Requiem For Aleppo; Review

  • about syrian crisis/ civil war
  • there would always be one person to the left of the stage running under a yellow spotlight; you’d feel exhausted just watching and the yellow had a slightly tiring effect somehow? the rest of the lights would be a bright white or other, never the same as the spotlight.
  • the way they rn was in an exhausting manner
  • they would switch so everyone got a chance to run.
  • beautiful costume
  • simple set
  • very important message; i want to do more research into this.
  • i am very interested in travelling abroad with the intent of raising money and creating art.
  • the idea of using theatre as a way to raise awarenenss is one which i am very interested in; this would be fuelled by a genuine enthusiasm for theatre (design, acting, dancing, conceptual, the music etc), and a want to use art as a means to really help people and learn about issues in the world. aleppo is just one, but a very possible and current affair worth looking futher into. i believe this has been explored by mattilde gattoni.
  • VERY moving

‘Created and Composed by David Cazalet, choreographed by Jason Mabana and featuring Juliana Yazbeck, Requiem for Aleppo is a non-political expression of solidarity for the people of Syria.

This new production brings together 12 dancers from around the world. The original music is a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics set to choral music, Arabic poetry and real-life stories of people from Aleppo.’

 

This production related to my interest in interwoven politics into my art; art is a great tool to inject emotion into raising awareness, whereas news reporters literally just inform you cold, hard facts. this lacks emotion and thus isn’t as powerful as it could be in raising awareness and encouraging people to care. Dancing is such a basic human desire; it enlivens us; moving our bodies to a rhythm is instinctual. It touches us in a way that cold, hard, logic-based facts cannot. It is so much easier to connect with; you watch this and you feel involved, you care naturally and without having to know bucketloads about what is happening. Dance is to express an emotion, and as an audience, that emotion was felt directly.

Perhaps i could take this idea of using a medium where emotions are felt so directly such as art or music as  way to bring forth an idea i.e. of urban living and a lack of ability to concentrate. an inability to delve deep and explore the hidden intricacies of things because everything and everyone whizzes past so quickly that when you reach out to grasp, it has already passed and you are being bombarded by the next glistening, glimmering thing or person. i love london because it has a buzz, a vibe, an energy, life, it is constantly being built up and developed; yet at the same time, it is so difficult to sit still and breathe, think, merely exist. there is always noise, distractions, the reminder of time passing, somewhere else to be. this feeling of emergency is in the air. it would perhaps be interesting to create a piece that is quite still; something where you feel absorbed and calm, delving deeper into something small and uncovering more and more. like a scientific experiment where there is always more to be curious about.

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Reflection; ‘Can You BELIEVE The Price of Eggs These Days?!’

The name comes from a story my dad was telling me of his travels in Amsterdam; he and his friends were jokingly rolling around and laughing on a bed, and a couple opposite wrongly got the shockingly wrong impression that they were having an orgy! Inspired by such passionate pursuits, the giggly couple decided to strip off and start having rather fearsome sex in the very same room on a chair just metres away from my dad and his group of friends, who were now gawping, wide eyed and in disbelief. One lady in this group, however, was completely oblivious to the sexual acts taking place and randomly exclaimed, completely out of the blue, “Can you BELIEVE the price of eggs these days??!”

And my dad was just so blown. The juxtaposition between the idea of them all having an orgy and the couple stripping off and fucking right opposite, and this completely oblivious lady, seemingly in her complete own bubble, gasping about the price of eggs. This contrast is just so utterly hilariously ridiculous that there’s no way I couldn’t not use it in my work.

My work takes the mundane and juxtaposes it with ideas of the sublime; a pond with bits of leaves and twigs floating past, with tiny insects occassionally hopping across, a film of dirt oozing its way across the stream, compared with what viewers might at first mistake it for; a galaxy. This juxtaposition is almost comical; or at least contains the potential to become comical.

I suppose what is actually gliding so gracefully across the pond could potentially be oil, although i am uncertain of this; therefore it could be proof of an polluted society, and through this dirt and destruction, we are seeing something overwhelmingly beautiful and resembling of our entire universe; a beauty and creation in destruction.

“One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endued with life. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? (…) I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body. (…) Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel-houses. My attention was fixed upon every object the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings.”

