For our first session we each bought in resources relating to our starting point.
Chris's reference was the work of Action Hero and their recreations of pop culture.
The DIY aesthetic of their practice demands a commitment from the audience to imagine, to participate in the making of a show by suspending their disbelief. Chris chose A Western as an example of their ability to deconstruct the notion of a Western film into a live performance where landscape becomes description and the show is recreated based on venue and audience. He also referenced Tim Etchell's view that beauty is a failed attempt.
Jack's reference was the tale of Narcissus from Greek Mythology.
Although the ancient myth has endless re-tellings, the details remain the same: Narcissus' beauty leads to him falling in love with his reflection in a pool of water, ultimately leading to his demise. A flower grows in the place of his death. In the Roman re-telling, Echo falls in love with him, but he is too self-absorbed to reciprocate. We spoke about how although self-love and self-care are restorative, they can turn to obsession which can be detrimental. We were also interested in the idea of sonic reflection, and the retelling of myths; what changed and what remained.
I (Miray) brought in Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau as an example of reconstruction in art.
Schwitter's installation began in his home in Hannover in 1927, spanning over eight rooms. It was destroyed by a British air raid in 1943 and rebuilt in Norway, but it had to be abandoned when he left to escape the German invasion. Legend has it he eventually rebuilt it in a barn in the Lake District. It was reconstructed by Peter Bissegger in 1981, where it was called 'an attempt at reconstruction', afterall, how can you reconstruct something which is permenantly unfinished? Bissegger's reconstruction was based on three photographs of the original and Schwitter's son's memory of it. Whilst Schwitter's original was periodically deconstructed and reconstructed as a result of the War, its reconstruction has remained on permenant display. Another reconstruction was made for a touring Dada and Constructivism exhibition. I think this travelling copy is closer in essence to the original Merzbau than the permenant installation.
Trevor's offering was the idea of receiving as a stage of listening.
Receiving is the act of filtering information from what we hear. We hear a combination of noise and signal; the signal being the information, and the noise is everything else. Trevor led an exercise where we had to form a sound image in our minds and telepathically transmit it to someone in the room, all the while remaining open to receiving a sonic image from another person. Once you receive a sonic image, you have to create the sound of it. This required us to be in a constant state of creating, transmitting and receiving. After the exercise we spoke about how the etymology of receive was 'regain, take back, bring back, carry back, recover' and how that implied that what we are receiving is already within us.
Linda introduced us to the work of De Warme Winkel, and their replications of the cannon.
Linda told us about one of their shows where the first half was them trying to get the rights to Pina Bausch's Café Müller, and they gradually integrated movements from the piece until they were fully performing Café Müller. We were interested in how they incorporated their process into the performance, and shifted from one to the other. Their show Backside was performed backstage at a national theatre, on the back of a show taking place there, mocking the elite in the main stage. Linda talked about how a recurring element of their work is 'we want to do something but we cant, how do we do it?' often exposing their process and challenging the conventions of theatre. Linda also mentioned ancient temples that get rebuilt every twenty years in order to embody the soul of the present. We often think of rebuilding as a response to ruin, so it was interesting to hear that in some cultures rebuilding was a way of ensuring a connection to the now.