SEMESTER TWO 2021 – ANIMALS AND THE ANIMAL
THE STORY SO FAR
WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW:
January 2021. Second year of an already crazy, dark and unpredictable decade. We were all saying that the new year might bring more joy, though under that I feel most people knew that it wouldn’t exactly be a sudden new golden age. We’ve had insurrection and violence in the USA and a start a new presidency, hoping that it will shine on us all. The start of a new lockdown in England, and continuing lockdowns throughout the UK, including in Wales. The vaccine is being slowly administered, but it still feels like a long journey. The death rates are around and over a thousand per day, it feels like the most bitter winter. This opening line from Shakespeare’s Richard III springs to mind (you can see a performance of it by Benedict Cumberbatch here)
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York,
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front
It just feels so frustrating to be a in a worse position in Semester 2 than Semester 1, but somehow I feel like we should have seen it coming. I have just come out of two weeks of isolation, and am eager to get on with new projects, even though it feels hard and gloomful with everything being online again. But we must make the best of it, as they say. Even though it all feels like such a minute, limited and lifeless version of what university students and arts students have experienced in the past, as this should be the middle of what they call “the best three years of your life.” But I’m sure it’ll still be fun and exciting in its own way.
WHAT WORKED WELL LAST SEMESTER:
- The collaboration, gathering an ensemble
- Balancing directing other creatives and letting them bring themselves to the projects
- Working with a musician
- The online community of the Winter Show
The theme is “Animal”. I thought for a while ever since Semester 1 that the theme would be “AnimalS”. I don’t really know what difference that actually makes it, still wanna look at animals as a whole and our relationship with them, and I might focus on one type in the end. So for the theme might as well be “ANIMALS”, that’s how far I’ve taken it from “ANIMAL.”
Hope you enjoyed that bit of waffle.
I plan to actually focus and let this topic lead me much more than the themes have in past semesters, as I always had an idea already set out before the module started, and I made the theme fit into my project, not the other way round (I know very naughty of me). Although through osmosis, particularly with “Nature” last semester, the themes would still embed themselves and influence the creative development.
At the beginning of secondary school I remember being very interested and one might say “nerdy” about the different classifications of animals. Of course now I realise that these are very human categories, and aren’t part of any system created by animals.
I love animals. They’re us. We are animals. It’s a change of escapism to think about them, to feel humble, to get out of this pandemic-stricken world, which we keep saying is nature’s revenge against us.
It’s also used as a negative and derogatory description:
– “You’re monstrous, you’re behaving like animals”
– “You little piglet!” (courtesy of my grandmother when commenting my eating habits at the table)
– “Don’t eat with your fingers, we’re not animals!”
But also positive, and cheeky:
– “You sly old dog/fox”
– “The early bird catches the worm”
… BUT ANYWAY… I ALREADY HAD A LOT OF IDEAS OVER THE CHRISTMAS BREAK, HERE THEY ARE:
Do we all become a bit like animals on the dancefloor? (track and music video Animals by Martin Garrix). My original project idea for Semester 2 Year 2 was to create an experimental club dancefloor which was also a cross-arts exhibition space. I thought about how we all let out energy when we’re dancing wildly in clubs, showing our animalistic sides. Though some might choose to withdraw and be calm, stealthy animals in the ecosystem. There’s an uncomfortable parable one can draw in club culture with sexual harassment and assault, and that this falls under the predator and prey element. Though in my project it would have also all been about creating a safe space so as to eradicate toxic and dangerous elements like that, creating a safe and (some would say) utopian club culture. That is one good thing that comes from our differentiation from other animals: a set of values and morals in order to respect and keep each other from harm – even though there’s a lot of contradictions through all the violence, intimidation and harm we cause – which some might say is all the negative and aggressive elements of animals that are still in us humans despite our civilised standards and morals. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau talked about how he thought civilisation had violated nature, in a petty attempt to tame it. So this could have also been a behaviour study into the animal species known as homo sapiens.
KAFKA’S THE BURROW
A short story by Franz Kafka.
ON THE PLANET WITHOUT HUMANS
When I was 13-15 in school, I imagined a future where animals are left without humans. What would they do?
MY CAT TALES
Creating a fictional world where my pet cats talk (Problem is I’m not gonna be home again in time. Could write about what I’ve written down so far)
Writing about my own impressions of animals, a very anthropomorphic approach. Also take photographs (Photography Overlap Chance, Analogue), as one of my other modules this semester is Photography 3, chance for an overlap. You can create files on animals. Most obvious one to draw on in the Aberystwyth area is seagulls.
Can also create parallel sketches, drawings and paintings, I could use this as a drawing exercise.
At my one year of Drama & Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moore’s University 2018/19 I had to retell a fairytale in a new way for the module Introduction To Scriptwriting, in the form of a 10-page-script. Someone suggested to me to retell Red Riding Hood from the perspective of the wolf, and so that’s what I did. We had to do it partly in stage, screen and radio, and so that’s what I did.
My remaining module this semester is Writing Audio Drama, so I could return to this world of the wolf pack I created through radio drama, chance for more overlap.
Doing a connection of animal sounds.
Plan to sit on Professor John Harvey’s Sound Art module, useful
research. I created sound pieces.
Kate Bush does some weird and wonderful animal noises in her songs:
Birdsong from 2005 album Aerial.
