Thursday, 31 July 2008

thoughts from stand up into live art

Specifically on the storytelling front:
  • I really need to practice telling stories, and the mood I want to create to draw people in and keep them there- pacing is crucial.
  • The naturalness side is bugging me massively in what I have set myself up for in the 2 shed MA show- need to look at this in the storytelling live and then via walkie talkies- how the transmitting the story changes it when I'm not physically present- this is the weakest side of the show to work on over the next month. When am I telling a story too falsely???? Need to be more self aware- video, dictaphone, my new friends : ) to put trials on my blog for feedback.
  • More Spalding Gray et al research. Analyse live examples more like i did on the stand up course - style, techniques, not just his writing.
  • Devise a plan for some experiments and re read autobiographical storytelling works.
  • When to use humour or when not? Am I trying too hard to be funny in the MA show- to push the eccentricity?
  • Where does the non-verbal fit into this- manipulation of the objects, gaze.I really enjoy handling objects to bring alive key moments
  • Can I do the first shed part much more through the photo album imagery and objects- like i'm telling story through the object? Or writing? Thinking back to Julia Bardsleys Trans-Acts where live self was entirely non-verbal yet you read a narrative- maybe there's a middle ground- but basically i do think in the shed i say too much.
  • Can I devise the same story but through object and image and then find the mid ground? But also need to be tough on self about Nanny's story- some of its not interesting- opens up issues of authenticity and autobiography. be critical of self for the story- take it apart, what does each part add to the performance?
  • How then, does the story work with the photographic elements.
  • research more on family album use, content, layout, labels, 'create' one from flickr??? use own photos??
  • consider more critically the relationship between image and word- the idea of 'a picture speaks a thousand words.' what do i not need to actually say by showing???

stand up first gig 23 july 08- Feedback and reflections

Stand up first gig feedback- some comments emailed/said to me.
(Thanks to Cat, Lena, Sally B, Lou, Chris)

1.What you liked, enjoyed about my performance
- I thought your performance was really enjoyable and different. I felt like I was swept up in a tangent with you, had no idea where it was leading but with hilarious results! I wasn't sure at first how it was going to come together. What I really enjoyed was the fact that you didn't deliver joke after joke but lead us into a strange narrative and didn't pause for reactions or laughter. Just kept on and we had to listen to keep up. Both halves of the performance were very funny (by the second half we trusted you to continue to be funny).
- liked the keen fashions and taking the mic off the stand. like the storytelling aspect
- it was quirky and very different - opened my eyes up to the bizarre world of wreaths!
MY REFLECTION- definitely like the different comment and strange narrative, tangential- my aim to be! But how to work on this so its kept to time and tangent is still ending up relevant.

2. What you didn't like so much, what could i work on more
- i don't know how to work on it, but it's mainly the nerves. audiences respond well to confidence but often people are shy about laughing - they don't want to laugh when no one else does (well most people) and take their cues from each other and you. if you get up there and believe you're going to make them laugh they start to believe it.
- try not to read out comments. try to memorise them. the funeral wreath photos were bloody funny but reading from notes made it feel a little like reportage rather than a routine. only a little mind - don't think many people would've noticed.
- I think the beginning bit about the owls was weaker than the second half - maybe it needed more explanation
MY REFLECTION- the owl material needed greater embellishing and being more fluid – up the pace- it came out piecemeal due to nerves. The flickr comments were from a page off the internet supposed to reinforce the flickr source but maybe re-think?

3. Did you feel 'in the moment' at any points, if so when more, or if not, when not
- When you were talking about something that made you smile it felt really genuine, you came across as enthusiastic. I felt in the moment when we really began to laugh in the first half, maybe it was when you were talking about granny making her evil smells! And then when you showed the first pictures from flickr.
- not entirely sure what you mean by in the moment but did laugh hard at the funeral stuff. the owls story was funny but more of a smile funny than a chuckle.
- I definitley felt in the moment when you were talking about the wreaths

MY REFLECTION- its about me holding the attention, engaging in what I’m saying or doing- keeping the intrigue

4.The storytelling- structure, fluidity, engagement with it, interest in it
Your pace and enthusiasm seemed better in the second half, you were more confident
-I suppose the beginning is delivered in a surreal story where we have to trust that you are taking us somewhere interesting/funny – when you are funny in a delightfully odd way we are with you. Then you can talk about the nanny/cats and maybe keep this to two funny points, then lead to the tributes and again keep it short and sweet. Hit us with some really funny ones and then leave us laughing!
MY REFLECTION- needs to be tighter, more on the surreal- world’s colliding

5. The stories about granny/owls- any comments good/bad
- It seemed rough, but could work because it helps paint the portrait of
your gran.
- not sure that all of the audience followed this. i liked it but when you go into that level of detail it's something that you need to work more on or even revisit. more stuff about owl wreaths maybe? a mock up of how it would've looked with the ball of wool bum owl?
- I think it was funny but maybe a tad too long about the owls
MY REFLECTION- owls either needs to go or weave into the cat wreath section.

