Wednesday, 27 February 2008

your thoughts on the nunnery performance :)


if you took part in the (in)visible exchange performance, i hope that you found it a worthwhile experience. as its a temporal piece without any documentation of the actual ive event in the closet, only memories, if you would like to, please leave me your comments, feedback, suggestions, questions, memories, anything relating to your experiences of the performance to help me in developing future work, suggest potential venues, etc.

If you would prefer to email me your thoughts, my email is email me if you took the relic images away and have a photo or photo story to share of the images onward journey, i can post your photos and comments if you would like me to.

I am also keen to make contact with those exploring time based media and performance.

love to hear from you! any thing you had to leave a few words about this piece would be much appreciated.

harriet x

ps a few queries about this- to read or leave a comment just click on 'comments' at the bottom of this post, a new box appears for you to read or write your comment :)


rebecca said...

Like all good closets of childhood stories you enter a different world as you step in and the door closes behind you. And so I stepped from the familiar art show setting; noisy with chatter, bright lights and white walls in to the warm red womb of the closet. Safe and peaceful, even the exit is explained so that you understand there is no element of confinement involved!

As the experience begins I feel like I am watching a magic show, a story begins to unfold as Harriet lays out small treasures onto a sheet of paper.. Like a conjuror setting the scene as you are shown the cards before the trick. I love to hear the story too, a tale of that very step which takes you out of childhood. All the better because it is a genuine story, a real moment, a true transition.

In life we transfer these important moments, so laden with emotion onto the objects around us, even a ticket for a train can become an object which fills you with emotion, if that ticket was from the first day you spent with someone you’re in love with.

And so the object is now given a chance to transfer some of that magic, and to create an image. A light is shone on it… like the tale being told, or a connection being made. Then the paper swims and sways in the liquid, like emotions lapping the memory. And I watch, knowing what will come, and yet being captivated like a child watching snow fall, until the image appears.

Yet even as this transference is revealed it begins to fade. The moment is what is important; the emotion is what is important.

There is something very important about the telling of a personal tale, the sharing of a secret. As the confidant you can’t help but feel blessed to have someone share something personal with you, to be let in on their secret. The gift of this experience goes both ways and having been the listener, and initiated into the game, the tables then turn. I become the teller and now enjoy the gift of unburdening, unwinding my secret thoughts, and so I now pull out a little thing which hold my emotions, which has become entwined in my life. That secret stays in the closet, where secrets are traditionally supposed to reside. Like a small dark confessional where I was safe to reveal my true self, confess my feelings.
Now I must point out another connection which I made with this experience, that being Psychometry, but I’ll let the Wikipedia tell you about that because I have more than exceeded my lunch break already!
Psychometry (Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, "spirit, soul"; + μέτρον, metron, "measure") is a form of extra-sensory perception in which a psychic is said to be able to obtain information about an individual through paranormal means by making physical contact with an object that belongs to them. In recent years, the term has been superseded in favor of "token-object reading" so as to avoid potential confusion with the psychological term, "psychometry".
The term psychometry was coined by Joseph Rodes Buchanan in 1842. [2]Buchanan developed the theory that all things give off an emanation.[3]
"The past is entombed in the present, the world is its own enduring monument; and that which is true of its physical is likewise true of its mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand, the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation, while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism. Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history."[2]"
The concept of psychometry is a popular theme for stage act and Séance; with participants being asked to provide a personal object to be "read" by a medium or psychic.

Laura Smith said...

Hey lady!

Wow - from what Rebecca wrote it sounds like it is going really well!

Really looking forward to seeing you next week


Sally said...

First and most of all I'd like to say that I enjoyed the performance very much! Although I had seen the piece before the nannery show (in college during preparation and rehearsal)and already liked it there, the way it developed AND the way it fitted in the gallery was amazing! The closet was ideal with all the associations around hiding, sharing stories, etc. and the light and radio enhanced the whole atmosphere very nicely. I also liked the way you developed your performance in it, I found it had a good balance of relaxed intimacy and playful mood (which I think had a lot to do with the tone of your voice as well as the small gestures escorting the storytelling) and that actually allowed me to feel relaxed too and play along. And, despite the fact that there was no surprise for me since I knew what was next, I got so engaged again that I actually wanted to share an object again and tell its story and perform a small 'ritual' to get rid of the bad thoughts that came with it. And I took my photo back home with me.... :-)
It was a warm experience and a nice different 'touch' to the whole gallery space which was - as Rebecca said - noisy and bright and the familiar art show setting.
Well done, well done!

kj destruction said...

I didn't know really what to expect from this show... but came out with a happy beam and glow!

I felt slightly wary at the beginning as Harry started a conversation, as I wasn't sure whether she was just chatting or whether what I was saying was being judged or monitored in some way. But I slowly became intrigued by Harry's matchbox objects and the exposure etc processes. I had no idea I was going to be asked for some personal objects!