Donkey backing vocals in 1982’s Get Out Of My House
She didn’t make a dogs sound in this album, but who can forget her Hounds Of Love, special mention to this 1985 gem album cover:
…AND THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER TEXTS, ARTWORKS AND PIECES I HAVE SEEN THROUGHOUT MY LIFE, MANY DURING MY CHILDHOOD
Short story about an animal, still need to read it. It’s weird, I’ve heard about this story for so long and devised so many ideas of staging it in my head, without
actually reading it
Children and adults book classic, loved it as a child, especially listening to the
audiobook. Very masculine though, well not masculine but quite patriarchal,
female rabbits aren’t represented.
There have been three animated adaptations, a film in 1978, 1 3-season TV series from 1999 – 2001 and a 2018 miniseries.
Series of children’s fantasy novels, the animals are highly anthropomorphised.
The villains are always rats, weasels, stoats, and ferrels, along with the occasional fox, pine marten, snake or wild cat.
Another children’s book series, about bats, by Canadian author Kenneth Oppel.
The bats are banished by birds and beasts, because they don’t choose between
being either, they wish to remain both.
Features cannibalistic bats, which are bats from Spain, a much hotter climate.
Really like some of the guitar music. In my film I could include some music from the TV shows.
THE ANIMALS OF FARTHING WOOD
Book series by Colin Dann and adapted into a European TV series. Much darker and realistic approach, similar to Watership Down, a group of animals go on the search of a new home after their old one, Farthing Wood, gets
destroyed by humans. However here it is various different animals from foxes to badgers to moles to snakes to hares to mice.
I have only seen the TV series. While several animals do have characteristics that are stereotyped to their animal image, the Adder is very threatening and cunning, they are all given round characters, apart from the Rats in Series 3, who are nearly portrayed as evil invaders.
Looking at various clans of wild cats who live in the woods. I have read 25 of the books.
A creation by Oliver Postgate and Peter Timmins through their company
(Translates as The Raven). Text by school friend Cedric Kunkel.
Beschrieben wie dieser rabe von einem fenster eine person beobachtet. Der Rabe empfindet Neid oder Bewunderung vor dieser Person
Text by Cedric Kunkel
Beschrieben wie dieser rabe von einem fenster eine person beobachtet
Der Rabe empfindet Neid oder Bewunderung vor dieser Person
Two films about a pig. I think back to this pig, and the revelation where Babe finds out that humans eat so many of his kind, and how he’s so shocked and sad by that.
One could say my favourite one, has left me with an eternal fondness for meerkats.
Anthology nature series
BIG CAT DIARY
Love big cats: Lions, Cheetahs & Leopards
LOST LAND OF THE TIGERS
Almost feels like an ambassador, both a human ambassador for the animal kingdom/queendom, but also the animals’ ambassador for our species.
The animals are constantly watched and commented on by human presenters such as Chris Packham, Bill Oddie, Kate Humble and Simon King.
BOB THE CAT
X-MEN AND OTHER SUPERHEROES
Some superheroes and supervillains take about animal qualities
I LOVE YOU THAT MUCH
FANTASTIC MR. FOX
ISLE OF DOGS
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
MIRANDA WHALL – CROSSED PATHS
WALLET & GROMIT
ANTHROPOMORPHIC KIDS SHOWS
DISTORTIONS OF ANIMALS
The relationship between animals and humans
DAEMONS IN HIS DARK MATERIALS
The relationship between animals and humans
THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW
PATRONUS CHARMS IN HARRY POTTER
Animals feature greatly here.
- THERE’S SOMETHING SO PURE AND REFRESHING ABOUT USING THE ANIMAL AND ANIMALS AS A THEME, I THINK IT’S REALLY GOING TO ANIMATE ME
- I WANT TO BECOME ANIMALS, AT LEAST TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, AND SEE HOW I FEEL AS A HUMAN BEING, AND AS AN ANIMAL MYSELF AFTERWARDS, I WANNA BE AN ANIMAL
- THE MAIN FOCUS IS PHYSICALITY, I WANT TO USE THIS PROJECT TO REALLY EXPERIMENT WITH THAT, BOTH AS A PERFORMER AND A COLLABORATIVE CHOREOGRAPHER, CONTRAST TO THE LARGELY NATURALISTIC
PLAYWRITING AND STAGING THROUGH ZOOM IN LUCIDA LAST SEMESTER
- CAPTURE THIS THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY AND EXPERIMENTAL FILM, CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING SKILLS (get onto Dr. Kim Knowles’s Art Cinema Module) – GOOD PREPARATION FOR EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PRODUCTION WHICH I WANT TO TAKE IN YEAR 3
- TAKE THE ETHOS OF COLLABORATION TO A NEW LEVEL, WORK WITH EVERYONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN MOVEMENT AND DANCE, ESPECIALLY IN CREATIVE ARTS & INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTISE
WEEK ONE (25th – 31st Jan)
I watched David Cameron’s Prime Minister’s Questions, out of various reasons, and saw Larry The Cat mentioned. Imagine a future where he walked about parliament with no humans left, like the Fox in the Gallery. But with true power.
There was a spoof news article during the peak of the Brexit negotiations chaos, which joked that Larry The Cat was in actually in charge. But I can’t find this article anymore.
Would be interesting to interview some Animal Behaviour and Zoology students, both for their scientific insights but also to look at their relationships (if that’s what they would call it) with animals.
As is often the case, I listened to Strange Timez by Gorillaz and saw that post about the guinea pigs, and I connected the two. I could see the two of them, these two guinea pigs, moving ab
The MSN article:
A totally blind guinea pig and her sister that helps guide her around are in need of a new home after being taken in by the RSPCA.
Ami, a six-year-old black guinea pig, relies on her sister, Yuki, for help due to her condition.
