Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Further Afield (Abersythwyth/ Montreal) June 2009

"We're going to take a walk with someone else across the ocean in (Abersythwyth/ Montreal). This is your chance, for a while, to be in two places at once..."

"So, north-east of us (point NE)--I know Montreal 'north' is that way (point W), but actual NE :) Sorrel and your co-worker are standing with a building behind them, an arts centre in Abersythwyth... If you peek around the corner, which you can't see from where they're standing, there's a fire escape that goes to the top of the building--two stories high. In front of them is a set of steps made of brick and each brick has three circular holes in it; holes that are just big enough to fit four fingers in. About where the sidewalk ends and the street begins over here, for them is a steep slope leading down to a road...To the left, directly left, is a mass of different grey rectangles that form buildings (at least that's how she tells it)... To the right of the road are thick trees. Actually, if the trees weren't there you'd be able to see the sea. The main stand-out colours are green and urban grey and on a nice day, the sky, which is blue.

Shall we give them a call?"

"Right now, Laura and your co-walker are standing with the road in front of them; the road is two lanes. It's a major road in the city and it's full of construction. The Belgo Contemporary Arts Centre building is behind. They are to the SW of us, that's this way (turn to face SW). There are four glass doors to the front of the building; two in the centre are double doors... The main colours that stood out to Laura were red, every shade of grey possible and orange --bright bright orange, white and shades of beige. Right in front is the sidewalk made of square slabs of concrete - lighter than the road; some are different sizes; it's hotch botch, very pieced together; it looks like its been repaired a lot. In front is a 2 by 2 square with a hole in it big enough for your thumb and that's where she has drawn the X... Across the street is a barber shop, a jewelry store and a strip club. Her building is six stores high. On right is a souvenir shop and a metal container for cigarette butts, so the ground is peppered with lots of ash from the cigarettes. On her immediate left is a cafe."

Journeys taken in dialogue.

Boats exchanged with pine cones.
Watching the clouds whilst we waited for the others to find the sky.
AdLibs on foot.

synchronous count in English and Dutch.
Beginning with obnoxious pink ending roaming in the dark through trees and a hole in the fence to find the point of "wonder."
An absence of cameras and a dance shared in the grass on two continents, in three locations.
An arc, a corner, a hole.
An invitation in French.

Upside-down cars and clouds.

Gazing skyward at the glow of a bright green-leafed chandelier before taking a bare foot run through the woods.
A forbidden footpath and a late night meeting at the church-like chip shop.

Further Afield was co-presented by Studio 303, Montreal and Living Landscapes/Aberystwyth Arts Centre, June 19-20, 2009.

Thank you to all those who joined for the journeys in Montreal and Abersythwyth--it was a pleasure walking, running, dancing, sneaking, climbing and rediscovering these spaces with you.

We would also like to extend a special thanks to everyone at Studio 303, and Living Landscapes, Abersythwyth for all their time and support towards this latest collaboration.

Special thanks must also go to Stuart Malin for his continued support as consultant astrophysicist.

photographs from Wales by C. Brostrom
photographs from Montreal by E. Langlois-Paquette

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Almost here!

Further Afield - presented as part of the Living Landscapes Conference at Aberystwyth University and with Studio 303 Montreal Canada.

An intimate and exclusive performance on foot through the the streets of Montreal and the pathways of Aberystwyth. Experience your surrounding as never before while your landscape intertwines with another over 4,000 km away.

Further Afield
is a series of performance-journeys involving negotiation of public space, language, distance and one-to-one exchange. Guided by Sorrel Muggridge (UK) and Laura Nanni (CAN) each adventure is designed for two participants at a time to experience together in separate locations.

The participants, in contact with one another at key points in the journey via phone, are involved as co-authors, interpreters and navigators of the piece.

Further Afield
19th June at 5.30pm 9.30 pm UK
12.30 - 4.30pm Canada

20th June at 5.30pm 7.30pm 9.30 pm UK
12.30 - 2.30 - 4.30pm Canada

Friday, 8 May 2009

First Postcards From Norwich

Last Monday, these arrived in my mailbox (slightly weathered)...

Funny to know that Sorrel was looking up when this was her view (see previous entry)-- it reminds me so much of being in a plane and looking down...

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Finding my way

1. Start at the right-hand side of the train station, by the steps, facing the art centre. Here, turn right and walk to the end of the street.

11am outside Norwich station; instinctively I look to the right-hand side as though I had arrived by train, but all I find here is a a sea of bicycles and a smooth rising I begin this time looking towards the station. On the right this time is a gently sloping set of steps curving to the street below. This is my beginning!

In my view ahead is a huge weeping willow leaning over the river, a sea cadet's ship and, on the far bank, a hotel, a bridge and a pub with union jack bunting.

