Sunday, 14 October 2007

performance at dca




My end-of-year performance for the MA took place in two different locations, the first in Catherine House doctor's surgery in Totnes, and the second, on-site at Dartington College in a more 'traditional' black box space. Both pieces were one-to-ones. The work itself had been developed through previous works, my dissertation research and experiences of everyday one-to-one encounters.

The action performed in these works, directly related to the work I showed at the NRLA in 2007. The piece was called pulse, during which I introduced touch to my one-to-one 'tools' - I placed two fingers on the participants neck, feeling their pulse at the Carotid artery, for approximately ten minutes - whilst the participant held a hand mirror in which they could view either his/herself or me.

Reviews - http://interface.a-n.co.uk/reviews/single/369428
http://writingfromliveart.blogspot.com/2007/02/pulse-francesca-steele.html

The new performances were greatly influence by my dissertation: Power-shifts: a response to the dialogues in one-to-one performance through a comparison with the doctor-patient interaction. But also a recent doctor's appointment, where a young doctor took my blood; there was a point where we both sat in silence, staring at my arm - concentrating, a needle connecting my body to the doctor's, I could watch and could feel the blood leaving my body. When the moment was over - I immediately missed it.

The pictures above are of the room where I performed, but also where the doctor took my blood.

The new pieces involved the participant taking my pulse, in some of the engagements I washed their hands, in the piece on-site at Dartington College I also took the participants pulse at the same time as they felt mine. In both pieces I used a static mirror, which meant we could share eye contact - but not see our own faces.

Most participants came to both performances, which meant we had an extended relationship - rather than the usual 10 minutes. (I would like to try this over a longer period of time.)

I'm still mulling over and filtering the experiences. I really enjoyed the doctors surgery piece - the participants were required to turn up ten minutes before their time, notify reception and wait in the waiting room as if a patient. Then the receptionist would send them up to me. Waiting became a noted part of the experience.

In using two different spaces, it felt the work happened somewhere in between - the two performances opened a dialogue between each other. The main difference for me, was exactly how much the space effected the performances; in the doctors surgery, I was a little more nervous - the black space provided me with a familiar environment and a bit more confidence. Using the doctors surgery took the work away from my usual aesthetic and context for my tools - and re-located it in a different place both familiar and foreign, everyday and but also strange. I think this was the most exciting thing about the work.

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