6. I was going to bring out owl ornaments as props/photo of the owls on the toilet shelf- would this have worked/been needed?
I really think you're good with the props and that your relationship to objects and the narratives you build around them is really strong and interesting in both live art and stand up contexts.
- I think it could work, but you'd really have to play with timing, tone, and how you present the objects to us.
- I don't think you needed owl props as I found your description vivid enough. I think most people can bring to mind a similar collection of something in their granny's loos!
- may be a bit fussy to set it all up but might have helped people visualise the different owls
- Yes I think ornaments or pictures would have really helped as it was difficult to imagine which is perhaps why I found it less amusing
MY REFLECTION- Not sure I need to physically visualise everything- needed better storytelling as this could have been too lazy?- leave some parts to mental picture or build up something in a completely different way to what it I then produce it looks like?

7. Stories about nanny/cats- any comments good/bad
- The cat hair on the drink was good and very evocative, can just visualise you and your bro looking at each other while drinking from them. That triggered memories of how awkward you can feel as a kid when something is really grossing you out but you live with it out of politeness.
- cats & nannies always quite funny - especially when both are incontinent. not sure the cat hair round the rim of the glass had a punchline. more of a statement that you got it and your bro didn't. explains the cat hating but maybe could go deeper?
MY REFLECTION- many different reactions to the cat hair part- and for the live art version- needs revisiting- what sort of humour am I exploring? Why?

8. Thoughts on the floral tributes section- what i said about them including use of images, could you see them ok, did they work being held?
- You could cut down some of the comments left by people on flickr and take more time to deliver the ones you leave in. I think it will have more impact if it's short and succinct with fewer examples as the first ones were really hilarious.
-Could see the images very well and I think they enhanced that section. It was something different and we weren't expecting it.
- could see them fine. in that type of environment don't know how else you could do it without causing quite a kerfuffle. you don't want to loose minutes to set up time
MY REFLECTION- yes to keeping it in weaving into the imagery the cat story so whole set has photo element? How to display in the 5 min set??

9. If i was to develop this floral tributes visual section- any suggestions how?
- just work on the pacing. The photos are hilarious. You just need to really practice how, what, and when you comment on them.
- I don't think it needed anything - it was perfect
MY REFLECTION- pacing and review comments- do I need the flickr names?

10. To turn from a 9min to a 5 minute set- which should be definitely kept in and what to lose
- it built up to a peak and guess if you've got stricter time limits next time you'll have to find a way to get there quicker.
- liked the structure but if going to have less time need to compress the first half. it was fluid, with less nerves would be even more so
- Lose the owls if you have to as the wreath stuff was enough material on it's own
MY REFLECTION- if I do something with the owls the worlds colliding needs to be shorter and funnier- weave around the photos, find owl floral tribute?!

11. How i came across as a performer- entrance, across the set, my confidence
-Stage presence - might be interesting to play with extremes a bit more for on stage. There is that difference in proximity. When you do stand-up as with any traditional acting, you have to "play to the back of the house" which means amplifying everything you do so it reads. You had this deadpan, slow, deliberate air about you when you walked up on stage and I was interested to think that you might do a really bored, almost monotone presentation of your cat story. I think that could potentially be really hilarious. Kind of along the lines of when you have your serious air in your closet pieces and look around at the audiences. It might also be interesting to try punctuating that with bits of extreme manic-ness where you talk really fast and/or maybe start pulling lots of tat out of a box or a bag.
- When you came on the stage you moved the mic but I don't think you looked at the audience. So maybe you could look at us and smile if you did that again. You then have our attention and it looks like you're in charge. Once you got into the flow you came across as confident and enjoying the experience. I think you played with your hair a couple of times which betrayed your nerves, if you didn't do that I wouldn't have known.
- good stage presence. a little nervous but that may be cause we're friends. think others only picked up on it when you paused.
- You came across as coolly (is that a word??!) confident and had a really good dead pan quality....very dry. Nice recovery from corpsing too, you did really well
MY REFLECTION- I was horrifically nervous and glad I did this in the run up to the MA show for confidence building- as relaxed and enjoyed it after a minute! MUST push the deadpan- practice this looking bored- very Martin Parr : |)

