Crimson Coast Dance

February 12, 2021: PERFORMANCE-INSTALLATION: ACTIONS, OBJECTS AND PLACES DIALOGUING by Genevieve Johnson

Conception & Performance: Romane Nagy – Camera & Editing: Lili Maheu – Music: Sofina Johnson

Performance is a set of questions and concerns about how art relates to people and the wider social world.

Jonah Westerman

You can experience this while watching the previous performance-installation video by a young promising visual artist and performer, Romane Nagy from Montreal.

The work questions identity and role playing in society. Bringing the bedroom closet in a bare field (with a clear human presence through the silos and electric pillars), is possibly exposing herself. But the revealing does not happen because of the absence of others. It makes us and her question our identity: do we exist if no one is watching or approving? do we don our identity like a piece of clothing?  is being ignored erases our identity?

Creating New Worlds and Perspectives

The Tate gallery in London write that performance art is “artworks created through actions performed by the artist and/or other participants which may be live, recorded, spontaneous or scripted.”

Installation art is site-specific works, indoor or outdoor, designed to create new perspective of a space. 

Both are influenced by conceptual art, where the concept and process behind the work are more important than the resulting product.

Together they bring actions, objects and places in a social dialogue with their audiences. 

Above – Nested: Lean and Rise kimono installation, photo by Ruane Dumler

By adding even just one object in a space where it does not belong, you create an installation that changes how people see or look at the space.

Below – Lifeline in Standing Figure #10 by Troy Moth, video still by Sofina Johnson

La noyee aux hirondelles, indoor installation of keys and elastics, photos: Gilles Chartrand

Relating Objects and Places Through Actions

An action does not have to be dance but it involves a movement, a gesture…

Being in the space, standing, walking, even a mouth opening… is an action.  

When in relation with specific places and objects any minimal gesture or movement becomes significant. It becomes an action supporting a concept.

Sometimes action or concept comes first other times place or object comes first… I let it be organic. For the following example, I started with action around an object…

My Process to Create Performance-installations:

This exercise builds up from the exercise “moving with objects” I presented in the previous blog.  

My interest right now lies in humans and nature’s relationship together: how they impact on each other. So for this exercise example, I chose to move, improvise and create with a branch I found on a walk with my dog.

I did many improvisations with the found branch and kept a movement phrase that I wanted to work further with.  Improvisations are also triggering words and images that inform my movements as well. The video shows the chosen movement phrase and words from which I drew moving qualities.

Images I gathered from my chosen object - cracking, frail, mossy smell, stiff and springy at once, becoming fingers, claws, antlers, cane… very old person, supporting and wise, who delicately dances...

Then, I chose a place and added other objects:

By installing the branch outside on a tree attached by a red string with a roll of craft paper dangling beside, I constructed a dialogue between the branch, the tree, the roll of paper, the string and me.

Through my explorations in this setting, the performance was becoming more and more about the relation between the human process of transforming nature and nature’s power… 

Exercise:

  • Install a chosen object in a specific space (you can start with your object exploration from the last blog)
  • Chose other objects to enhance or challenge your first object and organized them in the space
  • Move in this site-specific installation or just stand in it
  • Move your chosen movement phrase from the object improvisation… start from it…change it… add… substract

What concepts, ideas, themes are surging? Or can you organise your objects in space following a pre chosen concept?

Film yourself moving in and with these objects – Create, edit a sequence that makes sense for you

Giving A Voice to Your Installation: Words Around Objects and Places

From my first gathered images and the impressions left from the dialoguing space, objects and movement I wrote short poems.

For myself, I always love looking at visual art works that are accompanied by a title or a few words from the artist. It always sparks my imagination. Not as an explanation but as a dream-like derivation enabling personal links to sprout.

Writing short poems or series of words can bring you further into exploration. You can create movements from these words or you can say them aloud as you move… 

For this blog, I used these short poems as a soundscape score for the performance.

the bark
crippled
is wondering
where the shadow went

a skin peeled off
through the blast

where are we
where is the place
to meet

Altering Perspectives - Changing the “Normal”

Performance-installation is finding the links, the new and different meanings…

It is exploring in order to unveil parts of the mystery. Mystery of your body, presence, the space and the objects you are working in and with…

Making part of the invisible, visible.

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