Recording the experiences of artists taking part in Rules and Regs in Yokohama, hosted by STSpot.

-Ira Brand
-Noriyuki Kiguchi
-Matthew Morris

Each artist will spend one month (17/1-17/2/13) making new work in response to a set of Rules designed to challenge established artistic practice. Work will be shown at TPAM (9-10/2) and the Nightingale, Brighton, UK (22-23/2).

The Rules:
-Find the stage.
-You also are here.


It is the night before our departure from Yokohama, the bags are packed, the fridge is emptied, the sushi has been eaten, and I have enjoyed my final evening stroll through our neighbourhood and home (for stroll, read brisk walk, due to a rather noticeable drop in temperature!).

We performed our work at KAAT last Saturday and Sunday, and the week since then seems to have flown by even more than the time in the run-up to the showings. There has been a bit of a break, a bit of exploring, a bit of seeing other work at TPAM, a bit of feedback and contemplation, and a bit of time in the studio (and in the head) working towards next weekend’s performances in Brighton.

I am intrigued to see how all the pieces will be altered by the very different space at The Nightingale alone. It seems like both the specifics of the venue and the change in our geography will have quite an impact on the work. Scale, intimacy, pace, atmosphere, context, and a UK audience. I am particularly interested to see how this last factor will affect the engagement with the work. I’ve struggled with much of the Japanese work I’ve seen presented at TPAM over the last few days, and I’ve wondered a lot about how much that is down to cultural differences and references and conventions. Or how much it’s just that the type of work being presented at this particular platform is not really my ‘thing’.

Then there will of course be any changes/development we choose to make between now and next week. I have been thinking a lot about structure still, and the suggestion (from the feedback) that the two minute ‘sections’ of the piece (which are currently introduced some way in) could run all the way through from the very beginning – so that everything in the show essentially fits into a two minute period. I like the simplicity and rigour of this idea, but I also want to maintain a dynamic piece, and don’t want the pace to be weaker for the sake of this structure. Yesterday in the studio I couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work, but I will keep thinking about it and structuring and re-structuring, and looking at different options. It’s interesting for me to think about the relationship between form and content, and how far they can support each other, or at one point they no longer do. I don’t often make work that is as strictly structured as this.

Related to this, there was also a question raised in our feedback session about the explanation of the two minute device and whether or not this comes too early in the work, and whether or not it would be better for the device to be functioning and for an audience to discover its relevance later. As an audience member I like the satisfaction that comes with such a discovery, so I’m keen to explore this, but I also feel comfortable with the slightly more linear structure of the piece at present (roughly: board the plane – take-off – in flight).

So I think the next days for me are as above: structuring and re-structuring and looking at different options.

It’s not over yet.

Ira Brand


In addition to The Rules given by Seth and Ohira, we also added two of our own additional rules – only one of us can be present in the work at any one time and it must be able to be either of us who is present – i.e. we must be interchangeable.

I think we did an okay job here in Japan within some rather intense constraints – making a completely new work that responded to The Rules, examining our working process, making a work for a black box theatre which we’ve never done before, all within three weeks, without being able to speak Japanese (and along with jet lag and working out how to eat, sleep, wash clothes, look after our daughter etc.).

We made a work that engaged the primarily Japanese-speaking audience, communicated with them, activated them to participate; they came on stage and performed a series of sound effects that built into soundscapes, accompanied by short narratives that we revealed line-by-line on cue cards. Andrew presented the work one afternoon and I did the other afternoon. We did a ‘performance’ on the stage, which involved non-verbally directing the audience’s participation.

I like the idea we came up with and it worked well enough here in Japan. However, I’m never quite sure what I think about any work until a few months have elapsed and I’ve got a bit of critical distance. Some feedback we’ve had gives us some thoughts to get our teeth into over the next week, before we have to re-present the work in Brighton next weekend. On an encouraging note, several people who were in the audience have approached us over the last few days and said they liked the idea and enjoyed participating in it.

So we start our journey to the airport in 12 hours. Sad. I’ve had ‘residency in Japan’ on my wishlist for several years. So it’s been very exciting to finally be here and I’ve had a fantastic time. But now it’s over and we get on the plane tomorrow morning. I hope I get to return sometime.

