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Performance as Knowledge graphic spacer Wednesday 3 May 2006
The Portico Rooms
Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA

Transcripts – Edit 1

ResCen Seminar: Performance As Knowledge – #7
How Do We Cover Live Performance
– MD 4 part 1 of 2

Bonnie Hewson’s Group


Bonnie Hewson
Judith Knight
Jo Butterworth
Jane Fowler
David Howells
Andrew Lang
Bob Lockyer
Gitta Wigro
Sue Breakall

Speakers not identified by name on transcription tape referred to as Man or Woman

Transcriber: Bernice Moore

Length of part 1 of Discussion: 60mins



Bob Lockyer: I’m Bob Lockyer ..?.. BBC looking after performing arts ..?..

Andrew Lang: I’m Andrew Lang, I work with ResCen ..?..

David Howells: I’m David Howells, I’m the Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Collections and I also look at the archives and ..?.. Trust.

Jane Fowler: I’m Jane Fowler ..?..

Jo Butterworth: I’m Jo Butterworth, I’m retired from the University of Leeds and um I’m also a member of Random Dance.

Woman: Don’t you just put Random down as like I’m a random person, random.

Jo Butterworth: Random Dance, and I’m also teaching a masters degree in the University of ..?..

Judith Knight: And I’m Judith Knight the Director of Arts ..?.. er we’re based in ..?.. Studios and we’ve been working since nineteen seventy-nine with er inter disciplinary artists and dance theatre, visual arts. We have a, what might not be called an archive, in loads of boxes all around the building, needs to be urgently archived.


Man: Where do we start? How do we collect live performance? This is presumably decided by performances, whatever the period we want to collect. This is a large presumption, because [it also depends on issues of finance]. I will run through the notes I’ve made about the issues that we want to discuss. I think how we collect and links to intended use and also to possible non-intended uses. There are questions about the technology involved, about what we’re recording, how we’re recording it and whether it’s sound or video. Is sound enough, without recording the visuals of the actual performance? Do you always need the video camera sound to capture some performances? Is it worth anything if you can only get the sound and not the video? Cost is a large element; there is also the accuracy of what is collected. Do you collect everything, which clearly links to cost, the number of cameras, how close you go in, how pulled back you are. A major issue is the longevity of whatever you’re doing, particularly when we’re talking about technologies with different formats: things going out of fashion; material may literally disintegrate.

Jo Butterworth (JB): I’d like to point up process in that list. I think that a lot of what you’re talking about is related to final product, and we debate about that. But I’m particularly interested in process and spend a lot of research time working with and interviewing choreographers to find out more about their processes. Of course, that has its agendas, but I feel it’s a very important aspect of live performance. I also think that it’s the work and the process and the critical response of process that shouldn’t [???you know that, that really, and I’m not talking just about common education perspective, I deliberately didn’t go anywhere near the education group, but er, but I think you know but, but, but in terms of, of er professional artists er developing and, and trying to ..?.. of their experience, but those elements are all important too???]

Man: So, it’s a definition of what live performance is. Is it a lead up to the actual public performance as well?

Woman: [???knows that it goes right the way from the first you know moment of er, of stimulus all the way through to the final ..?.. beyond???].

Man: [???I think there is a difference between you’re talking about which is something which is a text ..?.. work, a play where because you have something concrete in your hand or something which is, which is created then and there ..?.. in to a theatrical performance, and then you have live performance, live performance which is a, which is a massive ..?.. which are all very different things, but I think the way you approach them has to be totally ..?.. what you’re doing ???]

