Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Day 5: No performance, last performing day

Our last performing day today, Cricket players. We have just been over to play a spot of cricket- unfortunately we couldn't find any flat ground to play on so we had to make do with an abandoned car park, behind a bus stop. Every where that has grass is actually just one big hill. What we have found from playing cricket is that actually Joe and I are very unfit, I was first to bowl and after Joe had hit the ball once i was worn out. It is also very difficult to play with just two of you. It involves a lot of general running up and down, as we didn't bring any cricket gear with us either, we used a couple of old pieces of wood that we found for a bat and stumps- an original idea that for performances we would make all of our props while in Norway (Although up until now- the final performance day- we have not needed any props)
This has probably been our least obtrusive costume of the week, so i feel a lot more comfortable, especially after finding out about the Jante Law. We do look as if we have just been playing for a club, i suppose the cricket costume doesn't differ too much by country.
We have filmed a little of us playing cricket on super 8 film- watching it back should be amusing, it will probably just be a lot of breathlessness. I also did a small performance piece this morning down by the Fjord that we filmed both on super 8 and digital, so i have watched it back already. It involved walking slowly down into the Fjord in my Edwardian under garments, slowly walking in so i disappear under the water. It seemed somewhat graceful in my mind but the realisation was quite different. The performance came from the idea that Edwardian Lady's used to swim pretty much fully clothed after being assisted into the water in a changing room of sorts. This is a performance that i wanted to do when we were Edwardian, but as it was so late it wasn't such a good idea.
The experience of walking into the water was something that i have never felt before- it was so extremely cold. Up to my waist wasn't such a problem but as my arms entered the water and it raised towards my chest i felt as if i couldn't breathe any more- I  was screaming, but there wasn't any sound coming out. I did manage to walk in as far to cover my entire head but as soon as my head was under i felt as if i was about to pass out and swam straight out. Looking back at the footage, i look like i am in pain, its not graceful, and what i felt took ages to walk all the way in was less than two minutes. My head was in and out within seconds.
To top this all off, there was the painful image in the background, of a Norwegian family- the children jumping in and out and swimming in the fjord.
Silly tourist.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Day 4: No Performance

Last night we went out to meet a couple more of Ellie's friends, got some food etc. Despite the lack of veggie options, we had a fun and interesting night.  I suppose the main thing to mention however were the conversations we had about English stereotypes. After showing the people we met some of the work that we had been making, explaining why we were doing it, we got some fantastic conversations about what British people were about. Mainly the conversation involved tea. Twinings in particular. We have some brilliant footage of posh English accents.

Anyway, today we went on an excursion to a little island by ferry which has a monastery built on it. Of course, now its only for tourism purposes, but it was pretty much untouched which was good, again, like most of the surroundings in Trondheim, beautifully picturesque.  We have been performing as 'aristocracy' today- the hunter farmer type that you would see in big inherited mansions. It was somewhat like we had traveled by boat to conquer another land. There is a little cafe on the island that again sold mainly meat- but we had some more waffles and a good old cuppa Rosie (that would be a 'Cup of Tea' for those of you confused by my cut in with cockney dialect). This inspired Joe to make a little spontaneous performance to teach the locals how to make a cup  of tea via self help video. It's very patronising and funny, but Joe did an astounding job of keeping a straight face throughout.

I have spent most of my day reading 'Magesty magazine' a magazine that you can buy at most airports and main railway stations in England but probably no-where else. Leading tourists into the presumption that the majority of English people are concerned about what the Royal Family are doing. However, quite relevantly there was a large section in the magazine about the royal visit to Norway that happened a couple of weeks ago. All i can say is that the Norwegian royal family are far more attractive than ours, but saying that, Princess Anne's hair is amazing. I modelled mine on hers today.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Day 3: No Performance

Today we bravely risked 'The Chav' performance, i managed to make my outfit out of clothes i had in my wardrobe from that ambiguous teenage time of my life- I think Joe had to try harder with his costume- but he did very well. Very convincing. Again we went down to the Fjord, walking down a massive hill in massive heels is a challenge, and i think as soon as you are wearing the baggy clothes/ baseball caps its difficult not to walk with an odd limp and a shifty stare. The surroundings however, made us look totally harmless.

Which reminds me- yesterday we had an amusing moment when we met a friend of Ellie's - she pointed us out as the people from England that were dressing up. Having heard form a friend, and apparently she had seen us with the Italian tourists and thought that we may have been with them. Obviously, our main look as an Edwardian was 'tourist' which is fair enough really.

We posed today next to a boat we had found on the fjord- It had 'sea c**t' spray painted on the side. A lucky find for our costumes but an unfortunate scene for us tourists on holiday. We mainly shied away in our outfits today, whilst hanging around not doing a lot. I suppose our image of a chav really. I suppose in the same way it meant that we weren't seen by any of the locals- probably the one day this week where we ironically haven't broken the Jante Law.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Day 2: No performance

We dressed as Country Bumkins today, i attempted to plait my hair on both sides, but failed miserably. Joe suprisingly suits this one but i have felt very insecure wearing my costume- anyway, today we have been into town again, this time to visit the royal familys royal house, suprisingly it is on the main high street, opposite a Burger King. We are aware of the fact that they don't often stay in Trondhiem, but security is so lax that we have been able to walk right up to the front door to pose in our costumes.
We also tasted an 'Ice boat' today. very tasty.
Elinor also broke the news to us about the scandanavien 'unspoken' law, that involves not dressing or making yourself stand out in public in anyway, which makes us feel even more like tourists than we expected, however the same law also mentions that you should not judge others- which explains why nobody has really said anything. It makes the act of performing in Norway more interesting though- hopefully we can talk to some people over the next couple of days to see how they feel personaly about looking differently. Does this law still have claught? and if so, do we as toursts have a get out clause because we are not part of the culture?