They were taken in by the animal charity’s Danaher Animal Home in Essex earlier this year, after their owner could no longer care for them.
“Poor Ami also has a little head tilt caused by a previous ear problem,” said supervisor Craig Horsler.
“But her health problems don’t cause her any pain and certainly don’t slow her down, thanks to Yuki’s support.
“Ami is always the first to emerge when she hears the rustle of a bag of treats but waits for Yuki to seek them out so she can follow her lead. It’s adorable to watch.
REPRESENTATION OF BLIND PEOPLE, I personally don’t know anyone who is blind. Do some research.
ANIMALS SO FAR IN THIS NEW WORLD
- My own cats back in Gutweiler
- Larry The Downing Street Cat
- The Fox Who Was Let Loose (Would They Still Be Alive, could be there descendants)
- The Wolves In My Red Riding Hood Tale, survivors if they were massacred
- The Two Guinea Pigs
- The Spiders, The Seagulls and The Rats around our house. Generally The Seagulls in Aberystwyth
- Meerkats, Gotta Have Meerkats In There
- A Goldfish and other Fish in an Aquarium
- Some Animal Before It’s About To Be Slaughtered
— INTERRUPTION —-
I don’t know what to do.
I still don’t know what to do
I don’t know if I’ll ever know what to do
IT’S SO FUCKING UNFAIR
I JUST WANNA HOOOWWWLLLL
I wish I could howl like wolves do.
Howl like Fox does in the beginning of this episode of The Animals Of Farthing Wood, when he finds his dead daughter.
The music and the animals, and the emotional encounters between the animals makes me feel emotion and pain, I don’t always feel I can feel it. At the end of this same season Fox loses his son Bold:
WEEK TWO (1st – 7th Feb)
That’s what I want to do, become an animal.
“A return to the body is a return to the earth”
“Mingling our ears
“Explore our relationship with more than the human world”
“Visceral Anguish and Yearning”
“Perception is an ongoing communication/realisation between my bodies and the bodies of other human beings”
It’s also about nature, it’s about us as humans going out and becoming like an animal.
“I’m also finding myself seeing from their perspective”
“But the animal in me is mistrustive. How can this technology possibly help us connect?”
“In touching things
Isn’t this what anthropologists call animism”
“We can think about language as a… It’s a sensuous thing”
“Doesn’t our language belong to the animate landscape as much as us?”
“Carvings and animal symbols on rock
The ultimate symbol of animals”
Each Letter only referred to a gesture of a human mouth
The letters reflect not as s human
“As people learn their ABC, their symposium is closed within a hall of mirrors
“Other animals are not really conscious
“Time is a notion common to us two leggeds”
“Nature, the other animals, the plants, begins to fall away from us humans”
“Everyone is caught up with making records of things… Are we sliding into a time of such difficulty…. we are living in this area of profilate spending” (LUCIDA)
SECTION ABOUT THE HUMAN WORLD, FEELS SO BLAND AND HOPELESS, BORING, MUCH MORE FUN WHEN
My car’s name is moonshine.
THE BISON LOOKS SO UNHAPPY NEXT TO THE CARS, LIKE IT’S BEING THREATENED
OUR SENSING BODIES AND THE SENSOUS EARTH
“Please check surroundings for safety”
Quick spiralling past trees, like a quick pack/horde/band of animals”
Sometimes it just seems as if our technologies are trying to mimic that ancient cosmos we just inhabited
Cobwebs, they freak me out. Arachnophobia, fear of spiders. Dreamt that
The shadow, is our shadow also a type of animal?
“We are flying… And have almost forgotten to notice”
As I sense the plane around me
“List of beverages
I feel like we’re interrupting and disturbing the animal by filming it, intruding, I can’t look it in the eye with proper happiness or feeling good about it, and that taps into my wider feelings of guilt throughout my life”
Again filming that animal feels like a sense of intrusion.
When the two moose fought at the end, I was expecting it to become much more violent, the music seemed to be suggesting that.
I’ve never felt something after seeing many of these art pieces. I feel sorry for the animals, and I feel all these contemporary artists are fucking wankers.
Well, it’s not quite as black and white as that. But how is birds on guitars
different from mice in a maze?
But yeah, opening image of the presentation was a horse hanging down in a place of extreme human luxury. Who the fuck do we artists think we are? What have we become? What are we, as humans? And why am I surprised? Is my
consumption of animals and animal products just as bad, or can I feel a little less worse due to it being a little less bad?
MORE EXAMPLES OF ABUSE OF ANIMALS FOR THE SAKE OF “ART”.
SALVADOR DALI’S TOSSING CATS (Article)
They were going to at first explode a duck with dynamite
STEVE WATER’S CHICKEN
Do I have the right to be disgusted about that, when I have eaten so many chickens and I don’t know how they’ve been killed?
SINGING CAT VIDEO
Maybe it’s too far to call it abuse, but yeah, it is being overly used for comic effect.
And even when actual animals aren’t being harmed, I always found, and I might just being sensitive, that animals are killed off for amusement, the dog in Sugar Rush.
Talked with LJMU Drama graduate Alina, she might be willing to become a fox or an owl. And her partner Zach who is also an actor might also take part.
WEEK THREE (8th – 14th Feb)
MY ENCOUNTER WITH A SEAGULL
I was just going for a very quick walk on the Pier Promenade, wanted to see the sunlight. And I saw a seagull sitting on a precipice, and was right near to it. I tried to catch its eye, to get some sort of connection. I didn’t have my camera or my tablet with me, I had no intentions of taking photographs. And just like
Lucida would say, it would have been an amazing photograph, although the seagull might have flown away. But there it just stayed. Wasn’t sure if I was making it nervous or not, seemed to look from me to another man who was just standing nearby. It felt wrong even to look, I mean you wouldn’t do that with a human that you didn’t know/had never met at all. Just like what Miranda said, animals have just become these spectacles of wonder.
