Archive Materials and Rehearsals

this section will include information of any reheasals me group carres out while also providing detailed information of the archive materials we have found and choose to use

Portfolio Task 9- Short Essay

Question – Choose one theoretical reading and discuss how it has transformed your ideas about performance and archives?

For this question I have decided to look at Philip Auslander’s “the performativity of performance documentation”. The reading looks into the concept of photography as a form of documentation and its reliability within the context of an archive. Auslander explores two different forms of photographs in his reading to try and answer the question of whether a photograph displayed on its own can be classified as an archival source. He also asks us to question these photographs reliability before we engage with them in a performative setting. I have chosen this reading to look at because many of the archival sources I have explore though this blog including  Lucy x, have in some way used one or many photograph as their proof of performance, which has lead me to question how much should be believed.

In Auslander’s reading he reviews two performance’s use of photography to formulate an interesting argument. The performances he looks at are “Shoot” (1971) and “Leap into the void “(1960), Shoot (1971) was a performance piece were an artist paid his friend to shoot him in the arm, initially this performance was designed so that the friend would miss his arm however during the actual event he did shoot the artist. To document this event audience members and fellow artists capture photographs of the shot and the wound caused , these photographs along with an explanation of the event became the archival material. Whereas Leap into the void (1960) saw an artist leap out of a window as photographs were taken by on lookers and land safely in a net below. Yet when the photographs where displayed in their final state the safety net had been digitally removed which leads the audience to wonder whether the original jump was the performance or these new edited photographs are actually the performance. Auslander produced the idea that shoot captured a real event seen by audience members and relived though its photographs, he explains it as “replacing the reality it documents”(p.3) whereas leap into the void made two performance one lost at the moment the performance left the site of shooting and another through the photographs. Yet if it is possible to edit these photographs and no audience member knows any different should we really trust the photographs we find in archives.

With this in mind my group made a creative decision to display a collection of photographs in our piece; alongside other materials however after reading and applying these methodologies to our work even those photographs are of a questionable state. To explain this further our photographs were of a wedding, they are taken at the location where we carried out our filming, they display the correct clothing and props but I personally feel these are not completely true of our performance. This idea is generated because just like leap into the void our photographs are digitally altered, they have been adjusted to remove blemishes, increase the lighting so the day appears perfect and brightened so the wedding dress seems crystal white.  Our photographs are also staged, we never at any point in our filming stood how we are displayed in the photographs and I am then left wondering if these photographs are not an addition to the video but a performance in themselves.

From this reading and many of the others studied through this module I believe I have a clearer understanding of what archival material is and the concerns artists face when choosing to work with this kind of material. I also believe that this module has allowed me to think more carefully when  engaging with any form of theatrical material be it archival or not as unless you have carried out a wide amount of prior research you will never really understand what it is you are working with.

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A Day of Filming

Today my group and I completed the filming and photo shoot for our project, we choose West Ham Park as our location because of its scenic gardens and walkways. We decided that the film should be a short wedding film for the bridal entrance, to the married couple leaving. To achieve this film we needed to shoot a variety of different shots, these included the following-

  • Bridal entrance- shot from in front stationary and moving with the bride, and from the back stationary and moving with the bride
  • The speaking of the vows and promises
  • The brides’ facial expressions from the vows and promises
  • The giving of the rings
  • The wedding kiss
  • The exit as a married couple walking away, stationary looking on at the couple and following

We also tried filming the couple running to each others arms in various different ways but after viewing the footage this shot did not work for the film and has therefore been cut. With all the footage then collected we moved on to editing the film.
As the film is going to be silent with a backing track playing we did not need to worry with making the film sound correct. So we viewed all the gathered footage and choose the best pieces then cross linked this clips together adding any needed fades. We made a stylistic choice to have the film completely in black and white until the last shot as it symbolizes the very one sided options many people have regarding weddings. The film then fades though the color spectrum almost like a rainbow because for me I thought this leaves the audience with the impressions that no matter for colour, gender or race, love is love and no one should tell us who we can and can’t marry.

