Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.

(Wikipedia)

We are investigating whether we can connect a friend from Poland…

… and Bradfordians who might have connections to the country.

Question 1

Do you know anyone living in Poland? More specifically in Warsaw or Gdansk? More specifically in the following streets:

Ul. Skrzetuskiego

02-726

Warszawa

 or

Ul. Długi Targ

80-830

Gdańsk

Question 2

Or if not, does she look familiar or remind you of someone you know?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions please do comment on this post with your reply!

552/36514

As part of the Corners East Xpedition we were set a challenge by the Artistic Director Chris Torch: devise and perform an intervention for a ‘piazza’ session in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Rita and Ivana first set up a methodology for the devising process: a bus correspondence.

This resulted in a performed intervention…

Image: Phil Wood

The performance now has another life as an online work which you can view here.

 

Vehicles, transport and protocols of behaviour

In thinking about making a work ‘about’ transport vehicles, I was interested in the idea that protocols of behaviour around vehicles are simple and relatively culturally similar, therefore offering us as (artists and our audiences) a platform for shared understanding from within which to communicate.  However, the crossing of the border between Ukraine and Poland was to disprove this assumption.

Just after the border crossing I woke up only to find the bus has made a stop and everyone was outside. Well, everyone but the three locals frantically extracting cigarettes from the fabric of the bus. The cigarettes kept coming and coming, out of places such as:

the covers providing access to the machinery below the bus floor

the luggage rack above our heads

This did not belong to my ‘shared understanding’ prior to this trip, and proves how valuable these ‘in the field’ research Xpeditions are.

Jesus man and Silent walks

‘The extra-ordinary’ and ‘the ordinary’ in everyday public behavior.

Whilst in Bradford city centre observing the people and the dynamics of the city ‘Bradford’s walking man’ (Jesus man to my generation) passed me by.                          Seeing Jesus man has almost become the norm to me, of course I am still curious as to whom he is and want to understand his mysterious persona but at the same time he’s just Jesus man. It is very normal to see him pass by on a visit into town, whilst on the bus or even seeing him trend on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The ‘extra-ordinary’ (Jesus man) has almost become the ‘ordinary’ to the people of Bradford.

I then came across the film The Excursion by Yorkshire based artist Simon Warner, Simon’s film documents the movements of Jesus man within the Bradford district, the film is showing at the Journey and Migrations exhibition in Bradford.

More information about the exhibition can be found at

http://www.simonwarner.co.uk

http://www.fabricculture.co.uk/whats-on/journeys-and-migrations

The film and my interest in him made me think about what he does and how walking interests me as a performativce practice. Following this I decided to take part in Phil Harding’s silent sound walk through Bradford on 24/8/12.

Phil, myself and 6 other participants met at Handmade in Bradford at 5pm to set off on the silent sound walk across Bradford, we were instructed that we could not communicate at any point and should follow each other in single file line with Phil as the leader of the walk. We each walked about a meter apart from one another resulting in a single file snaking line of people walking through the city. For me I couldn’t help but think about how this must look if I was a spectator. It was interesting to observe the city in a much more conscious way, really listening to the sounds that make up the voice of Bradford rather than passing through dismissing the most interesting happenings.

The route of the walk

More information of the walk can be found at

http://www.fabricculture.co.uk/whats-on/silent-walk-phill-harding

On the walk I was thinking about the ways in which the Augmented Reality app could be used as a means to guide, explore and even find new things within the city. Could having something in place in the town such as an image to scan bring a performance, text or audio to a certain location in the town using the Layar application?

I will try these ideas out.

Deciphering an Address in Lviv, Ukraine

An address, printed, on a paper that traveled from Bradford to Lviv. The alphabet Cyrillic. A task to decipher, painstakingly stabbing at possible letters on the keyboard.

An address in Ukraine, in Lviv, on our map. A rush to make it there, to see what it looks like. A confusion of numbers – is 84 actually 8, or 8/4 or?

*
Click on links to listen to the audio recordings of the search:

Start of the search

Confusion of alphabets

Have we found the address or not

Image

Rita at вул. Шкільна, Лвів

Image

A thought on the idea of traces…

I have been thinking on the idea of traces… Really interested in how the choreographic augmented reality app could work to guide local people to go on a journey where they would, over time, create physical changes to their environment. For instance, it could lead people to a secret stash of spray cans and then in the film you would see the action of spraying on a particular wall and so you would do it in real life. After a few people do the ‘game’ the wall would be like a rainbow of different colours which would have been created by different people…

Second idea sent to Ivana

Original concept

A mechanically modified car. People engage with it by pressing some buttons on the outside of the car and stuff happens like some fumes come out or a film plays on the headlights. Then maybe there is a day time version of the performance and a night time. During day time at some point some performers start dancing inside the car and then move to dancing outside and around it. The car’s stereo system is the sound system. A night time version could be the same dancing with the car’s headlights serving as lighting for the performance. Or it could be something simpler like leaving the car parked somewhere over night, with the inside car light on, and with giant sunflowers inside, so it turns into an art installation that people look in on…

Things I like about it

  • Quite like the mechanical nature of it and the DIY aspect of the mechanical features that it might have, and the effect that it will have on people to play with those features.
  • Very physical in both a mechanical sense and a performance sense because there will be live performers.
  • Like that we would be using the car as a mini-stage: using the car’s sound and lighting features instead of stage lighting and stage sound.

