MA Practice-Based Research Presentations
12 July 2017
Practice-as-Research Presentation Schedule
Friday 14 July 2017
10.00 Gwenan Vickers, Self, Control, RR1 PWB
11.30 Tiina Pehkonen, Aistimuksia, RR2 PWB
14.00 Joe Burford-Redgrove, The Hero Dies At The End, RR1 PWB
15.30 Francesca Andreozzi, Building Empathy, RR3 PWB
This ethnographic film essay explores the fluidity of identity in its multiplicities. The focus throughout is on the subject’s decision to control representations of the self through means of production.
What is it to touch or to be touched? What can a touch communicate? Aistimuksia is a one-to-one performance that explores shared silence and the experience of intimacy through touch. What sensations evoke intimacy? How aware are we of what we can sense?
The performance is a piece of storytelling (well, nearly storytelling), drawing on Beowulf and The Kalevala, entitled 'The Hero Dies At The End'. It engages with the distinction between the literary and oral forms, opening discussion on both authorship, and how the distinction between the literary and oral might differ in producing cultural, social and political identities and subject positions of both story-recipient (I'm avoiding using the word spectator here quite deliberately) and storyteller. Both sources can be seen as a foundational moment in the literature of their respective languages, although the rendering of these stories from an oral form to literature was conducted at very different points in history and geographical location.
During the journey from Canterbury to Rome I have recorded the sounds of my experience as a pilgrim. I have interviewed the pilgrims I have met on the way in order to have a better understanding of the ways in which they interact with the places and the communities that they encounter, and to be a part of the mechanisms which build empathy and trust. This performance aims at bringing my experience of the pilgrimage to the performative space.
If we consider pilgrimage not only as the act of walking from point A to point B, I have imagined pilgrims as connectors of experiences, media and heralds of meaning. The performance will put these imagined connectors at the centre of the scene, not through their physical presence, but through the narration of their stories.
The performance re-enacts the process of being together experienced during the pilgrimage during moments of silence and rest, and it aims at underlining the vulnerability of the experience of being a pilgrim. The space we enter is constituted by familiar elements, yet the act of lying down with others in a public space renders it unfamiliar and makes us vulnerable.
My first question is: how can the physical experience of pilgrimage help to investigate the processes of creation of empathy among strangers? As I have experienced during my walk, being a pilgrim means to be a constitutive part of the space, being a part of the whole, and depending on others. By recreating a dormitory, I would like to ease the audience into feeling a part of the performative space, and into having to behave and move accordingly to the others' performative space and actions.
And second: what is the role of the pilgrim in terms of the formation of cultural memory? The answer to this question is developed in the audio tracks, through the narration of the stories and interviews I have collected during the walk. The tracks deal with the circulation of stories, from community to pilgrim, from pilgrim to pilgrim, and from pilgrim to audience.
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