Sound and Vision: initial ideas

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The second year show begins on 7 February 2014 and we are being encouraged to make an installation piece in the Sound and Vision project for the show. My initial ideas were about creating a structure: either a womb-like structure that you crawl inside and hear sounds (heartbeat, intestinal gurgles, indistinguishable dialogue) or a house that has photographs (or moving images) of wholesome families (the ones that appear in advertisements) in the windows and when you open the door and walk inside there is no light and no sound (ie the images are empty at the core). However, when I was journalling this morning, a new idea formed in my mind. This is an extract from my journal:

The Dinner Table

“A daily performance piece. 4 people. Mum. Dad. 2 daughters. Table. Chairs. Xmas tree. T-shirts with “Mum”, “Dad”, “eldest daughter”, “youngest daughter” on them. Roles can rotate either during the performance or each day. A big screen with a camera projecting the performance onto it. So a camera operator too. We can pretend to eat. We can have bottles of drink. Performances start with the children playing on the floor and being called to the table to eat. Tension. Who could I get to do this with me? At the end of each performance we could leave the table messy and the next performance starts with the mum clearing it up and the dad sitting on a chair staring at the screen. I could write cards for each part – the principles of each character’s actions and intentions. And what about sounds? Speakers under the table with sounds of cutlery on plates. Oh. Maybe we could set the scene up and record the sounds and have the sounds playing all the time. Could have a stained tablecloth with a knocked over glass. Hmmm. Could write a script and record it, mix the soundtrack and have people sit at the table to hear it. Place people in the situation. The speakers and media player could be attached to the underside of the table. Could have 4 sets of headphones – one at each place setting with the soundtrack for each missing one of the voices so you get to experience being one of the people. The chairs could be labelled – mum, dad, etc. No. The soundtrack could be the same on each but mixed so that the person’s whose chair you’re sitting in voice sounds closer and the one on your left is on the left in your ear, etc. And you could have someone leave the table illegally and mum calls them back. Hmmm. She could ask dad to lean back and turn the radio on and it could play behind. The piece could be in the gallery by the window. There could be a painting on the wall and wallpaper or paint and carpet under the table. And old-fashioned plates and cutlery on the table. And salt and pepper cellars.”

So, basically, the audience member comes and sits at one of the chairs, puts on the headphones in front of them and experiences a soundscape of a tense family meal. Paper plates could be used for feedback. 🙂

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