Sadly I had nothing in my pockets but had a silver sweet wrapper round my finger, as I habitually do if I've finished a packet of chewing gum. I was asked to tell the story behind it, and even though it was a tiny insignificant-seeming thing, it still had weight; I told Harry how I always did this with gum wrappers, making either a ring or a heart-shape which I'd give to Andy, my husband. So telling the story behind it and creating a photo made this small silver object SO special and significant, an expression of love! As I saw the heart-shape appear on the photo paper I almost wept it was so beautiful!
Am gutted it faded so quickly, as was desperate for it to stay so I could display it at home...

This was such a lovely piece - combining personal memories, storytelling, simple objects. Loved the fact that you were given options as to what to do with yours and Harry's photo.

Loved the big sunny grin on Andy's face when he came out too. Going into that cupboard and taking part was like a lovely luxurious massage for the soul...


harriet said...

hey there
wow! comments already- am so pleased- thank you:)

rebecca- i'm very taken and feel honoured by your description of the your experiences-thanks for taking the time to really show how it felt for you.

the magic show tickles me- i really enjoyed this bit of opening the matchbox full of the precious objects within- and you're right those seeming unimportant everyday objects can be clues to very significant events in peoples lives. keys were a particular one i encountered- people with redundant (in function) keys they couldnt bear to take off, keys to people's pasts they didn't quite want to part with.

i haven't come across psychometry, the term 'mental fossils' intrigues me, a kind of excavation of the pocket as the object emerges....

laura- honey- can't wait to see you in person! i felt it was exhausting but such an amazing collaborative experience. and thanks as ever for all your endless help!

sally- ah bless you, thanks so much for all your help in the run throughs! I'm glad you found the balance good between playful and intimate- this had been hard to work on but have greatly benefitted from your comments previously on relaxing and making the story more colourful with more personal details.

kerry- thanks so much honey for your comments- i feel although i have known you for ages i know a tiny little detail more! its great how your everyday activity after eating gum was shared so openly and i sensed very much you wanted to stop the image disappearing- how would this have worked for you if you had been given the option to fix it at a chosen point and stop it fading?


kj destruction said...

Yes I definitely would have wanted to keep it, I think personally it would have been nice to maybe be given the option of keeping the image? I think I'd have wanted that whatever the option!

But perhaps on the other hand, that's what you were trying to show - that things fade and we only have their memories? Maybe I need to be told!

harriet said...

kerry hon- yes this piece was intended to be about things fading completely as a temporal experience only fixed in our memories. but when i decided to give the option of releasing the 'relics' for an onward personal journey i'm now interested in whether it was my right to decide that it was to be left locked in the box without us seeing it, to almost completely die before deciding what to do with it and releasing it, or whether people should have been able to preserve it at the state it was at when the retelling the memory between the two of us ended? either removing it from the developer at the point sharing the memory finished and putting it in the bag or just fixing it at this point? the notion of the word 'fixed' as a physical act again however is problematic here. i actually do think personally overall for the nature of this particular piece it was important that the image would continue to fade, i'm just thinking about future collaborative/co-authorship work between me and a participant, questioning and playing around with the nature of photography matched to emotional impact

Sally said...

Hello Harry,
Well, I intended to leave you a post soon after the show while my thoughts and memories were still vivid and kind of true to the immediate experience. Still, it's interesting now to reflect on what still lingers one and a half weeks on. Your piece created an intimate moment, all the more special as each person seemed to have a different experience and so it felt that we shared something together. Entering the space from the harsh hubbub of the private view, where people squeeze past each other and we stand with beer in hand and heavy bags from the day, I felt like time slowed. Radio 3 soothed the world outside to a distance and you had my full attention. I loved to be able to choose what to do with our print - somehow giving me ownership of this validated our moment. Normally when you enter a dark room in an art show you are challenged, made to feel uncomfortable or some such thing. Something different happened here which made me think about what art could be, all the more interesting within the broader exhibition. What I liked especially was how I was interwoven into a narrative and allowed to end the story myself. Can't wait to see where this takes you next! xxxxx

Mz. Noodle said...

hey there,

I've been having a tough time trying to figure out what to write mainly because I was documenting the performance while I was experiencing it. I almost feel like what I taped is my feedback.

I do think that stripping it down to focus on the exchange of stories was great. You were able to keep things moving fluidly through the performance and had come up with smooth ways to present the developer, etc.

I also really liked being given the option of what to do with the "photos" at the end.

I want to say something about the selection of story, but I can't really think what. I'm wondering whether it was the nature of your story (about transition out of childhood) made the object more compelling, or if it's the other way round.

Definitely interested to see where you go with that intersection of story/image/object.