Tχ – ‘The Scientists’

Installation 3

The Scientists

 

Shifting/Shuffling my feet just a few inches at a time, arms still outstretched as though ready to throttle the first thing that may decide it wise to startle me in the impenetrable darkness, I edged my way further into the hole and farther from the ever fading half-light of day.

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Tχ – ‘Nora Whiskerson’

Installation 2.5

 

Nora Whiskerson

It said its name was Nora. I say ‘it’, because I cannot be sure the feline race follows the same gender-naming structure we humans tend to follow. In fact, you may decide upon a gender, if it helps you imagine its voice. I recall making this observation quite clearly, because Nora proceeded to pull me up on it. With part of my attention still retained by the phantom puzzle-bag, I may have distractedly muttered a quizzical Nora? and offered my most confused looking frown. Nora grilled me: Continue reading

Tχ – ‘Jigsaw Puzzles’

Second Installation

Jigsaw Puzzles

Somehow I’d managed to uproot myself from the spot, and apparently also found time to manipulate my jaw shut and blink two or three (million) times. In between these episodes I’d retreated down the stairs to the kitchen, to the kettle I’d filled with too much water for the mere two cups I’d anticipated. I was in no state to consider any such Freudian revelation that I’d filled the kettle with enough water for three cups on purpose, though retrospectively I imagine I’d always been expecting the arrival of a massive elephant, to assume its position in the corner of the living room. Continue reading

Tχ – ‘In a heartbeat’

Tχ

First Installation

‘In a heartbeat’

It’s a clear memory, pristine like a framed photograph that hasn’t been moved, never mind handled, for centuries: the off-white door with its panelled design and grainy sheen of cheap paint, that could chip in a gust of wind; the dulled metal of a well-used door handle; beige carpet, rough looking but certainly not designed as such, speckled with various darker coloured ‘fluff-stuffs’ caught in the fibres and unyielding to any hoover. Tightly packed into an alcove to the right of the doorframe an Ikea wardrobe, comprised of a balsa wood frame over which a dark material skin is draped; all the walls in the world are white, matted over time with scuffs and scrapes betraying numerous move-ins and move-outs; and me, right hand cupped round a personalised mug, hot tea steaming like hot breath on a bitterly cold evening – my left hand poised in a knocking position. Continue reading

Integration and Re-fragmentation

I had anticipated a curious moment would occur when each of my projects came face to face.

In fact, I must admit to being quite nervous as to how my friends would respond to each other – there is often a risk in inviting disparate friendship groups to your birthday…for instance: will they get along? I’m not sure so and so will appreciate his or her humour…! Didn’t he have a fling with her sister? And so on and so forth – you get the picture. Continue reading

Over-familiarisation?

I have consistently maintained, in my stubbornness, that no matter many times you come back to a text, particularly one such as this, you can always find new meanings… new associations… new stories.

In some respects, I haven’t given up on this notion, however what I have become aware of are two very important things that, in fact, provide some tension: Continue reading

Aleastory – the motion picture

“A short film made by Joseph Connor, Kiel deValera and Alex James Morris for the Aleastory installation at this year’s Festival Of…

The original text was created by Will Wade and adapted by the film makers. For more information on the project please visit aleastory.co.uk”

Cast: Robert Aldous, James Bartholomew, Hannah Sadler, Antony Wheeler

Children

All this work has convinced me that perhaps its the time to have children.

Over the last three months, I’ve watched my surrogate children grow; I’ve nurtured them where necessary but, by and large, left them to their foster parents; and I must admit I’m immensely proud.

And I don’t want it to end here….

I’m convinced my legacy can live on – whether it is in terms of an ethos, or approach to the use of text and chance, fragmentation and integration; or more specifically in the pursuit of one or more of the projects you have witnessed.

One such project:

‘after aleastory’

I can envisage a family tree, mapping the genetic heritage of ‘after aleastory’ as being, crudely put, an Aleasotry baby; and yet it is its own, independent ‘Aleastory’ at the very same time:

It is made up of writing that has derived from my own.