Thanks and bests to my companions on this journey – Andrew, Vivian, Seth, Ohira, Matthew, Ira, Kiguchi, Fumiko.

Rebecca French


It feels like there is a well earned hiatus in the Rules & Regs experience here in Yokohama. With 36 hours to go before we board flight back to the UK, and seven days to go before the presentation in Brighton, we’re packing our stuff up and introducing our work to some of the programmers gathered here at TPAM from Asia, North America and Europe.

I also find myself pausing to consider questions about the residency and the work we developed and presented last weekend. Skimming through our reasons for applying to the programme (written in November 2012) one thing we wanted to explore was how we could organise our collaboration during the residency whilst accompanied by, and caring for, our young daughter. Since her birth over a year ago, we have found it relatively easy to find time to work separately, but more difficult to find time where we can work together. We wanted to use the R&R framework to help us explore a strategy that would allow us to develop a work alongside each other, whilst not being ‘together’. It would also be a work that either of us could perform without the need for the other, whilst the other does the childcare.

To develop the work we decided the following; whilst one of us had the ‘book’ the other has the kid, with handover’s equally informative about the status of both. Respecting each others creative time sounds simple but it has worked – you just have to guard against those handovers taking too long and timing those necessary joint decisions to coincide with naps.

We also had to deal with not so small matter of making a work inside a theatre space for the first time – having made live, participatory art works outside the black box for 14 years.

The result is a work we’ve called ‘The River flows gently…” where we work with the audience and materials at hand to evoke a number of distinct soundscapes, using sounds that are possible to make with ‘our bodies, found objects and non-speech vocals’.

Performing and not performing the work has thrown up some different emotions, since we are used to standing side-by-side. It’s pretty exciting to ‘conduct’ the audience on my own, and it’s pretty infuriating not to have Rebecca witness and crit my performance. Of course there’s a bit of me that wants to know how we compare against each other too. Apparently, I’m more gregarious, whilst Rebecca is more formal. Am wanting to be a ‘conductor’ or a ‘butler’.

A fair bit of feedback needs to be processed before we fix on the Brighton presentation.

Andrew Mottershead


Since I last made an entry a lot has transpired with the shifting and shaping of the work and the final push towards presenting it in TPAM. Now as I sit post shows to consider the next step of R&R and the presentation in Brighton I can hopefully allow this time for further inquiry and refining. As suggested it may prove useful to look back at the Rules.

I feel that the performance of the work was complimented and supported by the soundscape created by Ed Rosenberg III. I offered the Rules to him as a place to respond from as well as the text I had written however I intended that the sound should have it’s own identity and should exist separately. This was highlighted by the game of chance in the performance therefore I never knew which sound piece I would dance with.

From here I am now thinking about the structure of the work, the method in the game of chance and to what measure can I keep the audience engaged and curious. It is perhaps in the text side of the work where the dynamics could be elevated and not so dry, somehow to create an intimacy. Proximity and the delivery of the narrative will be my focus. I better learn my lines!

One of the comments from the ‘outside eye – work in progress’ suggested that the sense of being abandoned when I was not present on either side could be addressed. As I had been already in consideration of this and designing the experience with lighting and sound as part of the concept I believe this worked with effect in the final presentation to support my absence.

A question that arises now with experiencing the work with an audience is what kind of performance I’m offering them? If I myself do not sense an emotional connection or I have a disconnection to the work is this then only a visual, abstract or poetic work. Or can it resonate on varying states of being?

The scale of the theatre space at KAAT being of generous proportions and the transferring to the Nightingale in Brighton presents technical and spatial limitations therefore the adaptation will automatically be challenged.

As there were numerous constraints within the regulations and time frames to produce a work I feel a part of the goal achieved…. it is now that the growth really starts to be nurtured.

Matthew Morris


finally our performances was done.

I’d like to appreciate my colleagues and staff.

Thank you.

I found some issues through participation in this project.

one of them is the most important thing from last century.

what do we want to do?

finding innovative method or creating masterpiece?

I ask to me again.

where is art?

inside of way of creation?


inside of each pieces?

I’ll keep on thinking!