ANOTHER ENCOUNTER AND OBSERVANCE OF A SEAGULL
I was walking down a street and two people were eating something, a seagull looked very interested in it, and I was interested in how
Then another seagull was following someone who was opening the door to where they lived, he shooed the seagull away. Primitive and petty humans.
Started to look and think about how I could physically mimic a seagull:
1. But arms facing straight together backwards
2. Bend down on your knees
3. Have face turning forwards
MY POTENTIAL ANIMAL KINGDOM SO FAR
Me as a Seagull
Ruth Hogg as a Jackdaw or Crow
Sally as some kind of Bird, in a tree
Alina Burwitz as a Fox and/or Owl
Ania Sefarin as a Wild Cat
Joe as a Dog
SEMESTER ONE 2020/21 – LUCIDA AND NATURE
A BIT OF TIME TRAVEL, CALLING FROM 20.01.21, THE END OF THIS PROJECT
Hi I’m Richard, and I wanna be an artist. I’m a bit, actually no I’m VERY all over the place. I like to dream and to make up new worlds, dystopian futures and alternative realities, but it’s all about right now, about the moment, about these crazy times we’re living in (sorry if that sounds too cliched and not original enough, it’s the best I’ve got).
I get very easily overwhelmed, and I feel my art is always me trying to make sense of all the chaos. So this notebook is quite chaotic, but it does have a structure, in that it led to an amazing performance on the 16th December, involving 11 performers (including some cameos from myself), captured images from 7 photographers and haunting music from an up and coming student musician. This is the story of LUCIDA, the project that’s been developing in the back of my mind for over three years since 2017, and that I’ve had the chance to stage it in this semester and the annual Creative Arts Winter Show.
The stimulus for this semester was Nature. I feel I cheated a bit and didn’t create a project born out of this topic, but I took a project/concept and put it slat bang in the middle of this topic. It’s a very loose connection, but the theme and worries of how our relationship with reality is affected by photography (both in a negative and positive sense) has been applied to how this affects our relationship with nature, as our reality is also our nature in a way. I hope you enjoy it!
LUCIDA – THE STORY SO FAR
Hi, I’m Richard, a 2nd year Creative Arts student. I don’t really like giving these introductory posts and laying everything bare, I prefer to keep things more mysterious. But here we go.
Three and a half years ago, when I was still going to school, and I was in my final year, I looked at the prom photographs of the year that had just finished their A-Levels a few months ago. A lot of fine dressed human beings, the elite, the finest, the crème de la crème. And they were all profile photographs, multiple classes and groups, students showing an unbreakable bond and smiling together with dying gratitude for their teachers. Smiling, smiling, smiling and smiling. And I looked at one person I knew in these photos, who I won’t name, and as I looked at their smile in the cacophony of positivity, I couldn’t help feeling such hatred, envy, jealousy and disgust for this person. I won’t go into any detail of what I wrote as it’s too personal and I also have reflected on some of my thoughts, but seeing a frozen image of this person extremely happy made all the feelings I had towards them come up. And I was still trapped in school for another year.
That was the start of Lucida, the project I will be undertaking this year. I started to write a little internal monologue about what I was feeling when I saw this photograph. And then I had an idea for a series of monologues – short pieces of writing for stage – all dealing with someone interacting with a photograph.
– Me commenting on the photographs of prom in my school
– A teenager who after a drunk night out looks at regret of the photos of last night in her hangover, it would have been quite stereotypical though
– Nazi Germany photo propaganda (there was a recent exhibition on that in the School of Art, what a coincidence), discussion between government officials and photographers
– A photographer and their model talking about the next photoshoot
– Some photos my mother found of her late father, my grandfather who died years before I was born. These were from the 60s but they already resembled smartphone selfie photos in a weird way. How these photographs make me feel
– A lonely old woman who looks at family albums of all her relatives, but laments and despairs over the fact she is barely seeing them in person anymore these days
– A physical theatre choreography to represent the science and machinery of photography
These were all just ideas I wrote down, with some scene descriptions and some thoughts of consciousness for the characters in these scenes. I never fully developed them. I was so busy with school, then switching to university and other projects that I never got to dedicate myself fully towards it. But it was always stuck in the back of my mind. I first called it: “Memories Of The Frozen Image”, but I soon decided that there was a better name: LUCIDA. In tribute to Roland Barthes’s book on photography, Camera Lucida.
I’ve been collecting ideas, reading up on photography, working on my own photographic practise, storing away a whole world. And now it’s time to let it out.
Just to clarify, each week the sections about my project Lucida will be in blue.
and the sections about the workshops will be in green.
But Am I An Artist?
I don’t know, I’ll let you decide. But what I create does tend to excite me, it’s like travelling into new worlds no one else knows about. It’s a nice feeling.
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So in person-teaching was suspended for this week. Notified very last minute at 11.24pm. I was looking forward to finally entering the School of Art and TFTS Buildings again, but not this week
We had our opening introduction to the module online via Microsoft Teams. It was nice looking at the past projects, and seeing new people, all online.
I felt quite depressed that week, but not the kinda depressed that leads to you making good art, just really fucking depressed.
Hopefully next week will be better. At least I have my project already, LUCIDA <3
WHAT IS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY FOR ME?
