Monthly Archives: March 2013

cultures in motion: national portrait gallery

We’ve been offered to make a piece for Cultures in Motion at the National Portrait Gallery.  The caveat is that the content must be about/relate to a figure on display in the collection.  Perhaps there are several figures that may intertwine or dialogue in some way…

Here is part of the collection:  


a secret language

I’ve been wondering today about communication and how we give and receive information.  Particularly, how we rely on speaking to incite, convey or translate thoughts to action.  So much emphasis is given to communication through speech that we often overlook our complex system of signs, symbols and gestures.  We are taught that eye contact is most polite when conversing with another.  We look, even stare, at the eyes and even mouth with conviction that they will communicate the information we must then process in order to have a mutual engagement.  Yet, the entire body may be giving signs that either support or betray the speech.  If we consider ourselves to be reactionary beings, couldn’t it be possible that we are slowing down our kinesthetic impulse to thoughtfully receive linguistic information so that we might engage in the ethics of polite conversation?  

With this being said, I would like to propose a short project in which we create without the modality of speech.  Instead of speaking, we must make use of gesture and body language to convey messages to one another.  There may be a short list of three-five recognizable gestures which symbolize appropriate English words.  Other than this, we must point to it, engage into action, respond and energize ourselves to create a short performance piece of 5-10 minutes.  We can choose to keep rules and add the ability to play music to convey an impulse or tone.  The second part of this would be to memorize a short piece of text- each person a secret text they do not share with anyone else in the room.  This text would only be added in to the first performance and not shared in any rehearsal.  Since we will not know each other’s texts, the text becomes a character.  The text is spoken as a vocal Viewpoint… it can kinesthetically respond to action and be energized to changes in tempo and pitch.  

I suggest that this happen in two rehearsals of no less than 2-3 hours each.  A total rehearsal time of 4-6 hours for a 5-10 minutes performance.