12. if you were to describe my stand up persona - what would you say?!
- Your stand up persona is interesting because you started with something quirky where it wasn't clear how we would relate to it, then you won us over through being really funny and then the flickr tributes were a different kind of humour, though still on the quirky animal tip the humour was more mainstream. I think it was interesting to have the two together as it meant I wouldn't always know what to expect from you, wouldn't be able to pigeon hole you. You know sometimes you get quirky female comics who play for laughs either through doing the desperate and slightly scary act or downright weird, yet you were something else, a bit more on our level but with the possibility of going in unexpected tangents.
- persona seemed like you.
- Quirky, off beat, dry, witty
MY REFLECTION- supposed to be me- pleased that came across. The humour being more mainstream with the images needs work- weaving with owls/cats should help. Consider more entrance/exit.

13. Your overall thoughts
- I felt like you really came alive once you had the photos to play off of. Definitely focus on that.
- A flat beginning but after your pause it was hilarious- you were storming!
- I think you have something genuinely funny and different to offer!
- The narrative was really strong.
- great stuff!
- I was very impressed and think you're very brave....and funny too! Well done

My aim was to try out and expand on the MA show material, explore spontaneity, intimacy, being in the moment. Lots to take form this gig, to refine for the second one on 21st August. A woven tale of imagery and cats and owls- timed to 5 minutes- got to ensure it still feels fresh and engaging and not over rehearsed.

The main thing that came out of this whole experience was being able to play with photography in a new way- as a prop, which i started with erasing a photo of the cat wreath in the Live Art version, but now developed a new perspective. in the live art version, doug had suggested a photo of me and nanny in the photo album to set the scene, which i wasn't sure was needed, but now i can consider, that by doing that non-verbally, what then, doesn't need to be said.

David Harradine: Live pinhole performance

from suna imra's website


Haven't had a chance to blog about this performance as I have been madly immersed in dissertation world- alongside Paul Jeff in Polis, the most connected to my practice. Would love to interview David Harradine for the First hand study required for the MA, and also as i think we share a lot of common interests.

David Harradine’s Dancing Time: A Photographic Performance Marathon (2008) explores the act of pinhole photography as a live witnessed experience for the spectator. The collaboration between art and science is described as a “part performance, part installation, part experiment, and part process of making and taking photographs.” (Harradine: 2008.) In this performance, on 18th July at the Wellcome Trust, (Shifts in Perception) the London based centre for medical research, Harradine works in an interdisciplinary way bringing the theories of the science of X Ray Crystallography into representations of it through live sound, dance, lighting manipulation, with live pinhole photography recording the visual traces of the dancers’ movements. The pinhole element is as black rectangular boxes on stands round the edges of the stage, positioned as if they are the front row as spectators, the audience behind them: their prime viewing position records the unfolding action and becomes, as Barthes referred to cameras, “clocks for seeing.” (Barthes: 1980: 15.) The ‘visibility’ connection between X Ray Crystallography and photography is particularly noteworthy: the former concerned with a way of seeing things under the microscope aiding greater understanding of the molecular structure of living organisms, and the latter a visible record of part of the performance’s duration, through the science of photographic image-making “of persistence, of the temporal effort of becoming visible.” (Harradine: 2008) The performance painstakingly evolves over many hours: dancers appear to move slowly through space, creating elongated and curled forms with their bodies, using lifecycle themes of growth, decay and death, responding to gradually emerging and sometimes obscure sounds. Simultaneously Harradine allows the pinhole cameras, one at a time, to ‘perform’ by him reaching in and removing a taped shutter over the pinhole, exposing a latent image tracking the solid and gestural forms of the dancers bodies. This is clearly all orchestrated as a meticulous process for Harradine: he maps out the dancers and camera into a grid which has lights positioned over each one, and he uses a timer and notebook to record, it seems, the length of exposure time, with the completed exposures culminating in piling up the cameras. At several points I witnessed in this event, possibly to aid the sustainability for the durational nature of continuous body action, the white light that had been selectively controlled to expose the portraits, plunges to red light, the tradition of the darkroom, and the performers appear to sit and rest. Meanwhile, Harradine had disappeared to another room, to develop his pinhole images, emerging after a few minutes with the boxes refuelled with photographic paper, to exhibit through masking tape the resulting pinhole images, on the white walls around the room. The spectatorship is therefore two fold: the event of the act of photography of the images being recorded, and the viewing of the distorted, ghostly imagery as exhibited outcomes they have seen evolving, as well as to previously created ones. The spectator to this event is not party to the photographic processing, where there could have been a greater reality of the science theory behind the work. This results in the idea that the spectator is partially given a greater reality of the act of photography, alongside outcomes they both did and did not witness the creation of. The temporality of the performance and of photography remains quite separate as the photographs survive the event: the act of photography elongates the time the spectator witnesses the work, for Harradine, presents us with a combined process-driven, and outcome-based practice.

