DOT, LINE = A Hero's Journey
In January 2015 a team of Theatre Design and Digital Theatre MA students worked together to devise, design, produce and present a public sharing of work.
As a starting point the group decided on the loose title 'Dots and Lines' as inspiration for the event. It was felt that this could be interpreted in many ways, so each person had the opportunity to pursue areas of personal interest. It was also a strong visual image, which could be translated into eye catching graphics as marketing and branding for the event.
From this we created 5 subgroups:
Identity Lines - Nature Lines - Cosmos - Memory Invisible - Structure lines
Each group considered their own links to the theme 'dots and
lines' and the intended Wimbledon Theatre performance space. A period of research and investigation
followed to devise ideas, plans and designs for group performances or
installations. We would
continued to meet regularly as a whole group to discuss plans for the public
event, how to manage the space, technical requirements and marketing.
The process of creating the artwork and producing the event are documented in detail, through a series of blog entries on this website. These map the journey we took from ideas, experimentation and design, through to realisation and production.
- Building a group Idea: Structure & Invisible Lines
- The Concept: The Hero's Journey
- Practical Experiments
- Fabric Dying
- Costume Construction
- Creating The Installation
- Production & Marketing
The public event took place on Thursday 22nd January in the Wimbledon Theatre Space. It included 5 large scale installations and combined an exciting mix of sculpture, performance and digital technology. The first video below maps a short journey through the exhibition space, from the point of view of the audience. The second video highlights in more detail, the work I contributed to this collaborative project.
Video's by Tom Walsh, Music by Amy Nicholson
The key success of this event, was the interactivity, which encouraged our audience to explore deeper and invest time. This event was presented as an installation, rather than a performance and yet there was a clear performative element, to every piece of work. Some pieces included an active performer, others featured a performance and many transformed our audience into the role of performer, interacting with the work in both directed and spontaneous ways. For this reason the event felt active, it felt purposeful and it like an experience rather than something simply to be viewed. It was clearly made with a sense of the theatrical and created by performance conscious artists.
All the work exceeded our original expectations, particularly for a project of this length, this context and this budget. The overall look was well delivered and well constructed with consideration for detail, content and setting. Everyone seem to have tried to challenge themselves in some aspect, learning a new skill, a new programme, or working with a new material or medium. The work was exciting and diverse and provided a fantastic insight into the skills and interests of the people involved.
As a collaborative project and the first time we had worked together as a team, the process was of course a mixed challenge of ups and downs. As a team of all designers, we often lacked the knowledge or motivation to consider the event as a whole and what goes into the production of a public event, working within institutional constraints. Although most people tried to take on the extra roles required outside of their creative work, such as production and marketing, time, energy and experience was often limited. This highlights the need for key figures such as producers, stage managers and directors, who are dedicated to roles, which oversee a project, unite fractions and make decisions with authority.
Within the smaller group 'Journey' there were similar creative and practical challenges. Most were in the form of lively discussions and debates, however there were times when the group was not fully united, often due to commitments across different courses and varying work ethics. The work we created however felt cohesive with key themes, colours and styles. Visually the work looked impressive with a wonderful array of textures and dramatic imagery. The performance however needed further development, including the presentation of the cards, audience journey, movement of the guardian figure and the tree ending. Throughout the process we had battled considerably with these elements and were often forced to compromise due to the configuration of the space and limited rehearsal time. The work and event as a whole, would have benefited from a dress rehearsal, with a small invited audience, to test and evaluate the work before it goes public.
This event was a challenging but positive experience which will benefit future collaborative work and exhibitions at UAL:Wimbledon.