I used Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present” as reference to back up the concepts of my exam project on Visual HF, but I had actually previously used her for inspiration in a class of arts project on HF called “The Hole and Corner Travel Agency – 1 square metre in the city” where we each got a square in Viborg to make our own and give an audience an experience. Orlanda Andreasen is referred to as teacher.
The Hole and Corner Travel Agency offers city tours of the gaps, cracks and hidden corners of Viborg – into the worlds that are here, but that we don’t always see.
I worked out my piece from the knowledge that the audience would be expecting a performance, or rather, to be entertained with me as the entertainer. The premise is that we have an observer, who has an expectation and sees me as an actor and the square as the scene. The observer is not told what to expect, so the observer should in theory take everything that happens while in the square as part of the experience/performance.
I got to test this on some of my peers and teacher, the first impressions often involved a short conversation between me and the observer, first a greeting, followed by a question, the question were in many variations such as “So what do you do?”, “Is this it?” and “What should I do?”, but all the questions had one thing in common; that the observer’s expectations weren’t met.
Playful and curious, The Hole and Corner Travel Agency tailors tours shaped like question marks – asking you to encounter the invisible stories within everyday spaces.
Some of the peers were able to fill in the space with what they believed was the performance/experience that I wanted to give them, some even managed to do so without asking a question in the first place. I always finished the performance by asking what they believe the performance was and what they believed I wanted to share.
However, the most interesting cases, to me, were when the observer weren’t able to fill in the space and experienced this lack of performance, or rather, lack of satisfaction, they won’t accept it as a performance, like if they went to a restaurant for dinner and the dish they recieved were much smaller than they anticipated, they wouldn’t accept the dish as a real dinner and they would complain, even though they got exactly what they had ordered. And I believe these cases gave me the best performance, it had conflict, which is universally believed to be one of the driving factors for a good story.
1 SQUARE METRE IN THE CITY: Miniature tours lead by the employees of Hole & Corner.
The specialty of the Hole & Corner Travel Agency, the mini-tours, are unique one-on-one journeys conducted by the employees of the agency.
I got to experience two cases where the observer weren’t satisfied with the performance, one was the teacher and another a peer. The teacher, like many others, questioned it and I answered her questions to the best of my ability, the teacher however never seemed satisfied, she seemed very judging towards me and it felt like she questioned my motives, maybe she though I didn’t want to bother participating in the project, since I did show dissatisfaction with some of her ways of handling the project previously (which still applies to this day), this however was not the case and I would simply have joined the off-team when we had the choice of participating or not. This all resulted in a much more energetic experience with both strong active moments of conversation and long pauses with lots of thinking and processing going on. It was beautiful to both observe and be part of.
The second case was an unsatisfied peer, this, however, wasn’t a regular case, since I did it under other conditions, it was part of an exercise, where an experience should be given to an observer who wouldn’t know what was going on and the performer mustn’t talk. The performance pretty much started the same, as the observer began questioning what was going on, this time however, the observer were never formally informed that there would be an performance. My observer could, however, see other performers and observers do various activities and concluded therefore he was missing out. The questions were much more aggressive and all I could do was use my body-language, which only aggravated the observer future, it should be noted that my relationship with the observer was weak to begin with. As a result of the observers expectations not being met he went to complain about me to the teacher and I were thrown off the project to avoid future drama.
Hand-picked by Ms. Andreasen and trained in the arts of transportation, the employees of Hole & Corner Travel Agency zoom-in on small spaces to create short, shared experiences in which microcosm become macrocosm.
The curious visitors of Viborg did not get to experience my performance. I participated in Orlanda Andreasen’s Travelling Light performance and met her shortly after, where I gave my critic of that particular performance. She seemed to bear no grudge and took everything in good spirit.