Woman: We work with some live artists and dance companies. I think it was interesting this morning listening to the dance companies. They are likely to have made documentation for their own [purposes] during the rehearsal process, which they can go back to and look at and see what they’ve done. In the case of a lot of theatre-based performance or of artists we’ve worked with, the process would probably be [recorded] on little bits of paper. They wouldn’t film their thinking process, this improvised work made by maybe one person alone or a group of people. They tend not to film that process. But what we might keep as an archive in such cases would be notes, lots and lots of notes in notebooks or maybe photographs or something, bizarre. I think you’re absolutely right to say that, depending on the art form or whether it’s in between art forms, we seem to end up with a different process entirely. What gets kept and, as you say, who it’s intended for are two different things. It can be intended for the artist’s own use, for historical posterity. A lot of our artists benefit from the fact that they engross an audience, which students often see. They study the work of Bobby Baker, for example, ask to see DVDs of all her past work and go to the next live show. How you document is very different again, because you might create a beautifully made-for-camera piece, or you might use a straight camera at the back of the hall. It seems to me that there are endless possibilities.

Man: [???so it’s, it’s the film that’s being set down, it’s, that is both the, the recorded piece is the live performance but there’s a lot that’s left out in the same way that in the theatre there’s lots that’s ..?.. out from the rehearsal studios and it’s cut but it becomes part of the route for how you do that final phase, which is the next story in fact???]

Woman: Sometimes that’s the most interesting element that we lose, unless we capture it in some way, maybe notes or old video bits, even if it is from Dixons.

Man: [???I think that’s ..?.. record things for intending purposes but also ..?.. a lot of the time, I’m a photographer ..?.. initially front of house display which are for marketing purposes, but then over time it ends up actually being a fairly sort of reputable documented process, so that’s ???]

Man: Twenty years ago, when people were taking these photographs, they never thought that the Internet would exist, let alone that there would be lots of images on it. Non-intended use would be [???]. For instance, we are very constrained in how we record a performance of the RSC if we only have video quality; it’s actually constrained by the fact that if it did leak out, would it actually be any good? Would it be worthwhile for somebody to pirate it? Even if we were allowed to use it later on, which would like to do if we could get the necessary agreements, would the quality be good enough?

Man: [???they may not want the things that they’ve documented ..?.. detracts???]

Man: [???And that’s another reason why it was being done ..?.. it means that ???] That leads me to the reference to using sound as well as or instead of [video]. For example, the RSC recently issued a CD of the Essential Shakespeare Live drawn from our sound archive. For that, they retrospectively had to approach the individual actors concerned to say that they wanted to do this. Because these were clips and the project was seen as bringing back important parts of history, they were happy to agree. But [the company had] to be very careful: they couldn’t have clips with any music in the background, partly because didn’t know who the musicians were, so they couldn’t [approach them for permissions].

Woman: So when we talk about intended use, what is it? What is its purpose? We can’t answer that; we can only answer such a question historically. We can’t answer the question and yet we need to be visionaries and think about ten years and beyond. We will probably come up with a different answer or answers from what we might give now.

Man: To an extent, the second guess of what might happen [???and it does seem ??? of what we can do???]. The people who are giving permissions are also second-guessing [???]

Man: [???the Unions ..?..their work kept and looked at whereas actors coming ..?.. so maybe it’s like in your show you’re there for nine months ???]

Woman: A lot of what is recorded is directed by what people want to collect. What your institutions are interested in collecting will be what’s left in the archive; when it comes to small theatre companies, people aren’t really interested in them since they might peter out. On the other hand, the researcher might be interested to know what was out there that didn’t become big but was still cutting edge in doing its own little thing. Maybe it died out or it became something else; maybe [some of its] people went on to become famous. The things that aren’t being recorded by the archives probably more easily could be because most of the people [involved with small companies] aren’t paid, they’re not in unions. They could easily hand over whatever scraps and bits that they’ve recorded, collected and collated to an and they could be kept in a cardboard box and used by somebody. Another group is probably discussing this right now, but [this is the type of material] that [archives] just don’t have room for. One of the reasons we’re having this seminar right now shows that people are more interested in collecting process and these small things. What we’re talking about now [reflects the] simple fact that we’re all moving in a new direction, but I don’t know what that direction is.

Man: I think the direction is that, in two to three years all the major [???] will be issuing their own [???] or issuing [???]. Certainly, the Royal Opera House [is just about to launch its ROH Heritage Series of sound recordings].

Man: There are still major issues of copyright [to be resolved].

