my first draft as a starting point but adding layers. The first draft was the stripped down structure that focused on the essentials of equality and bodies. I wanted to add stereotypes and the pressure of western society on top of this. Four rostra’s were positioned like a ‘T’ in the space, almost resembling a catwalk. On the long sides me and Kieran interacted with stereotypical items of the opposite gender. (female: my little pony, dresses, makeup, jewellery, tampons) (Male: football, beer, Xbox controller, football jersey). Kieran was wearing a dress while occupying the female space and I was wearing a football outfit in the make. On the next rostra’s we striped our clothes and examined our body and therefore freeing them from the stereotypes. After we did that we walked towards the audience to start a conversation about them about our bodies and how they are basically the same. The audience reacted well to this, however I felt that the conversation was initiated by the lecturer rather than a natural cause. Therefore, it felt staged. After the conversation, we went back and put on the clothes again only this time swapping them round. So, I was wearing the female clothes while Kieran was wearing the male.
the feedback was positive however, the idea of choreographing was brought up, which is the opposite of what I wanted to do. I hoped for the energy to be strong enough on its on.

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autonomous draft performance

Log December

 

In the month of December I focus on prepare 10 minutes for my draft performance. Even though I experimented with many different ideas I wanted to create a solid piece. I knew that I wanted to work with rostra’s as they allow me to break up the space, the time while still connection it with installation art. I chose three rostra’s at three different heights which I place in a line. Each platform symbolised a different stage of the performance. The first and highest platform was the starting point of the performance. Kieran and me would be sitting on stage in black pants. The audience would gather around us and we would explore our bodies in a very rational way using and ink pad and leaving marks on each other bodies. After 2-3 minutes, we progressed on the second, lower, platform. Where we turned around the audience, and explain parts and oddities about our bodies. Directly addressing the audience would allow us to make an individual connection with them but also to neutralise our body and introduce them in a non-sexual way. The third stage was an opportunity for the audience to interact with the bodies that we introduce. Again, we provided an inkpad for the audience to use so that they could leave their marks.

The aim was to introduce both the female and male body in an equal way. And explain them in an equally to show the audience that we are not defined by our bodies, or genders.

The actual performance went well and the audience received the piece well. They stated that they didn’t feel uncomfortable with my exposed breast as wester society suggest. The atmosphere was nice and everybody felt comfortable interacting with us. For me personally the audience interaction bit was not structured enough and needed to be initiated by someone who knew us. I wanted it to be more flowy and. I’d like to structure it even further and interact with the audience on a more personal level. I like to introduce voice to it

autonomous January

Background:  While in Germany, I felt the strong need to explore my own heritage and history through performance art. I aim to connected it with the idea of feminism to see how my idea of it developed and what influence  my personal past had on it. During that time, I also intensely researched Marina Abramović through her autobiography ‘walking through walls’. My starting point was a strong memory I had of my father, who was a very dominant and scary man. He taught me early on that when you fall, you wipe your clothes clean and walk on. You do not cry even if it hurts. As a kid, I obeyed this rule, fearing the consequences if I wouldn’t.  Furthermore, do I think it has a very strong symbolic power of how you should hold yourself as a person and not showing weakness. I am going to explain the concept first, followed by the positioning and role of the audience, technical requirements and ideas, the connection to feminism and the underpinning practitioners.

Concept: the performance consists of two performers (one male, one female). The man, emotionless, starts by pushing over the woman so that she falls over. She slowly gets up, brushes of her knees and the body parts the fell on and walks on. The man again pushes her over from behind. She again falls over, gets up, cleans herself and walks on. This circle is repeated more violently each time to rise the tension. The woman, clearly effected by this, vocalises it through grunts and sounds of pain, however never crying. She also looks at the audience and therefore establishes a relation with them, while the man ignores the audience. Eventually the woman is not able to get up again. The man walks away and the woman starts crying.

