Bloody Mess and less

23 Jan

Today personally was less of a bloody mess at the British Library. I’ve now watched 2 videos of shows of Forced Entertainment and I think that Bloody Mess gave me a context for understanding more of the show I saw in Vancouver. Also viewed (after a few glitches) the CD-ROM Imaginary Evidence which is a great title and also very informative about working methods and archive. It’s organized in a hand-drawn diagram that to me loosely resembled a brain or a picture of an electrical circuit. Words mind-mapped with arrows connecting them. The categories are:
• privacy
• structuring chaos
• starts/ ends
• dressing up
• time
• interruptions
• cataalogues
• magic
• pretending
• the borders of language
• alcohol
• blankness
• thinking
• audience
• failure
• death
• suicide
• sleep
Each of these can be clicked on, and little thumbnail images appear (max. 9 per topic). Click on one and a short video plays, of various fragments on that topic. Performers from shows; interviews; fake interviews; footage of a small child (Tim’s son I expect) doing magic tricks and reading beginnings and ends of stories. There’s no set order, rather the connective tissue of things. I like browsing through it and it makes me think again of how artificial and hard it is to write in a line. Because thinking is (for me anyway) associative, imagistic, moving from chaos to repetition to patterning, in no particular order but in a definable process of sorting, sifting, playing. The loops and recurrences in the process are what get ironed out in academic writing and it takes so much sweat to, in a way, fake it— to bury and re-order any sense of process. Unless one is a trained logician, I guess.

I’ll type up my notes thoroughly tomorrow but here are some things that stuck in my head:
Claire covered in balloons, like a showgirl, popping them with a cigarette one by one.
Cathy’s suicide interview (in the bath; vodka; bubbles; bar radiator). Robin: “Walking across the stage just to break up the picture”. Tim; “the Performances were littered with incompetence”.
“Revenge of the trees” — how only naughty kids at school got to be trees in school theatre, so these failures got to be on stage and mess things up.
Tim’s V/Over: “to ask not “what is this about?” but simply “what is this that is is happening in front of you”?
“product abuse” as inverted version of movies “product placement” (Lux snowflakes as snow; Heinz spaghetti as guts in death scene etc).
-why do endings suggest themselves more readily than beginnings? “perhaps it’s easier to work backwards from the ending, unraveling the clues”.
-(this makes me think again of the trilogy virtual/ theatrical/ material. The material is always the starting and sticking point. Forced Entertainment start with an empty space and themselves, or a bunch of stuff —junk, throw away things, cheap rubbish or the remains of the last show. So they begin with that material and then they make material. They make stuff from moving and improvising and because it all gets video’d, what they make becomes material (in both senses). Then they muck around with that. It makes sense and perhaps writing is the same.

I like the sense in this process of moving in and out of performance and framing. Which shows in the finished work— viewing their shows (live and on video) the moments I like the very best are almost always the in-between. When everyone stops, and before the next thing quite happens.

Cathy, cited by Tim V-over in Endings:
“Once there were eyes that wouldn’t stop looking.
Once there was a mouth that wouldn’t stop talking
Once there were ears that wouldn’t stop listening
Once there was a heart that wouldn’t stop beating
Once there was a brain that wouldn’t stop thinking.”

On the inbetween, this is Tim:
“The whole team stand in front of you, often at the start and at periodic intervals during the show. To stand, taking a break from teh madness of the show. To stand and in some way, measure the distance—emotionaal, physical, fictional– between performers and public. Real-time, suddenly. A chaance for all those involved to catch up with what’s happening, with where we aare, how faar we’ve traveled. Let them measure the moment. Let this moment be empty. Let this moment be full. Let it be nervous, funny, confident, problematic. Let it be nothing, everything. Let it be all the possibilities of the moment. Just stand, take stock, wait, look, think. Give them silence. Give them time.” (starts and ends)

“Each show just another attempt to find a new solution to the situation of standing up aand trying to speak before a crowd of gathered persons whom one does not know and one cannot trust”.


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