Performance in non-traditional spaces often brings practitioners and spectators rather brutally into contact with issues of authority and power(…) The municipal authorities in the 20th century are no more benign than their counterparts in earlier times, and many examples could be given of avant-garde performance groups being closed down, not through overt censorship, but through application of building regulations or safety codes.
What was produced was not a body of work, but a body of experience
What we experienced was not a performance but a place, the performative opening up of a sense of that place.
(Gay McAuley 2000)
A sound piece can be a vehicle for deeper understanding of acoustic environmental issues of perception, a vehicle for creating „more-then-meaning”. Such work is not an end product but, ideally, a beginning from which to create new relationships to place and time for both composer and listener
Years ago I visited a small village above Nice. I was invited to the place, well hidden in the mountains, together with a painter/puppeteer who became a friend, years later.
We were invited to reside in the village as artists. Via a single telephone call, so consequently we arrived without a plan containing the often required ‚written down measurable outcomes’ of our stay.
The village welcomed us as anticipated travellers, with trust and curiosity. Our basic facilities were arranged -We could stay in an empty summer house and every evening we joined another family for evening dinner, often prepared with food from their gardens – so we had time to wonder, to be in the village, to play, to create, to seek it’s cracks, to mirror it’s strengths, to strengthen it’s options.
It’s that residency, way more then the art school and many creation processes at European Theatre houses, that liberated me from a concealed fear of presenting me as performer in a world that never seems to renounce from a critical stage.
What we did in the village was not spectacular: we accompanied french songs in a home, we made circus acts with kids that were hanging on the market place, we performed in the little chapel no longer in use, we visited gardens and made rose water, we sneakily changed the colors of the streetlights at night, we talked about strange countries, we constructed shadow puppets on the terras of the bar.
But it was the first time I felt so whole, so included and validated as an artist. And it was the first time I experienced the artistic potential in and of a community in that way.
Leaving Sisters Academy at Nova Academy shortly ago, I recognize the school recalled to me that experience.
Visiting the ‚Take Over’ I felt again this great privilege to have space and time to be, to observe and play. To unlock what is already there, to shift, to open up. As in the little village, it felt so naturally important to also care about the colors of the lights.
It is the impact and value of this implemented attention for esthetics into a community that stroke me, again, so strongly. And this affect strengthens me in my work as a performer and a researcher, being based on a felt urgency of revalidating and researching art in its inherent social potential.