 

The audience: like before the audience plays a central role in this piece. I plan to position them in the room scattered about leaving gaps, so that the performance can take place amongst them. By placing them loosely in the space I isolate them from other audience member, while still being a collective.  The audience symbolises society. they see the abuse, and by trying to establish a relationship with them I challenge them to interfere. The rise of tension marks the question of at what point will they interfere or will they remain silent bystanders which often happen with abuse. People know about it but don’t know what to do about it or how to stop it.

 

Tech: I’d like to involve sound and lighting into performance to stimulate all sense of the audience. I’d like to research feminist speeches by strong female leaders and write them together into one piece. I than would record them using both female and male voice. This will underpin the abusive behaviour on stage to connect it with feminism. Using both men and women for the recording I aim to show that together we can unit and overcome the inequality. After the man disappeared and the woman starts crying a German folk song called ‘Heile, heile Gänsje’ is played. This song resonated with me because it is sang in my dialect and was always used by my grandmother to comfort me after I hurt myself. It is well known in German. This brings in the aspect of my heritage. I plan to record my granny singing the song to personalise it even further. The lighting is an aspect that I need to develop further however I like the idea of ending it with a spotlight on the crying woman on the floor which slowly fades into full darkness to leave the audience alone with their thoughts in the dark.

 

Feminism: In the wider context of feminism the piece symbolises how the patriarchal society puts women down for their own benefits. They allow us to get up pretending that it won’t happen again just to push us down again. I believe that this phenomenon can be seen in all areas of life. In the work place (unequal pay, no equal numbers in high paid jobs), private life (the woman at home often compromising for family and husband). The man also pushing from behind shows that it is not a frontal attack but a subtle attack from the back. The woman who does not fight back connotates how we are used to it and don’t know how to fight back. We accept it. The audience who I cast as society also knows about it but ignores the problem and is unwilling to interfere or just does not know about it.

For me it also symbolises domestic abuse and its consequences. The helplessness of the woman, not being able or being too scared to defend herself from the abuser. And again, society often knowing about it and not interfering. Domestic violence will affect 1 out of 4 women in their lifetime in the UK. On average, there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police. The psychological consequences are often severe for the victim.

I want for the audience to not be able to close their eyes to these issues, and even if they would they would still hear the feministic speech and the sounds of agony. Afterwards I would be open for a discussion with the audience to see how they felt about it and to find ways to overcome the problems presented.

 

Influences: my main influence is Marina Abramović on many different levels. The first one is rhythm and repetition. Many of her pieces with ulay consists of repetition to test the limits of her physical and psychological body. My piece will be testing my physical limits and the psychological limits of the audience. Furthermore, was I inspired by her relationship with the audience Abramović believes that ‘The essence of performance is that the audience and the performer make the piece together. I want to know how far the public would go If I didn’t do anything at all’ (Abramović, 2016, 71). I want to test how far I have to go until the audience interferes.  During the development phase of the piece other practitioner will emerge and be explored.

 

 

14.-20.12 Autonomous

This week i had to create a two minutes performance for the autonomous performer. my thought and working process was very spontaneous and often stimulated by different ideas and visions. i knew that i wanted to do some kind of installation art. quickly i came up with the idea of breastfeeding Kieran (a full grown man) on stage. this was inspired by the madonna-complex. the idea that the women nourish their children and the next generation but disrespect them and deny equal rights when they are grown man. my plan was also to offer my other breast to the audience to emphasize this even more. after a while however i disconnected with this idea and hit a dead end. i came up with the idea of doing a homage to american “wet t-shirt contest” connected  with the ideas of spiritual cleaning and the woman as a goddess.  by giving the audience the water pistols i gave them the power over the performance. my aim was to make them feel uncomfortable when they are confronted with the reality of a fantasy. i wrote “voyeur” on my chest which became visible when they squirted ( i can not find a nicer word for this) water over me. this was a symbol for the mirror that reflected their true identity.

talking to the audience afterwards helped me to understand their feelings. the majority of the males felt uncomfortable doing it because they know me personally. gay audience member enjoyed it and did not feel bad at all, i argue that’s because they are not used to sexualising breasts in the same way.  one female audience member felt sorry for me as a person because she felt bad for doing it.

