We are extremely excited to have participated in the 'SHOOT YOUR SHOT and DIVE Queer Party presents: WEIRDO WAREHOUSE' at Glue Factory on Saturday 29th October! Our first outing as a visual-performance collaborative group could hardly have been set in a more highly spirited and vibrantly colourful environment!
We wanted to create a work that could interact with and encourage curiosity in our audience, to explore where the boundaries of interactive performance and straightforward awkward social interaction lay. Our initial idea was to combine projected image and considered movement to create a stage of sorts, a no-go area on the dance floor that could only be breached when a performer invited a spectator to join them. This idea evolved over the course of the night and became something much more fluid, responsive to the environment and somehow more organic than our original choreographed 'organic' movements.
Our Performance: we walk out onto a silver stage, bathed in coloured light from projected light. We take our positions in an austere line up, staring out at a sea of happily wasted clubbers. The severity of our stance attracts some interest, our stillness out of place. A sudden twitch and one of our line up moves to confront and switch places with another performer. Other performers copy, offering their hand to accept the switch or moving out of place to avoid them. Occasionally a performer steps forward, breaking the line and venturing in to the crowd. When acknowledged by an audience member, the performer is granted freedom to dance or break character until the audience member loses interest or becomes overly involved. The performer then resumes their detachment and retakes their place on the wall. The interaction and non-interaction lasts for an indeterminate length.
The Animation: I wanted to create something extremely colourful. We had decided to pull our inspiration from the sea, so I began to research dimorphic and hemaphroditic sea creatures. From the images I found, I printed, painted and collaged the bizarre forms together to create basic forms. I then began to digitally manipulate these paper works to form the 'stills' - the master images that I could begin animating. Then began the lengthy process of slowly changing each image and compiling them in to an animation that could follow our basic intentions and positions.
The Space: We had sheets of Silver Mylar Foil to work with, which we would ideally have liked to cover the entire space. Instead we opted, with the sheer number of people present and the dimensions of the room, to create a strip that could act like a stage and a reflective panel on the opposite wall to emphasise the presence of the projection. The DJs provided an as-before-unheard (by us) selection of music to which we responded during our performance.
The Response: This was an odd work to perform, people in such a determined state of hedonism are a difficult crowd to sell a silent, visual piece to. What was very interesting, from a performer's point of view, was their curiosity and delight when we did respond with dancing or unexpected motion. People began to join in, turning the work in to a game - copying our stilted movements or lurking near us to dance with us when we finally were 'activated'. Some would stand very close to us in an attempt to break our concentration, others avoided us like the plague for fear of our unpredictability. Lots of people waited for us to move away from the wall so they could take a selfie with the animation. It went down really rather well, with a few commenting on how the suddenness of our activation and deactivation mirrored something within the daunting prospect of social interaction and how it takes a whole performance work just to dance with someone new.
We will continue to mull this work and its effect over and encourage you to look out for future collaborations in the near future! All the best, thanks to those who came and keep your eyes peeled for new works on the main page!