Adventures in Artspace
Welcome to artist Bettina Reiber's art gallery/living
room in the heart of Highbury and Islington, London. We're here to perform
our "Stop the Tardis" MK1 (a totally different piece to our subsequent
Stop the Tardis Edinburgh show), an electronic music/spoken word/dance
piece employing the talents of movement artist and poet, Aime Hansen. It's
a progression for Project Adorno - a much more "performance" based piece
than anything we've done before - "imagine how you are going to stand"
barks Aime during one intense rehearsal period. And that's another thing -
rehearsals! We've never done serious rehearsals like this before!
Run-throughs, maybe, but never full on rehearsals with a dancer who is
also very mindful of the state of the Project Adorno wardrobe. "What will
you wear?" she asks as I tweak reverb units and fiddle with other assorted
audio gadgets. These, to me, are the nuts and bolts of the performance and
for a while it seems as though we're all working to different agendas.
Thankfully things gradually begin to merge and gel, a happy and satisfying
medium being reached between visual and audio elements.
We have been charged with the following
Following the positive
response to Open, a drawing installation and related live music
performances, ArtSpace is currently putting together a programme where we
invite poets, performers, dancers, composers and improvising musicians to
let themselves be stimulated by the drawing installation to produce a new
piece of work.
We invite you to put
forward a proposal if you want to be part of Stimulation @ ArtSpace. If
you haven't seen Open during the launch of ArtSpace please make an
appointment to meet us and to see the installation. Your proposal should
contain an outline of your performance/poem/composition etc. and how it
relates to the drawing installation.
New and traditional visual
media, contemporary music, performance, theatre and poetry readings take
place at ArtSpace, an initiative by artists and curators Bettina Reiber
and Robin Hull using their house in Islington on a regular basis to
introduce fresh and experimental work to the public. ArtSpace showcases
cross-overs between different artforms and collaborations which don't
easily fit into more established art venues. ArtSpace works like a Salon
as a meeting place where people come together to engage with art in the
setting of a private house.
ArtSpace invites artists
whose sincerity pushes the work beyond irony into a realm where
vulnerability is exposed and personal truths are stated. It invites the
audience to experience these quests and to respond to them in conversation
with other guests.
ArtSpace began with Open, a
site specific installation by Bettina Reiber. About a thousand A 4
drawings were put together and suspended from the picture rails to the
skirting boards as large paper
hangings. As they follow every
architectural detail to completely cover the walls of both reception
rooms, they draw attention to the congruence of architectural space and
ArtSpace. On each A 4 sheet the same small motif is drawn in biro and
repeated many times. The simplicity of this visual mantra and the modesty
of the material signify the importance of the process and the meditative
approach to the making of the drawings. Standing inside Open the viewer
reflects on concepts of time and shifts her/his focus from activity to
contemplation. Live performances of contemporary classical music exploring
notions of time, meditation and repetition, complemented the installation.
A multi sensory dialogue between the two artforms invited the audience to
explore this new venue.
How could we possibly turn this down?! After
initially visiting the space, our response is thus:
Outline of Project Adorno piece for
forthcoming Artspace event:
Stop the Tardis!
A journey through space, time and relative dimensions
in popular culture
The images in the gallery have suggested
various things to us. These include:
1. Space invasion/invaders - electronic
computer games etc
3. Frenetic activity
4. Inside of a
spaceship (more specifically, Dr Who's Tardis!)
Combining these ideas/feelings/influences we
arrive at a multimedia piece that fuses poetry, sound & vocal effects,
samples, electronic music, and physical/organic movement. Themes range
from melancholic musings to satirical send-ups of icons, myths and figures
from popular culture.
It is a relentless collage - a landscape of
ideas, with poems, sound and movement morphing, crashing and colliding
into one another. A representation of the postmodern times we exist
Or something like
And something like that it rapidly becomes.
We base the piece around music and sound from "Chunnel Vision" an earlier
performance/video installation. The original piece was peppered with sound
quotes from various artists, critics and other cultured types - we re-jig
these, taking some out, moving others round and inserting new (or
previously unheard) spoken word poem pieces - these include "Single", a
homage to the trusty 7 inch record, "Deconstruction" - doing just what it
says on the tin - a frenetic postmodern deconstruction of culture and
society, "All grown up" - observing the transition from childhood to
adulthood as the "ice cream van of childhood melted away…", and a curious
new piece about Salvador Dali's disdain for washing up!
The piece is one long 15 minute sound
collage full of twists and turns in timbre and tone. As is often the way
with Project Adorno, popular culture becomes the overriding theme. As the
two Adorno "vocalists" stand motionless at the back of the stage, the
focal point is Aime with dance and movement inspired by both music and
also theme/nature of each poem section.
A quick dress rehearsal takes place at the
Artspace itself a few days before the event - the place looking as
striking as ever - devoid of any furniture, patterned drawings adorning
the walls floor to ceiling - if anything looking a little smaller than we
had remembered. Come performance day, just prior to showtime, we are all
slightly subdued, locked into private thoughts and emotions, perhaps a
little nervous. It's an eclectic evening - with performances from Luca and
his theremin (played at ear shrieking volume), Brett's acappella singing -
evoking the lyrical essence of the Artspace installation, and a striking
visual/spoken word performance piece from two girls, Anjc and Filipc,
among others. The place is heaving, our curators know how to bring in a
Our piece goes well, Russell running through
his poems faultlessly, me using megaphone to good effect on "Anarchist Boy
Wonder", a piece which Sunil, (our third "resting" Adornite) swears is
about him (he's in the house tonight, watching, taking notes - he'll give
us the post-mortem later), and Aime providing much needed visual content.
The "Dali" item is proving to be a real success. We repeat the whole thing
a couple of days later (the event has been running on successive evenings)
to a similarly packed "house". Afterwards we spill out into the chilly
spring air and make the decision to keep the "Stop the Tardis" title for
another day - it eventually becomes the backbone of our Edinburgh show
during the summer.