With the film complete we also took various wedding portrait shots that can be left in the box for public viewing. Below is a slide show of these same pictures. We decided to complete a stereotypical wedding photo shoot as the ideas behind this wedding is making it as normal as possible. Though looking at these pictures you will see that Lucie remains with her hat off as these images are designed to make a statement and concealing her identity would have the complete opposite effect.

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The day was very enjoyable and leaves us with the task of recording the vows and promises to place over the footage, however for the purpose of class showing we are going to show the footage but with a backing track playing.

For that background track I have found three options that I will run by the other members of the group before showing, and they are-

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Portfolio task 7- Creation of a Documentation Plan

For our final performance we need to structure a plan of how we are going to document the final production. As our production is an instillation and performance you easiest method for this is photography and personal feedback. The plan is to document the creation of the instillation on the morning of the exam, which will be displayed alongside my final evaluation on this subject blog. We also plan to collect feedback from students after the event to understand further the successful elements of our performance and how to develop upon its weaknesses.

We are also going to have a disposable camera used through the instillation performance but these will not be developed. This is because just like in a real wedding many photographs are lost in the moment never to be regained and we to would like to duplicate that experience. The only other way that our performance instillation will be documented is through the lens of our examiners video camera; although not accessible to me it will be another form of proof the event took place.

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Ideas for film shots

As one of our main goals for the film is not to reveal the identity of the bride and groom untill the end of the film we needed some ideas of ways to shoot the filn. To make a start of some ideas I began to look at some music videos although not the same style as our film will be there was three videos which provided some inspiration.

The first was Christina Perri’s music video to ” A Thousand Years”

From this video there are a number of dress shots that I liked framed from her back looking at the length, there was also a shot of her headdress that i liked but being that i am taller then the other members of my group this shot maybe impossible. The shots are at 0:10-15, 1:52-54, 3:14-20 and 4:13 to the end of the video

The next video was Beyoncé’s music video to “Best Thing I Never Had”

From this video there are some more wedding dress shots that I really liked, they show the length without showing her face. The shots I liked are at 2:05-07,  2:14-20 and 2:23-25,

The next video was Taylor Swifts music video to “Love story”

This is your normal girly music video but there are some very nice relationship shots from distance that I really liked from this video, the shots are at 3:05-30

The final film I have found was a fan based music video made by a mother of her daughter to Taylor Swifts “Today was a fairytale”

As this film is made of younger children it is hard to make shots where they look like they are in love without them actually kissing, therefore there are some really nice close shots that make allusions. The shots I liked were at 1:50-2:02 and 2:13-2:25.

These are the shots I have found so far, if I or any of the other members find some more I will upload them.

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Group Practical Discussion

Yesterday I and my group met for a discussion on our practical project, we met to discuss where it was going, is the original project still suitable and with that in mind where are we going to progress from here.

To start the conversation I thought it important to outline that we have five weeks now left of this module of which we had four till our practical work was due in for submission. I outlined that we have our archive material that we wish to work from “Lucy X- marriage to art” and that we have now completed the research in the laws of marriage. From this information we as a group realized that it is impossible to legally marry a piece of art or any inanimate object for that matter. Marriage laws very clearly state that you have to be human with proof of birth, both things an object can’t prove.  So where do we progress from here, well after a long conversation regarding the module, what we think its been about, where we think it has all been going and what we feel we have taken from the past seven weeks this is the conclusion we came to.

The module and material – from the past seven weeks we feel as a group the module has taught us what an archive is, how to produce archival material and what should and should not go in the archive. So with this in mind we feel that we should be producing archival material as our final piece as this is where all our readings have led us. The material we have gathered from Lucy X came from one single box, there is no trace of her work on the internet and therefore if this box is burnt or distorted would that mean her work would be forever lost to the world?

