Saturday, 19 May 2012

Screen Talk

Multiple Screens used in my show Rat Rose Bird.  Photo Credit: Briony Campbell

A theatre student from Scarborough Campus Hull Uni asked me last week why I use screens in my work and I wrote a quick statement for her... It's rather dry, but thought I'd post it up here as may well be useful again sometime in the future. Who knows...Thanks Alice Wicker for asking me the question in the first place!

"I use screens in a variety of ways in my practice. Not all of works feature them but a sufficient number do to warrant identifying them as a medium that is an important part of my artistic palette. I use them as they allow me to draw attention to details that the audience might not otherwise look at, or be able to see, or otherwise have access to.

For example in Grafting and Budding they allow the audience another viewpoint of the live action (a different angle at a different scale). In this work the screen elevates the live action making it epic. The pictures I am making on the tabletop, with spices, apples, materials, become more important than watching me the performer 'performing' (or at least AS important). The screen also reminds the audience to look again. They are silmutaneously being shown alternative viewpoints of the same event. This is particularly important in Grafting and Budding as the work is all about what can be seen or read through looking at the surface of 'things' or people. If the audience can so easily be shown the same event from different angles what else could they be 'seeing'? Should they trust their eyes, or should they dig deeper?

Similarly in Give Me Land Lots of Land, the audience are able to choose to either watch the on-screen glamorous version of me, where I miraculously make objects appear from my mouth, or, the 'real' version lying on a dusty floor with the mechanics of the 'trick' exposed.

In Rat Rose Bird I use both live feed and pre-recorded footage. The live-feed is used to make a very small scene appear normal scale and the pre-recorded footage gives audience access to diary like clips that aren't made for the stage. These images are then relayed across multiple screens at the same time in order to draw attention to the movement of the clips. This again has the effect of elevating them/makes them epic/makes them something 'other'. The onscreen action almost becomes like choreographed dance scenes and the televisions take on a sculptural quality when viewed as objects. The pre-recorded clips hint at other histories and different narratives and remind the audience to remember.

The type of screen I use is also not an arbitrary decision - the television/the largescale cinema screen/the angle the live-feed is shot at and how these are presented in relation to my live body are always very carefully considered in relation to the idea I am trying to convey."


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