Post from Japan – Andrew Mottershead

Posted 15 February 2013 in Residencies

It feels like there is a well earned hiatus in the Rules & Regs experience here in Yokohama. With 36 hours to go before we board flight back to the UK, and seven days to go before the presentation in Brighton, we’re packing up our stuff and introducing our work to some of the programmers gathered here at TPAM from Asia, North America and Europe.

I also find myself pausing to consider questions about the residency and the work we developed and presented last weekend. Skimming through our reasons for applying to the programme (written in November 2012) one thing we wanted to explore was how we could organise our collaboration during the residency whilst accompanied by, and caring for, our young daughter. Since her birth over a year ago, we have found it relatively easy to find time to work separately, but more difficult to find time where we can work together. We wanted to use the R&R framework to help us explore a strategy that would allow us to develop a work alongside each other, whilst not being ‘together’. It would also be a work that either of us could perform without the need for the other, whilst the other does the childcare.

To develop the work we decided the following; whilst one of us had the ‘book’ the other has the kid, with handovers equally informative about the status of both. Respecting each other’s creative time sounds simple but it has worked – you just have to guard against those handovers taking too long and timing those necessary joint decisions to coincide with naps.

We also had to deal with the not so small matter of making a work inside a theatre space for the first time – having made live, participatory art works outside the black box for 14 years.

The result is a work we’ve called ‘The River Flows Gently…” where we work with the audience and materials at hand to evoke a number of distinct soundscapes, using sounds that are possible to make with ‘our bodies, found objects and non-speech vocals’.

Performing and not performing the work has thrown up some different emotions, since we are used to standing side-by-side. It’s pretty exciting to ‘conduct’ the audience on my own, and it’s pretty infuriating not to have Rebecca witness and crit my performance. Of course, there’s a bit of me that wants to know how we compare to each other too. Apparently, I’m more gregarious, whilst Rebecca is more formal. Am wanting to be a ‘conductor’ or a ‘butler’.

A fair bit of feedback needs to be processed, before we fix on the Brighton presentation.