Devising though different eyes – Back To Back Summer School Pt. 3

How do you start making a performance when you don’t have a burning idea? I’m never quite sure where to start. In her workshop “Image, Text and Performance” Ahmarnya Price lead us through a series of activities in which we observed and interacted with our physical environment. The goal was to collect images, words and experiences we would later used to inspire a short performance.

Sculpture in Johnstone Park, Geelong

Sculpture in Johnstone Park, Geelong.

The first exercise was an interesting study in group dynamics and collaboration. We went for a walk down the road and into a near by park. Ahmarnya instructed us that we could not communicate verbally and that we should try move as one body, being aware of where everyone was so that smaller groups didn’t separate out. This small sensory deprivation did a lot to heighten the other senses and how we interacted. For some reason it also freed us to play together.

In Johnston Park we found a metal sculpture that looked like a large pea pod, standing vertical. We had great fun using it as a percussion instrument. Jane Hopkins, who I mentioned in an earlier post, did an adorable solo performance with the below poster, which retuned in our performance at the end.IMAG0020


Once we returned from out walk Ahmanya gave us paper and textas to do two activites in about 15-20 mins. The first was to draw a map of our walk, in any way we wished. I’ve never been confident drawing and find it somewhat frustrating. I’m often very literal, so I initially tried to do a map one would use to travel from A to B. Eventually I let myself draw the things that stuck out for me. Others had been very creative in how they approached the activity. The second activity was to write about our walk.

My "map" of our walking tour.

My “map” of our walking tour.

Another workshop participants map

Another workshop participants map

Once we had compleated these acitvities we formed groups of four or five and had 20 minutes to make a short performance, inspired by and using the materials we had collected and anything we could find in the room.

I won’t try and describe the performances beyond saying they were fun and experimental “performance art”. The important thing was that we actually made a performance in a short period of time, using new techniques. It was incredibly satisfying, I had that feeling you get after a good workout at the gym, tired yet cleansed.