Tag Archives: performance art

relay (iteration 2)

relay. iteration 2. cycle 1.

relay (iteration 2. cycle 1. speaking)

cycle 1: Alaska Projects Level 2, Sydney AU / 12.06.13 / 2 hours

relay (iteration 2. cycle 2. speaking)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 2. speaking)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 2. listening)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 2. listening)

cycle 2: Alaska Projects Level 2 and Level 1, Sydney AU / 12.06.13 / 2 hours

relay (iteration 2. cycle 3. listening)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 3. listening)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 3. speaking)

relay (iteration 2. cycle 3. speaking)

cycle 3: William Street, north side and south side, Sydney AU / 12.06.13 / 2 hours

Relay is the title for an ever evolving cluster of durational actions in collaboration with Lauren Brown. The performed actions attempt to interrogate the social and political nuances embodied in the acts of hearing, listening, speaking and keeping silent.

Performing othersʼ words we work through iterations and cycles to explore what it means to speak for oneself and on behalf of others, what it means to listen, what it means to hear and what it means to keep silent.

Photography credit: Julia Gove and Andrew Gove


You must follow me carefully (30th July 2012)

A letter from a friend written in German. An art theory text that relates to the experiential. Another theoretical text about colour theory. A book that was a gift from a mutual friend. Personal notes written in the aftermath of a performance. A favourite song. A book of nursery rhymes found in a friend’s house. A text that we’ve discussed together at length.

One person reads quietly to himself – a personal performance within the space. Another read loudly and clearly – sharing the experience. One person was conscious of their ‘actor voice’ – projecting above the din. Yet another translated their text into another language  – a constant negotiation of communication.

What people brought to read last night, and how they chose to read it, in many ways was a reflection of them. Most of the text’s chosen, were selected for personal reasons – in some cases they were tied up with a shared association with me. A German letter because she knows I really wish I could speak German and that I have a fascination with German culture. Books that we’ve discussed before. Song’s that we’ve listened too together. A nursey rhyme book from my own house that was a gift to me the year I was born. Personal notes written after performing in one of my previous performances.

Now I’m sounding slightly vain. I am framing this through my own understanding of the connections I have with each of the participants. But isn’t that the magic of this work? It is for me. There were, of course, other reason’s for the choices of text.

I was the only one who didn’t share a text. Instead I attempted to trace (in real time) these shared experiences. I don’t think I was very successful. In the hubbub of activity it was impossible for me to focus on each individual – on what they were saying and how they were saying it. To even comprehend the majority of what was going on was incredibly difficult. My hand-writing was an even slower process of recording than the typewriter was (and a lot messier too). During the event I resorted to tracing the spatial situation – where people were in the room – with snippets of what they were saying. How they were moving. And when they left the situation.

It is only now in the aftermath of this experience that I have been able to explore the deeper connections of that made up this experience. And in many ways this was only possible through the insights that I had through conversations with participants post-performance at the pub.

These were all people I knew quite well. They’re all friends. What will happen when I take this work to a place I’ve never been to before and ask strangers to participate? Will something be lost by the lack of a prior relationship with my participants? And how would I overcome this?

I had begun to think that perhaps instead of a group situation, I could shift this artwork to a more intimate piece – a one-on-one performance and conversations. Asking the participants to share a text with me, why they selected that one, why it is important to them, in turn share my connection with the text (if any). Perhaps these one-on-one ‘performances’ could be just as interesting.

But actually I think the group situation is important. In many ways it offers the participants a security blanket. It can be a daunting task – many participants told me after that in the lead up to the performance they experienced a sense of exposure, nervousness, apprehension, self-consciousness. But the realisation that everyone else was in the same boat eased this to some degree. Within the group you have the opportinuity to share your text with others- by walking up to them – or you can be secluded and keep quiet. The babble of noise that is generated by multiple people speaking at once also discharges much of the nervousness – really how could anyone hear exactly what you are saying? There is no spotlight on one person – a situation many find awkward to be in. This point was made quite obviously – once one person left the group… more and more started drifting away. You become conscious of your own voice in the space.

Interestingly when I take away the directive of time (no longer an enforced hour of performing) the performance only lasted for about 26mins. Isn’t the length of the human attention span around 20mins?

You must follow me carefully (#2)

A snap taken by Nick Clifford from the second instalment of You must follow me carefully. This performative workshop was a little bit more playful than the first. Participants experimented with the spoken element by drawing the words out, improvising raps, shouting, whispering, interacting with each other and spelling words out. There was a lot more movement throughout this performance as well. Kate Vassallo (on the left) and I began responding to our scores and each other through a kind of stilted side-stepping movement.

There is a detail of the audio up as well: http://soundcloud.com/boni-cairncross-1/you-must-follow-me-carefully-2