 

i really enjoyed the process of this piece. giving myself a certain spontaneity helped me to be more flexible and think into different direction. the next step is to find a transition for it.

an experimentation, autonomous

This week i did an experiment. i was joined by three other people and together we sat in a circle of chairs, all closely together. the idea was to insult each other one at a time. i wanted to emphasize each insult and direct it at someone to strengthen its’ power. it was also important to let the insult sunk in to reach its full potential. the goal was to explore the weight of the insults and how the performers would experience it. furthermore did i want to know if there would be any boarders that no-one would cross.

at the beginning the insults stayed normal and well known. after a time the insults got more personal and attacking towards the person. after a while the tension went down and it felt natural to end the experiment.

i decided to talk with the others about how they felt during the act. they said even though the insults got heavier they still felt save because they knew the people they performed with. this made me wonder what would have happened if the participants were strangers?

the next step would be to invite an audience to see how they perceive it and if i could find a way to make the audience join the insulting.

Autonomous II

This week I focused my research more towards feminism and audience participation. One of my questions after the performance was “what relationship will I have with the audience. Marina abramovich is famous for her connection with the audience. The best example for this is her piece the artist is present, where she invited the audience to sit opposite from her one at a time. It is important for me to have a connection with the audience however I would like to have the control. I believe I would struggle if the audience has control over me and my body and can touch me the way they wanted. This is why I made the decision that the contact needs to come from me. That way I know that I will have the upper hand in the relationship and can explore it by my means.
when I was looking at feminism I started with myself. I want to establish my feminism because I believe that feminism has individual meaning for every person. This week I researched that by pure observation through that I was able to reflect on what I know and what I see in society and where I think changes need the be made.

Through homework I also start to explore Dada which I enjoyed. When I created my dada poem I used an online website that generates dada poems (MARK IT HERE). I really enjoyed that the website speed up the process. It shows us that art or anti-art can be quick and can benefit from the new technology.

For the performance element this week I did more of an experimentation. I thought the performance was for Friday, however it was on Thursday. Luckily I had an idea through a stimulating conversation with fellow students earlier on. I wanted to dress up as a catholic priest and sprinkle my audience with the holy water using a tampon. Afterwards Kieran would wipe away their sins with a sex whip (look up the right word for that). By putting me into the role of the priest I broke one of the church rules that a woman can’t be a priest. Furthermore, did I had the idea in my mind of virgin Mary interfering in the church’s business.   The holy water was sprinkled upon them with a tampon, which in our today’s society is seen as something clean and dirty often even shameful. Woman are not supposed to talk about their periods and not show the stuff (other word) they need for it. Kieran brushing away their sins was a symbol for an open sexuality that women cannot have the same way as men (rephrase). Due to my short preparation time and the audience reaction I wasn’t able to hold a straight face. I think that the performance would have a better effect if  wild be able to focus more. Because of that I made the decision to focus on my stage present next week. Now that I want to found a way to establish my relationship with the audience I need to be able to hold my focus and not step out of role.

CIRP 26.10.

After establishing my research topic earlier, this week I wanted to focus on rephrasing the idea and forming my final question/ statement. After my formative presentation I was advice to focus on the idea of interdependence. During reading week I did some brief research and found many areas in which abramovic used interdependence. I changed my question into: ‘Experience over originality: the influences on Abramovic’s work with emphasis on interdependence’. This phrasing however did not felt right. While it sounds very articulated and smart, it does not represent the idea truly. After conducting help from various lecture we together came up with the hopefully final phrasing of my dissertation: ‘Interdepence: the influences of Ritual, eastern cultures and ulay in abramovics work’I feel like that this phrasing gives me already a structure to hold unto. I have the main areas of research in there. My next steps are to write the proposal which I am constantly working on and which I find quite hard because of the new wordcount of 700 words and the structure which differes from a project proposal. But I keep hanging in there