Following the sculpture brief we’ve been given a performance art project to work on.
So far I’ve had a few ideas for this brief – the first was a visit to my old addresses in Walsall, preceded by my memories of the sites. I planned to attach a camera to the handlebars of a bicycle, and cycle through Walsall visiting my major former addresses including my family home, my first flat, a shared house, a hostel and my current address. I also planned to intersperse the sped-up footage with sketches and pictures of the properties drawn from memory, possibly interspersed with placards with notable events on them. I was concerned that this might not fit the performance element of the brief too well, which led me to consider customising the bicycle to resemble a bus, and calling the piece “The Number 30 to Memory Lane” and getting supplementary footage of me actually riding the bike.
My second idea was for a stand-up comedy performance as ‘The Dumb Blonde’, literally being a completely non-speaking performance using cue cards to present the set. The time parameters of the brief particularly suggested this, as most open mic comedy venues require a set of 5-10 minutes. I have a little bit of experience of open mic nights, and I really enjoy the idea of a completely silent set as given my garrulous nature it’s one of the most difficult things for me to do. It also gives me an opportunity to refine a set to its most basic elements (one of my major difficulties when doing stand up was waffling on and on to set the jokes up – this will restrict me entirely to one-liners and force me to work very carefully on the timing) and come up with new ways to deal with problems such as hecklers. However, I was crap at comedy first time around, open-mic nights were difficult enough to come by five years ago and my research has revealed that there are fewer than ever now. I really feel that this idea should be performed in front of a regular audience used to open mics, as the difference between performing for friends and performing for strangers is massive, and I’m not sure I have the tenacity to travel to the more popular nights in Manchester and London, where I would be able to do the performance but the crowd will be far far more difficult.
Finally I was thinking of doing a pastiche beauty contest, somewhat in homage to Andrew Logan’s “Alternative Miss World”. Given the endless debates about the nature of pageants and whether they are relevant or politically correct in the modern era I found the idea of “Miss Anthropy – A celebration of human achievement” quite amusing. While the idea is unoriginal it’s also potentially a lot of fun – after all, every comedy show since the beginning of time has at least one character so desperate to avoid causing offence that they inadvertently alienate everyone even more (the most famous example being the Fawlty Towers episode ‘The Germans’, and Ricky Gervais’ David Brent did a similar thing over the course of two series of ‘The Office’ and two Christmas specials). Therefore all the category names mean their opposites, the judge will be Barri Bassey (who has new shoes for the occasion) and the eventual piece will consist of a 5-7 minute film of the ‘Crowning’ ceremony, complete with a Python-esque fifties style voice-over. Oddly enough, this has been the idea that most people seem most encouraged by, and it would also give me an opportunity to work with other people (I’ve noticed that I do have a tendency to work alone, which I generally prefer but part of me thinks I need learn how to collaborate a little better).
will let y’all know how this one progresses (as ever)