As the school is on half term this week I have had some studio time to reflect on additional elements to introduce into our sessions. I am now thinking about the view of the audience when they watch the film and spinning plates from floor level at our upcoming event at Manchester Art Gallery. Could it be fun and another way of seeing to have something to look through like a tube or tinted colorful acetate? I played around with materials that where in my studio space such as metallic sheets and yarn cones that could be made into spectacles. I really enjoyed looking at the textured colours of the image at the end of a tube with the light being refracted back inside the metallic cardboard cylinder. There was a tube I had used in one of my last sessions that I wrapped around the outside with textured glow in the dark tape that was of interest to some of the children, which has got me thinking about inside and outside textures.
Thinking beyond these small frames I am now considering how the children and there families enter the performance space and leave. From my experience of working at Grange School with Sarah she introduces the work we will be doing before the children enter the space verbally and visually. Last week I attended autism awareness training for the arts session at Manchester Museum with Nadia Peters and Lorna Downer and one of the main points I took away from this was the importance of social stories for the autistic community by using images to introduce the sequence of activity for that day. This has got me reflecting on my responsibility as an artist to the people I am working with and how I lead them into a new, unknown space. In my performance practice I often use sequences although the communication process of visual stories is making me expand this sequence further beyond the studio to the other side of the door. How will people move from one space to another within the art gallery and through the visually busy hallways, which lead to the studio entrance? How can I incorporate this into the lead into the performance?
For my second session I wanted to focus on a practice plate spinning area and used the climbing frame as a curtain with different textured materials draped, framing sections of the structure. From the intro session the blue and red colours worked really well together and I added neon orange paper. I feel very lucky to be able to use the 4d space at the school as a studio although I am using it in a different way using the colour setting instead of surround video. I introduced some colourful hoops, smaller plates + sticks, torches and paper till roll for floor work. I composed a soundtrack of electro, atmospheric music, which built up to, a fun digital fairground sound and I wanted to see how this would effect the atmosphere of the room and what the children’s reactions would be. The idea was to work with the same children however the school where eager to encourage more people to experience the space.
The first group of 7 children where of various ages which was quite a large group for one artist to work with although I was curious to see what would happen. Working with some of the older children I was surprised that all of them where into the idea of spinning a plate as there was always a chance that this could be seen as a bit uncool especially with younger children in the room at the same time. Part of my research to create some structured mini performances where challenging to get started as there where so many new people who just wanted to explore for the first time and freestyle their own way around. Although we did try some loose ideas such as bringing the plates together, dropping them at the same time, working with the steps and follow my leader around the space.
The afternoon group started mainly on the floor with lots of repetitive rolling of tapes, plates, papers, and cardboard rolls across the room. I prepared more floor-based activity reflecting on last weeks session and often I would lye down on the floor spinning a plate. The ceiling in the 4d room is adorned with planets, which is really fitting with this work and it has got me thinking about using the floor more and how a performance could be experienced from a different perspective. I stumbled across this resource on Facebook by Unlimited an ideas list for developing venues understanding of access which mentions fluid performances and being able to lye down http://weareunlimited.org.uk/rest-reset-recharge/. I found a great free downloadable music website http://freemusicarchive.org and created a playlist inspired by the opening music in films, the fairground and the aesthetic of the space that had a gentle pulsating lifting feeling which could motivate movement or simply listened to.
I am working with Jake Ryan a filmmaker for the first time, which feels like a total luxury although essential to capture all of the children’s contributions in our sessions. Often I have lots of ideas for using video/photography, as there is so much potential in using the documentation as material. Jake also took some beautiful portraits and having an official documenter was of intrigue to the children who where very happy to have there picture taken. I would like to use this camera focus, as this did seem to pull some of the children together from free play into the lens and encouraged performing to camera. Reflecting on these images is making me think about the different visual perspectives of the performer in a space, and I question how will the audience experience the work, how can we experiment with blending video, live action and music.