What is it about photography? It’s a sense of capturing, a sense of purity, but also such a strong sense of reality. Reality that’s been glamorised, covered in filters and colours and tones and shadows, and that is somehow so perverse now. It shows us beauty or raw truth, or both. It’s also always special for me to see human bodies in it, human bodies that are glamorised, be it their skin, their eyes, their hair, their mouth looking so lush and pure – with adults it’s definitely a bit of a sexual thing. Also what’s great is how it’s in the middle of a great trilogy and holy trinity of visual imagery, of painting, photography and film. How all the cave marks, sketches, drawings, oil paintings, etchings, printmaking started to make us think of capturing images, but it would take a while until we would be able to do it as simply as photography, capturing the image, and there it was, fresh and exact as and even better than before. And how all these images could be milliseconds within a minute when the medium of film arrived. So many photographs, seen so quickly. How beautiful it would be to see a whole film broken down into its multiple photographs per minute/second.
It’s the simplicity, and the reality of it. And the fact that it’s still art. Remarkable.
My intentions with this project is to work both on my abilities as a dramatist and a director for performance. I might end up performing myself in this project, but it is my intension to recruit a group of actors, similar to how I did for “Lives Of A Coke Can” Project and to direct them in a most likely online performance.
However, this isn’t supposed to be an average theatre play. These are all short sketches, short moments about photography, with running threads, but no linear, traditional narrative as such.
- Gather everything written so far
- Interview Photographers
- Add scenes and stories
- Create a list of scenes
- Adapt them to Zoom
- Gather the actors, do basic training and experiment with them
- Direct the scenes
- The Winter Show
THEATRE PRACTITIONERS INTERESTING ME:
German writer-director, works with choreographers to create postmodern theatre pieces which mix music, theatre and dance, as well as multimedia elements sometime.
Verbatim Theatre Piece about Female Genitalia, sexual empowerment
English playwright of In Yer Face Theatre, quite controversial in the more traditional and conservative areas of theatre
Another example of in-yer-face theatre, I find his style of writing monologues very influential, his darkness, his darkness sometimes even disgusts me, I once stopped reading his play and at first felt like I couldn’t carry on reading it.
Physical theatre company formed by three people
Theatre company founded by Simon McBurney
Company formed by Forced Entertainment
Their recent Shakespeare stuff hasn’t spoken to me as such.
A dance show that came to Aberystwyth Arts Centre in February 2020, just before the lockdown struck. Love that language of representing something through movement.
The original document where I noted down all my ideas (been tweaked a bit to keep anyone mentioned in here anonymous). I added some stuff in 2017 and 2018, but only a couple of times, a project that was in the back of my mind.
I had a similar idea, a list of short scenes about Football (Working Title: Footie). Don’t know why I chose Lucida first, I suppose because I thought of it first)
SO IN SUMMARY
- Link to Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, Susan Sontag & Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacrum and Simulations (all the media theory I was looking at at my current Media A-Level back then)
- Originally conceived as a GROUP OF MONOLOGUES, like The Vagina Monologues. I supposed to have it like that you could even
- THE SMILES SCENE: That was the catalyst, seeing those prom photographs with all those smiles in the school corridor.
- THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN SOCIAL MEDIA
- THE PHOTOGRAPHER as an Individual
- NAZI PROPAGANDA, How Photography was used to demonise the Jewish Population.
- A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY: A dance, a movement piece told in the style of Frantic Assembly, like that Rugby Dance Piece Kin.
WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN SINCE:
SHOULD I TAKE A PICTURE WITH IRVINE WELSH?
While I was studying in Liverpool, the writer Irvine Welsh was doing a DJ set at one of the pubs. I had no idea that he was a DJ on the side, and I’d only seen the film adaptations of Trainspotting and Filfth, hadn’t actually read his books that they were based on (though they have been in my barely touched bookshelf for years). But I felt it was a big thing, and decided to go
A prologue for the play to start, this might only work for a in person stage, it would feature me as the director coming in and greeting the audience, and telling them they are free to take as many photographs of the show as they want to, parodying and putting on its head the golden rule of no photographs allowed at theatre performances. I would then end by asking everyone who wants to get on stage to be in a selfie with me.
I was influenced when I saw Complicité Artistic Director Simon McBurney start one of his productions with an introduction explaning something about the play:
“Ladies and gentleman, welcome. Before we start tonight’s show, I just wanted to say a couple of things about memory, because this afternoon after the show somebody said why are you doing a show about memory? And I was trying to remember….”
It’s in the first 18 seconds of this showreel:
A song off Arcade Fire’s 2013 album Reflektor, referencing the suspcion and fear in some cultures towards photography.
“What if the camera, really do
´Take your soul, oh no
Hit me with your flashbulb eyes…”
First thought of having an acoustic piano version of this song being played, and then all the performers doing some sort of ritual dance together, repeating those words like some sort of magic charm.
Not too sure about including it for this project now, but more importantly, the whole concept of someone being afraid of Photography of taking away their soul, gave me the idea for a character: THE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECLUSE.
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECLUSE
Someone who is so afraid of being photographed and how it might take away their soul and destroy who their life, that they completely isolate themselves from the world.
Of course this whole story of isolation now has a completely different resonance in this age of the Coronavirus pandemic, even though most people will see this reason as completely ludicrous.
I always love the start of this module, when we get introduced to so many different artists, a lot of whom I have never heard before, but I always do know some, which is always nice and comforting.
MYCORRHIZAL MEDITATION – by FIONA MACDONALD/FERAL PRACTICE
Sound art piece, on Soundcloud.
