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PROjectS: Practice Based Research

From my (global) village I see as much—Walking inside a poem

Multi-media explorative performance installation inspired by Pessoa in Toronto

 

 

A project co-created and co-performed by:

Antje Budde, Monty Martin, Laine Newman, Richard Windeyer

 

Film footage taken from Nicholas Brotman’s short film “Da Minha Aideia – From My Village” ( 3 SeeSunS Production, 2013) based on the poem by Alberto Caeiro (Pessoa), shot in Toronto

 

Nicholas Brotman and Jacob Antoni also contributed their voices to the piece.

 

Idea: Antje Budde

Length: 3 hours with changing groups of poetic space explorers

Venue: Rehearsal hall, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto, 214 College St.

Date: Feb.7, 2014

 

PESSOA – split characters - multiplicity

The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) wrote poetry in split characters, each of which was assigned a world of poetic expression and even a biography of its own. By doing so, Pessoa invented the literary concept of heteronym, which explores multiple stylistic ways of expression both fractured and unified by one poet’s body.  This is a practice that could be traced back to oral performance traditions where a storyteller body “hosts” multiple beings (natural and supernatural ones) and allows them to interact through the medium of the storyteller’s body. With subtle humor and sincerity, Pessoa brings his heteronyms in conversation. Alberto Caeiro (Pessoa1) dedicates The Penultimate Poem to Ricardo Reis (Pessoa2), while Álvaro de Campos (Pessoa3) writes extensive Notes in Memory of Master Caeiro, exploring Caeiro’s (hypothetical) life and work.

BODIES – open/closed systems

Human bodies are open systems in terms of matter and energy exchange yet they depend on functioning closed systems (i.e. blood circulation, respiratory system) to survive that crucial openness over a longer period of time (life time). Performance spaces offer a structured, closed system through convention and/or designated space/time while in the best cases allowing energy and matter – bodies and their minds - to flow freely and in exchange with other bodies/minds. In our project we intend to use motion detection, multi-screen video projection, electroacoustic sound environment and haptic interaction with tangible interfaces and spaces in order to facilitate pro-active and creative flow of the participatory visitor/listener/creator body.

 

KEEPERS

In 1914, 100 years ago, Pessoa’s heteronym Alberto Caeiro (Pessoa1) wrote a longer poetic work entitled  ”The Keeper of Flocks” with an introduction by Ricardo Reis (Pessoa2). This work consists of XLIX (49) poems. (http://alberto-caeiro.blogspot.ca)

 

In 2013, poem VII (7) inspired the Toronto indie filmmaker Nicholas Brotman to transpose this work into a filmic audio-visual poem of great beauty, shot entirely on location in Toronto. The film opens speculative hypothetical spaces to closed structures of geometric architecture in which urban humans find themselves as much as they loose themselves in them as well.

 

HYBRID beauty – How it works

Our multi-media and sensory installation piece attempts to take this poetic transposition a step further and invites urban subjects to explore physically/mentally the beauty of literary and filmic poetry in a performative audio-visual space. By employing a hybrid between interactive game/play, an open body/mind experience and pro-action/acting we search for ways to provide the heteronymous audience/spectator/actor subject to become part of and contribute to a landscape of poetic beauty and – walk inside a poem.

This participatory installation plays with the presence of body, voice and movement of the urban flâneur while walking inside a poem and simultaneously creating it in auto-poetic ways.

 

I. Speak me

The poetic Torontonian flâneur/auto-performer/audience enters the space and can move freely between the three interconnected spaces. First she encounters a music stand in front of a mirror with the poem to be read into a microphone. The voices of individual flâneurs are recorded into our computer system as they speak and become part of the fragmented fabric of spatial soundscape, joined by sounds from other flâneurs, birds chirping and city sounds from Lisbon - the city where Pessoa lived.

 

Our flâneur then walks down a narrow path towards a kinect camera. The camera recognizes the moving body and the body movements of incoming flâneurs who – through their movements - control the projection of images from the film material in the shape of their own physical silhouette, which moves along a screen hanging from the ceiling. The paper screen, hanging down in long sheets creates a subtle rustling sound and the images zoom in and out depending on the proximity of the bodies to the camera.