Our project – with all this information and the discussions we had we have come to the conclusion that we can not stage the marriage to art as its impossible so instead we are going to create a box just like Lucy’s entitled “The impossible wedding”. The box will be displayed as an instillation with the contents displayed around the room and at the end of our piece will all be placed back in the box and sealed for archival storage. The box will include the following materials –

  • All the legal laws about marriage in England which will be placed around the room on A4 paper- this will be placed in the box at the end of the piece
  • A disposable camera which will allow audience members to take pictures of things that stand out to them or that cause an impact, this camera will not be developed- when at a wedding hundreds of pictures are taken to which only a handful are even seen, what happens to the rest, they are lost in time with only our memories to remain. With this in mind we will have photographs taken and store them in the box to stay with those who took the picture.
  • Digital camera to take pictures that will be seen by future viewers of the project
  • A DVD of the staged wedding which we will arrange even though it can never be real- throughout the instillation the film will be showing and the empty box will remain to symbolize its final resting place
  • The vows and speeches written and recorded- for the instillation these will be playing on loop over the film of the wedding and the written words spread around the room
  • Slice of Cake- in the instillation there will be a perfect white wedding cake however part of the project will be to cut the cake to reveal the colour inside

Our new idea of our project is to address judgmental opinions regarding weddings, so the cake will seem normal until further investigation, the speeches will be normal until the speaker is revealed and the wedding will seem normal when shot from the back until the actors turn round at the end of the film. The piece will aim to leave its audience members questioning what they consider right for a wedding.

As we have to show something next week in lecture we are going to bring along the box in its current condition and explain the new project, we understand the risks in changing our piece so much so late to the deadline however we feel this is the best way to better the project.

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Marriage Laws in England

Simplified laws

  • Must be over 18 and different genders and free to marry
  • Can not marry blood relatives , Adopted children or adoptive parents but they are allowed to marry the rest of their adoptive family, including their adoptive brother or sister.
    • People who are step relations or in-laws may marry only in certain circumstances.
    • A marriage can take place in a Register Office, a Church , a Meeting House, any other religious building, premises approved by the local authority, a place where one partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover, the home of one of the partners if the partner is housebound, a hospital or a prison
  • the marriage must be conducted by a person or in the presence of a person authorised to register marriages in the district
  • the marriage must be entered in the marriage register and signed by both parties, two witnesses, the person who conducted the ceremony and, if that person is not authorised to register marriages, the person who is registering the marriage.
  • You and your partner must give notice of marriage in your local Register Office,
  • both partners must be resident in England or Wales for seven days before notice is given (on the eighth day). A notice must state where the marriage is to take place. The marriage can then take place after 15 days have elapsed from the date on which notice of the marriage is entered in the marriage notice book.
  • The information which may be required is evidence of  name and address, evidence of date of birth, evidence of nationality.
  • The marriage ceremony in the local Register Office or local authority approved premises will take approximately 10-15  minutes. The Superintendent Registrar or Registrar in Northern Ireland  will make a short statement about marriage; you can ask the registrar  beforehand to indicate what form of words will be used. It is not possible to use religious words in the civil ceremony. However, the ceremony may include readings, songs or music that contain reference to a god as long  as they are in an ‘essentially non-religious context’.
  • Each partner is required to repeat a standard set of promises. These may not be changed, but may be added to, as long as the  additions are not religious. Rings are not required but can be exchanged  if the couple wishes to.

After the ceremony, the marriage register is signed by both partners. Two witnesses, who must be over 16, must also sign at the time of the marriage. Witnesses must understand the language of the ceremony and have the mental capacity to understand the nature of the ceremony. Register Office staff are not allowed to act as witnesses.

Vows and promises

There are three options which cannot be changed by law for the vows but the promises of a wedding can be anything within reasoning. All promises and vows must be checked by the register minister or secretary

for the more indepth details of these laws here is a word document containing that information

marriage laws

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Portfolio Task 4 and Performance Task

For this week’s performance task we were asked to conduct some research into the oral history of the time period from when our archival material was gathered. Lucy X produced her work in 1983 so for this task I am going to research the social and political situation in the England around the 80’s especially looking into Camberwell where the ceremony took place.

Camberwell

Camberwell, SE5, is in theLondon Borough of Southwark and is bordered by East Dulwich, Peckham and Herne Hill its character is High rise and historic. Their history goes back to 1125 however around the time of Lucy’s production the town underwent some small changes. In 1982 the year before the production the Selbourne Estate was built by Wates and then a year later in 1984 Denmark Hill Station was rebuilt after a fire in 1980 and  Chumleigh Gardens in Burgess Park were restored as World gardens.