Man: Oh, absolutely, but they’re all [???negotiable???].

Man: [The companies] can do it. They’ve got the technology, but there’s also a question of the market.

Man: Yes, that’s a bigger problem, whether there is a market. No one [???] test out what the market is. Everyone ..?.. what is the market, and I think that the market is actually much ???]

Woman: I don’t know; I could find out. I think it’s always more than one imagines it is. When I do look at the figures, it always surprises me.

Man: Nobody knows exactly what the market is [???invest money???]

Woman: Is there a danger that people are filming stuff for a market: i.e., they’re making a DVD of an end product or a process that’s [suitable for a] documentary, whether they’re making money from it or not. But [the result is that] archives end up not actually collecting much useful stuff because it hasn’t been filmed and wasn’t considered to be commercially viable. Should archives be thinking more about collecting all the stuff that isn’t marketable and leaving [the marketable material to the commercial sector?]

Woman: Yes. And then there’s the ethical issue of whether live performance [???be, the simply question is now should be the core of live performance anyway and just before we stop people going to ???]

Man: Does it [what?] capture live performance? Not really, it captures…

Woman: Well it never can, it never can. But it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist.

Woman: It’s a different experience. I mean the two experiences are both valuable in their own way.

Man: The interesting thing is that [???only about actors and how you, how you can, how they perform ..?.. here it’s totally different???]

Man: It creates very large limitations on how things are shot and that has to be agreed. For instance, if there’s a museum [??? the same with lots of things they’re doing in London, they will put in three cameras and do a live edited shoot, which will include the close-ups and wide-screen images. This can be done to some [productions], but only with fixed agreements, for example, not to do any particular close-ups when somebody’s projecting to the back of the stalls forty metres away, because it just looks like very bad acting compared with what you’re used to seeing on the small screen.

Woman: Absolutely.

Woman: Who makes those decisions?


Woman: When the Theatre Museum does a three- or four-camera recording, they actually spend a lot of time [preparing] how they’re going to do it. They have an ex-BBC editor, who reads through the script with his [assistant] (who is also his wife); they watch the [production] about fifty times, they plan exactly what camera is going to be looking where and when, so he can be responsible then for having directed the film.

Woman: It’s different when it’s a two-camera recording.

Woman: And they always keep a long shot if anyone ever wants to watch the long shot and a sort of edit it in, because when you’re at the theatre your eye zooms in and out.

Man: When the RSC began recording performances twenty odd years ago [perhaps they thought the actors wouldn’t notice], but they did start doing close-ups and had to stop. The unions and actors were not happy because it was an intervention. So what we do at the National Theatre is to have a fixed camera that doesn’t zoom in and doesn’t zoom out; it’s solid and it captures an archival copy. You see basically what’s going on as if you were sitting at the front of the stalls.

Woman: [???So ..?.. neutral version???]

Man: Yes, not of the highest quality, so [the filming] is not rehearsed. It’s the same shot whether there are forty people on stage or just one person in a spotlight. It cannot work [for broadcasting or commercial presentation] but it can be useful for a researcher and [??? it’s not going to miss out entrance stage, backstage, right because we happen to be doing ..?.. person???]. It’s useful from a technical point of view, which also makes it more easy to get it through the organisation, because it’s not purely for certain future archive use [???sales???].

Man: And there’s an applied aesthetic to it.

Man: Yes, the aesthetic is in the process, that’s it.

Woman: [??? more traditional idea of an archive isn’t it where the archivist looks after his documents without ..?.. and it’s up to the researcher to come and bring their own interpretations ..?.. o that’s because I trained as an archivist and that’s the traditional ..?.. but now working ..?.. with you know filming performances happening and I’ve only just stated to think yeah how much input does the creator of an artistic work need to have or how much should they have in the archiving process and how, how much does that interfere with their creative process and does that ..?.. change that process and should that be happening, you know, or should it simply be a neutral recording???]

Woman: It’s one of those issues that, when recording a wide shot, you are effectively using a different medium simply by recording a wide shot [??? you are trying to ..?.. key objective sort of, but you have entered another???]

