19 academics and a bear
In the spring of 2009, Mike Brookes and I were invited to be part of the AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme Conference 2009 hosted by the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University. Under the title Living Landscapes – An International Conference on Performance, Landscape and Environment the conference brought together multi-disciplinary approaches to the myriad ways in which performance shapes and is shaped by landscape and environment.
For the occasion, we developed a work within our Something happening / snapshot project, which resulted in the context-specific performance 19 academics and a bear. The completion of this action – which we performed with an audience of nineteen academics, in a completely blacked-out large-scale studio space – took ten minutes, and generated a single flash-lit photograph, which was subsequently printed as an addition of nineteen identical postcards – one for each of the audience members it captured.
The work was titled in the moment of its performance, reflecting the exact nature and size of the audience that had entered the room. And similarly, the decision to attempt a single group photograph – rather than the series of individual encounters that had been recorded in previous versions, with larger audience numbers – was made in response to the specific size and behaviour of the gathering; a single photograph in which, unexpectedly, the nineteen members of the audience decided, and managed, to appear.
This work is part of Casado and Brookes’ ongoing Something happening project.