RIO – by GONZAGA GOMEZ-CORTAZAR ROMERO
INUMAKI, ESUZAKI – by LUDWIG BERGER
IN ICTU OCULI – by GRETA ALFARO
EL BOSQUE ENCARNADO – by DAVID CASS and GONZAGA GOMEZ-CORTAZAR ROMERO
HOW THE EARTH MUST SEE ITSELF – by NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND & SCOTTISH SCULPTURE WORKSHOP, SIMONE KENYON + LUCY CASH
The pure combination of body movement and natural surroundings really spoke to me.
BIEN by LUDWIG BERGER
Very interesting sound recording technique. But I somehow can’t wonder whether this is a violation/intrusion of nature:
MELTING LANDSCAPES by LUDWIG BERGER
Capturing nature, capturing reality
ICE WATCH LONDON by Wayne MacGregor
Bringing those ice peaces over to
A LOT FILLED WITH DIRT by WALTER DEMARIA
Precious possession and relationship
ANDREAS GURVKY’S PHOTOGRAPHY
40 MILLION QUID?????
FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY???????????!!!!!!!!!!!
FUCK CAPITALISM AND HOW IT HAS PERVERTED ART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BEAUTIFUL PHOTO THOUGH
Dialogue between Faust and Mephisto
The Devil and that which he is tempting
1931 film, based very loosely on Mary Shelley’s book:
The original book, is about a privileged scientists intrusion into nature, sacrilege some would call it.
Saw the NYT Production earlier this year as as part of the Live Releases, opening image of Frankenstein in birth-like state, says a lot about nature and birth and humanity.
HOW TO EXPLAIN PICTURES TO A DEAD HARE – by JOSEPH BEUYS
Quite difficult to watch, violation and disrespect of dead living being? Or some sort of natural beauty?
THE COYOTE – by JOSEPH BEUYS
UNTITLED (HUMAN MASK) – by PIERRE HUYGHE
Masks have become quite a big thing this year
TO THE MOON VIA THE BEACH – by PIERRE HUYGHE
THE ELEPHANT MAN – by DAVID LYNCH, the True Story of JOHN MERRICK
Something which is seen by some as an abomination of nature, but is something very natural, that we don’t all look the same
TACITA DEAN – THEME OF LANDSCAPE
Theme of landscape
THE REVENANT – “SURVIVAL” SCENE
He’s violating nature in order to be protected by it? Maybe that’s a normal thing to do, to use dead flesh as protection, I’m just disturbed by it.
GOING NOWHERE II – by Simon Faithfull
Immersing yourselves in nature, in water, back to the roots? We all came from the water.
ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE – by Pina Bausch
Bausch’s work is always about human nature in some regard. I wish I would have her dancing and movement skills, such beautiful control and expressive ability of/through the body <3
BIG BANG – by ORI GERSCHT
That bang really got me.
THE ROAD INTRO MONOLOGUE
– by Cormac McCarthy
Edited together with pictures and clips from the film adaptation
THE HANDMAID’S TALE – STONE REVOLT
Quite hot TV series based on landmark dystopian book by Margaret Atwood
SELF PORTRAIT: BIG CYPRESS, EVERGLADES
At one with nature again, it reminds me of an image of my second cousin out in nature.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH SONG
Sweet song, nice accompanying drawings
DEFINITIONS OF NATURE
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
1. Do you like capturing reality?
2. Are you happy with reality?
3. Are you more happy with your photographs of it? Do you think it’s more beautiful?
4. Do you call yourself a photographer?
5. Whether Yes Or No, Explain Why
6. Do you see yourself as a fine art photographer? A realist photographer? A casual photography? A fake social media photographer to get as many likes and follows as possible?
7. Do you think photography can be/is a damage to society and to humans in general?
8. Do you remember the first time you had your photograph taken in any situation? Describe how that felt, if you felt anything
9. Did you notice maybe losing your soul?
10. Have your photographs ever achieved political, social or cultural change?
11. Whether you have or not, do you know any other photographs you feel achieved that?
12. Do you have a favourite photograph?
13. Do you do filmmaking and/or drawing/painting as well?
14. Do you believe that film, photography and drawing/painting exist in a holy trinity of the captured image?
15. What marks out photography from all other art forms?
16. If all trace of you, all social media, all records, all emails, all possessions, all memories were gone. Nobody would know who you are. There would be no evidence you ever existed, apart from one photograph. This photograph would be lying somewhere, on the pavement, in an art gallery, or a house that people recently move in to, and they see it in the corner on a table, and after wondering who it could be they go: “Ah, probably left by the last people who lived her.” That’s all that’s left of you. Which photograph would it be? It can be one where you’re alone or with other people.
17. Can I photograph you now?
- Some photographers say using Photoshop, Lightroom and other forms of editing of photographs is cheating?
- What do you think of screenshots?
- Can you think of a photo used for evil political/social/cultural purposes?
FINDING THE ACORN
It’s always nice to be out in nature, it was quite a challenge at first to find the acorns, but it was really rewarding, it’s good to be out with nature while it’s sunny in Aberystwyth, not wearing masks. Especially as the sun soon disappears, and five months of misery and darkness go on (OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s the gist of how I feel). I got lucky, and was the first to find appropriate acorns. Poor other acorns, deemed unfit and shunned by nature, never going to blossom into oak trees.
PLANTING THE ACORN
My mother is a big gardener, her whole dream was to finally have a house with a garden, and it feels like we have a whole hill as a garden.
I really appreciate the garden and being able to be immersed in the total greenery of it, but I haven’t really discovered the gardener in me yet.
So I felt quite proud when I planted my acorn, like I was doing my first bit of proper gardening. Doing my bit for mother nature.