Woman: Except that when we’re filming, the film is the performance. You have to decide whether your film is supposed to be capturing the essence of that live performance or whether it’s going to be an archiving tool for [???use???] later.

Man: Once again, it’s about interpretation; it’s your decision what the essence is, so….

Woman: But you have to accept that that’s the way it is.

Man: It’s the decision about what the live performance is, isn’t it? That’s what we started by saying: are you capturing the essence? So there are [..?.. they’re happy there is productions that have been filmed deliberately for film release, so whether it’s Judy Dench and Ian ???] You’ve probably got a free copy of it. But that wasn’t a camera going in to their performance; it was a particularly connected performance for the purpose of filming, which is the same thing as they did with Macbeth in 1999, with the same director. It was filmed in a different space without an audience; it was being redirected. So you could say it’s the essence [of the theatre production] because the [same person was directing]. But it’s the essence of the play at the end of the production not at the beginning of the production.

Man: I heard that the Globe were recording every performance at one point – not every production, every performance, which is a lot of videotape! I don’t think they do it now, but there were some big questions about what that was for and how do we manage it.

Woman: But maybe they were doing that to see which to select to keep?

Man: I don’t know.

Woman: Somebody’s went through all of them.

Woman: And what criteria.

Woman: Absolutely, mind-boggling. From our point of view it’s really crucial that the artists have the absolute say in what’s recorded. [???I mean again it’s a, they’re smaller organisations and they’re smaller companies and because fewer people are involved???] But we wouldn’t want anything to go out on archive or on DVD anywhere without it having these strong performances. It’s their work; it’s really crucial to us that they see it. [???I mean you can see it and we, even, even if you have, you know we get people,???] We give out some bursaries to young artists sometimes and you can get fantastic documentation of very poor work, and you can also get very poor documentation of fantastic work. [???That’s why it’s, it’s, this sort of level of what’s the truth to this production is that, you know whatever it is, is very, very hard to define but the, the sort of edited more glossy things aren’t really documentational archive really they’re, they’re something else, you know, and that’s, that’s quite difficult???]

Woman: [???the artist’s interest is in a commercial ..?.. work which you know to suggest ..?.. well to record it in this way one or two researchers later down the line, I know we need to book a tour???]

Man: [???Well if the budget’s ???]

Woman: They should be glad that people want to have their stuff in an archive at all, you know.

Woman: [???It’s the um, it’s the intent and we cannot record, I don’t think we can record a performance to make an ideal er for tour booking, promotional tour, and something that’s useful for researchers, they’re, they’re not exactly ..?.. exclusive but they ???]

Woman: But then that’s assuming we know what researchers want, and we can’t predict who wants to use this link, so maybe it’s to create documents that say what is a good way of recording stuff and what isn’t.


Woman: So the work that created for no interpretation would not suit that purpose at all?

Woman: [???No, because it would just feel quite neutral because that’s ???]

Man: I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but I certainly know of [???a book of some tours that have actually come unstuck???]

Woman: Absolutely, I think, yes.

Woman: [???artists who ..?.. and then yeah actually then???]

Man: That’s not the record of the live performance as such; it’s not even of the edited highlights: it’s a specifically performed performance for a different purpose. We do a weekly case that the press office organises, of electronic press clips. This is a five-minute edited version of highlights where you have all the close-ups, at least, where they’re not shouting and spitting. And it looks great on telly. [???you give it to everybody who might be interested ..?.. purpose???]

Woman: But aren’t all of these things useful for an archive? You know that these things have been recorded through somebody’s lens, through somebody’s eyes. As long as you can define and know the motivation behind doing it in that particular way, even it’s for promotional purposes, or the director was behind the camera or it was strangers behind the camera, it useful anyway.

Man: It’s in the marketing section of the archive not the…

Woman: Who cares, yeah?

Man: [???Artistic ???]

Man: [The artistic, well I think ???]

Woman: It’s in the production section?

Man: Yes.