One has led literally to the other; embellished, of course, by the talents of another writer.

So we take it forward: conflate it with other stories, other ideas – perhaps found ways of devising, that have sprung forth from the Aleastory ‘performance’.

The possibilities truly are…. endless.

Designed Feedback

And thankyou Mary…

–          As far as you can remember, what did you think of the text on first reading? You may want to consider…

  • Narrative
  • Composition/Formatting
  • Literary ‘style’

I was intrigued by the formatting and the sporadic and jumbled nature of the structure. It felt like lots of scripts that had shattered and then reassembled in an alternative order.

For me the sections which were about putting a ladder to the moon were overpowering and prevented me reading between the lines to find an alternative narrative.

I was drawn to the “FACT:…” sections which added comedy moments often at the most unlikely moment causing disruption to the prior narrative stream.

–          Having introduced the text as ‘Open’, how ‘Open’ do you personally think it was, particularly in terms of narrative interpretation?

I think the text was very easy to manipulate in terms of design. Although I was overpowered by the moon narrative I was still able to pick up on other moments – such as formatting, the FACT sections and odd phrases throughout which stood out. The script was so distorted to start with that it was easy to pick out bits and edit according to artistic preference and vision.

–          How did having so much freedom with how you used a text affect the way you worked? Was this an advantage, or a disadvantage (or neither?!)

I think I was a little stumped at first and wasn’t able to pin down an overall concept. Then I decided that maybe that this confusion of ideas and elements could be my concept and I went with this idea of creating my reading of the text – or my mind after the first reading – quite confused – quite playful – excited – colourful – overpowering moonlike elements.

–          Did anything in the structure/formatting of the text influence your reading?

I think the experimental formatting was very Kane-esque and as with Kane’s work I felt this gave me the reader more freedom and artistic license to play with the reading of it – the order in which I read it and on how much I pondered or analysed each word.

–          How did you respond to the various other interpretations of the text (i.e. performance, film, sound, design and script)?

I used various elements of the script in my design.

The formatting element featured in my balloon arrangement where words hung from the ceiling and floated from the seating to display extracts of the text.

Choice phrases created imagery such as “the colours of the mind” being formed by the colourful balloons, “Exhausted” displayed through series of photographs showing progressive exhaustion in the performers and “Pissing in the wind” being an interactive step by step guide to something claimed to be “pointless”. Also elements such as the overpowering moon were expressed through the over use of yellow – the ladders guiding the audience around the space – restricting their viewpoint in a way which demonstrated the frustration at being restricted by the interrupting nature of the moon narrative in the text.

–          If you were to return to the text again, do you think you could find another narrative or artistic/expressive vein to explore?

Of course!!!! The sporadic nature of this text lends itself to constant reading and refocusing of interpretations. I would most definitely find something completely different to pin my design to and am sure it would not resemble my initial design in the slightest.

Different media/mediums: processes and vagaries

Giving the text to different media/mediums was perhaps not the most thorough method for my experimental journey.

Entirely different processes –  methods of narrative exploration – have been undertaken; and from this I have learned that, at least, I am not restricted/restrictive to any one form of production (I say that boldly… I know I’ve not tested EVERY mode of production – it’s a leap of faith).

A more thorough – narrative – test would be to offer myself to a number of people working in the same medium. By reducing the variables of process; method; production techniques; materials, technologies and tools; I’m sure I would find infinitely more interesting results in terms of disparate (or not) interpretations.

Similarly, the idea of ‘narrative’, which in many ways forms the central part of this research – though the idea of an Open Source text is by no means superfluous – is a difficult one to engage with in the form of ‘design’ or ‘sound installation’.

Playing loosely with the term ‘narrative’ has, it appears, come back to bite me in the behind.

This much I have learned, though it has not at all been a waste of time.

