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

nottdance07 commission

Activities for nottdance07. October 2007.

A performance lecture by Katie Doubleday, Andrew Brown and Simone Kenyon exploring ideas within the project. As part of the lecture an audience of around 70 were invited to leave the lecture building and stand still for five minutes in the middle of a busy street.

Midlands based performance practitioners took part in a hidden group 'dance' across Nottingham. In the studio practitioners learned a series of habitual gestures and actions which were performed at different points around Nottingham's centre. Following individual routes scored onto a map practitioners followed a choreography embedded within the existing movements of pedestrians using the city that night.

A series of commissioned postcards distributed over the duration of the festival with instructions for participating in moments of group choreography or taking individual detours through a part of the city. The reverse of the cards included a publicly distributed serialised essay text by Emma Cocker.