Above are quotes from Frankinstein, by Mary Shelley, which I am currently reading. Frankinstein relates to my juxtaposing of the sublime with the apparently mundane because it is based on the ideas of the sublime; the theme revolves around life, death and how it is a continuous cycle. In the above quote it mentions how a body becomes food for the worm, relating to how it sinks into the ground and decays, and becomes life again i.e. a tree, a leaf, which could wither and fall to the ground, die, and be reborn again. It could be picked up by humans; children playing in the park, ancestors even, at a reach, of a person of whose body the leaf is partially composed. My point is, the idea that everything is one in the same; everything is made from dark matter, or matter; indeed, ‘Can you BELIEVE the price of eggs these days?!’ was remarked just as wildly and with as much passion as the sexual acts taking place opposite, but relating perhaps more to my theme, eggs are made from the same matter as stars, as the human body. The mundane objects are made from the same things as those which we gain sublimity from; everything in the entire universe is made from ‘dark matter’ yet nobody knows exactly what dark matter IS. It’s forming a connection between these juxtaposing objects or concepts and putting an importance onto both, because there IS an importance in both; just listen to small talk- people could project the entirety of their emotions into a rant about a plug socket. but we love it. it’s interesting, hearing people’s emotional dialogues about insignificant events; it’s funny because it’s not a serious issue and you don’t feel the emotional importance they do when they’re pouring their hearts into these monologues. I would like to find theories relating to this idea, however. It was for the previous stated reason that my previous title for these works was ‘Dark Matter’, however, I like the humorous juxtaposition that is created in the title ‘Can you BELIEVE the price of eggs these-days?!’

 

Anyway. The exhibition.

I will be showing the film of the pond along with the film of the fish, in which the fish take on the appearance of gooey, colourful mountains. The sublime with the ordinary. The dead body becomes food (“for the worm”), which eventually becomes exctrete and part of the earth/ the ocean. There is a cycle where we go back to what we were born into; we become the landscape. we are made from the same material regardless and have the same origin.

The sound over the top will be from this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJxUvpiMpp8&t=1183s ; jupiter space station white noise because it adds an intensity to the piece. i think it makes viewers slow down while they are watching; quite important to do for watching dirt slowly float past the pond. this should also be interesting to combine with images similar to intergalactic photos because it further detracts from the pond.

 

in terms of projecting, i am unsure whether to project onto bed sheets hung, bed sheets slung tight and thus evenly over a frame, or straight onto the wall. the problem with option A is that the ripples in the sheets create an uneven projection, however on the contrary, this could possible be effective. this is an interesting layout which looks good in the safehouses. option two would mean spending time constructing frames when i might have be constructing two plinths tomorrow as well as uploading my films onto my memory sticks, getting to the safehouses and setting everything up, all in good time before the private view. The problem with the final option is that the holes and many marks on the wall will show up through the projection. This could possibly add to it though. I shall ask advice.

I am considering printing a simple poster with the quote “Can you BELIEVE the price of eggs thesedays?!” on it and seeing how effectively this works with the work.

 

 

Sophie Clements

Sophie Clements - How We Fall

Above is a still from Sophie Clement’s film ‘How We Fall’, in which falling/ settling/ floating dust is captured in film. Muffled voices play in the background. Connotations of a bomb/ the voices sounding similar to those heard through walky-talkies; muffled sounds similar to bombs in the background. At first, the scale of the film is unknown. The particles freeze mid air. The cinematography is dizzying; constantly circulating the subject, creating a feeling of suspense that is heightened by the ambiguity of the muffled voices. as a viewer, you feel as though you are caught in a moment in time, stuck in a repetetive frreze-frame. Heavy connotations of war, although this isn’t completey given away; merely by the sounds (making the viewer feel as though they have impaired hearing) and the idea of the bomb. The camera moves from the xplosion itself to the falling of the particles, which aesthetically looks similar to part of a galaxy, especially when these particles are suspended in mid air. This freezing brings the attention to the individual details. In her exhibition, the theme was to “Appropriate approaches from scientists in order to gain insights, accumulate data or choose their observational vantage point. By defining a framework wherein a staged experiment or observed action can take place, they test the boundaries of our earthly existence, everyday life, human psychology and patterns of social behaviour.”