DECIDING ON PROJECT PROPOSAL
SPIRITS OF THE FOREST
Last semester, for my Drama module “Site-Specific Performance”, we had to develop, devise and perform a performance connected and routed to a specific location – and our location was Penglais Woods. We went through the woods several times, in big close masses back when we could still do that, we engaged with nature and with Welsh mythology. We talked about the dangers of deforestation, and of how flora terms were being removed.
We eventually created a future where Penglais Woods was the last forest in the world. And then Covid struck, totally out of the blue. And we carried on talking about the topic, but everyone just then had to write a performance concept, instead of making a show. I was and still am very sad that we never got to develop and perform that performance.
ADAPT IT TO THE CLASS WORKSHOP
In the Site-Specific Performance Class we all collected our own experiences and memories connected with nature, and being outside. In my concept for the module I talked about how we could create a choreography of movement out of these memories, as they would all be places of nature cut down, so these are the ghosts.
Have all of us in Group 3 write about our favourite place of nature, and then imagine it being destroyed.
IT STARTS WITH THE DICTIONARY
I could write a song about how it starts with removing some flora names from the dictionary, there’s something quite Orwellian about that. And then it leads to them not being seen as important, then being torn from the ground, and then being vilified and demonized, seen as an evil to society. And then the whole world is concrete, skyscrapers, council estates, no green anymore, no nature.
MY MOTHER’S GARDEN
Over a spring I started to write a song about my mother’s garden. It could be a celebration of my mother’s non-generic horticulture.
Our neighbor made a scornful comment and said: “Well, one can see that nothing will come out of your garden.” My mum says that a lot of German gardeners are very straightforward and clean-cut, she likes her garden to be wild. She designs her garden like an architect.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW 1 – CAMERON DEAKIN (18.10.20)
Cameron is a 1st year Marketing Student, I got to know him through online events of one of the societies I was in during the summer, and noticed his photographs he took and posted on social media. I felt it was important to interview photographers who don’t study it and are outside that arts student bubble. I didn’t know him that way, but I impulsively asked him, and he was more than happy to take part:
DEVELOPING A PROJECT IDEA
I don’t write a lot down on paper anymore, it’s all digital, all online. So that’s a nice process, to visualise and work it out.
I’m developing and reshaping the concept so that it fits the three hour time frame of the workshop, as well as the fact that most of my fellow students aren’t natural theatre performers.
- Something that evokes a strong feeling
- We need: A Glas Jar, A Freezer
- Everyone’s gonna take a glas jar, fill it with water, repeatijg a word with intention, shout at your Glas of Water
- Dr Emoto – Rice experiment
- We are 80% water. Symmetrical, beautiful, disformed
- How are we affected daily by a glass of water
- Take photographs of the crystals formed in your glass
ELLIE: WHAT CATCHES YOUR EYE?
- Go out and collect things that catch your eye
- Bring Scissors, Glue, Tape
- Materials: White To
FARRAH – Treasure Hunt:
- She has been collecting disposable masks left about (picking them up and washing them with huge precaution)
- Making the disposable reusable
- Influenced by an artist from Palestine, painting disturbing images on masks
- Look through whatever
- 20 min personal collection
- 2 hours – Creative Process
- 40 Min – Share Them On Social Media
- Come dress in something green, and if you want to in some form of green make-up or facepaint
- On A3 Pieces of Paper, think of a favourite place of nature, to Positive Music, draw Each of us describes it
- We go around and look at our favourite places of nature
- Then I’m gonna present to you a dystopian future
- On a second paper, to darker music, blinds down, rip up your piece of paper, and on a second paper, draw it how it’s been destroyed. Describe how it’s been destroyed
- Then we take a quick break
- And we walk up to Penglais Woods. Which is the last forest in the world. And we switch between being plant blind people in the future and the spirit of the dead forests and places of nature, we’re the memories all kept in this place, become this character
- We are blind, ignorant, brainwashed people, and everytime it’s someone’s turn to describe someone’s lost place of nature, we ask what are these things. But then we put them an.
- We Need: A3 Paper, Glue, Something to write and draw, Dress in Green, A Bag To Carry, A Wooden A3 Board
- Frozen Water & Words Piece
- Collective Boxes
- Paper Tree Installation
- Treasure Hunt, Mask Tree
- Painted Masks
- Green Memory Performance/Film
CHOSEN IDEA – Amy’s, but linking in with Farrah’s
Material on the planet doesn’t leave the planet.
The water on the planet keeps moving and moving. We started talking more and more about waste, and it made me think of a music video by Placebo for their song, Life’s What You Make It (cover of a Talk Talk song).
It’s not your everyday music video, as it is also a documentary film, as it has no footage of the band and focus completely on the stories of boys and young men in Agbogbloshie, one of the largest electronic waste dumps now, where the cast-offs of many of the world’s electronic appliances go to.
This as a class made us aware of the wider context of mask pollution, and the importance of our project.
PLAN FOR NEXT WEEK:
Next week is Reading Week, and the week after that in Week 7 we will be doing our mask painting project. So our task during Reading Week is to each safely collect a few disposable masks we see thrown away, immediately isolate them in a bag and then three days later wash them.
Idea of having the music. I work very well to music, music drives and creates the work for me. Plastic Beach is a very appropriate album, dealing with ecological concerns by creating this fictional island called Plastic Beach, made completely out of plastic landfill.
We could also potentially use some of the lyrics and write them on the mask.