A collaboration between Suna Imra and David Harradine

David Harradine, 2008, Dancing with time leaflet from the Wellcome Trust event, Shifts in Perception.
Roland Barthes, 1980, Camera Lucida.

a tasteful sendoff? from floral tributes to coffins

creative coffins can design you a coffin with 'gone to seed' on it for sheddies when they pass away- caption was ' A SHED TO DIE FOR'

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Post MA- October shows

FIRST SHOW: show at the shed-and-a-half gallery as part of photomonth east london 2008: what not to wear? The proposed event, what not to wear? explores the relationship between the redundant and the nostalgic through the dual narrative of past-industrial site of a haberdashery factory and redundant items of clothing we no longer wear. The two sheds of the Shed-and-a-half gallery are also important as both a site of secrecy, and where forgotten or discarded items end up.

This proposal is for a two phase event on 23rd and 25th October 2008:
Thursday 23rd October 2-6.15pm one-to-ones, What not to wear- CLOTHING Intimate performances for one at a time in a staged darkroom exploring photograms; performances will tell the story of a participants unwanted item of clothing, all imagery and remnants of clothing to pile up in the half shed as an installation.

Thursday 23rd October 6.30-9 private view, What not to wear - PHOTOS A collective experience sharing photos of audience members in our forgotten/embarrassing/lost items of clothing, mediated through photographic manipulation of the live projected destruction of the clothing’s image contained in photographs within the sheds. Possibly onto garments/cloth hanging on washing line.

Saturday 25th October 12-4 one-to-ones, What not to wear- CLOTHING Intimate performances for one at a time continue.
Saturday 25th October 4.30-6
What not to wear- FINAL EVENT. Installation viewing of relics of performances in the half shed, as a single group 4.30-5, followed by post show discussion in a nearby venue tbc upon booking.
NB All events strictly by booking only to, stating event title in the header. Participants will need to bring items for the selected event, further details upon booking.

SECOND SHOW: Show in Vauxhall Tavern, 18th October with Andrew Mitchelson and Oreet Ashery. Unfortunately its not possible to use the City farm allotments with sheds. details tbc, but intention is to be a site responsive piece taken from my MA shed show- site visit planned.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

first ever stand up gig 23rd july- chapel bar, angel's the set i did and the photos of the floral tributes i discussed in the second half (i think this was definitely the best bit)- they are in the order down this page. more to follow on reviewing this experience post dissertation and what it offers for my MA work! images thanks to flickr.

from here

from here

from here
from here

from here

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

stand up evening class at CSM- work in progress

i think its useful to put this on here for how i tell stories in different ways. although the outcome is different from stand up to my live art work, i need to reflect on how i work with material that's scripted and that's more spontaneous- this feels like its flows more in the description of nanny's cat objects than in my live art MA work, but i got caught up in projections (the floral tributes are via photos on a screen) and holding internet printouts and holding mic- too much pfaffing. seeing how it feels in saying it rather than writing and re-writing. i have a dictaphone now to help me explore this-all good :) i feel more comfortable, more me working with personal material-keeping nanny, and the floral tributes images form flickr (this is thought of as my best material) back to previous material to explore about being dressed in swimming trunks rather than a swimsuit as a kid, and family trait verging on OCD of being a serial checker-of-things. however, what is happening in being on a taught course, is i'm finding it difficult weeding out comic devices that suit my persona- but i guess unless you test you won't know. but, the thing i really need to address is that i feel i sound more interesting to listen to, i feel here, that i did in the scratch? where's this fit with the past grad forum? comment at the end i like are about getting back to being more deadpan, like at the start of the course (oh to unlearn) and to ensure we all feel we are all right there, in the moment....

listening to this over again, needs to be faster, sharper, more contrasts! wedding cakes- to go- try printing out images A2 to hold up rather than projecting, with written info on the back?- or do i need the images- is the mental visualisation better?

Saturday, 12 July 2008

the sheds for the MA show? yikes....