I ask a girl who passes me which way I would have to go to find an art centre. She replies, " I honestly don't know, but if it's anywhere, it would be that way." Her arm and pointing finger follow the line of the steps towards the bridge, I thank her and as she walks away up the steps I notice her jacket says "ONE" in bold block letters...I turn right and walk.

2. Then, pass the bush with berries on it and a sign of higher education.

At the end of the street, as if shouting at me, is a bush beaming with a bounty of flowers. Given the season I am sure this would have also had lots of berries in autumn.

As I photograph it and turn to look at the map beside it (to see if this could be a sign of higher education), a man enters my gaze. He says, "If you go across the bridge you can walk by the river, by all the boats I think you would really like it, it's a lovely walk." The man is about my age wearing all black with at least seven empty earring holes in his left ear. I thank him for the suggestion and take this to be the sign, since the map itself is lacking.

note: after this point I have several moments of doubt: Was this the sign? What does something need to be, to be higher education? Why on this landmark has my interpretive freedom deserted me? I begin to take three other routes each revealing a possibility but nothing that really answers my questions better than the man with his impromptu and instinctive idea for a walk I would enjoy.

3. Next, turn to your left follow the street towards the large building that might be a library.

A comparatively tall building with rows and rows of glass window catches my eye, I head towards it relieved to have made my move. I cross the street on to a triangular space where the two streets meet. A man sitting on a bench greets me as I pass. Through a "good morning" and smiles we share our pleasure in being out on this beautiful sunny day, his face wears the freckles of many days sat out in the sun. I move onto Rose Lane; my building reveals its self as 61-65 Imperial House, its windows on the ground floor are mirrored. With no view inside I move on.

4. Pass the bird house and a drawing in rust. At the junction look back the way you have come.

My quest for the bird house leads me on up the hill. As doubts creep in, a black bird and a thrush give me a clue. The thrush, complete with worm in its beak, flies into the undergrowth. I stop for a while to watch and listen on what I realize is a small park on the roof of a shopping centre-- 'the bird house.' Opposite the bird house is a curved wall with tall windows along it. Along from this I follow the metal railing expecting to find the drawing in rust. At its end I see "Rusty" has left his mark in bubble writing--my interpretive freedom is all of a sudden satisfied by this moment of synchronicity. I look behind and to see the view across the roundabout below all the way to the train station and the horizon hazy in the distance.

5. Walk towards the building with rainbow colours on it. When you reach it, turn right.

With no buildings that fit in view, I follow the direction suggested by a lady on her lunch break. She says I should try inside the shopping centre where there is a place for kids to paint pottery. I head in that direction, but on the way a rainbow finds me on the roof.

I turn right.

6. Continue for approximately 561 steps, or past 14 hazard signs, or until you hit the bench on your left. Here, follow the railing down.

52 steps +1st hazard sign... 86 steps + 2nd hazard signs... 160 + 3rd and 4th hazard signs... 220 steps +5th and 6th hazard signs

258 + 7th and 8th hazard signs... 341 +9th hazard signs... 370 + 10th hazard sign... 412 steps + 11th, 12th and 13th hazard signs... 435 + 14th hazard sign.

To my left is a bench filled with a family eating fish and chips from the market; polystyrene trays balanced in one hand. the black railing leads down an avenue of cherry trees beside the church, towards the fresh fish stalls of the market below.

7. Now step on to softer ground and head for the blue; keep straight seeing the sky touch down to meet you.

I hoped the softer ground would be the green grass bathed in sunlight beside me, but the patch is surrounded by the railing and the gate is padlocked in a way which feels as though this is a space where I could never feel the softer ground beneath my feet. I let my desire for a picturesque end go, and continue down finding the softer ground at the foot of a tree. At it's base is a metre of what looks like glued together gravel.

Ahead of me is the blue of WHSmiths. I am really having to swallow hard to allow this to be my end point. I head straight and inside, becoming increasingly doubtful of seeing the sky come down to meet me, but as I move further into the store, daylight breaks through the stairwell. I climb four steps into the light, looking up I see a huge glass ceiling which points down onto the stairs in a V.

The sky above is blue with wisps of cloud revealing the crisp spring wind. I stay a while listening to the muffled sounds of the tills beeping and the shuffle of plastic wrapping. One girl struggles to re-shelve purple protractors; eventually giving up as two fall to the floor. Another customer picks them up, whilst collecting supplies for her own daughters pencil case.

One last look to the sky- I have drawn it on a post card that I will send to Laura.

This is where the sky touched down to meet me in Norwich.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Finding my way in a new landscape

Hi, Sorrel here.

I have recently moved house, finding myself in a part of the country totally new to me. In my many trips across the country, I have somehow not spent time in this area at all. So, as an avid explorer, I am really excited about what this new landscape will inspire. Topped of with the sharper edge, the unknown adds to my anticipation. As my first exploration into this new environment, today I've decided to put our set of directions for blog project #4 into action.