Here is one of the masks I found, was just lying on the windowsill in my own house:
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #2 – Toby Little (03.11.20)
Toby is a 3rd year Filmmaking student, as a well as photographer, which also makes him make what I would call really picturesque and visually harmonious cinematography. I’m always astonished and in awe when I see his photographs on his social media, which also include still shots from his films, I feel like his films are the most magical photo albums.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #3 – ANIA SEFARIN (06.11.20)
Ania is a fellow Creative Arts student, also sharing her work on this Online Studio. She is a 3rd year and specialises in the medium of photography, so a very suitable candidate.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #4 – RUTH HOGG (06.11.20)
Ruth is both a quite experienced interdisciplinary artist and currently an MA Fine Art student (due to technical difficulties the interview is in three parts).
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #5 – PG STONE (08.11.20)
Petra “PG” Stone is what she would call a semi-professional photographer, working both as a school teacher and as a paid photographer. She works a lot at my local theatre, and I know her through the pictures she took of my youth theatre productions. But I actually only had a proper conversation with her when I bumped into her in the summer at a socially distanced theatre performance, and I just impulsively asked her if she wanted to take part. She said yes.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #6 – HANNAH MANN (08.11.20)
Hannah Mann is a photographer and artist from and currently based in Aberystwyth, who has also worked with us in the School of Art. Back in February she presented a project she had made while living in Manchester, where she was shocked and disgusted at the level of pollution, so she captured it in photographs and exhibited them.
We spent nearly the full three hours on painting the masks. Therefore we needed more music than just Plastic Beach, so I also put on Demon Days and The Now Now as well (Plastic Beach contains the track O Green World, which is a huge ecological cry for us to save and protest our natural areas and habitats).
I’m not that skilled at painting. I really wanna be good at it. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me until I get round to it, it’s something I’ve had to prioritise for the moment.
But I just painted what I saw, and it was fun. This is the image that I decided to paint on my first mask that I would keep and use in my everyday life (which I still do).
Then I painted the phrases on. I felt a bit mixed about the fact that we were using a few masks that were reusable.
Writing some lyrics off the Plastic Beach album didn’t seem suitable in the end, as we were all stating very clear scientific facts and not talking in metaphors like Gorillaz did.
But yeah, we all did very good work and were all quite creative:
And the plan for next week is to take all these masks and present them at the Pier somehow. Miranda had the idea of putting them all over me, so that I resemble nature and ecosystems polluted by these masks , and me turning it into a performance by shouting out all the scientific facts like some horseman of the apocalypse, but not quite as dramatic as that. Next week is going to be interesting.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #7 – EMMA JONES (12.11.20)
Emma Jones is a third year Fine Art student who I know through. She does very interesting, captivating and stylised performance concept photography. I asked her if she considered her role in getting the best of her models like the role of a film director, she felt that was a very appropriate analogy.
This walk, covered in the masks, was supposed to be a type of performance. I had signed up to a big harbinger of doom shouting apocalyptic messages and warnings about ecological disaster, quite fitting for my love for dystopia. But when I was actually out and about with my peers in town, in a world where we have to be constantly cautious and are aware that most people are doing so, I felt really nervous and uncomfortable to do so. I wasn’t in my usual environment to do so, which wasn’t necessarily on a stage or a studio, but just being able to shout and move in a safe space and not to be severely limited. Which isn’t the case at all in this age of distancing, precaution and only doing what is absolutely safe. While my mask would protect potential aerosols of me shouting loud, it’s still a risk, and I decided to not do it.
So instead, it became a type of happening event, where most of our performance consisted of silent walking, and of course getting loads of stares from people walking past us. We were all a bit nervous, as we realised that there was chance we might come across as anti-mask/anti-vaccination protesters. Luckily no one challenged or was unpleasant towards us.
LUCIDA INTERVIEW #8 – JACK MASSEY (16.11.20)
The final interview for this project. Jack is a Welsh graduate who I know from my year at Liverpool John Moore’s University, he was two years above me (directed me in a theatre show, I performed with him and he interviewed me for s documentary as well). He has always had a side interest in photography, photographing loads of live shows as well being into concept photography, he is now even considering doing an MA in Photography.
First meeting and rehearsal of actors, we started with some getting-to-know-each-other exercises, very important for every theatre ensemble.
Second step was to give each actor a photograph and have them describe it in 1 minute, then 30 seconds, then 20 seconds and then 10 seconds.
And then at the end we did some physical exercises to mimic typically gendered photography positions, however all the male actors did the female poses and all the female actors did the male poses. (if there had been any non-binary actors in the rehearsal, I would have asked them to interpret and play with these gender stereotypes in their own way).
Got the first draft finished:
Here´s the second draft:
The final script is here:
Now it’s time to get cracking on with the final rehearsals!
WEEK TWELVE – SHOW WEEK
This is the tech script for my actors, so they know all their exact cues:
THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL SHOW:
I am incredibly proud of all of my performers and the other creatives who contributed to this project. It was a very last minute scramble, but it’s been an absolute joy. There were a few hiccups, but everyone was still on their top game, and I could feel that spark of live theatre despite it being all online. And the best part was, that in these times where we feel very isolated, we as an ensemble were able to perform from England, Wales, Germany, Sweden and Croatia despite all these restrictions and create something haunting but also beautiful together. THREE CHEERS FOR LIVE THEATRE AND FOR THE ARTS <3 <3 <3
WELL DONE EVERYBODY ELSE WHO TOOK PART IN THIS EXHIBITION, IT WAS ALL SUCH DIVERSE AND FASCINATING WORK, IT WAS AN HOUR TO EXHIBIT BESIDES YOU <3 <3 <3