Walton's shed 10' x 6' foot from here

Walton's shed 6' x 4' from here

can be stained same colour, windows open in larger shed so i could pass things through window possibly. gingham curtains/nets/neutral in windows as well as proper blackout.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Possible rough ground plan of MA show? and some more thoughts for today

good ole post its ;)

I think this sets the scene well for mobility to and around space from the metal stairwell at top, and means the smaller shed is partially hidden. distance between sheds unclear yet- need more experiments with lenses.

need to celebrate and push the eccentricity of the piece now-the mad, playfulness of it in the uses of different technologies, and work on natural self, once dissertation out of way, re-read more non-matrixed, autobiographical performance, engaging with participation theory/ others' works, ensuring work is framed correctly. there are lots of technical issues- least of all getting and building sheds! plus possibly getting a lens with a better diaopter (try +0.5 rather than + 1 and see what happens)

MA Scratch Show two- 10th July- flower stories

Participant one- Ema (thank you!) This is really interesting for me to reflect back on as the one-to-ones I have not recorded before apart from for demo purposes due to their private nature- but recorded its a work in progress to aid development- and am glad i did.

points to note;

  • opened with' tell me your connection to this flower.' is this good? possibly this piece is about floral tributes/dedications like my cat wreath story? name of person left on the tag in the pot?
  • i don't think i listen and respond directly to the participant enough on this occasion- could have encouraged them to talk more about their nan, i notice i steer the conversation back to the flower itself rather than centre on the story they are actually sharing- maybe look at more ways of keeping it centred on the person. more eye contact (need to seriously get into this more in this whole performance- i think i did in the nunnery/EEC as the tight proximity dictated by small space encourage intimacy and I felt very engaged- sitting down we seem to be further away or slightly turned away?! staging needs considering which will come once sheds erected.
  • the spray bottle doesn't allow for the image to be recognised enough as a flower-if at all. possible other shed technology- doug suggested jam jar and paint brush. its difficult as i have used this photogram technique many times now but i think people still want to be able to see the image. however the splattering effect resembles soil- more testing needed.
  • i felt the image developed far too quickly- greater dilution/less time- experiment
  • must consider flow of audience from part one big shed into part two- increase audience size? however- i disagree as i feel its a personal one-to-one event
  • it was suggested people could write the story on the label and plant it instead of tellign me- but this goes against the private sharing in the shed, fleeting materiality of the story, unless they wrote it in ink which fades (or maybe lets not get so Columbo/Miss Marple!!)

'dying' photogram planted with the growing, re potted flower. need to get proper garden centre labels cut to the appropriate size. what to do with the bits not selected?

rough 6 x 4 foot space- this little shed will be a photographic workroom so no need to be temporal workstation (and it would be too time consuming to keep taking it all out and putting it all away)- have the technology hanging up/on shelves/table/workbench? the temporality is centred here on the image and the shared story.

mini-garden/ planters area. the area would have the labels being planted around the flowers

MA Scratch Show Two- 10th July-granddads story

Ok- have decided that I don't want to put the video on here for this part as it gives the game away too much about use of the walkie talkies. It was fantastic for me to be able to review though as i wasn't physically present and saw the other side of the performance.

some points;

  • people really liked the use of walkie talkies-nice playful surprise
  • possible technical issues with use of the devices- get the balance between instructions and the story told
  • use of light to see the device- bigger/another one?
  • use of shelves/wall mounted elements
  • possibly open the lens cover outside myself? rather than fiddling with blinds?
  • difficult to find me on the ceiling using the mirror-reconsider how this is carried out/where images projects- this will be re-staged anyway in new shed, but needs careful consideration of inverting image and seeing what i'm doing outside
  • hard to hear some things on walkie talkie
  • interference from site staff's walkie talkies- added to it. however, what if this interferes so much you lose my use of it? needs investigating
  • push the nostalgia/quirkiness of the whole piece
  • doesn't matter if i need to come back into the big shed to help use walkie talkies- adds to the natural nature of the work
  • embellish granddad story more with details about his shed/activities/magic image- visualise the change now from the campfire presence with me in the room, my secrets shared, to the removal of me and mediated story, as though hearing secrets now from granddad's shed, granddad's secrets, where i have 'gone to'