Man: [???you should actually ..?.. and where is the original ..?.. sharing???]

Man: With that sort of thing, there are a lot of rushes that don’t get used. Do you also keep those?

Woman: No – only those that are interesting to researchers.

Man: Yes.

Man: Well, that’s the interesting thing [???]

Woman: Yes, but that’s the looking-forward problem, where thirty years ago they chucked related scenes of all this … because, well, what would you do with them? Now you want them to make your DVD yourself.

Woman: [???There, there is also a sort of ???]

Man: [???So you open up ..?.. for the ..?.. and ..?.. and a lot of the things that people are actually going to say no you can’t have it???] So it’s a question of not just how we collect. How we collect is affected by the purpose of why we collect. Is it just for an archive or is it for all these other uses, for web use, for DVD remix?

Woman: And if something’s been collected for a certain purpose other than an archive and is then donated to an archive, it gains another layer of context.


Man: Traditionally archives are things that are usually paper and things that were created for a specific purpose, [to house things that are finished]. They are put in to the archive, although they weren’t created specifically for it. We’re almost talking here about creating specifically for an archive, and about trying to keep everything, which from a practical point of view is [very challenging].

Man: And just for the sheer management of it.

Man: And also [???] is reviving things on a regular basis.

Woman: A notion of [???reconstruction views???]

Man: Yes [???parts of the creative tool and therefore the back of the stalls have ..?.. record is not necessarily what you, what you require but those are the tools, those are the tools ???]

Woman: And how may not be the in right form of notation for a particular kind of work, where love and rejection might have been slightly better for that particular purpose. And then you are [the one] who can read it and who will read it, and then [come] the other layers of interpretation.

Man: Which is a similar question to that of technologies really. [???It’s for reading it back, it’s, if you record it on Betamax???]

Woman: I have a few questions I was going to ask. I can remember when were at Leeds we kept a lot of stuff, but it was on different systems. Some students that [???] but over several years, you’ve got different kinds of tape and different kinds of systems and after ten or fifteen years this or that one is out of date. You can’t play that on that particular piece of equipment because that one’s warped and you’ve got all those [things in that format].

Man: This is definitely a very big issue, as is also the longevity of the media anywhere. How long will DVDs last? Do we know?

Woman: Don’t you know?

Man: It depends on the DVD itself and what brand it is and the format of the DVD.

Woman: [???Similarly reflective layer of animation, interestingly done by the company on my laptop ???]

Man: And storage?

Man: What we’re getting is still photography done as a record of live performance. [???But that comes from with all the photographers ..?.. on and it can be CD or DVD and it can be the cheapest???]. It’s usually the cheapest one they can buy to be honest, which is probably going to last five years if you’re lucky. We’ve got stuff from a year ago that is corrupt; luckily, we’ve made copies. [But what if] it had corrupted before it reached the archive? In this case, somebody had made a copy on to their laptop so the so work is preserved. So, in this wonderful world of new media, capture everything and just stick your video in the [dustbin]! It’s crazy!

Man: [???I don’t think there’s as many problems with those ..?.. hopefully get a reasonable ???]

Man: When you think about film, you’ve got nitrocellulose disintegrating. [???At least ..?.. he’s got the spoiler as far as I know???]

Man: The problem with anything digital is when it fails completely. The analogue media we are used to using fails gradually.

Woman: We’re still in the mindset of having an object, such as a tangible DVD; in fact, possibly the best way of keeping things is to have it all on a [memory stick], so you can just burn a DVD off if someone needs to see it because it’s cheap to do that. Of course, I know it’s always dangerous to keep things in one place.

Man: But you’ve got back-up systems – you should have back-up systems, so there isn’t just one copy and as you upgrade there should be a print path. That’s the theory; however, it’s very costly, very memory hungry.

Woman: Yes.

Woman: At what point do you upgrade? At the point when you decide to go with a new format, isn’t that the time that, like with the case of Betamax and VHS now, you still have two different formats? And of course there are other problems with international performance and different formats than there were before.

