What were we doing?
We were interested in the notion of direction. As a performer, direction can be given and I can respond as directed, possibly within a predetermined structure allowing for personal interpretation, or indeed interpret it entirely as I see fit, with an outcome, which may not have been expected, considered or hoped for.
As a digital animator, nothing happens by accident. It is exact, for the most part. Adam inputs information in to a computer determining what he wants it to do and it does exactly that. Each time he gives it the instruction it produces the same result. There is no room for collaboration or serendipity there. It can only give him what he asks for, and he can only ask for what he can imagine.
With this in mind, we discussed how a simple instruction given to a performer might differ through repetition; the result may never be exactly what was hoped for, but those results might be things that could never have been imagined.
As a basis for collaboration, we considered how a simple, repeatable task, such as picking up and setting down a glass of water might be ‘performed. Furthermore, at what point would the task be finished?
In animation, the process stops when the animator stops inputting information in to the computer, when the result is as expected or as required. But in performance, where is the clarity in knowing when something is as good as it could be? When has it been performed to the best of the performers’ ability? Or as close to the prescribed instruction? And who makes that decision?…
Adam is hoping to see a particular outcome without having seen it or imagined it yet. I stop when he is confident that I cannot perform the task with greater accuracy. An imagined outcome.
And Who Are We?
I am Co-Artistic Director of Proto-type Theater (proto-type.org). Our work has historically been technologically driven, contemporary theatre, with a keen cinematic aesthetic and has toured extensively in the UK and internationally (Third Person: Bonnie and Clyde (redux), performed in France, New York, Armenia, Zimbabwe and as part of the British Council Showcase at The Edinburgh Festival). I am also interested in and practice time-based, action-based, durational work. This is often expressed through collaboration with other artists/ companies. I have performed in and directed works for The National Review of Live Art (Controlling Marilyn directed and performed by Gillian Lees, 2003/ Are you cold? directed by Nataly Zuckerman, 2004/ 9 Billion Miles from home by Gillian Lees in collaboration with Third Angel, 2009) and created work for the Istanbul Biennale 2009. I am an Associate Lecturer in Contemporary Theatre and Performance in the department of Contemporary Arts at MMU Cheshire. I am currently touring ‘The Good, the God, and the Guillotine’ and ‘Fortnight’ with proto-type Theater.
Adam York Gregory
I am a scientist, a designer, a typographer, an animator, film maker and a visual artist. My practice explores the synergies and contradictions between these disparate pursuits, frequently through collaboration. This has enabled me to create animated theatre performances with Proto-type Theater (The Good, The God and The Guillotine), Imitating the Dog (Zero Hour), and Levantes Dance Theatre at Saddler’s Wells (Duck Man), interactive lectures at Tate Britain (Late at Tate: Acts of Legacy) and music videos for bands such as The Joy Formidable (Popinjay) and The Lovely Eggs. A near-complete list of projects can be seen at thesecretsurface.co.uk.
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