MA Scratch Show Two- PART ONE- cat wreath story- PERSONA OF SELF

ok- so this time more natural persona from tuesday scratch one, but story bit muddled, bumbling along. need to really focus on persona for the final show, and look at non-matrixed ideas, autobiographical self, conversational self, spalding gray. what to take from stand up- yes, elements of polishing up the story itself, but not the way it is told. work on developing and rehearsing a more structured script, editing some areas and more details in others, recording self over and over again so it feels entirely natural. the problem i'm having is its not the first time i've said it and its losing something in the re-telling; in places i think i sound bored even in places , too many, 'er, em', if I try to script it I can build in some of these elements. It was pointed out that I was more natural in the flower story part two (photograms) that's probably because it flows in natural, spontaneous real time,
I'm not remembering lines or worried about saying the wrong thing, I just respond directly to the participant- i feel much more comfortable with this in this situation. Would it help me if the part one was less me speaking uninterrupted? The 6 to 1 ratio is also harder to work with- eye contact was something I didn't do very much and it was picked up by most people in the feedback. So, script development and practising into a dictaphone. The post grad forum cat wreath story was still the tidiest storytelling, easiest to follow and less tangential and shouldn't be perfect and should allow for natural flaws in delivery but still be able to conjure up an atmosphere of round a campfire, enticing you to keep listening. i'm wondering if its a bit too formal in this part- especially the opening- 'my nan's last wish was...' and think of a more relaxed first line?

  • possible use of photo of nan in album to introduce the photo album at the beginning which is brought out later for the cat wreath erasing? is this too obvious though- i quite like the mental visualising. Try it and see!
i feel caught up in my approach to writing stand up- a few key headings and the sequence to tell them, and then just improvising naturally as it feels, keeping it entirely fluid, although hyper. need to find a happy ground to keep it fluid, engaging, yet appear unrehearsed and natural for the MA work, to keep it fresh.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

MA Scratch Show One- 8th July- photos of cat wreath story

MA Scratch Show One- 8th July- videos of the work-in-progress

this is all such an incredible rush to evaluate and revise ready for the second scratch version here's my best bash at it....

to compare to this one from post grad forum 12th june 08;

reflections on these;
  • scene set with the objects laid out more in post grad version. i tried to hold back on this in the scratch- putting out the table cloth etc sets a nostalgic/old lady scene immediately, and i wanted to try to centre the attention on visualising from my verbal storytelling, that the objects i produce from the suitcase are there to erase the image. doug thought that the objects should be brought out during. i'm unsure- the thing that came up with the nunnery was watching the image and watching me when happened at same time. try out the post grad forum way in scratch two
  • the story was too much like a performative monologue- needs to be more conversational and natural more like the post grad forum, but sharper, shorter? script it?
  • too much borrowed from stand up in scratch one-tone it down, more down the pub conversation
  • liked the amber lighting although need portable light as mrpoe shed technology
  • doug felt the photography was getting lost in the performance- however on reflection i disagree as part two flower stories it is at the heart of the performance, however story could emphasise more on the photography side in it- shed camera obscura
  • monty python did a sketch with sheds- maybe look at this if interested in developing the humour side
  • use more shed technolgy eg homemade speakers to amplify sound in the shed from when i'm outside
  • maybe break up the story going outside shed mid way? possibly too much talking at the audience?

Ok- so things to try out;
  • Less performative self-script the story and edit it more
  • Investigate shed technology for sound and try out
  • More relationship between inside and outside the shed with the story- poss try out granddad story entirely from outside?
  • Tighten up the instructions to participants if they are to control the mirror etc
  • need to make a better makeshift smaller shed for demo purpose of intentions- cardboard?
Flower story- to do;
  • layout of 6 x 4 foot shed
  • more blackout
  • test garden spray bottle (shed technology) and timings
  • make a makeshift little garden for flowers for people to pick outside the shed
  • consider my role in this- facilitator, how to start and lead the stories?

MA Scratch Show One- 8th July- homemade speakers-thoughts

ok- so it was suggested yesterday in the first scratch of my MA show to think more about the shed technology overall- one thing in this manicly short space of time to think about adapting for scratch two tomorrow.
this was thought especially towards audio (if i was to try not being in the shed myself all the time or not at all, and instead being in the other shed.) the suggestion was for simple home made speakers- along the lines of tin can telephone technology-although this requires taught string to work. I had intended to get a camping/shed light to hang up as the source of light in the room rather than the angle poised light which needs electricity, so need to investigate more of this sort of stuff which can be temporal, brought out and put away.

