Performance Project

"On one level, Open City can be located within a tradition of publicly-sited performance practices. This genealogy of politically – and more often playfully – resistant actions, interventions and models of spatial occupation or navigation can be traced back to the ludic practice of Surrealist errance or aimless wandering into and through the Situationists’ deployment of the dérive and conceptualisation of “psychogeography” during the 1950s and 60s. In its focus on collective action and inhabitation of the everyday as a site of practice, Open City is also part of a trajectory of artistic activity – epitomised perhaps by Allan Kaprow’s Happenings – intent on blurring the line between art and life, or in drawing attention to those aspects of reality marginalised by dominant discourses and ideologies. Performed as part of an artistic practice, non-habitual or even habitually discouraged actions such as aimless wandering, standing still, even the (non)event of 'doing nothing' operate as subtle methods through which to protest against increasingly legislated conditions of existence, by proposing alternative modes of behaviour or suggesting flexibility therein. Artistic practice can be seen as a site of investigation for questioning and dismantling the dominant order – or “major” language – through acts of minor rebellion that – whilst predominantly impotent or ineffective – might still remind us that we have some agency and do not always need to wholly and passively acquiesce. Life itself becomes the material for a work of art, and it is through such an encounter that we might be encouraged to conceive other possibilities for life. Through art, life is rendered plastic and capable of being actively shaped or made into something different to how it might habitually be." Emma Cocker

dis-locate 08 Presentation and Audio Walk

We were awarded an Arts Council England grant for a phase of research to be developed in collaboration with Emma Cocker. As part of this research Emma and myself took a ten day trip to Japan to see the dis-locate festival in Yokohama and participate in the attached Constructing Place symposium. Our research focused on exploring the use of written and spoken text in the work, exploring movement, speed and temporalities in the public realm and exploring the impact of cultural context on the meaning of the work.

Part of the research grant was used to purchase thirty ipod shuffles. The ipods will be used to explore delivering spoken text to an audience at different places around cities and also to deliver instructions that can be carried out individually and as a group. For the dis-locate symposium we delivered a performative presentation in which the audience took a walk through Yokohama responding to a series of instructions on the ipod. The instructions included stopping, standing still, looking up and slowing down. The idea of the walk was to take the particpant through a number of performative modes that gave a specific context to the ideas we had been talking about as part of our presentation.