“Matthew Haigh, MA-ATP”

Some feedback from Matthew – the same questions:

As far as you can remember, what did you think of the text on first reading? You may want to consider…

  • Narrative
  • Composition/Formatting
  • Literary ‘style’

A selection of different stories and anecdotes woven together with a seemingly linear narrative.


–          Having introduced the text as ‘Open’, how ‘Open’ do you personally think it was, particularly in terms of narrative interpretation?

It is open as far as you can make your own reasons as to whether it is linear or not. But with it being a text, something written before you, the interpretation can only take place within the walls of the text.

–          How did having so much freedom with how you used a text affect the way you worked? Was this an advantage, or a disadvantage (or neither?!)

An advantage in terms of the exploration of material as a performer. No disadvantages as of yet, but these may be found in your future projects.

–          Did anything in the structure/formatting of the text influence your reading?

The way that some conversations were written became an invitation for me to almost interrupt others in a scene when reciting lines.

–          How did you respond to the various other interpretations of the text (i.e. performance, film, sound, design and script)?

Openly, it showed other people’s thoughts of the text in a different medium.

–          If you were to return to the text again, do you think you could find another narrative or artistic/expressive vein to explore?

Yes, incorporating different thoughts that were added to the text would instantly change the story.

–          Any other comments!

I :heart: Alea!

Max’s Process…

Press a key...any key...compose your own audio-list.

Press a key...any key...compose your own audio-list.

The first thing that drew me to the script was reflected in the title itself. I was already familiar with aleatoric music and the important distinction that it is something determined by chance and not improvised.


I used trombone and violin samples to make the music to create an ambient track.  The sound was meant to reflect some of the ‘bigger’ and more ‘profound’ aspects of the text- the wonder/awe, the moon, etc.   The track also has seemingly random interjections of violin and trombone parts but I always wanted them to seem like they were meant to be there and convoluted in such a way that would reflect the ultimate unification of all aspects of script, sound, set, performance.

The audience was able to contrbute to the musical landscape through playing an electronic keyboard that had snippits of the script programmed into each note- particularly where there was a list seemed to work best.  There was also a CD that the audience could skip through to listen to the text- the text would play at random times on each track, so there were periods of silence on the track to support the idea of chance in the soundscape.

There was also a piano, which i played occasionally with the track.  Although most of the time the piano was left there for the audience.  The score simply read agitato and mysterioso- (which I felt was the feel of the music and some of the script) with blank bars- which the audience could interpret how they liked (to play or not to play).

I have always been interested in immersion, so the music was in surround sound, also to support the idea that the audience would walk around the space and hear different things depending on where they were in the room.

The music seemed to work well and contrasted well to the other elements in the room.  However, I think to really appreciate it the audience would need to spend longer listening to the music and playing with the CD and keyboard, which is difficult when there is alot of other elements in the room and when you’re pushed for time. However, I enjoyed how all the parts came together and the variety of interpreations of the scripts

(Max Perryment, Sound Design for Aleastory)

Some thoughts from Lisa

–          As far as you can remember, what did you think of the text on first reading? You may want to consider…

  • Narrative
  • Composition/Formatting
  • Literary ‘style’

I found that the composition of the text allowed for associations to be made freely and narrative to be created through these associations. The style reminded me of Martin Crimp actually! Though even more stream of consciousness. I know that I made connections immediately from reading it and felt that there was a huge amount of scope for interpretation and possibility for performance.

–          Having introduced the text as ‘Open’, how ‘Open’ do you personally think it was, particularly in terms of narrative interpretation?

I think that it was very open, there were many possible routes that we as performance makers could have explored, we chose a particular route that developed naturally and had it’s own process. However, that was not prescribed and we could have ventured down many alternative paths in whatever way we pleased! There were some parts that had a more obvious connection perhaps but that didn’t necessarily mean that that should be pursued.

–          How did having so much freedom with how you used a text affect the way you worked? Was this an advantage, or a disadvantage (or neither?!)

At first, i must admit, it looked quite daunting as it was a rather large text, however, when we looked at it critically we found those connections or parts that resonated with us individually and the freedom available in regard to the use of the text became very freeing. Once we had made some definite decisions as to what to use, or not use certain parts or threads, we could make some headway into creating a coherent (as far as possible!) piece of performance. I suppose it was an advantage as it’s often the starting point that is the most difficult in devised work but having that text as completely flexible meant that we were not tied to follow it religiously.

–          Did anything in the structure/formatting of the text influence your reading?

Definitely. The layout, for me, suggested times when a dialogue was happening, when two people were talking at once, whether the text was spoken in a certain way eg: as an aside and occasionally I feel that it suggested even the physicality of the text or perhaps where people were standing in relation to others. Even though ‘characters’ were not defined the layout of the text gave hints as to who was on stage (as it were) and how they possibly related.

–          How did you respond to the various other interpretations of the text (i.e. performance, film, sound, design and script)?

I really liked the other interpretations of the text. I felt that they each captured the multiplicity of the work and its layers. I found it interesting what they had responded to as creative people and how it differed from and enhanced our interpretation. It showed that the text is a stimulus that a variety of disciplines can create from and also be used as starting points in their own right, eg: Poppy’s script.

–          If you were to return to the text again, do you think you could find another narrative or artistic/expressive vein to explore?

Absolutely, although I personally would need some time distance from the text in order to not recreate the previous interpretation! I think I would also need to collaborate with different people in order to take fresh look at the text. Perhaps combining performers with designers would lead to a new outcome.

Thankyou, Lisa, for the very kind words!

(Lisa Castle, Performer, Aleastory)

“feedback”

…always seems to me a bit of a cold word.

I’d hope, by this point, to have entered into a friendship with my interlocutors; which always makes the idea of ‘feedback’ a little daunting. What if they were to say something I were to find.. offensive?

In one way or another it’s a little like some Jeremy Kyle ‘event’, or atleast a ‘group therapy’ meeting where I, the subject of this meeting’s agenda, sit surrounded by those I have come to call friends, whilst they tell me precisely what they think of me.

It’s an uncomfortable experience for any person – but particularly me, because the beginning and the end of my existence… my ontology…my facticity…is entirely in the hands of others – my past, present and future, to one degree or another, is/will be the product of their sympathies.

Ramble and Ramble.

I put a few questions to them: vague and open (it seems to be a theme…); without political leading or contextual persuasion. To this end, I may have failed: it has become something of a personal issue and so my questions may in fact not be quite as ‘liberal’ as I had intented. Note, however, how I avoided saying “I”, “me”, “mine” or “my”. It’s the little thigns…

They were:

Some broad questions

Note: These are guidelines – you may answer as many or as little as you like; answer them one by one; or consider them and write of your whole experience with the questions in mind.

–          As far as you can remember, what did you think of the text on first reading? You may want to consider…

  • Narrative
  • Composition/Formatting
  • Literary ‘style’

–          Having introduced the text as ‘Open’, how ‘Open’ do you personally think it was, particularly in terms of narrative interpretation?

–          How did having so much freedom with how you used a text affect the way you worked? Was this an advantage, or a disadvantage (or neither?!)

–          Did anything in the structure/formatting of the text influence your reading?

–          How did you respond to the various other interpretations of the text (i.e. performance, film, sound, design and script)?

–          If you were to return to the text again, do you think you could find another narrative or artistic/expressive vein to explore?

–          Any other comments!

The responses are posted in their respective categories.

Picking away…

Some key quotes I need to unpick – and will only be able to do justice if I save them for the final project: Dissertation.