some first investigations into homemade speakers just to see what's out there on the www; using household materials. however this is about amplifying the sound from an the low cost :)

or the recycled boom box speaker phones? this is very one-to-one, and very granddad

is there anything more like the tin can string idea? the other idea I'm pondering is to use walkie talkies- this and baby monitors has come up in my research as to how people communicate from the shed to the house. (usually, your dinner's ready, x is on the phone, etc) but, does this lose the being together in the moment, present-ness, proximity? NEEDS TESTING! the camera obscura image will be far away of me unless sheds very close together- try standing much closer to the window? Does this suddenly become a one-on-one, walkie talkie to walkie talkie, scenario? or do the 6 people huddle round the walkie talkie in the shed? how are they given the walkie talkie? is it still a one-way conversation? if so, people will have the controls or maybe the thinking as its a two way device, they should be responding? I'm not going to solve this by the second scratch tomorrow but could beg/borrow some walkie talkies and try something out?....although the point was that the big shed participants were to be as though spying on me via the camera obscura image- so the walkie talkie use dispels that myth- or does it -aarggh....i think on...maybe its a piece where half the time i'm in the big shed and half via walkie talkie with me outside 'in the other shed?' how would this change the piece?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

MA Scratch Show One- 8th July- setting up-cntd

defining the provisional shed size- 10 x 6 foot

the sky projecting from outside

objects for the story

MA Scratch Show One for 8th July-setting up-the aperture

above from my blog post 14th may- knot in the wood in my parents' shed inspiring and linking camera obscura magic and magic and secrecy of sheds and feeding directly into the story- found the link!!

image much sharper smaller hole (0.8cm) but barely visible on overcast day. 1cm much better with a sharp focus within the 10 x 6 ft box area.

research into focal length and holes versus lenses- tried a +1 close up filter which give a diaopter focal length of 2 metres, and a much brighter image.

different use of masks size, depending on where to reflect or screen image. blackout to change between parts of story where image is projecting

Thursday, 3 July 2008

stand up storytelling & martin parr

above images from Signs of the times, a portrait of the nations taste, 1992, Nicholas Barker & Martin Parr. The blurb on the back of the book states, "A photographic comedy of manners...both hilarious and serious." I particularly like this work as a very wry look at people's personal lives, in the most intimate space- the home, association we have with objects and calls into question taste.

martin parr- new brighton-from here

ok- so as the MA scratch approaches need to shape up on the storytelling side of things-think about how i possibly want to work with stories- make them more engaging? this is not the actual stories themselves but their style,structure, devices, ways of working with the audience. am finding lots of good ideas and material in looking at stand up comedy- which very much focuses on being in the real moment between audience and performer. following the one day course i did in april which got me started on the idea that comedy for me brings martin parr's witty/sharply observational style of photography to life, i started another this week as an evening class for 4 weeks resulting in a show (yikes- but all good practice for the MA show in september.) stand up by its nature is intimate, spontaneous, and the style i am enjoying exploring is conversational, observational, autobiographical- the autobiographical, being yourself, a key feature of the non-matrixed performance style i employ. i am interested in how this use of humour (the darker the better- thinking about shredders in my MA work-haha!) can work as a marked contrast to my photographic process where images are erased, mortal, die, gone.

this new class is giving me lots of new ideas for ways of working with material, and how important is really in the way you present things to the audience- hooking them into my world. i haven't yet thought about which bits are going to be good for my MA work and which wouldn't work- we'll see :) i have over the two classes so far tried out a range of devices for telling stories, particularly thinking about jack dees style, techniques.

Things we have talked about;
  • Use of mime- drawing pictures through gesturing
  • Sound effects- of things breaking, exploding (this i'm not into particularly-naff)
  • Anthropomorphism- human voices or attitude to animal, machine etc (again not sure in my MA work)
  • Use of detail- incredible detail to the overlooked or insignificant and less so to the important things
  • Direct speech-taking you right into the situation
  • caricature- simplifying, exaggerating people
  • Is like- this is like that -arguing with partner is like arguing with a barrister
  • superimposing eg family situation is like being in the courtroom, or superimposing things/devices used in work onto family situation (or me- eg proforma of the office worker in leroy st, onto the exchange of personal items)
  • bathos- build something as really important that collapses into the trivial
  • Questions- opening up communication between you and audience-helps you relax?
  • Repetition- of phrases
  • Framing- starting with a frame of association that may connect you with your audience?
I developed a story i told at the start of the class about a situation that keeps repeating itself, suing the above. I worked with a really annoying inherited family trait I have- being a serial checker, verging on OCD, working with extremes of contrast and the above ideas- useful for me to find what styles/devices I like.
Feedback I got;
  • fabulous energy-hooks you into my world straight away
  • very detailed- eg wedgewood pot where i'm supposed to keep my keys
  • scene was set well, framed well
  • strong use of mime- drawing a picture- felt very visual
  • strong use of mixture of fast and slow, loud and quiet to keep you interested
  • very likable
  • make more eye contact
  • interesting use of lists
  • use of swearing was good- very funny.
  • possibly not moral ending- keep it ending on a strong visual picture
  • strong use of anthropomorphism
we also talked about how to write stand up- from scripting and learning the whole thing, to jotting down key points and heading of an order, or to do it all ad lib, in your head. i think i sit in the middle on this :) allowing room for responding to the audience.
and next week we have to look outward not inward which will be a good challenge for me to compare- am thinking about the floral tributes found on flickr-maybe working with using the visual image directly- and see how this alters things for me. this will help as in the post grad forum, the showing the cat wreath image was said by some to spoil the way i'd built up a mental picture and almost then ruined the punchline? what about now if i start with these- what happens?-will the image need little verbalising and speak for itself or verbally can i offer a marked contrast to what you see- eh superimposing something? more performative lecture?

