Some interesting outcomes have emerged from using the mediums of performance and filmed documentation.
At the heart of the work is the notion of ritual, it's potential for transcendence and a sense of belonging, viewed within the context of a western value system and the perception of 'nature' in the 21st century.
The intention was to look into how a place (in this case a park within a (sub)urban setting in London) can be perceived, felt and known in real time as well as through moving image. Gesture within the landscape has been used as a means to evoke lived experience; the structure of a Maypole celebration used to explore ideas, in particular ritual's effect and how it's achieved.
A space and relationship forms between the performers, the space, the audience and the actions. Subsequently, what's left is documentation and viewers. Performative acts within the landscape are a way of nurturing a sense of community, holding significance individually and jointly. The power of ritual can be observed by the audience in real time, as well as the filmed documentation conveying voice, colour, movement, sound and gesture.
Moving image doesn't just transmit lived experience to a viewer; however, it alters and recasts it. It allows the viewer a chance to experience particular moments in time, though they are edited and transformed.
I recognise that the encounter I'm relating is the result of choices I have made, with emphasis on particular aspects on fleeting moments in time.
My own presence in the piece was partly to do with availability but also was a way to look into the performative exchange between other bodies and myself, in an attempt to better understand ritual as a process.
The filmed documentation illustrates the potential of a tactile, physical approach, conveying the intensity of lived experience.The video is shot from low down, looking up to the sky to create a dynamic perspective. The abstracted dancing ribbons, moved by initially unseen hands, create a mesmerising effect, drawing the viewer in with image and sound.
There are artist/filmmakers who have made work featuring a completely fabricated ritual experience such as Jeremy Deller's parade through the streets of Manchester (Procession, 2009). He also recreated a controversial real life event during the miners strike (the Battle of Orgreave, 2001). My ritual event had elements of much older May traditions, mixed with characters inspired from London May celebrations from the more recent past, which combined to create something new. The fictionalised ritual in an unspecified location (we see only sky) liberated the work from documentary concerns, in terms of time and place.
Performance transforms the environments in which the work is located — and those engaged —into elements of the work itself. Moving image has the potential to elicit strong, physical responses. Further study could extend to investigate audience reactions, push to include new elements.
There is scope for further exploration of ritual, whether that's within a fabricated environment, or looking at rituals function in the present day.
The role of performative relationships to the landscape could be investigated further, through creating new rituals from a present day perspective.
How does ritual affect our social experiences, and how do those contributing in turn remold ritual?
What are the connections and associations between ritual symbols across different social terrain (religious, political, sexual)?
Where is control exercised in ritual? Is the ritual exerting control over those taking part?
How does the study of ritual processes contribute to an understanding of contemporary sociocultural processes?
There is an engagement with fiction and inventiveness in my work; however, I'm interested in connecting this to lived experience and issues relating to representation.