Romany Reagan

Grief Symbolisation, Multiple Becomings and Anachronistic Space
The Cemetery as a Unique Ground for a Walking Practice
11 June @ 5.00pm

REAGAN-Romany

In this paper I will explore three key theoretical considerations regarding space and place in regards to a walking practice within a cemetery: symbolisation and placing of grief, as explored by Elizabeth Hallam and Jenny Hockey in their study on the ways in which Western mourners relate to their dead, and the collected work of Doris Francis, Leonie Kellaher and Georgina Neophytou, in their expansive inquiry into the cemetery as a space of mourning practice. I will then introduce Doreen Massey’s concept of ‘contemporaneous multiple becomings’, as it relates to historical sites, and expand upon this to interrogate and unpick possible new meanings for Anne McClintock’s concepts of anachronistic space.

The relationships between each of these theories will be analysed with a view towards offering a greater understanding of the complexity of a cemetery space. I aim to illustrate that this complexity lends itself well to crafting an audio walking practice. Cemeteries offer a unique chance to explore the possibilities of ‘contemporaneous multiple becomings’: they are at once historical places, with rich opportunities for an imaginative opening up of space, and contemporary green spaces. Cemeteries are also excellent examples of ‘anachronistic space’, that is to say modern life continuing in a cemetery that is preserved in an anterior time and dedicated to the memory of people long past. The kaleidoscopic potentials of place within a cemetery provide fertile ground for a walking practice, and a richness of possibility.

With the disembodied audio format, the listening walker experiences a fragmentation of temporal awareness. Listening to a voice already from the past (whether that be a remove of weeks, or years) brings to the fore thoughts of the cemetery at once moving forward and backward through time. Audio stories of happenings long past, overlaying sights of modern joggers and anachronistic gravestones, offers a way to experience an artistic culmination of the cemetery as a multiple becoming.

Brief Bio
Romany Reagan is a second year PhD candidate in the department of drama at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her practice explores theories of anachronistic space, grief symbolisation and cite-based performance through the medium of audio walks in Abney Park Cemetery. Areas of research encompass theatre archaeology, heterotopias, liminal spaces, human geography, the uncanny and the Victorian ‘cult of the dead’.

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Deborah Pearson

Narrative vs. Narrative
11 June @ 6.00pm

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Rather than define a “narrative” by insisting it have an inherent set of traits or qualities, I am interested in what points of focus arise if we define “narrative” as being based on context and use.  I approach this research through the lens of contemporary performance since 2007, paying particular attention to how “narrative” sits within my own work, and the work of artists in my professional network through Forest Fringe.

In this presentation, I will be focusing on the narrative expectation of conflict as a point of focus, particularly in reference to my most recent one-on-one Drifting Right.  Drifting Right was a conversation with one audience member in a canoe, whilst on open water, but the audience member had to be someone who had voted Conservative in the last election.  In the piece I am open about my own left-leaning political views, and together we interrogate to what extent a cross-political dialogue (rather than debate) is possible and useful.

The presentation considers the history and hunger for conflict (and conflict resolution) as an expectation of the narrative model, and examines this expectation in other contemporary performance pieces, including Theatre Replacement’s Winners and Losers, Action Hero’s Slap Talk and Made in China’s Gym Party.

Brief Bio
I am going into my third year of a practice-based PhD at Royal Holloway.  My research considers the points of pre-occupation that arise when contemporary performances are contextualized as “narrative.”  I founded and co-direct the artist-led producing collective Forest Fringe, perhaps best known for the free venue we have run at the Edinburgh Festival since 2007.  I am a theatre writer and performer and make experimental solo pieces which tour internationally.  I also write plays and librettos on commission for larger companies like Volcano in Canada, with whom I am an associate artist.  I am currently touring a solo piece called The Future Show, in which I tell the story of the rest of my life, starting from the end of the performance and finishing with my death.  The Future Show is partially rewritten for every new space and time in which it is performed.  Forest Fringe have won a Fringe First, two Herald Angels and the Peter Brooke Empty Space Award.  In my practice as an artist I have won a Herald Angel and been shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Innovation, an Arches Brick Award and a Dora Award for best new opera.  

Lucy Harrison

That I will do my best… ‘That I Will Do My Best…’
The development and delivery of an interactive sound installation
28th March @ 5.00pm

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Developing a sound installation for a for a non-arts event presents a unique number of aesthetic challenges relating to audience expectation and experience as well as the expectation of the event coordinators. These challenges must be balanced with the practical considerations regarding the space available and how the art will be consumed and can often create conflict with personal aesthetic decisions.

This presentation will look at these challenges using as a case study a recent interactive installation created for a Girlguiding event at Alexandra Palace. This was a large-scale exhibition style event for Girlguiding members aged five through to adult. The wide range of ages attending, as well as the large numbers and varied experience of the potential audience created an interesting challenge in the development and delivery.

The presentation considers the creative process when developing sound art for a non-arts event including the collaborative process of working with events coordinators to fulfill the brief for the event. It follows adjustments that were made to how the work was presented over the weekend to incorporate and react to the challenges of the space and audience expectations as well as discussing how the work began to take on unexpected addition functions through user interaction.