This piece reminded me of the idea of the big bang, and the idea that everything is related in that everything is made up of star dust/ dark matter; so despite the scale of the explosion, it is an explosion all the same, and scale is subjective to the viewer.

I was interested in the idea of using dust/ concrete in the way that it is used here, scattered across the floor. This would be as a way of suggesting that everything is related and made up of the same material, which relates to my juxtapositioning of the ordinary with the sublime in the way that what is considered truly sublime is compiled of exactly the same material as what is considered mundane; it is of equal importance physically and contains, ultimately, the same origin, and it is of equal importance in terms of what we need in our lives (in some respects). For instance, humans should have a balance of the sublime with the ordinary in our lives.

This idea is captured in my film of the reflection of dirt on the surface of the pond; the pond is a very mundane place, but the reflection resembles a galaxy; it is one in the same. The viewer is also one in the same. DSC_0793

The idea of scientific experiments as a way of creating art is interesting; in which case, the still from the film above would be part of an observational scientific experiment. Scientific experiments involved drawing hypothesees from observations. It was a moment as mundane as Newton sitting under the apple tree and coming to the idea as earth-shifting as gravity; seeing the galaxy sitting on the murky surface of a pond.

In terms of exhibition, i have been trying to think of ways to present this but I feel like it says all that needs to be said in this simple clip. The ways in which simple leaves/ branches occassionally float past in a way of interrupting this beautiful smooth passing of the entire galaxy with something so simple, tearing the viewers away from the sublime experience of watching the world pass by with the realisation that in actual fact they have become absorbed with a dirty pond. The pond is a very casual place. The viewer is clearly just sat, seemingly watching the world pass by. I very much like the continuity of the film; the way the particles are constantly floating past.

To improve, I would have the film as one long film (there are cuts and jolts in this). I would also add audio, such as muffled speaking with music of some kind. This muffled talking would take importance away from the humans and place it onto the  pond; it would be as though the humans were intended to have been heard but they have been drowned out due to insignificance.

Current

I have films of fish from the market.

I also have film clips from the dirt floating along the pond which looked like a galaxy; I was interested in the contrast between the mundanity of the pond and the sublimity of the galaxy, I found these two juxtapositions rather humorous. DSC_0793.JPG

Isabel Lewis at the Tanks

Isabel Lewis at the Tate

 

I visited Tate Modern’s exhibition ‘Ten Days and Six Nights’ the other day, and Isabel Lewis’ ‘Occasion’ truly stuck with me.isabel lewis two

Isabel Lewis trained as a dancer, before developing her work as a DJ, editor and fine artist. Her influences are drawn from art performances, philosophy and cultural criticism, as well as contemporary art, music, and club culture. She compares them to French Salons of the 17th century (a gathering of aristocratic females discussing intellectual topics), Greek drinking parties (described by Plutarch as “a passing of time over wine, which guided by gracious behaviour, ends in friendship.”), or dinner parties. This is an interesting idea, that art as an ‘occasion’ could be used to create an environment in which certain topics or behaviours are prompted, thus sparking an environment fitting for friendships to be made and learning to take place. This is an unusually direct effect of art unto the private life of the viewer/ participant. In my next term, I wish to collaborate with a group of theatre designers (and perhaps more people i.e. musicians, dancers etc.) and the idea of creating an Occasion similar to this is tempting, as a means to raise awareness perhaps or stimulate certain thoughts or questions. Indeed, in some of Lewis’ Occasions, she offers food, making it even more so like a gathering of these sorts.

Isabel mentions how she had wanted to work with smells for a long time; she had long been discontent with the way in which watching dance in the theatre is a purely visual experience, whereas in clubs, there is less emphasis on the visual language and more on smell and sensations of touch. She mentions how she took a tip to Berlin nightclubs solely to focus on the smell, which heightened her experience incredibly. This idea of scent could be something which I incorporate into my installation. Indeed, my piece in the exhibition will consist of rather abstract film clips and sculpture; I focus on the texture of the fish rather than the object itself, and I believe that my interest in the ice was less political and more textural, so I am constructing a reality in a sense. I am using mundane objects to heighten the awareness and focus on the mundane. I believe that when I decided to focus on ice aswell as fish, it was this connection that my mind had with ice to the ocean and thus to fish. So there will be a connection made for the viewers, naturally, as it is rather obvious. Perhaps therefore, I could also incorporate the use of scent. I would therefore be making use of the mundane to create a sublime environment, whilst stressing the lack of nature in urbanised London. In her piece, I was very moved by her use of scent; she wandered around the room (indeed, I had not realised that she was the main artist), and handed me a piece of paper which she smelt. When I myself smelt it, the scent was overwhelmingly strong but unusual and pleasurable; a mix perhaps of mud and some kind of sweet herb? It smelt like the memory of a festival .. nature .. the whole environment, being so nature revolved, was incredibly beautiful and refreshing when in London. The room was dark, only certain areas/ trees/ people were lit up, and so you, as a participant, did not feel part of the environment, rather more as an onlooker.