Man: [???I think ..?.. go for something that is open ..?.. don’t go in to a film company and say you’re ???]

Man: But it’s also recognising the time to get that upgrade. It shouldn’t be, “Yes, we’ve got to do it but we can’t do it too quickly or we might choose the wrong route.” If you leave it too late, suddenly they’re not actually producing the [old] machines anymore. There are issues of cost, particularly if you’ve been doing this for fifteen years and have suddenly got to find a lot of money [to upgrade to a new method.]

Man: [So it’s ??? archive ..?.. cost and ..?.. archive ???]

Man: A video of the [???] is the big question. We’ve been talking about the [???] thirty years old. [??? it just doesn’t last that long. It will have been too late to ??? already, you couldn’t put it in your machine and all the dust will start scratching and it might ..?.. it and that’s the one record gone???].

Woman: Unless you can take it out and rewind it.

Man: Rewinding it over every year. Yeah!

Woman: Over the years, we’ve been working at least it’s [what is???] on the agenda now. It simply wasn’t before. There were two sorts of things, one is that there wasn’t the means to document: nobody could afford videos and also many artists didn’t we talked to earlier thought their work was just for the here and now and they didn’t want to think it was going to be recorded. Now there’s not an artist we work with or that I know who doesn’t want their work documented, and they do it themselves if they can. I think there is a big issue of how long we keep [material] and whether it will last, but at least it is a clear issue. The other thing we haven’t really discussed, perhaps because we’ve been talking about filming live performance, but some of the early work and all my work came out of the Oval House and the ICA in the 1970s, which was the sort of experimental bit at the beginning when nobody had videos. But there is an artist called Cindy Osmond who’s currently doing a whole series of work and interviewing a lot of the people from those days who were making work, whose work wasn’t ever filmed (or, if it was, only very badly). [???She’s involved by the some of the performances, because about her own life and her work in those times???]. It’s a very interesting piece of work in its own right, but it’s also an archive. I think there are many other ways of archiving, as well as storytelling or memories – Oh yes, I remember I saw the [???] doing this show or so and so doing this. That’s something else that we need to be keeping an eye open for.

Man: It’s still a record of live performance.

Man: With sound or is she just doing pictures of them?

Woman: No, she’s recording interviews now with video of Jim Haynes and all those beginners of the first ICA and [???Ritzart at the Mickery???] who was very influential in a lot of our work and getting it seen. There will be similar stories for different art forms, and that’s one very good way trying to recapture it because [???that hasn’t, because that could really go on forever, whereas again the text phase work, I mean you know the point where the RSC started making documentation but before that you were always, you had a play, you know, you had a play ..?.. So that’s one way of capturing some of those years???]

Woman: In a way, we need to do that more than by one response to each work, so that you can triangulate the responses.

Woman: It’s something you could also do now. I’m talking about past work that actually could be done with work we’re now filming: instead of just filming the work, you could also be talking to the artists, those who create it.

Man: Certainly, education departments will be trying to talk to directors and designers about the choices of particular performances and the productions, which will probably be a different response during the process from that which they would get ten years later. They’re all relevant to that collection of the live performance. Ideally, they should be done. I think what we can say about collecting live performances is that if it’s collected, then the more formats the better.

Woman: Cluster around the work itself.

Man: [???process ???]

Woman: And the other collaborators.

Woman: I wonder if there’s a way to standardise that, to say this template is how we believe [???live performance???].

Man: A menu of choices, almost: you could get these things.

Woman: Yes, so you’ve got the things you need to do to produce the minimum, but then you can choose to add to that.

Woman: That would be useful in terms of [???size???].

Woman: Specifically in dance, as far as I’m aware, there will be a new [???] who will publish information on [???foot practice in documented ???]. So there will be standardised information out there for artists to take on board when they’re [???]. It’s a question of who takes them on and what responsibility does with what group of people [???] to have to ..?.. this or ..?.. you know who takes them on for life???]

Man: There are also funding issues, so they [??who??] don’t have to make these decisions based on what’s useful for them, [???so, so there, so there is ???]