Brief Bio
Lucy is currently working towards a PhD in composition investigating interaction and sound design supervised by Brian Lock having previously gained a Master’s in composition from Durham University. She has produced immersive, interactive installations for school settings and large scale events, most recently as part of Girlguiding’s 2014 World Thinking Day celebrations at Alexandra Palace. Other work include sound design for theatre, including site specific work as part of Royal Holloway’s Mariam Project, led by Elizabeth Schafer, and The Massacre by Elizabeth Inchbald. As part of the Mariam Project she created an audio tour, with director Rebecca McCutcheon for the Burford festival 2013. Lucy is part of Written and Composed, a collaborative group of composers and writers where she has been working on science fiction sound design with playwright Susan Gray. Future work for 2014 will include sound design for site specific science fiction theatre and an immersive audio tour.

Examples of Lucy’s work can be found at laharrisonmusic.co.uk and regular updates on compositions as they are being developed can be found on Twitter at @laharrisonmusic

Joe Thomas

The City and The Other
Foreign and familiar experience in the works of David Peace – ‘Anti-crime’, transnational writing, ideology and the city voice
28th May @ 6.00pm

THOMAS-Joe

I’m looking at the Fiction of David Peace and, specifically, representations of the city in his work. Peace told me that when he wrote the first two books in his Tokyo trilogy he had a note pinned above his desk that said: ‘anti-crime’. I will explore the implications of this and how it connects to the ways in which Peace creates and resurrects the cities in which he sets his work. His novels cover a fascinating array of fictionalized, real crime events placed in city contexts. The Tokyo Trilogy recreates occupied, post-war Tokyo and explores problems of identity, struggle and defeat. The Red Riding Quartet addresses the notorious crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper and the endemic corruption of the Yorkshire Police and the consequential societal trauma. Both sets of works make key use of the city context and are valuable as an insight into transnational writing: how Peace mixes dialect and language to produce an authentic vision of a city and the visceral impact of the staccato, repetitive prose to heighten the atmosphere. Peace has spoken of his belief that crime fiction is, in essence, political writing, as the genre has the tools to deconstruct society’s anxieties at all social levels. Arguably, through this immersive approach, he has translated a ‘conservative mode of writing…into a postmodern idiom radically informed by the strategies of literary and artistic modernism.’ (Charles.)  Indeed, his tackling of the ‘cultural dislocation faced by the émigré writer’ (Hart), Peace offers much for the transnational writer.

Brief Bio
I was born in London, studied History at Oxford, then lived in São Paulo for almost ten years. I’ve worked in education for most of my adult life.
Blog: avenidabrasilblog.com
Twitter: @AvBrasilBlog

Jayne Lloyd

Walking and Wandering
Reminiscence Artists in Residential Dementia Care Settings
30th April @ 5.00pm

LLOYD_Jane

My practice-based PhD explores the aesthetic, sensory and social qualities of reminiscence arts practice with people with dementia who live in care homes. Reminiscence arts is a term coined by Age Exchange Theatre Trust to describe their workshops or 1-1 sessions with people with dementia. Reminiscence arts practice evokes and inspires participants’ memory and imagination through activities, techniques and knowledge deriving from dance, visual arts, theatre and music practices. My research involves observations of Age Exchange’s reminiscence arts workshops and reminiscence arts projects that I design and deliver myself.

My research compares walking outdoors with walking indoors in a care home to investigate the sensory, spatial and aesthetic experiences that are and are not available within the care setting environment. Taking walking as a physical act and as a metaphor for virtual journeys undertaken in the memory or imagination, I explore the ways that reminiscence arts enables care home residents to experience things from outside the care setting, for example, from other places or times.

This paper draws comparisons between artist Richard Long’s recreation in gallery spaces of walks he took in the countryside with methods reminiscence arts practitioners use to evoke outdoor activities and environments in care homes. It focuses on how the spatial, sensory and aesthetic qualities of the experiences transfer between the outdoor and indoor environment. It questions how much and what type of information is needed to give an idea or sense of an experience.

Brief Bio
Jayne Lloyd a practice-based PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, sponsored by Age Exchange Theatre Trust. Her research explores the use of reminiscence and inter-disciplinary arts practices (theatre, music, fine art and dance) with older people with dementia living in care settings. The research focuses on Reminiscence Arts and Dementia – Impact on Quality of Life (RADIQL), a three year programme created by Age Exchange and funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity. Jayne graduated from Byam Shaw, St Martin’s, University of the Arts London, with an MA in Fine Art in 2010. She is an installation artist and has a studio with Bow Arts Trust. She regularly exhibits and completes site-specific commissions and residencies both nationally and internationally. Recent residencies include the Breathe Residency, 501 Arts Space, Chongqing, China, 2013 and Houserules, a six week residency in an empty office block in East India Dock, 2014. She has 10 years’ experience in community engagement, development and facilitation roles, working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, age groups and with a range of learning needs. Prior to starting the PhD, she worked as part of a research team led by Professor Helen Nicholson evaluating Age Exchange’s reminiscence arts projects in SLAM care settings across South London.

http://www.jayne-lloyd-artist.co.uk/
http://www.age-exchange.org.uk/