Last week You Be the Voyeur finally came to Edinburgh with a performance in the International Film Festival. Working with dancer Jen Farmer, the piece was shown at Inspace as part of an Upgrade! event which looked at work that explored fashion and technology.
Previous performances have taken place in small constricted spaces (from transit vans to cubby holes!) where light from small torches held by the audience generated sound from the performers clothing. At Inspace the situation was rather different, with pristine white walls and a reflective white floor the space is a veritable temple to digital art, but its size made the intimacy of previous performances difficult to replicate.
One option was just to use the opportunity to demonstrate the work in a straight forward talk, but I’ve always felt that talking about a performance can never be compared to actually experiencing it. It’s all very well telling people how to embed a synthesizer in a hidden inseam pocket but that doesn’t tell you what the sweat of the dancer smells like when she brushes past you whilst torch light flickers in your eyes. So instead I tried to use the restrictions of the space to create an experience which demonstrated the possibilities of the work whilst staying true to the concept.
Whilst a large space allows for a bigger audience it quickly became apparent that torch beams would get lost in the gloom and anyone who was not standing right at the front would lose the immediacy of cause and effect when their torch hits the dress. Instead we created pools of white light projected onto the floor, into which the marvelous Jen moved. This allowed the audience to still see how light effected sound and therefore motion and create a different but still intriguing lighting scenario.
I’ve posted some photos of the rehearsal with Jen testing the light to see what shapes and movements work best and you can also see me lurking the background. There should be some video and pictures of the final performance soon! In the meantime a big thank you to everyone involved in the event, particularly Mark Daniels from New Media Scotland, and Kirsten Geekie from Edinburgh International Film Festival. It’s so fantastic to have people like Mark and Kirsten who have the courage to bring new work to audiences.