I followed up on my previous conversation with Paul Sermon at Media City and discussed the pros and con’s of live streaming. It was really good to get an outside view of the work without him actually seeing the piece. I simply told him about the content of it and my ideas about displaying the performance. However he raised the question of whether this video or live stream was meant to be a private one to one experience or a shared experience? I guess I hadn’t really thought about this and just kept thinking the more people who see it the better. Considering the controversial content of the script and my provocative attitude, is this something I want to turn into a spectacle? Should it be seen in a more private and self-reflective way? Paul spoke about how entering into an online dialogue could side track away from the work and be open to misinterpretation. On reflection I don’t want the audience to be more interested in each other’s comments rather than watching the performance.
Should the work be shown in a gallery context? This would really focus the eye on the work itself and erase distractions that might pop up on your computer screen. I had thought that I would like to show this piece at an event, although I don’t think this is right as again its turning the work into a spectacle without people investing their time into the whole piece. Considering what is the audience meant to get from seeing it is making me change my mind about the presentation of it. This video needs to be shown either on a monitor or on my laptop with headphones for one person to view at a time. I am still very interested in creating live, streamed performances, however this requires making work specifically for this medium rather than forcing this performance to fit. In my practice I tend to make work in response to a place or situation, however I have been swept away with the process of making a performance from home which is why I am struggling a bit with deciding how to show it.
I have been researching places to distribute this video piece. To maximize audience engagement I am going to stay open minded about were to show it. Looking through the exhibiting section on a-n I found an online opportunity with Acid Rain Production http:/
There I’ve said it, and it feels good.
Intro cards mounted onto card/Bathroom towel or lights?
Read through script/Set-up Bathroom/Wardrobe & Make-up/Full run through using computer cam
Today I have been performing in the bathroom. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this sooner. It is well known that audio sounds great in bathrooms and it offers the perfect backdrop. I have done one run through the entire piece and recorded it on my computer cam. I love the simplicity of hitting the record button and having all the material I need on my computer to hand. When I held up my text intro cards they read backwards. I had to print them off as a mirror image to make them readable. The lighting in the bathroom is pretty good as I have spotlights in the ceiling. However I am having video quality issues again, which seems to be the bain of my life! I just want to get on with the work and not get bogged down in techy crap. On the regular playback screen in Photo Booth the video looks great, although when I fill the entire screen it looks pixilated. I could get around this by only showing it small scale, however this is limiting the size. Would a higher quality video cam solve this problem or is it my ageing dinosaur computer affecting the output? Do newer mac’s have better quality built in video cam’s? I noticed watching the playback that the bigger the image the more you notice the slippages in my performance. The smaller the image the less you notice. From this I feel the video would be better suited to a computer/TV screen or a smaller sized projection. I took a photograph of my laptop on top of the shelf in the bathroom and I really like the look of it. The backdrop to my performance now offers a door to walk through and lights to switch off. My dance routine needs perfecting and building from when I am in the foreground to me walking out the door and turning the lights off. Overall the structure is there I just need to refine the performance and use better equipment to film the piece. For now I can keep practicing with what I have.
My brain feels split between the techy, computer elements of what I need to do and getting on with the creative stuff. Every other day I am learning my script and getting a little bit quicker, in time with Penny Arcade’s speech. After the speech there is another, final section to the performance that will involve dancing and standing back putting my full figure within the screen. I have a video cam in my computer so I can practice and see how my performance is progressing. I was able to have both the Ustream screen on and my computer cam on at the same time, which allowed me to compare the quality. This really showed up how the stream is choppy and loosing frames in contrast to my computer cam, which is much smoother. The performance on my computer cam is so much stronger which is making me re-think about broadcasting through a live stream. Can this performance simply be captured through my computer and then played back giving the appearance of a live streamed performance? I remember an artist talk were Tim Etchells had pre-recorded his speech and then it was simply played on a DVD displayed as a large-scale projection. However the frame was close up to his face and it really felt like he was talking directly to me even though he wasn’t there.