Also in the area of Camberwell is the University of Arts London which also had some changes around this time. In 1986 three years after Lucy’s project the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts became a constituent college of the London Institute, formed by the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). Then three years later it was renamed Camberwell College of Arts but it was not until 2004 when the London Institute was granted university status and was renamed University of the Arts London.

The area where she staged her wedding is rich in art inspiration and culture with historic buildings scattered all around including churches and parks that it is very easy to see why she chose this area.

Information gained from the following sites-

http://www.southlondonguide.co.uk/camberwell/history.htm

http://www.camberwell.arts.ac.uk/aboutcamberwell/history/

London

London in the 1980s was a much different story to Camberwell-

“Many of the tensions of the 1970’s continued into the 1980’s. Hostility between the Metropolitan Police and the West Indian community erupted into riots in Brixton in 1981. Hostility between national government and the Greater London Council (GLC) led to the abolition of the GLC in 1986. The IRA resumed its bombing campaign.

But the 1980s also saw new reasons for optimism about London’s future. After reaching its lowest point in 1983 London’s population began to rise for the first time in the century. Money began to flow through the City of London as the banking and financial service industries took over the role previously taken by the docks of placing London at the centre of global wealth creation. The biggest physical change London had seen in centuries began to transform the derelict docks into gleaming new office and residential districts. Docklands was Europe’s largest ever urban regeneration project.”

More specifically in 1982 the Thames barrier opened, IRA bombings in Hyde Park and Harrods and the Barbican Centre opened. London was a place of unrest and political anger which makes Lucy’s piece all the better as she is asking vital questions regarding marriage and its laws when everyone else are also questioning the laws by which they are governed.

Information gained from http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/timeline/1980-1989

Our portfolio task for this week was to use three different modes of documentation, for this task I have already displayed two throughout this blog which are photographic and written, however for the third one video I have not been able to complete this element yet. I am hoping in the coming weeks to be able to video either a rehearsal or maybe a possible location for our practical and display it on the blog to fullfil this requirement.

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Portfolio Task 1- Collect and Record Five Artefacts

For our first portfolio task we were asked to find five artefacts and record how we found them and why we chose them. The first two artefacts that I have found are from an artist’s production, Lucy X Exaqua married a piece of her art in July 1997 and in the Women’s Archive at the University of Goldsmiths there is a box of artefacts from the event. Below are two pictures from this collection-

315881_10200094612301802_1728605979_n 426085_10200094604781614_1583793267_nFrom these images I became really interested in the concept of marrying an object, how often does it occur and what kind of people undertake this act. To research these questions, although not professional, I decided to complete an internet search around the subject areas. First of all I searched for people marrying objects and I found the website “http://www.ranker.com/list/13-people-who-married-inanimate-objects/jude-newsome ” who listed the top thirteen marriages to objects. One of the cases on this website included someone who married a roller coaster because she believed that no one person could ever make her feel the excitement she got from this ride. Other examples addressed on the site were a lady who married the Eiffel tower and a lady who married an ocean liner. Both of these examples I found interesting because one was a National landmark and therefore left me wondering what are the implications of marrying something which is so public and vital to a Nation’s history and culture. Whereas the other is a water bound vessel and although identified as a ship from a specific country spends the majority of its time away from its home shores. So to further research these two events I found new articles on the subjects, although based by their political opinions and therefore possibly supplying false facts both articles do address the event. For the marriage to the Eiffel tower I found a article written by the Telegraph “http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2074301/Woman-with-objects-fetish-marries-Eiffel-Tower.html” for the Ocean liner I found a blog entry by the Mirror “http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/captain-greybeard/2010/03/married-to-an-ocean-liner.html”.

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Research Group Task 1 – Form a Group

Myself, Lucie, Nichole and Natasha are currently thinking about formulating a group together, however it would be advisable to first do our own independent research before finalizing the group. So for the task this week we have chosen our group but it is dependent on the personal interests of the members as to whether we remain as we are.

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