Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Model Adventure

                                                                         "The Opening"-Chloe Cornell


by Antony Gormley, WHITE CUBE Bermondsey Nov28 12 - Feb10 13

You wander into a darkened passage, crouching down. Inside the narrow confines of the tunnel it is pitch black. Suddenly the passage ahead widens out into a room, or at least that's what the echos tell you. You can't see your hands let alone a wall, so you feel your way around the room, mapping it out. Down another corridor you are suddenly blinded by a square of light spilling down from the cube ahead,without its roof. With this light you can see how the cubes and rectangles of the metal rooms connect and that the multiple cubes infringe and intercede on each other. This creates a cubist room, all hard lines and unexpected levels and spaces. You are acutely aware of where you are in space, sometimes height is a liability, and you strain to use all your senses to read your surroundings. People appear out of dark corner and their echoing voices make them sound like you are in a large shipping container. Sometimes the cubes intersect in such a way that you must crawl to get into all the nooks. There is an air of discovery and wonder as you embark into the unknown. There is even an element of danger if you aren't careful, as indicated by the release form you signed before entering. You finally sit in a small corridor that is hard to reach and let the darkness sink in, and revel at the light ahead.

Well at least that was indicative of my experience. It really was exciting and in a way.. dreamy. This must be how I imagine explorers would feel mapping out a new landscape. While we do this often in our daily lives there was something about the hard metal surfaces in such straight and uniform lines combined with the unexpected light here and there that made the experience very visceral.

While the exhibition also showed models depicting his design procedure I was most taken with the sheer space of his Model shaped of dark metal cubes intersecting to form the shape of a prone body.

Antony Gormley on his Model

 entrance from the "left foot"


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Attempts Devised Part2

This notion of self awareness inspired by making the audience aware of their 'looking' in my version of "Attempts" invited the old idea of the "flâneur". Introduced by the likes of Baudelaire and later Walter Benjamin who said that 

"Empathy is the nature of the intoxication to which the flâneur abandons himself in the crowd. He . . . enjoys the incomparable privilege of being himself and someone else as he sees fit. Like a roving soul in search of a body, he enters another person whenever he wishes" 
Though Benjamin himself lamented that the role of the flâneur or wanderer was hindered due to the modernity of the city. Those darn motorcars! This exploration and almost dreamlike spectatorship coupled with your awareness of your own role as one of the crowd. This tour of the city guided my excerpts of "Attempts" is a modern, guided look at the role of the flâneur. 

Early film recorded this feeling of the flâneur and showed the city as a modern spectacle and gave it tactile and poetic quality.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPD2C0K38jY The film "Regen" or "Rain" by Joris Ivens 1929
The Movie Camera

I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising of bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations. 

Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate and and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you”
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
-Dziga Vertov, 1923 p.10 

As opposed to a painting in which the spectator was the unique centre of the world the camera demonstrate that there was no centre.

Going off of this idea of the modern flâneur, the next installment of the play is sent as directions in an email. You are asked to go to a street corner and as you pass the trash can you hear voices of those who have gossiped about Anne during their smoking break. An art installation and a ghost of the past. 

-"Attempts on Her Life" by Martin Crimp Act 4 The Occupier excerpt 
voices: Harriet Wilcox, Acer Su    2011

Attempts Devised Part1

To continue on Attempts, with its various wildly differentiating acts it would be nothing short of wild to put on stage. Coupled with my want to make the audience part of the spectated and aware of their own Gaze I came up with various methods of staging these acts. One part was clear, I want to use new technology to take the viewer out of their seats and by using the outside world as the stage, make the viewer aware of their own "acting" that is life. In this way highlighting our own Gaze on others as Anne is subjected to during the play.

So in this act Anne is being watched by spies or detectives, their identities are unknown. This would be sent to the audience member as an mp3 file and a walk (in this case London) would be guided by instructions via an email, along the way CCTV cameras are pointed out and the "spies" speak in reference to these cameras that watch us all.

acting by Vijay Patel and Claire Thompson, video by Chloe Cornell

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Happening Vision- Martin Crimp

In the play "Attempts on Her Life" by Martin Crimp he introduces his main character, Anne, through various methods via other characters. However, we never see Anne herself. The entire construct of her character is based solely on the information provided by other characters. Which become increasingly odd as the play progresses. This reliance on others, rather then illuminating, emphasises her total absence from the piece. The accounts themselves are contradicting and the speakers themselves are never identified or defined. All of the confusing and opinionated accounts are represented in various ways, an answering machine, a song, an ad. We rely so heavily on visual elements to construct and analyse others that we are instead forced to look through others' eyes. Which begs the question, who do we listen to?

This brings into question the nature of the Gaze. Which as Lacan puts it "is the power of looking that makes up a network of relationships in which we give reality and solidity to ourselves and those we look at. " Looking and its close relation between control and desire is a powerful weapon and the Gaze is the process of looking and then creating relationships and networks between the objects we view. With the power of the Gaze taken out of the audiences' hands, or the inherent spectator, it is instead shifted to the director, actors and designers. This turns the spectators into the spectated, as what the audience looks at and where they look is moderated. 

Rather than a play, "Attempts on Her Life" seems more like a Happening which may have words but they may not always make literal sense...

"The line between the Happening and daily life should be kept fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible" -Allan Kaprow

12. Strangely!

"- She's driving away from the bombed-out city in a metallic red Cadillac circa 1956...
-...when she reaches a checkpoint lit by burning tyres and is asked-exactly- for her name.
- Strangely enough she doesn't reply to this reasonable request but begins instead a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse. ' You mother-fucking shit-faced murderers.' she says ' You pig-fucking cock-sucking bastards."
- 'You sister-fucking blaspheming child-murdering mindless fuck-faced killers.'
-' I shit on your graves and on the graves of your mothers and fathers..'
- '... and curse all the future generations.' And then when asked once more- that's right- for her identity falls silent.

scene 12 Attempts on Her Life

Then onto another scene wholly different in both voice and presentation, she is Anne, Anya, Anny- a vehicle, Annie, or Annushka. But who is she really?

How we present our image changes how others view us and then form opinions on our personalities. Since the image itself is based solely on our manipulation of our own outward appearance, what can be said to be the reality? If our very being, our substance and personality, is dependant on such outward mediations, on what then do we base our own sense of reality and that of others. In the modern era this perception is largely mediated through the manipulation of images replete with fluid meanings. While an image is there to be seen, it is not necessarily a truthful representation of reality. Martin Crimp is well aware of this power and uses it, or lack thereof to create awareness of our use of the Gaze. In an era where we are constantly bombarded with images and words we scarcely notice their total impact. 

As Crimp reminds us, sometimes we have to step back and contemplate. I am trying to use this awareness of our own spectatorship as an audience as I find ways to set his play, and in doing so find out how to grapple with the effects of the digital age on how we perceive image, or rather the image without its meaning. Crimp has opened a new and different way to view a play, dispensing with the conventions of playwriting. This rambling dialogue, poetic at times is a perfect and imperfect reflection of the fragmentation of communication that we find ourselves in today. 

So, why not use that same vehicle to stage the play itself. How about a scene played out on twitter and another on an mp3 file?