Alongside thinking about the techy and creative stuff I have to consider were I will show this work? When I show this piece I do not want to be in the same room, which rules out showing it at my artist talk at the University of Salford in April. I feel this video would work well as a large projection, programmed alongside other performances. Last week I went to Gallery Girls at the LDP (http:/
I have been having fun performing in front of my camera working in my spare room. I seem to be able to let go of my inhibitions when I’m working in the comfort of my own home. Putting on my make up and Penny Arcade wig really adds colour and strength to my perceived character. Although to make the Penny speech/rant more effective I need to move myself around within the frame and use the foreground and background. When I am practicing I like to use the ustream link to see what the performance will actually look like. I was a little bit concerned though as the frames seemed to be slower today, this may vary depending on unforeseeable factors. This is another thing I need to research, as even though I like the aesthetic of being out of synch, for the performance to work there has to be moments when I am perfectly in synch with the sound. As I was practicing I could speed up and mime ahead of the audio, which made the stream appear like it is in synch.
It’s almost impossible to be in synch all the time as the stream drops frames and the capture is always very slightly behind my actions. However I over compensated with my actions to cover up the slippages. I recently watched a documentary about famous female silent movie stars and I was particularly interested in Clara Bow. She was an American actress and was a child star making over forty movies. It’s just funny to think how people were famous for simply moving around and not actually verbally speaking any dialogue. This has got me thinking that I must watch the movie The Artist that is a contemporary interpretation of the silent movie. At the time I really didn’t want to see the film when it was originally released as I thought it was too performancy. However I want to see it for the use of facial expressions and the use of body language. I will also take another look at Clara Bow’s 1920’s movies http:/
I have been troubleshooting problems that might arise during the live stream of my performance. I have read that ustream.TV make there money by intermittently broadcasting advertising during the streamed event. It is really important that this doesn't happen within my performance, which means that I will have to pay for a package. This is the only way I can ensure that advertising doesn't interfere with my live stream. How much information do the audience need to understand the context around the work? Is it important? I can send out a press release prior to the event, however I have to consider that the audience may just watch with no knowledge at all of the work. At university I can imagine that the students would appreciate hearing about how I made the piece. However I do prefer not to overly explain, allowing people to make up their own minds about the performance.
During the live stream I can also write comments, a bit like twitter and viewers can comment on what they are viewing in real time. Using the comments section could be a nice way to informally talk about the work. However if people want to join in commenting on the event they need to already be logged into ustream to be able to participate fully. I envisage a large projection in the lecture theatre with my live performance streamed. Should the work be an independent piece or part of a series of talks/performances in the lecture theatre? The live link would have to be tested well in advance and I think I need to do more research on how to advertise/promote a live feed. I watched a live, streamed lecture at Lancaster University that also had a live twitter feed. I have emailed the University of Salford today to enquire if they have streamed live talks online to see if I can get advice and support with my event.
This week I have been researching streaming live events online and the different host sites that provide this service. I do not want to pay for streaming and I was pleased to see that there are some websites that offer a free basic package. I really like the layout of www.ustream.tv and it is easy to set-up through facebook and links across other social media platforms. The video frame that pops up is like the skype video frame although I was a bit concerned about the visual quality of the video. However after closer inspection it is possible to up the quality, which created a much smoother capture. Although I do like how the streaming isn’t perfect, which lets little slippages go unnoticed. Although I am artist in resident at the University of Salford I haven’t been physically there much on site. Due to work commitments my initial plan has had to change and I feel with this new piece I want to explore presenting it in a different way to reach a wider audience. Last week I presented two artist talks at Oldham College and Staffordshire University, which I intend to deliver at Salford. I have now created my own channel and now need to think of a marketing strategy to let people know when the live stream is on. I will need a lo-tech title to hold up for the name of the show at the start, which will allow people a few minutes to login. Alongside the live stream I can add comments to what I'm doing and the public can also write what they think about the performance. I could promote the date of the live stream at the end of my artist talk at Salford uni. I think I will also need to design a poster and create an e-advert to send out to my e-mailing list. I recently went to a show and they sent out a personalised email to each person which I thought was a nice touch.
