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spacer Talking to Tania
Dialogue 1
Day 1 02.08.04
Day 2 03.08.04
Day 3 04.08.04
Day 4 05.08.04
Day 5 06.08.04
Day 6 08.08.04
Dialogue 2
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 4
Dialogue 5
Dialogue 6
Dialogue 7
spacerarrow Dialogue 8
spacerarrow Dialogue 9
spacerarrow Dialogue 10
spacerarrow Dialogue 11
spacerarrow Dialogue 12

On stage

Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 1
Day 5 • Friday 6 August 2004 • Skyros, Greece

TK Did you?

RL What?

TK Go further

RL Yes and no

TK Again

RL Yes

TK But not the same yes and no as before?


TK You don’t feel like talking?

RL Not really

TK No rush


TK Can we talk about structure?


TK Was this a freeflow day. Or was it conceptualised?

RL Where are you at?

TK Trust me

RL It was both

TK Yes and no?

RL Yep

TK Prefer the present tense?

RL Think so

TK Have you noticed how patient I’m being?

RL Yeah, atypical

TK Careful

RL Sorry. I can’t figure it out. The day had both polarities of in and out. And many stages in between.

TK So you did go further

RL The context was there, a Skyros Centre 25th anniversary event in the Plateia, organised by Atsitsa. I’d heard that Michael Stewart was expanding the programme to include drumming and a yoga demo by Andreas. So maybe there’d be a window for a five minute slot for me to ‘do what I do’, but especially in relation to our project.

TK You should have phoned me.

RL I tried. Couldn’t get through. But we did have an inner dialogue.

TK Don’t start getting weird on me.

RL Ok, we’ll talk about that another time.

TK Maybe. So this was an evening event?

RL Started at 21.00.

TK And did you get a slot?

RL Yes

TK Want to talk about it?

RL Not right now. Better to give you the build-up, because these five minutes ‘on stage’ are not as important as the rest of the process.

TK ‘Process’? I thought we’d got out of that, had gone somewhere else.

RL We have. I started saying it, jokingly, to people who know me. Said I was ‘in a process’ and would be able to engage with them when I came out of it. This gave me some distance. They seemed to understand.

TK I thought yesterday [Day 4] you went into a transitory state, not in, not out, and this sustained itself most of the day. So why did you talk about coming out of it?

RL Because, on reflection, I found it hard to socialise, to communicate, to have regular interactions. I liked it hugely, it was a big experience, but was also disturbed by it. So I decided to compartmentalise today, to set aside times when I was working, on any level, other times when I’d socialise.

TK You didn’t mention this being a problem yesterday.

RL I hinted at it, I think. It wasn’t till I started the day, post Internet Café and sending off Day 4, that it struck me harder. I wanted to have a day that included interaction.

TK So is this now an art and interaction division, like the art and work divide? Except that this art isn’t always art, it’s already half in, half out.

RL I don’t know, Tania. To be honest, I’m still half in right now. But it’s a fair point. Maybe we can come back to this.

TK Ok. Why don’t you go through Friday’s compartments. Present tense.

RL I leave the Internet Cafe at about 11.30. Is this when it starts again? Or did it start on the moped ride, which became a multi-sensorily-aware experience of breeze, aroma, temperature, sound, movement, light, vista and relief [a working moped]?

I walk up the main street, have a coffee at the Breakfast Bar [Yannis was late for work today] and finally get to go through the notes I made about this project 2 weeks ago. This feels achingly familiar.

TK Why?

RL Because it’s what I do so often, sitting in cafes going through notes, in prep for an artwork of some kind.

TK But it works.


Body language
RL Absolutely, but this was my precious time. It's Day 5. And notebooks have a different place in our project. So I put the DV camera on the table, switch it on, cross the cobbled street, and sit opposite, facing passers-by and camera, posturing, gesturing, engaging, flexing.

TK Was this your first compartment of the day?

RL Yes

TK Did you come out of it successfully? Did you want to come out of it?

RL Yes and no

TK Next

RL I took an hour out [in] on the beach at Magazia at around 16.30.

TK Oh, by the way...

RL Yes

TK I forgot to ask if it was useful to go through the notes.