Jante Law:

(for more info, follow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jante_Law)
There are ten different rules in the law as defined by Sandemose, but they all express variations on a single theme and are usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: Don't think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.
The ten rules state:
  1. Don't think you're anything special.
  2. Don't think you're as much as us.
  3. Don't think you're wiser than us.
  4. Don't convince yourself that you're better than us.
  5. Don't think you know more than us.
  6. Don't think you are more than us.
  7. Don't think you are good at anything.
  8. Don't laugh at us.
  9. Don't think anyone cares about you.
  10. Don't think you can teach us anything.
An eleventh rule recognized in the novel is:
11. Don't think there's anything we don't know about you.
In the book, those Janters who transgress this unwritten 'law' are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against communal desire in the town to preserve social stability and uniformity.

Day 2: No performance: Joe's video diary


Day 1: No Performance in Norway

Yesterday was our first performance day in Norway. It started with an Edwardian tour around Trondheim, we have seen 'the main' tourist attraction in Trondheim, a cycle lift up a steep hill- while we were there we actually managed to run into a very large group of Italian tourists also looking at the lift. I cant say that this has confirmed that the cycle lift has the most visitors out of all those that come to Norway, but we did not see another group like this anywhere else in the city and the cycle lift was closed due to maintenance.
Obviously we had been dressed as Edwardian's all day, it hasn't gone un-noticed on our tour, although nobody has said anything, other than, that really suits you.
We also tasted 'brunost' which is a brown Norwegian cheese and had waffles with sour cream and jam. The waffles were very tasty.
I think the main event for us yesterday was staying up very late to witness the sunset and sunrise without it going out of view at about 3am it was as light as day. This is when we made our first piece of work, by the fjord, an adaptation of what we 'believe' Edwardians would do if they had encountered the fjord as we had, of course in true stereotype fashion.

The Ties That Bind

The AgeExchange performance will be called: 'The Ties That Bind'

It is a performance based around memories of the cross generational cast and will involve story telling, singing and dancing and more from a very talented group of performers!

The Performances will be at The Lewisham Theatre, London on Thursday 22nd July at 3.30pm and 6pm.

Order your tickets now from the Lewisham Theatre website!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

thegalleryistalking- getting ready for the launch

I'm slightly apprehensive about the launch of thegalleryistalking (A project raising issues around dyslexia and the gallery space between Tate Britain and Chelsea College of Art and Design BA Fine Art) there are many maps to be made and things to arrange. I am starting to feel as if i have taken a little too much on. I have also recently found out that not only will i have to be at the Tate Britain as early in the morning as i can but i also have an important rehearsal to attend with AgeExchange on the same date, from 10am until 4pm, and as i am only getting back from Norway on the Wednesday before, I'm a bit concerned about when i will have time to eat sleep and live from Thursday until the end of Saturday. O dear.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Nolga Nolga!

As Joe and I (The 'No' collective) prepare for our vacation to Norway, we wonder on the stereotype of a Norwegian. What to expect when we get there, and what we have learned about Norway from our very good friend Ellie with whom we are to stay with (We have learned very little, other than some choice phrases).
On wondering this, we also wonder what Norwegians expect of the English when they visit here, or indeed when we visit Norway. We are a very ambiguous nation.
When we think of Norway, it is quite difficult to place an image of what a Norwegian looks like or behaves like, I think the closest i can think of is that Swedish people are stereotypically blond and live in houses like ikea, however that is not Norway. There are beautiful natural landforms in Norway, i learned that in A level geography, however i can think of a single time in schooling that i have learned about the Norwegian culture.
Thus the aim to go and 'learn' about Norway, while at the same time 'teaching' our own stereotypes. Everyday we are in Norway we will dress and act (to the best of our ability) as an English stereotype, produce artwork as that stereotype, and talk to people about what we are doing.
We have chosen our stereotypes, they will be: Chav, Cricketers, English Gentry (Hunter type), Country Bumkin and Edwardian.
This of course was a difficult decision to make, however we feel as if we have the most diverse stereotypes as possible.

Monday, 21 June 2010


ICT PE went well, maybe not as many people as i would have liked to have taken part- however i think that those who did participate enjoyed themselves. I think it just goes to show how advertising is so crucial in a practise like mine. I've always had quite a brash approach to my work and i think maybe this is something that has always worked in my favour. I tell friends and family to some, and the majority of the time they do. However, when it comes to others, maybe fellow students or the public it is quite a different story. Perhaps there is a level of intimidation because i do bring my family or people that are not necessarily interested in art to these college events? Maybe this is something that i should think about? Does this make my work less mature or less fashionable or quaint? Or is it just a style of my practice? I enjoy bringing others into my practise that would not often participate or think of art in this way. Maybe widening participation has to have a level of quaintness to appeal to the 'normal people'?

Anyway,...When i actually had the initial ideas for this piece of work i somewhat imagined a lot more rebellion to actually join in with it, but i didn't receive any, so i am quite shocked (I'm not sure if i am relieved) People seemed quite willing to conform and there wasn't any tension in the lessons. I thought PE wouldn't go down too well in an art college, perhaps i was just stereotyping? I was very worn out after though!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Ties that Bind- Stage Manager

I have just been asked to be the Stage Manager for 'The Ties that Bind' which is excellent news! I knew that i would have some part to play within the production, however i was convinced that i was going to be made to act (Which, although i perform, my acting skills are about as convincing as a doughnut disguised as a fruitcake). I'm not too sure what is involved as of yet, but i am really excited to be involved in such an organisational way, especially in a project that is so different.