In this workshop we will think about how ‘self’ can be used as the material for performance. We will consider the possibilities of the diary, the confessional, the autobiography, the self-portrait, the signature, and the trademark, in an attempt to configure what is constituted by the ‘I’ in performance practice.
After an introduction to the use of performance in non-acting based artworks (especially live and performance art) emphasis will be on devising and employing practical strategies for making playful autobiographic performances.
[Please bring two photographs of yourself from your family album: one when you were a child and one more recent. Please also bring one additional personal possession that has some relevance or importance to you.]
For those of you who are not familiar with modes of performance that are non-acting based you might find the following text of interest:
• Michael Kirby, ‘Acting and Not-Acting’ in The Drama Review Vol.16 No.1 March 1972, reprinted as Chapter 1 of A Formalist Theatre (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987)
As an interesting starting point for thinking about how we might perform an ‘I’ the following short text on diary and journal writing is excellent:
• Roland Barthes, ‘Environs of the Image – Deliberation’ in The Rustle of Language (California: University of California Press, 1984) p.359
by Marthe Sofie Løkeland Eide (with acknowledgement to Joe Brainard)
I remember sitting in a circle with Karmenlara and Joshua and having lots of expectations.
I remember the release after the striptease when all of us were outside in the dark and Jade was in his gold dress.
I remember thinking that making people strip is a freakin’ good team-building exercise.
I remember Anders’ creepy and sad version of the dream of running your own hostel in the Italian countryside.
I remember the happy and surprised faces when we were told we would have the possibility to wear normal clothing for three weeks.
I remember being silently mad at the idea that we had to fix the post-its up on the wall, as if they needed to be fixed.
I remember Joshua’s face when David, without hesitation, told him he had an annoying voice. And I remember that when David was reflecting on his performance, Joshua felt the need to correct him and wanted it clear that David had not said ‘really annoying’, just ‘annoying’.
I remember Laerke’s fuck-off attitude when she embodied a member of Pussy Riot.
I remember David and my frustration at not having an idea when we coupled up and then searching for anything in the costume room to give us some kick-ass inspiration, and that we did not find anything.
I remember drinking the husk and that it actually almost made me puke.
I remember Joshua singing ‘All by myself’ into the microphone but that the rest of the class were so into what they were doing that they did not notice.
I remember Jade forgetting to bring his personal object.
I remember looking at Jade’s USB stick and thinking how much a random object can represent something so powerful.
I remember pouring food onto David’s naked body.
I remember not smoking.
I remember the feather David randomly picked up and danced with in his striptease.
I remember not knowing whether to be proud or embarrassed when people came up to me and said, “I have been into the Blue Room. I saw the pictures.”
I remember the colour of my face when Marie walked in on me when I was rehearsing my striptease in the women’s dressing room.
I remember the bubbly feeling in my stomach as got an exercise I couldn’t wait to get started with.
I remember wanting to flee and run home when we were given the striptease exercise.
I remember being jealous of Ida for getting only good photographs.
I remember Heiki asking Anders if he could call him his “boyfriend” and Anders’ slightly embarrassed red-faced, “yes”.
I remember thinking it is good that none of us has the ambition to become a comedian.
I remember the extra audience in the window in the block next to us, hoping and anticipating some action.
I remember them giving up.
I remember not giving myself permission to laugh when Per Magnus was giving a prayer.
I remember the clock passing ‘5’ and that I honestly did not care.
I remember Heiki’s honest nervousness.
I remember none of us really wanting to make a performance for the rest of the school.
I remember thinking after the clothes swapping exercise that I had no idea where this workshop would take us.
I remember how afraid, nervous and childlike excited I was to try the microphone.
I remember showing my Dad and my siblings the Blue Room and how awkward I felt when I remembered I had forgotten about Jade’s self-portrait.
I remember the release in our faces when we were finished with a tough exercise.
I remember never knowing what to expect next.
I know I will remember this workshop for a long time.
I know I will send Joshua an email asking him to freshen my memory on some exercise I want to try out on some other poor souls.
Documentation from 2010 and 2012