Working collaboratively, at the developmental stage emerging themes included: exploring the notion of space, participatory practice, memory, discovery and surprise. Someone suggested it should have the texture of a journey, another the feeling of a nightclub or maybe the opposite of a nightclub - a library?
We thought early on about playing with the audiences perception of space by using 'flats' to create maze-like structures.
The notion of surprising the audience and using sound and sensors to trigger some sort of response appealed. Part of the experience for me was about new experiences and working with different technologies. I chose to join this group because I thought this experience would be an opportunity for an exploration through process, with space to question definitions of 'site' and 'live' within art practice. Also, the simple joy of being present and active in the creation of work. In terms of weaknesses on this project thus far, some computer programs were mentioned in a group discussion I wasn't familiar with ('sketch up' and 'garage band'). I hoped my lack of familiarity around these programmes wouldn't be a hindrance.
We had a production meeting on Thursday 12th December, prior to heading into the theatre space to experiment the week before the Christmas break. We were moved around a lot in the early stages, with no access to the theatre space, which I think we coped well with. We discussed and refined ideas and thought a bit more about technical A/V, sound and materials considerations. Though we wanted to create a sensory experience, we were aiming to affect the intellect too.
We were reminded by Theatre tutor, Doug, that although the theatre space was large, we shouldn't feel the need to fill the whole place; a small, intimate experience could be created. I liked the idea of creating intimate spaces with the flats and material making it almost like a den; something developed earlier in a workshop session. Further discussions saw the den develop into a box, which dovetailed well with our idea of choosing film as a medium to investigate our individual ideas. The films could be projected onto the box.
We settled on 'home' as a theme to connect the films. Doug advised employing a narrative arc. Additionally, we should give consideration to how individual ideas work collectively; how they thread together to create a whole. We didn't want the performance/installation to look 'bitty', with different ideas failing to work harmoniously.
The initial parameters for filming, or things to think about incorporating, were set out at a meeting on the 19th of December. I couldn't make this meeting as I was travelling back for Christmas but I got the details in an email. Suggestions included: filming on a tripod, making it personal, ensuring we know where we are and introducing a narrative from someone else's perspective. Also discussed at the meeting were using tracing paper instead of flats to project the films, perhaps the performative element of the piece coming from individuals holding tracing paper as the films were projected. Further consideration was to be given to the performative element of the work, as was to be partly a theatre project. During this meeting a title was settled on for the work: 'Foreign Bodies Go Home', which immediately felt aggresive to me. I didn't like but it had been accepted by the majority and so it passed. It had been inspired by the 'Foreign Bodies: Common Ground' exhibition we had visited as a group at the Wellcome Collection.
After considering the criteria for filming, I decided to make a film about the 'Blessed Well'. As a child I would pass the Blessed Well often on walks. My grandfather would stop and collect holy water to take home and I would survey the scraps of material and objects people had faithfully left around the well. I thought this would be an interesting subject for a film: I considered using Irish music/singers to accompany the film but I ultimately decided to use a piece of music my brother had composed, as I thought it evoked mystery and would be more subtle.
The weather over Christmas was dreadful but the day I chose, the 26th of December was bright though very cold. I had considered interviewing visitors but decided in the end to use images and music only. It's a contemplative, out-of-the-ordinary space and I wanted to reflect this. I think I was most surprised by the large signs nailed to trees, telling people not to leave rags and objects, which was completely ignored by the public. I found this amusing. It was then a matter of editing the film I had shot and 'meeting up' with my collaborators through Skype to discuss our progress. Skype was a bit hit-and-miss as screens would freeze mid-sentence which was difficult enough without nine people being in on the conversation. We made plans to meet up the first week back after the holiday.