It felt like I was dipping into somebody else’s memory, of a festival from a long time ago; the dancers moved incredibly slowly, heaving the whole thing away from reality almost. The music grew louder and faded again; yet it wasn’t music in the traditional, mainstream sense; there a deep, steady drum-beat.

Nine words flashed in huge, four letter letters from the right hand side, emphasising the sense of nostalgia. This included the words ‘I miss you’ and references to 1964 and events that took place in somebody’s personal life in this date. This projected ideas for the meaning behind the use of forestry/ dancing/ the set-up of the occasion.isabel lewis

Lewis emphasises the importance of dance for learning about cultures i.e. how dancing differs throughout different cultures and how this can put you in contact with different cultural values. She is interested in the way you can move your body into different shapes, to the pulse of the music, from the imagination and/or from a shape you’ve seen.

She makes use of plants because of the energy that they give off; they pull people in, encourage people to stay around, indeed, they had a very beautiful energy to them. you felt less like you were in London and like some foreign environment had crawled inside. Given the weather, presenting this in the summer was particularly effective. This is all important in creating situation/ occasion. Perhaps I should consider using more than just one block of ice if I am to create an overwhelming environment where the insignificant becomes overwhelming. Indeed, perhaps I’d like to create a balance between the insignificant and the overwhelmingly significant.

In an occasion, there is no set time limit for staying. You enter the environment, contained within a space, much like theatre, but you may leave whenever you wish.

From visiting this exhibition, I have realised the potential in creating environments and combining different mediums such as installations, scent, lexis, performance, and sound in order to create an overall heightened experience. This is something I should consider when exploring the sublime; the inferiority of man to nature, and battling this with the simultaneous overwhelming power of the ‘insignificant’ moments. I thought of a metaphor the other; the idea of a man sitting at the top of vast mountains, gazing out into the seemingly infinite stretch of land rising to the sky and falling towards the earth’s core; the trembling feeling of insignificance and fragility felt by this man. Yet when he unscrews the lid of his flask and pours a mug of warm cocoa and sips it, this has a near equally powerful effect on the man sensually, the effect of the warm, thick chocolatey drink seeping into his mouth and awakening his taste buds, feelings and memories return, the memory of running home in the pouring rain after falling and grazing his knee, cradling into his mothers bosom while cupping a hot mug of cocoa. Life consists of both the huge, powerful moments as-well as the many ‘small, insignificant, in-between’ moments. They are both of vital importance.

This is something which I want to emphasise. The use of the texture of fish is an attempt to capture the sublime in an insignificant object, although it could be improved by reaching feelings of homeliness and nostalgia, so that viewers see it and it could strike a chord of nostalgia within them. however, I do not think that the work needs to relate to experiences of the viewers, for Isabel Lewis’ work created a sense of nostalgia and yet I did not feel I related directly to the happenings. They reminded me of a festival from perhaps another time, before I was born. The words reminded me of someone else’s story.isabel lewis three

I think that the records of fish would be capturing a sublime, as would the melting, lit up ice.

I could combine the texture of fish with other sublime textures so that it is not strictly fish related, such as the texture of the ice I have recorded. I could also experiment with thick, black oil running down dry gravel/ building remains.

I wonder whether the ice sculpture is unnecessary. If the films are creating the overwhelming (are they?) then perhaps a more ideal sculpture would be something which is subtle, yet pangs emotions/ nostalgia. i.e. an arm chair and a light. The scent of baking.

Next, I will edit films and collect building materials, before oozing a thick liquid substance down it and filming it, to create an abstract sublime.

I will then watch these films and consider a juxtaposition suitable.