‘Is everything in a narrative functional? Does everything, down to the slightest detail, have a meaning? Can narrative be divided up entirely into functional units? We shall see in a moment that there are several kinds of functions, there being several kinds of correlations, but this does not alter the fact that a narrative is never made up of anything other than functions: in differing degrees, everything in it signifies. This is not a matter of art (on the part of the narrator), but of structure; in the realm of discourse, what is noted is by definition notable. Even were a detail to appear irretrievably insignificant, resistant to all functionality, it would nonetheless end up with precisely the meaning of absurdity or uselessness: everything has a meaning, or nothing has. To put it another way, one could say that art is without noise (as that term is employed in information theory): art is a system which is pure, no unit ever goes wasted, however long, however loose, however tenuous may be the thread connecting it to one of the levels of the story. (Barthes, R. (1977) Image-Music-Text, Fontana Press, London: page 89-90)’

‘…Levi-Strauss: the units above the sentence have the same composition as the units below the sentence; the sense of the narrative consists in the very arrangement of the elements, in the power of the whole to integrate the subunits; and conversely, the sense of an element is its capacity to enter in relation with other elements and with the whole of the work. These postulates together define the closure of the narrative. (Ricoeur, P. (2008) From Text to Action, Continuum, London: page 112)’

‘Reading is like the execution of a musical score; it marks the realization, the enactment, of the semantic possibilities of the text. The final feature is the most important because it is the condition of the other two (that is, of overwhelming cultural distance and of fusing textual interpretation with self-interpretation). Indeed, the feature of realization discloses a decisive aspect of reading, namely, that it fulfills the discourse of the text in a dimension similar to that of speech. What is retained here from the notion of speech is not the fact that it is uttered but that it is an event, an instance of discourse, as Benveniste says. The sentences of a text signify here and now. The ‘actualized’ texts finds a surrounding and an audience; it resumes the referential movement – intercepted and suspended – toward a world and towards subjects. This world is that of the reader, this subject is the reader himself. In interpretation, we shall say, reading becomes like speech. I do not say ‘becomes speech,’ for reading is never equivalent to a spoken exchange, a dialogue. But reading culminates in a concrete act that is related to the text as speech is related to discourse, namely, as event and instance of discourse. Initially the text had only a sense, that is, internal relations or a structure; now it has a meaning, that is, a realization in the discourse of the reading subject. By virtue of its sense, the text had only a semiological dimension; now it has, by virtue of its meaning, a semantic dimension. (Ricoeur, P. (2008) From Text to Action, Continuum, London: page 115)’

‘…the intended meaning of the text is not essentially the presumed intention of the author, the lived experience of the writer, but rather what the text means for whoever complies with its injunction. The text seeks to place us in its meaning, that is – according to another acceptation of the word sense – in the same direction. So if the intention is that of the text, and if this intention is the direction that it opens up for thought, then depth semantics must be understood in a fundamentally dynamic way. I shall therefore say: to explain is to bring out the structure, that is, the internal relations of dependence that constitute the statics of the text; to interpret is to follow the path of thought opened up by the text, to place oneself en route toward the orient of the text. We are invited by this remark to correct our initial concept of interpretation and to search – beyond a subjective process of interpretation as an act on the text – for an objective process of interpretation that would be the act of the text. (Ricoeur, P. (2008) From Text to Action, Continuum, London: page 117)’

‘The idea of interpretation as appropriation is not, for all that, eliminated; it is simply postponed until the termination of the process. It lies at the extremity of what we [have] called…the hermeneutical arc: it is the final brace of the bridge, the anchorage of the arch in the ground of lived experience. But the entire theory of hermeneutics consists in mediating this interpretation – appropriation by the series of interpretants that belong to the work of the text upon itself. Appropriation loses its arbitrariness insofar as it is the recovery of that which is at work, in labour, within the text. What the interpreter says is a resaying that reactivates what is said by the text.’

At the end of our investigation, it seems that reading is the concrete act in which the destiny of the text is fulfilled. It is at the very heart of reading that explanation and interpretation are indefinitely opposed and reconciled. (Ricoeur, P. (2008) From Text to Action, Continuum, London: page 119-120)’

To be continued…