Writer Joey Simons pens an Easterhouse response to Jimmy Cauty's ESTATE installation at Platform.
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:
Today, the plan was to take raw material generated during improvisations and start to firm up what happens and when. We worked slowly from the beginning and everyone arrived at the session wearing their costume which was a short black wig and a white T-shirt, sitting in front of a plain white background.
The wigs come from Amazon with a picture of a man smiling and looking at the camera - the group were invited to set that image as their virtual background and then come into the shot in their costume.
Everyone had set their names to USER. This was not meant to be dystopian but more humorous and entertaining.
Everyone is logging on as a uniform person but looks hilarious, especially initially as everyone had a slightly different way of styling their wig.
The creative team had met this week and using the ideas from previous weeks set an order for events to start every gradually. Initially, people’s videos are just switching their videos on and off and their faces come into view and then the advertising image comes back on afterwards.
Kirsty attempts to start the meeting, but the performers are obviously disinterested and not really responding to her. Tighe starts checking his phone and then playing music from it. Ezinne starts asking about something which happened at another meeting a long time ago but that she can’t quite remember and then other people start picking up objects and playing with them within the frame, giving a sense of visual comedy and something slightly chaotic about to begin. John and Lauren start whispering to each other across the screen and having a quiet low-level conversation which is outrageous in how obvious it is to everyone watching but is lovely to watch in how intimate it feels. This particularly evokes how intimacy is diluted across electronic communication and how much people crave it, even after adjusting to the lockdown ‘normality’. Owen also gets up and goes outside and starts having a conversation with Becky where she is shouting out of her own window (in a completely different location) and he is shouting to her. This makes it feel as if the structure is breaking down more. Ewan also disappears and re-appears in costume with Kirsty trying to plug and unplug something in her room to fix it.
At this point, it feels that there are a lot of different directions the piece could go in and an audience member would not quite know what was happening but would be able to relate. It also feels like the timing is important and making sure that there is enough happening to keep people engaged but not too much that it becomes confusing. This meant that we did not cover much more than this in the rehearsal but just reviewed the same bits of material again and again.
After the session, it felt like we had set a solid structure for the beginning and the members fed back that it was good to know the direction what we would be doing at the sharing. Next week we will carry on working through the material to get the sharing finished!
If you would like to know more about Platform Young Company please contact email@example.com