Play Cafe Artist in Residence Jen Edgar describes her approach to Play Cafe this week...
Isabel Dickens is an artist currently working with the Platform Young Company, our performance group for anyone aged 16 - 25 years. As part of her work with the group Issy will be posting regular updates of what goes on during meetings, rehearsals and workshops:
Singing, shouting, ocean, moon, letters, headlines, magic, code.
This week we saw the works made from the brief, documenting the attempt of trying to connect with one another without using the internet. We saw video documentation of their attempts which varied from light-hearted and fun to very bleak and pointless feeling in tone. The lockdown right now means that people rely on the internet even more than before - so how do we communicate without it?
John and Lauren agreed to listen to the song ‘Old Town Road’ at a specific time on Friday and recorded themselves singing along to it and put the clips together in a Youtube video. This created a very sweet intimate look at two people’s enjoyment of a song, as well as telling a story of a journey that didn’t feel like it would end soon. Euan and Sean created a code which they recorded themselves tapping onto their windows to send a message to each other or the outside world. This felt particularly futile because the code was so specific and would not be able to be seen or understood by anyone who saw it.
Ezinne and Jennifer created an epic video where they used some techniques of animation to see each other sending messages through the food and drink they were eating at the dinner table. This felt the most optimistic and playful. Holly and Owen recorded throwing letters out of their windows to try and share what it was like to be part of a couple who weren’t able to meet up during the lockdown, waiting for that letter to bounce in through their window from different parts of the city. Becky and Islay are in self-isolation on islands and recorded themselves going to the ocean and shouting across the water and waiting for a reply from one another. Kirsty and Tighe thought about shared experiences people have in general and thought about how people talk about looking up at the same moon. Every night they started looking for the moon but as soon as they had decided this they couldn’t seem to find the moon as it started rising really early in the morning so created letters out of the news headlines which they read out to the night sky.
‘Dear Tighe, life will change after this emergency, people are understandably looking for good news in the world’s biggest trial. From Kirsty.’
It felt like the group had been able to create personal rituals which allowed them to have the sense of communicating with each other even though they weren’t in person together. Ideally you would be face to face, then second best is online communication and texting, finally we the limit is put on that people can’t communicate that way, so how do they interact? They find what’s in common and engage with that, whether it is the ocean, the moon, the news, music they love etc. It was interesting to see how resourceful people could be and how different their responses were. The reality was they couldn’t reach each other without using the internet, but it felt like they had created their own languages for communicating within the constraints they were given.
As a result of COVID-19 life is so different right now so it’s interesting to think of all the personal and public rituals that people are doing which weren’t happening before, such clapping for the NHS, standing 2 metres away from each other, listening to afternoon briefings on the news, staying in and only exercising once a day. We’re constantly finding new ways of dealing with the situation.
Looking forward to seeing what people have made next week.