|Adventures in Artspace March 2002 (Chunnel Vision Mk2)|
to artist Bettina Reiber's art gallery/living room in the heart of Highbury
and Islington, London. We're here to perform our "Stop the Tardis"
- A journey through space, time and relative dimensions in popular
culture (a totally different piece to our subsequent Stop the Tardis
Edinburgh show), an electronic music/spoken word/dance piece employing the
talents of movement artist and poet, Aime Hansen. It's a progression for
Project Adorno - a much more "performance" based piece than
anything we've done before - "imagine how you are going to stand"
barks Aime during one intense rehearsal period. And that's another thing -
rehearsals! We've never done serious rehearsals like this before!
Run-throughs, maybe, but never full on rehearsals with a dancer who is also
very mindful of the state of the Project Adorno wardrobe. "What will
you wear?" she asks as I tweak reverb units and fiddle with other
assorted audio gadgets. These, to me, are the nuts and bolts of the
performance and for a while it seems as though we're all working to
different agendas. Thankfully things gradually begin to merge and gel, a
happy and satisfying medium being reached between visual and audio elements.
have been charged with the following brief:
the positive response to Open, a drawing installation and related live music
performances, ArtSpace is currently putting together a programme where we
invite poets, performers, dancers, composers and improvising musicians to
let themselves be stimulated by the drawing installation to produce a new
piece of work.
and traditional visual media, contemporary music, performance, theatre and
poetry readings take place at ArtSpace, an initiative by artists and
curators Bettina Reiber and Robin Hull using their house in Islington on a
regular basis to introduce fresh and experimental work to the public.
ArtSpace showcases cross-overs between different artforms and collaborations
which don't easily fit into more established art venues. ArtSpace works like
a Salon as a meeting place where people come together to engage with art in
the setting of a private house.
invites artists whose sincerity pushes the work beyond irony into a realm
where vulnerability is exposed and personal truths are stated. It invites
the audience to experience these quests and to respond to them in
conversation with other guests.
could we possibly turn this down?! After initially visiting the space we
eventually devise a multimedia piece that fuses poetry, sound & vocal
effects, samples, electronic music, and physical/organic movement. Themes
range from melancholic musings to satirical send-ups of icons, myths and
figures from popular culture.
is a relentless collage - a landscape of ideas, with poems, sound and
movement morphing, crashing and colliding into one another. A representation
of the postmodern times we exist in.
something like that it rapidly becomes. We base the piece around music and
sound from "Chunnel Vision" an earlier performance/video
installation. The original piece was peppered with sound quotes from various
artists, critics and other cultured types - we re-jig these, taking some
out, moving others round and inserting new (or previously unheard) spoken
word poem pieces - these include "Single", a homage to the trusty
7 inch record, "Deconstruction" - doing just what it says on the
tin - a frenetic postmodern deconstruction of culture and society, "All
grown up" - observing the transition from childhood to adulthood as the
"ice cream van of childhood melted away…", and a curious new
piece about Salvador Dali's disdain for washing up!
piece is one long 15 minute sound collage full of twists and turns in timbre
and tone. As is often the way with Project Adorno, popular culture becomes
the overriding theme. As the two Adorno "vocalists" stand
motionless at the back of the stage, the focal point is Aime with dance and
movement inspired by both music and also theme/nature of each poem section.
quick dress rehearsal takes place at the Artspace itself a few days before
the event - the place looking as striking as ever - devoid of any furniture,
patterned drawings adorning the walls floor to ceiling - if anything looking
a little smaller than we had remembered. Come performance day, just prior to
showtime, we are all slightly subdued, locked into private thoughts and
emotions, perhaps a little nervous. It's an eclectic evening - with
performances from Luca and his theremin (played at ear shrieking volume),
Brett's acappella singing - evoking the lyrical essence of the Artspace
installation, and a striking visual/spoken word performance piece from two
girls, Anjc and Filipc, among others. The place is heaving, our curators
know how to bring in a crowd.
Our piece goes well, Russell running through his poems faultlessly, me using megaphone to good effect on "Anarchist Boy Wonder", a piece which Sunil, (our third "resting" Adornite) swears is about him (he's in the house tonight, watching, taking notes - he'll give us the post-mortem later), and Aime providing much needed visual content. The "Dali" item is proving to be a real success. We repeat the whole thing a couple of days later (the event has been running on successive evenings) to a similarly packed "house". Afterwards we spill out into the chilly spring air and make the decision to keep the "Stop the Tardis" title for another day - it eventually becomes the backbone of our Edinburgh show during the summer.
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