Problems with original concept that need consideration

  • All this dancing in and around the car could be a bit like ‘Fame’ and I wouldn’t want to do it like that.
  • Do we actually need live performers/dancers? Or is the ‘performance’ about the audience interacting with the mechanics of the car enough?
  • Am I using the car as an installation piece, or am I drawing on audience’s knowledge of ‘Herbie’ and playing with that knowledge?
  • How many modifications can we make to the car and it still be road-driven? The last thing I want to do is to create a car piece that then needs to be transported in a van…
  • Budget: expensive to create and potentially expensive to tour if it involves live performers.

 

New concept

 But just then when I was trying to go to sleep a second concept began to emerge, and it has to do with the choreography and smart phones research I have been doing. I have sent you both links to the thing I did in Bournemouth haven’t I? If not do say and I re-send.

But most recently the idea developed further as Ian Bowden (Art Director for Rockstar Leeds, a multinational computer games company that created games such as LA Noire and Grand Theft Auto: http://www.rockstargames.com/) has come on board. Ian and I are talking about developing the research beyond film and into graphics and augmented reality. What this means is two things:

  • We can have a mixture of media with film which then goes into fantasy and animation graphics. See an example here: http://vimeo.com/5716181.
  • And/or we can have a film of a performer doing something and have the audience member actually choosing from which point of view they view them. Ian is preparing a quick example and I will send it you soon.

———————————————————————————————————–

How is it experienced by the audience?

As an audience member you use you smart phone to scan a QR code that is found on the outside of the car. The QR code then takes you to an app which you download.

You realise that the first frame of the film matches a particular perspective on the car and instructions appear on the screen asking you to pointing your phone at that perspective and aligning the first frame of the film with it.

The instructions also explain that you are about to start a journey where the only rule is that you must always align the reality of the environment that you see in front of you to the exact image and perspective of that reality in the film, and that you must mimic the actions of the hand in the film with your own hand.

You press play and the film starts moving towards another perspective on the car. You realise that for you to fulfil the rule (aligning reality to the film) you too need to shift with it. Very quickly you realise that the filmmaker went through a journey around the car and that your task of overlapping the ‘real car’ and the ‘virtual filmed car’ means that you are going to be taken on that same journey in a way that you will need to position your body in the same relationship to the car that the filmmaker had hers.

For an example click here and here!

———————————————————————————————————–
What is the new concept?

  • As an audience member you continue to align the film with the reality of the car and are taken to different parts of it.
  • At one point maybe the phone points at the windows and through your phone you view some performers inside doing a dance, whereas in real life they are not there.
  • At another point maybe the phone points at the whole car and you see it (though the phone) turning into an animation of a car, so that maybe it has eyes instead of headlights and it smiles at you, like a cartoon.
  • Or maybe you actually open the door of the car (in real life) and sit in the car (in real life) and point your phone at the front windows. And then you see the car driving somewhere. And maybe we can still use mechanics to get the car to shake a little so you feel like you are driving somewhere… Like those kids’ cars outside Tesco that you put a coin in… Humm, or maybe that is a stupid idea…
  • Or maybe you point the phone at the whole car and it falls apart and it reconstructs itself. This could easily be done by taking the car apart and then using stop animation to put it back together.

What I like about it

  • Potentially cheaper to make (very few or no mechanical changes needed because we can do most of those through graphics).
  • Cheaper to tour because if the performers are on the film all we need is for one person to tour with it to install it and maybe help the audience to access it.
  • Love the potential for creating amazing imaginary things that can’t be done in reality: the car could fly, it could talk, you could sit in it with a virtual dancer in the passenger seat… Pretty much what we could imagine we could create…

Potential problems with concept 2

  • Is this mobile phone technology available throughout Europe as it is in the UK? The last thing I want to do is create a piece that Intercult will then take on tour to small villages in Europe and people there not being able to see it.
  • In terms of the mobile phone devices maybe this could be overcome by us having our own devices and lending them to people, although of course this will be a street piece and we might not get them back…
  • In terms of wireless access this could also be a problem. But Ian has suggested that instead of developing a film that you need to download (like we did in Bournemouth) we can develop an app instead. This means that you get the app from your phone and you are not relying on wireless access to play it, so we can have it working on remote areas. Not completely sure how it works technically but he is sure of it…
  • No live, ‘real’ physicality. But maybe that is not a problem if we use the physicality of the people watching it.
  • And although the possibilities are many but, like with concept 1, if we went with this one I would really appreciate your help Ivana in helping find a dramaturgy for the concept, as at the moment it is just a mix of different ideas:
  • Are we playing on the audience’s pre-knowledge of Disney’s Herbie?
  • Or is it about choreographing the audience in relation to the car?
  • Or is it about them watching performers doing a performance around/inside the car?
  • Or a combination?