Now our flâneurs is already present through her physical presence, her looping voice recordings and as moving digital image.

 

II. Listen me

After walking down the path the flâneur enters the main space where she is confronted with a play of domestic and urban space, projected and real architecture, a winter-ragged tree branch – indicating vanishing nature in our cities – and an analog tape recorder. She can choose to listen to prerecorded readings of Pessoa’s poem of single and collaged voices of the creators of the performance-installation by turning the device on and listening to the sounds close to her ears. She will have an intimate encounter with the poem as well as with the artists but her own voice recording is also present in the space through a speaker system. Thus, all the voices merge with other recorded and real sounds.

 

The video projections play with both architectural structure in the exhibition space and the digitally projected spaces taken from urban Toronto.

 

Behind one of the screens a surreal domestic scene is set up consisting of a chair on green plastic lawn, a card box “TV” on a tripod, a pair of golden shoes, a handbag. On a blackboard in the corner words of the poem are written which are irregularly illuminated by the projection light, that goes through an opening of the card box “TV”. The flâneur moves in and out of these spaces. On one side of the room images of the film are projected on a row of large narrow windows, which allow the view into the courtyard of the building next to the exhibition space and thus merges once more the real and the virtual spaces. At the same time the flâneur can see the moving images on the other side of the paper screen, as people enter, and also listen to their voices as they speak the poem. Furthermore, we build a city silhouette with simple wooden boxes in front of another screen on which we video-map moving images from the film material while the boxes create shadows of their own material existence onto the screen which creates a layered visual image that can be seen from both sides.

FOOT

This work is a collaborative creation and in its early stages of development. The 2014 F.O.OT. festival “Breaking the body’s boundaries”, explores bodies in/as performance both as subject and object of critical and creative discourses and seems to be an ideal platform for such a process-based, open-ended experiment that brings people closer together and transforms all of them into urban poets.

http://foot2014.wordpress.com

 

POEM

 

VII

 

From my village I see as much the Universe as you can see from earth...

So my village is as big as any other land

Because I’m the size of what I see,

Not the size of my height...

 

In the cities life is smaller

Than here in my house on top of this hill.

In the city the big houses shut your sight with a key,

Hide the horizon, push your eyes far away from all the sky,

Make us smaller because they take away what our eyes can give us,

And make us poor because our only wealth is seeing.

 

*In 1914, 100 years ago, Pessoa’s heteronym Alberto Caeiro (Pessoa1) wrote a longer poetic work entitled  ”The Keeper of Flocks” with an introduction by Ricardo Reis (Pessoa2). This work consists of XLIX (49) poems. (http://alberto-caeiro.blogspot.ca)

Video mapping and shadows on a screen that separates the domestic surreal scene from the open main space. Behind the screen we can see the shadow of people who enter that space as well as the light cone of a standing light used in living rooms.

The blue-lit space provides a poetic word-pixeled wall of boxes and baskets, and table with an old typewriter that we use as musical instrument.

Urban projections onto a window reaching beyond into the courtyard of the adjacent building and projecting onto the building front as well.

Surreal domestic space

Stare. Print. Blue. - Voyeuring the apparatus

Oct. 5, 2013 (Nuit Blanche Toronto)

Venue: Videofag

Performance installation project playing with slowness, wo(man)-machine and the desire to look behind the surface and to leave prints.

 

For more info go to:

 

Stare.Print.Blue.Project description .

 

Photo documentation 

 

Timelapse video

 

 

New!

A recent interview with  Rebecca Biason and some of the  project's student-collaborators at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies.

Artaud's Cage

October 26, 2012

Glen Morris Studio Theatre, University of Toronto

"Artaud's Cage" was a 20 min. experimental performative conference presentation that investigated:

The performance was presented as part of the international  The Future of John Cage: Credo Conference in Toronto.

Creators: 

Antje Budde with Art Babayants, Aidan Dahlin Nolan, Douglas Hamilton, Myrto Koumarianos, Kat Letwin, Montgomery Martin, Tara Ostiguy, Michael Reinhart, Don Sinclair

 

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