Since early 2012 I have been centering my performance making on a relatively consistent process that has continued to clarify during each creative undertaking. I make robust scores that include direction for approaching the creation of all aspects of the performance. For now I am calling it Portable Performance Process (PPP). In essence PPP is an outline of procedural directives that are a synthesis of my primary areas of inquiry: Extreme Architectural Influence, Perforeality, and Object Oriented Choreography, presented most recently as Salon du Garage, the series through which I present work publicly in Portland, OR.
PPP is a method for making performance work for professionals, students and communities that are developed with the cast on site in a specifically chosen non-traditional performance space and over a short time frame. In these solo and group performances the content is generated out of a close examination of the physical architecture and the real and imagined activities that happen in the chosen space. The performances always include improvisation ranging from a little to a lot. The central topic of the performance is the engagement in the act of performance itself. The audience must be close, mobile and involved. All elements – costuming, sound, visual imagery, props – must be inspired by the chosen performance space. The works are made in, for and from the space and the themes incited from within the space. The following elements are the cornerstones of PPP.
A way to begin – EXTREME ARCHITECTURAL INFLUENCE. Performing in non-traditional performance space and letting the reality of that space – architecture, furnishings and use – instigate and direct the development of material.
Step one is to delve into physical reactions to the chosen space creating atomic units of movement, text, sound and other content and procedures for navigation of performer and audience. Be it architectural, emotional, sensorial or psychological, all elements are mined for gold. The works utilize what comes directly out of the investigation of the space and are not infused with external narratives or ideas. The enactment of the performance is the central content and is sculpted by these thorough examinations of the space itself.
Transparent content – PERFOREALITY. Highlighting the reality that audience and performer are involved in a performance where the primary content of the performance is the performance itself.
Currently my main interest is one of being in the moment. I value engagement in the creative act itself and rigorously pursue it. To this end I seek to enroll my audience at the level of participant AND observer. In PPP the audience is asked to participate in at least one way; they will be asked to move around the space in a guided or freeform way depending on the construction created. In many cases they will be asked to participate in more in-depth ways as the work demands. Having an active awareness of the performance experience as it is happening is key for both performer and audience in these works. In this time of mediated experience and lost connection to the live moment, I view the performance experience itself as the main event. I have the desire to direct audiences away from any fantasy that is outside of the actual moment they are in and prefer to highlight the state of being present in real life right now and as we are. PPP creates a frame for the moment the performer and audience are in together during performance.
Intimate audience/performer relations – OBJECT ORIENTED CHOREOGRAPHY. Choreographic intervention by audience participation and audience mobility.
This system embraces the use of external objects that are used as visual scores for movement invention and dramaturgy. While there are many ways to employ this system, in PPP the space is the first object. Physical and digital “objects” are also used as visual scores for the performer to follow based on pre-generated rule sets that have been assigned to the orientation and relationship of these “objects”. In some cases the audience will orient these objects during the performance.
As our culture continues to embrace and exploit the individual as creator, curator, promoter, financial supporter, critic and other as-yet-undefined roles in the dissemination of artworks, I sense a disconnection from the live moment and a more prominent attention to the “replay”. The recording and uploading of experience that the original “experiencer” curates for themselves and their audience. In the act of documenting they miss the potential of the moment as it is happening and are instead composing the moment to be experienced later with friends and family and possibly strangers who were not there; a once removed experience. This sense of loosing connection to the live moment is part of my motivation to create experiences where the experience itself is primary. There is only this moment. Nothing else.
Examples of PPP so far: