At the 2015 symposium Luis, Rachel and Rebecca organised a panel discussion with an assortment of artists who work across a broad spectrum of mediums and genres as part of their Cross Pollination project. The title is inspired by the Deleuze and Parnet metaphor of the wasp and the orchid who enjoin in a symbiotic relationship at the moment of pollination; this produces a processual composite where neither the wasp nor the orchid exist as discrete elements. The metaphor of cross pollination is understood in this context to denote the interdisciplinary nature of live performance practice, with an explicit desire to avoid foregrounding any particular part. Rather, the dramaturgies the team are interrogating undulate in-between disciplines and flow between artistic mediums. The next stage of the work is for contributors to the project to present their practice.
Fluid Ecologies: A Nordic Adventure by Dr Joseph Dunne
Following his practice-as-research experiments in Finland and Greenland over the spring, Joseph is now developing the pedagogical aspects of Fluid Ecologies, with a particular focus on how students can present research processes using the techniques of performance, with a correlate investigation into the ‘type’ of knowledge that is generated in the live event sphere. He has written an article on Performance Prompt which discusses these issues at length and which also charts his adventures abroad.
Eleanora Duse by Professor Paul Fryer
Paul is co-editing a book The Silence of Eleanora Duse that he has also written a chapter for entitled Recording Duse. Duse was an actress who it is often claimed influenced all acting, but what is this claim based on? Paul suggested there are three sources of information: Written and spoken observations, such as those by Stanislavski who often used Duse as an example of what his students should be striving for in their acting; photography, which provides an additional layer of information to textual accounts; and films of actors in motion. Paul suggests these sources have collectively created a legacy for 19th century acting traditions that continue to live through the material.
A Commanding View by Dr Nick Hunt
In July Nick presented a paper entitled A Commanding View: The Scenography of the Production Desk and the Technical Rehearsal at the FITR/IFTR conference in Hyderabad. The subject of the paper was the changing role of the production desk, which Nick contends has become the command centre of the performance. The location of the production desk in the proscenium arch theatre signifies an authoritative perspective that mirrors the historical role of the now defunct Royal Box in court theatres. Having replaced this hierarchical device, the production desk is now the place from where a complex series of technical and artistic processes originate from. In this sense, the operations that occur in technical rehearsals possess their own scenography and are ‘staged’ during each performance.
The Space Play by Rebecca Pollock
The Space Play is a work in progress performance that Rebecca is developing with her theatre company The Shady Dolls. The piece was presented at the symposium with a cast of third year ATA students. The Space Play is a sci-fi show whose content and production has been inspired by fourth wave feminist dialectics and is the first part of a planned trilogy. In an attempt to subvert heteronormative performance structures Rebecca did not rehearse it, opting instead to create a responsive relationship between the actors and the technical crew. For example, the lighting designer was tasked to find characters through her observations of the actor’s actions and express them by creating lighting states. Moreover, the lighting designer was visible to the audience during the performance. In this way, the management models could be described as feminine because the traditional hierarchical structures were shattered. Rebecca is researching the role technology plays in this paradigm to better understand how technology can either reinforce or subvert heteronormative theatre practices.
Lower Pool by Dr Kathy Sandys
Lower Pool is an installation Kathy and Simon Robertshaw presented at RBC’s latest symposium and at UEL as part of an Olympiad event. The piece was comprised of sounds the artists recorded on the Thames, sourced primarily from the many vessels that travel through it every day. But unlike the sounds one might hear walking along the riverbank the soundtrack was composed of the invisible sounds that reverberate beneath the surface of the water.
The soundtrack followed a six hour map of the river activity and was played through a metal structure, whilst dried mud that had been taken from the banks of the Thames poured onto a lighted plinth.