Reflecting on where to show my performance work in the university is making me re-consider the location of it. The point of a 1-2-1 performance is all about intimacy, however is that totally appropriate and right within a university context? I am putting a lot of prep into this work and I am not sure if I am happy to only show it to a few people. Having the work in a blacked out space is making the work look theatrical, is that what I really want? In a sense the work is theatrical, however there will be lots of slippages and mistakes within the performance. I keep thinking back to the carpet under my feet when I was videoing my initial experiments in my spare room and I really like the aesthetic of my home environment. Could I do a live, streamed performance on the Internet? This would allow me to reach more people in different locations and have my chosen location for the performance. There is something about sharing the things you do at home and were you live with other people through a screen that appeals to me. The work could be a controlled video piece, however I feel more excited about doing something live, creating a temporary event, something not to miss.
I have started rehearsing the Penny Arcade script to The government doesn’t want people to fuck! The piece talks about prostitution, women, America and money. She speaks really fast and even with a script in hand I am struggling to keep up with the pace. In the script she talks about the difference between hookers and call girls. When I think of a hooker I think of the movie Pretty Woman and Julia Roberts. Penny goes on to say ‘y’all have this idea that hookers are running around in push up bras, fishnet stockings, high heals, that’s a seducer, that’s a movie, that’s an old movie. We’re not running around in high heals we’re wearing Reeboks!’ I like the idea of mixing in a pair of Reeboks and fishnet tights into my performance wardrobe. Penny has made music, more like punk tracks, which I have been listening to. I particularly like No Mona Lisa, which talks about how the famous muse is cut off at the waist. This soundtrack would make an ideal match as in my performance the frame will cut across the middle of my body.
This was my first attempt at working in the project space at the university of Salford. Luckily enough there was one space left for me to use however I could only use it for an hour. I need to book the space well in advance, although this is difficult for me to plan that far ahead with changing work commitments. Even though I only had an hour the technician kindly showed me around the rooms and I soon realised that I needed a blacked out space for the Penny Arcade performance. I was able to use project space 4 that had bits of furniture and equipment in which I will need to hide or clear out for the final performance. The room is set-up for video projections and there is a white rectangular shape on the wall that I will need to cover. I tested out the lights in the space as best as I could as I left my tape at home. I wanted to see how much light they gave off which works for the frame although there isn't enough light to see me within it. I used another light and directed it into the centre that helped illuminate the inside of the frame.
Photographing the lights I could see the reflections on the gloss painted door. I intend to lead people from the corridor into the room with the lights bunched together in my hand. The cord is long, although it can only travel so far and then there is the issue of keeping them tidy without tripping people up along the way. How far do I need to go? I could be waiting close to the room to avoid any accidents. Going back into the space I think about the carpet beneath my feet at home. Should the viewer sit on a chair? My only concern with this is, if I happen to lure more than one person per performance who sits were? I imagine music playing in the room as we enter the room. Considering I only had an hour I feel that I have made a really good start. Having a project space to solely focus on one piece of work is a real treat. Planning ahead I need to pin down a date for this performance to take place. I know as we move through the year the students will be preparing for their end of year show so it needs to happen well before this busy period. I am due to do an artist talk in February and I am thinking that this might be a good time to do it. In the meantime I have a long Penny Arcade script to memorize.
So far not heard back from my Dressage application, although just by applying for it has pushed me too develop the work further. With all the Christmas celebrations and working at my part time job, today is my first day of getting my wig back on. As it is a Saturday I can’t access the uni project spaces and worked at home in the spare room. My first task was to get my light bulb frame up. I really wanted to get inside the frame and start miming to Penny Arcade speeches. Being the material it’s hard to evaluate what I’m doing so I filmed my performance experiments. I used playback to see how all the visual elements look together, the scale of the frame, and I question are certain props working? Early on I could see that the frame looked too big in relation to my body. Having online access to Penny’s speeches I decided to try out a longer piece and a shorter musical arrangement.
Originally I was only going to imitate her still images, however using the speaking and moving is visually more interesting. The frame needed to be smaller and I changed the shape from looking like a door to a TV screen. This form is more dynamic with part of my body inside and out. When I am in synch with the words it works well, although I also like it when it goes off. The rhythm of this piece is really important and I need to study the speech to control the flow. In past performances I have used lo-tech special effects and I feel this piece needs some extra sparkly bits. Packing away the string of lights that I bunched together, spontaneously I started dragging them across the floor. I may use this action to direct and move the viewer to the performance area. I need to do a rece of what project space to use as there is a mix of white cube and blacked out spaces. The spaces range form really small to large and I also have to consider the location, as I want to direct people from the corridor into the room.