Tues 10 Feb (Wo)man With Mirror, notes from Louise

The discussion had two starters. One was the Val conversation re-cap which appears below. Secondly, Lucas discovered the curious picture plane fracture that the mirror introduces in the photos taken in the garden in our last meeting. The mirror appears in each photo of the measuring-up images. It is striking only in one where the mirror is completely surrounded by the rest of the garden. It seems that the mirror reveals a fragment that you know is there but can’t pre-visualise hence its dynamism.

General discussion of mirrors and works using mirrors followed. Discussion covered Learning from Seedbed, a work that gave the audience a physical experience of actually being under a version of the platform.

Ideas that came up:
– Give the audience the experience of actually re-enacting the work. Film the source footage with a group of people. Present the footage on long looped S8s in the gallery or present the footage on video. have mirrors there for the audience to use to enact the work for themselves and their companions in the gallery. Give them the ability to have visual ‘foldback’ of what they do when they re-enact.
– Invite participants to work with a parent or a child to make enactments. Explore if this adds the generational reveal we observed in Guy’s Brisbane performance.
– As my mother was here getting ready to take the plane back to New Zealand, we worked with her to actually make a source footage version that I hope to try a performance with.
– After working with Val, we realise that we need to work with one pair at a time so that we can teach the work in the same way that Guy so generously passed it on.

Conversation with Valerie
Louise took the train up from Canberra with her mother Valerie this morning. On the train, discussion about re-enacting Man With a Mirror took place.

Notes from the train conversation with Valerie:
She described our project as translating a watching experience into a doing experience. She drew in the Degas exhibition she saw in Canberra on Monday. She described Degas’ process of moving from copying the reality of others to depicting his own reality but keeping a mimetic approach. She commented that our process was in a sense the reverse – we start with the evidence of the original work and we try to build up a picture of the work but we’re also looking particularities that crop up because of where, when and who we are and we’re looking to accentuate these. I’m not quite sure how this is the reverse of Degas now, but at the time, it seemed obvious.

Val and I also had a discussion about the working method Lucas and I have used with these re-enactments, particularly preparation – that in the past we’ve looked at limitations as a resource, taking the approach of working with what we have in terms of (scarce) time, money and information.  With Man With a Mirror, we have a great deal of information from Guy. The exhibition means we have some financial resources and therefore time. While we haven’t set out with the intention of doing things differently, it’s my observation that these resources mean we’re increasing our attentiveness to each step in the process which seems to have the effect of making it freer.

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