"starting by the steps at the right hand side of the train station ... " I will take a walk...

I will share my journey here upon my return.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Hello Barcelona! Blog Project #4: Journey Taking/ Making

Hey guys!
The following is a three part project we'd love for you to try wherever you may be.
For those of you who are joining us from Barcelona this week, you will have already started with Task 1.
Any questions? Let us know. We look forward to all your responses!
Happy wandering and journey taking/ making.
Sorrel and Laura

Task One
Walks to be taken in pairs. Starting at 12 o clock, high noon.

At your starting point, make a turn of 360 degrees to find the key colour that jumps out at you, then take a walk following this colour as it reapears in the street on different objects, places and people. (i.e. the pink door, to the pink hat, to the pink rotten peach, to the pink...). Your journey ends after 15 mins. Where you arrive, stand back-to-back from your partner, each facing the opposite direction and describe what you see ahead of you for the other to draw.

This final part of the task is what we call 'translation drawing'; so we enjoy the inaccuracies as much as the connections.

Please send us your drawings by mail to:

Laura Nanni and Sorrel Muggridge
c/o 281 Margueretta Street
Toronto, Ontario
M6H 3S4

As you drawings make their long journey across the ocean, we would like you to share three photographs of
'colour markers' from your journey. Send your photographs to as jpeg files named and dated, accompanied by your name and place, to be posted and shared on the blog.

Task Two
This task is meant be done in pairs or small groups and is likely to take between 1 and 2 hrs. Below are a set of directions. This journey has been creating combining key markers and directions from past walking projects we have devised and performed across the UK and Canada (2006-2008).

Follow these directions in the city your are exploring while recording the markers as you find them.
Note: the directions are always written from real observations and places, but left open for translation and creative interpretation.

1. Start at the right-hand side of the train station, by the steps, facing the art centre. Here, turn right and walk to the end of the street.

2. Then, pass the bush with berries on it and a sign of higher education.

3. Next, turn to your left follow the street towards the large building that might be a library.

4. Pass the bird house and a drawing in rust. At the junction look back the way you have come.

5. Walk towards the building with rainbow colours on it. When you reach it, turn right.

6. Continue for approximately 561 steps, or past 14 hazard signs, or until you hit the bench on your left. Here, follow the railing down.

7. Now step on to softer ground and head for the blue; keep straight seeing the sky touch down to meet you.

Task Three:

To be done in groups.
Take a walk from a landmark that reminds you of home to find the perfect place to meet. (i.e. 'The Perfect Place to Meet Barcelona). Record the key markers in your journey as directions.
Once you have found your destination you must condence your directions into seven and post these on the blog in the comments section. We will follow your walks in Nottingham, UK and Toronto, CAN. The results of our journeys will be posted on the blog as soon as we complete them.

Happy Travels.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Works to Date

We're currently working on a miniature archive of our works to date. Here is part 1:

October 2008
Nottingham and Edinburgh, Sheffield and London, Bethesda and Nottingham, UK
performance journeys

A performance series exploring the nature of long-distance relationships, created for participants to experience simultaneously in separate locations: between Nottingham and Edinburgh, London and Sheffield, Nottingham and Bethesda, UK. Each piece was devised specifically for two people; in response to their location and the nature of their long-distance relationship.

Elements of this work, which we continue to develop, involve:

Intertwining Landscapes: Participants will fill in details of an unfinished direction we provide, using landmarks/ physical attributes of what they see/ find in their present landscape. For example 'Keep straight until the _______ is at arm's length'; 'When you see the _______, run past it.' The finished direction is then passed on to the participant in the other location, for them to find/ follow. In addition to asking participants to navigate their surroundings through another's view, this activity can involve much playfulness and debate as participants complete and interpret the directions.
Translation Drawing:Participants are asked to describe their view at a particular spot, or describe the horizon line while facing in a particular direction, while their long-distance 'partner', listening over the phone, attempts to translate the description into a drawing. The finished drawing is mailed to the other participant at the end of the journey.

Poetic Maths: The distance between both participants is translated into a scale that can be experienced physically. For example, "The distance between London, UK and Sheffield, UK at a scale of 50,000 : 1, is the length of your index finger to your heart times two." Measurements like these encourage participants to understand and experience space and distance in relation to their own bodies.

While intimate, the experience of these works was also shared by audiences through this blog and as we journeyed through public spaces. Often traces of the experience—an imprint that we leave on the space with our bodies (i.e. footprints), a direction drawn in chalk or an arrow built from twigs will also catch the attention of someone long after the performance; leaving them to stop, wonder and re-interpret these markers on their own.