a unique make-shift perspective

On October 29, 2013

One of the challenges in documenting make-shift is the multiplicity of perspectives that the event creates. Participants can be in one of two houses where they are actively engaged in co-creating the event, or they can be online – perhaps in their own home, or at work, or in a group situation, and in a variety of time zones; each individual has a very different experience. To document the work, we have made screen recordings of the online presentation, and taken photos and sometimes video recordings at the houses. From this we have a patchwork of excerpts from many different performances. But for one make-shift event in June last year, we were able to make a full video recording at both houses, and using this footage along with the screen recording to create a video that simulates an omnipotent view, moving from one house to the other to the online interface during a single event.

The event, on 20 June 2012, was unusual in that it connected two conference events: the Home and the World Summit in Dartington, UK and BIARI at Brown University in Providence, R.I. USA. Paula and I were in private homes close to the conference venues with small groups of participants, and there were gathered audiences at both conferences seeing the same as online audience members around the world. Instead of having  our usual post-show discussion in the house as we packed up, Paula and I both hurried back to the conference venues to pick up on discussions there.

Videoing in the houses was challenging as there was not much space between people and furniture, we moved around a lot, and there was no rehearsal opportunity to plan where to position cameras or adjust the lighting for the video. David Higgins in Providence and Tony Walker in Dartington both did a fantastic job and we thank them for their time and skills; and we thank Francesco Buonaiuto for the online recording of this and many other make-shift events. The final challenge was for Paula and Volkhardt Müller to view all the footage and then create an edit that moves appropriately from one location to another in order to tell the story of this particular make-shift event.

The end result is a sort of fictional documentation, as it is impossible for any one participant to have had this perspective. It gives a fascinating overview of this very complex and layered event, allowing us to see interconnections that were not necessarily visible to those participating at the time, and giving a deeper understanding of the materials and the resonances they create.

View the video here, and the accompanying commentary here.

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