Woman: And this money then needs to come out of the company’s production budget. Then, once we have a copy and we want to avoid the under-the-bed video situation, what is the national repository for these things equivalent to [???].

Man: Is it the National Museum for the Live Arts, which is under threat at the moment, or its parent organisation? So it’s a big question.

Man: And the other interesting point is that when the Arts Council decided [???education ..?.. the Education Department ..?.. and give away ..?.. we will ???]

Man: That certainly questions what levels of recording are acceptable.

Man: [???Oh yes yeah, oh yes ..?.. take on much more important level of, of, of discussion ..?.. the Arts Council ???]

Woman: You wouldn’t get your last tranche of funding until you deposited your archive.

Man: What’s your archive actually [???]

Woman: This is happening in that funders require outcomes from every project. Everybody hates this – where you have to show outcome for something, and if it’s a [???]

Woman: But then it becomes a tick-box, where actually this is much more useful. Were the Arts Council to do that uplift of everybody’s funding, adding a percentage on top of the grant, it would be [???] I think everyone did really well from it.

Woman: As well as saying [companies] have to record [things], the Arts Council has to ensure that access is provided to it and a lot of [???. Say we’re going to film it, we’re going to record it and then we’re going to ..?.. with the National Library of Wales, which is then drafted but then nobody knows it’s there, so the Arts Council have to take responsibility also for ???]

Woman: It’s part of your funding agreement; you’ve got to put it into that. I think people would welcome the chance of getting money out of the Arts Council but, at the moment, that is less likely.

Woman: As long as it wasn’t taken out of the funds for [???]

Man: [??? one should actually be looking at the cost of [???] about archival things, when you’re talking bring them back ???]

Man: We haven’t talked specifically about [???] Trust and the live performance area: that is, live art as performance. Has what we’ve talked about so far impacted on some of your areas of interest?

Woman: I think a lot of it is relevant. The fact is that we’re not doing a lot of it at the moment [???connected to areas, generally been connected to the British Isles since ..?.. activities which includes obviously live art???]. At the moment, we just get what they send us. And I think you saw questions over [???] as part of the work. Well, the audience might be different in a live art piece, and we’re just starting with that [???]


Man: [???if you go to a football match???] Sitting at home, you’ve become part of the audience because you can see the audience there.


Woman: But in a live art situation, when you’re talking about involving the audience somehow in the work or that sort of ‘walking up’, we had some answers. [??? who made a wonderful sight-specific piece about smell. The audience went in twos into this flat and went from room to room. The whole thing was about memory and smell [???America and Texas and ..?.. English and sort of 1950s???]. At the end, each one of those audiences was asked to talk about what smell and memory mean to them. [???Interwindon is wonderful, absolutely piece of documentation as, as the audience’s reaction???] So it’s not just the recording of the work; it’s [what is ???] very much a part of it

Woman: [???It’s part of ???]

Woman: Presumably you’re in touch with Lois Keidan at the Live Art Development Agency?

Woman: I haven’t been.

Woman: Okay, she’s here. [???She’ll make change at the end???]

Woman: Because they’ve got a sense of humour!

Woman: We get things from technology but we’re just starting to get things [???] the Arts Council is starting to come round and we have been intervening [???] the traditional archive where you’ve got existent, but [???]

Woman: It’s complicated.

Man: How receptive do you think directors are to being asked to do more? They tend to be very busy people, as far as I can tell. Yes, they want things recorded as a sort of [archive]; sometimes they will be happy to have things recorded in the [??key??]. But they want to see an immediate use for this. I think a lot of what we’re talking about is recording things for the other guy in a lot of areas. How practical is it to ask people who are perhaps not doing it as their full-time job to put in a huge amount of time towards it, or agree to work extra hours? I think the market is going to say how much should be archived and [???how much is a, are the very, a varied discussion, and then how much is it for um the archive to um, two people are accepting of what can be created or???]

Woman: I think if…

Man: [???Is there any collaboration in, in that somebody would work with a coordinator or a photographer, they know ..?.. they know that they can work alongside because if you are recording anything during the create process you were in truly for interfering and er I feel???]