RL There were a couple of plans I’d forgotten, so yes.

TK Which?

RL Going to different locations and talking directly to camera into mobile phone [switched off]. It encouraged me to take on this beach slot, as a location.

TK Present tense

RL It’s hot. And busy. I’m wearing yellow shirt, black shorts, pink hat. I walk slowly and deliberately, hoping Kevin is at his table in the Ferogia beach bar. If he’s there I’ll ask him to caretake the camera. I walk up the wooden steps, barefoot. He’s not there but is standing behind me when I turn around. He saw me from the beach and followed. It’s good to see him. We chat. I’m shy to ask him to caretake the camera.

TK Why?

RL I don’t know. Think I was in social space. Anyway, I pluck up courage and ask him.

TK Paradox

RL What?

TK You

RL You too

TK That’s why we get along

RL How’s your girlfriend?

TK My lover?

RL Yes

TK She’s great. But let’s not get social.


Not Tai Chi

the beach
RL Ok. It’s a development from Day 3, post moped, when I stood on the beach, allowing arm extensions to become something else. Except that it’s very crowded now. It’s an improvisation.

TK How irrelevant does that sound?

RL Completely

TK What was it then?

RL It was a sequence of movements.

TK No better

RL Ok. What I do relates to Tai Chi, Yoga, posturing, eye contact; treading the line of discomfort [for those around me], back to standard beach behaviour. Then we set up a longer camera shot and I walk very slowly up the shoreline and back again.

TK End of compartment two?

RL I also sit in shadows for some time, alone with the camera.

TK Next

RL Temporary tattoos

TK For the evening slot?



temporary tatoos


On stage
RL Yes, but it becomes something in its own right. Maori-like, I feel elevated by these slightly grotesque designs applied to face, arms, chest, neck and back. I relinquish the power of application to Anna. Collaboration. I’m empowered by the images.

TK Who's Anna?

RL A friend, visiting from Atsitsa for the day, with her two kids.

TK Had you decided what you’d ‘do’ by now, for your five minutes?

RL Pretty much. And it wouldn’t need to be significant. Crossing over into the performance arena would be the key issue, as I’d witnessed in the dancers at Linaria on Day 2. How would this feel within the context of our project?

I was also still keen to do something that was barely anything, as well as bring Sophocles into it, and the Greek Tragedy vignette.

TK Sounds complex.

RL What would you have said?

TK If you’d got through to me?

RL Yes

TK That’s theoretical, Richard. I might have suggested you keep the five minutes very tight, making the most of what happened all around it.

RL I see Andreas before he goes on, with Mateja and Michael. He says he’s nervous. I ask him what this is like. He says "stage fright", looking at me quizzically. I point to my chest and he agrees. Is this what I want to highlight? Stage fright?

TK Are you asking me?


TK Not at all. It’s the transitions.

RL I know. You’re right. This was such a great opportunity to place public performing in front of an audience of hundreds within the context of entertainment, against our subversive subtle ongoing project.

TK It must have been familiar for you.

RL Absolutely. Wondering why I do this. Loving it. Rejecting it. Feeling inadequate. Wishing it was more tightly structured. Engaging the audience. Being seen as the freak of the show [this was not a performance art evening]. Recognising I’d touched a primal chord with references to Sophocles and how I 'was' with them, tattooed and manic.


Off stage
And then it was over. I was off. Or was I on, now that I was physically out of the arena and the drumming had begun? I’d planned to stop at this point, but with feelings of incompletion I continue, circling the audience, the people, the arena, holding Sophocles and the camera pointing at my still tattooed face and the edge of the book. I keep on going, and start to whisper phrases from the plays into people’s ears, people I know. Ironic action. Tragic words. I’m not ready to stop, in transition for another hour. Is this a way of dealing with the post-performance horrors? But I’m thinking about you and me and this work.

TK Is it a highlight, a climax?

RL Not the five minutes. The tattoos are a highlight. And the encircling while holding the camera at arm extension. The climax is the context. And it’s still too early to locate the co-existing layers within the framework. I need to digest it more.

TK So was this compartment three?

RL Yes

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