am feeling that this class is giving me lots of confidence but that possibly many of the devices might not work in my MA context so well- but all great experience and lots more to learn and play with. the extreme contrasts between image being erased/fading and funny anecdotes , yes. its just a matter of finding a style that i feel best works without feeling too constructed and still natural, still me :) i think i continue to work on a set for the stand up gig and a story for my MA show and see how they link up. once i work out the story in relation to the camera obscura- need to consider situating the audience within it- active/passive etc, does it actually become a conversation?

SCRATCH FOR MA SHOW!!! camera obscura- too obscure a link to storytelling?

ok- so am struggling a little having spent years researching sheds in time for the scratch, and now having decided not to go ahead and get sheds in place for the scratch (what if they weren't the right size, needed different windows etc) and instead am doing a mock up in the portakabins for first scratch tuesday at WCA of the first half of my MA show, simulating a shed.

i'm wondering about the relevance of my cat wreath story now to the shed- maybe its a new story needed or just needs to have details added? I'm still keen on the suspended mortality of the flower idea which happens in the second half one-to-ones. have decided i'm unsure so tomorrow afternoon will be about making the camera obscura and playing around with ideas inside it with mirrors, tracing paper, lenses, to then work on the story over the weekend.

i need to reflect why i like the camera obscura idea for these particularly chosen reasons, linked to my last post on aberlado morell- which are annotated now;

  • 'a cityscape becomes the rooms torment or its wish'
i like this as it suggests a human relationship between the internals and external worlds- very shed like-dens, secrecy,public,private
  • outside world inside
  • a spy on the surrounds
this is nice as i can think about this relationship in terms of why- something afar from you is occurring and you can see it but it can't see you? why and what is this-spying on me in the little shed or i communicate non-verbally through the image to the big shed, maybe beckoning them to come out to me
  • low budget, endlessly repeatable
this works with the idea of the suitcase full of all the objects i use for the story being set out and put away upon leaving, and temporality- shutting the door will cause the image to appear, opening it, the image disappears.
  • being present in the moment unfolding real time before you layers of meaning
no video camera or pre-recorded, just light:)
  • interesting juxtaposition and dialogue between the internal and external contents, subject, composition, layering fleetingly
the actions outside casting an image on the things inside-people, objects, the textures of the shed walls, tracing paper screens maybe?

however, the most pressing issue is finding a coherent link between sitting in an upside down image inside a camera-obscura-shed and storytelling??? or should i be inverting the image?

possibly a story about things that go on in sheds (and boy, do i know a few good tales from my research) including building a camera obscura with granddad in his shed on a sunday afternoon or is this too obvious?, or can i build this into my story-maybe using my little camera obscura, passing it round, leaving, then the shed-camera-obscura happens? or shall i try to invert the image? think about the 45 degree mirror principles of the SLR?

the other thing bothering me in devising is that every option i'm working through requires another person to help facilitate it (pulling up blinds, holding things outside in front of lens) -or is this a bad thing- do i actually need someone else to be of benefit, building in another person as an usher/assistant/facilitator, and if so, who?)

so...i'm thinking that i need to play in the portakabin camera obscura and take it from there....

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

georgina starr image never leaves me.....

am walking round with this image on my phone, its really how i want to be in my show and i keep pondering how to get about me walking around the outside of the big shed projected in through the camera obscura idea, then entering and sitting down with my suitcase of storytelling tricks and photo erasing equipment??? and then packing everything away and going into the little shed for phase 2 one-to-one stories? am i getting closer?......i keep thinking bascially the same idea in slightly different ways!