Man: I’m sure there are people, for example, I would really get on with.

Man: I know directors who refuse to have anybody, other than the people immediately involved, in the rehearsal studio. And they’ve got enough clout to do that.

Woman: People will have everybody [???]

Man: Yes, and other people who are just happy that Pete said that he wants to see what they’re doing, and there are some very different ways of working. If we’re taking about minimum standards – and we should do this – this is an external imposition.

Woman: [???But I think to some extent that in ..?.. thinking about that has er been used for research. When, because we’ve done bidding library ..?.. because they come in and ..?.. Then the fact that this ..?.. recorded in that kind of way as a record just because of that impulsive researcher went out there and were able to ..?.. the processors. It, it becomes part of the, other people, the work so ..?.. just constant negotiations between, we have fast practice, we know about, let’s capture things in a variety of ways that you can adapt and in some cases that you wont’ have to go out of the window ..?.. the artists who ???]

Man: ??? But maybe it’s not ..?.. this generation, generation ..?.. very different ..?.. part of the practice which is, which ???]

Woman: And more permanent companies would establish a relationship with a particular person. I think that’s really key. The smaller companies that we work with would very much want to do it, but they would obviously know the person behind the camera and the longer they do that the better the relationship they’ll have, so that it’s not like letting a complete stranger in to [intervene].

Woman: I think it would be extremely useful to have some sort of guideline of what the archives feel is useful, either in terms of the content or just in terms of how you record it, because I have my own very small [???] company, which for my PhD I attempted to do just a sort of case study of what a small [???] company could realistically record during a tour. It’s very difficult because one of the directors is not very interested in it, so it’s just me that is. Then I have to think exactly why I am doing this. I know I’m doing it for my PhD, but if I wasn’t why would I be doing this. In fact, you’ve got to have an incentive, otherwise people aren’t going to stick to it. My incentive is that I like hoarding things; I like keeping all the e-mails, I like knowing [???], so I keep all those things and any sketches that are made. But keeping a video diary of my own experiences on tour is a bit Big Brother-ish. It doesn’t feel very comfortable, and even if I’m in a rehearsal and things change, even though I know my company inside out, you have to have some sort of guidelines. It makes people feel more comfortable about diving in to this whole recording [process]. They feel slightly responsible and want to do it, but they don’t know how to start. We have to find a way of helping them to start. Because I’m small, I don’t feel [???] to work with your organisations and have someone help me do it, but I’m still interested in doing it, so it would be easier to have the info that way.

Woman: But if you weren’t doing a PhD on it why would you want to hoard?

Woman: Because I have a history background and feel the value of having a record of my company. It may be really big in fifty years, in which case I’ll be so glad I kept it. Or it may not, in which case it will be there for me to remember my youth.

Woman: It may also inspire you or remind you of certain processes that took place.

Woman: Exactly. It’s a creative tool as well [as a record], I think.

Woman: Yes, and that’s why I would to talk a bit more about the creative process tool. There are three reasons why people actually record stuff. It’s for posterity, which is a silly reason because we can never tell who’s going to be interested anyway; it’s for our own voyeurism of wanting to know the inner processes of what goes on, and it’s also for a sort of educational [???]. I think I’m doing it from sort of curiosity of voyeurism. That’s funny, isn’t it? I’m feeling we’re really into that now as well [???]

Man: [???] reality TV.

Woman: The problem with doing that sort of thing is if a TV company came in to record your company, you’d think, brilliant. But the first thing they would want to do is create conflict, which is the last thing you need in your rehearsal. So you have to find a way of making some useable and interesting documentary [without creating false conflicts and artificial problems].

Man: It does work [???]

Man: [???But being part of the furniture effects, as if you’re a chair, well, people walk around a chair. If you’re a camera either they stop thinking about you, if they know that there’s a camera behind the mirror, um it doesn’t stop them looking at it because ???]

Man: I don’t think that’s absolutely true. After a little while people do actually [get used to the camera]


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