This performance was presented live at the Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin in April 2019. Its goal was to bring an affective awareness into the discussion of the issues of conservation of the nightingale species. Its non-linear thread is based on the Persian and Roman texts that have given the nightingale its feminine and sorrowful nature. The juxtaposition of the real performer with the imagined world creates a space that allows for the public to project themselves and co-construct meaning. In this silent narrative a variety of significations can be generated. The narrative points not only to the plight of the nightingale, to our relationship with nature, but also opens doors to the metaphor of bird as migrant, and to reflections about our human condition.
This piece explores the duality between moving illustrations and performer, inhabited illustrations that move and mutate a human being in a life size environment. It pushes the boundaries of the illustration practice to consider its transdisciplinary qualities and professor Alan Male’s proposal of it as a polymathic practice.
This project was included in the AOI exhibition 'Inspired to Innovate' in October 2019, at the Hoxton Arches in London and was back in Berlin for another live performance on the 13th of November 2019.
Sound recorded live at the Nachtigalla @MFNBerlin, April 2019 and kindly provided by the wonderful Satis&Fy team.
About the process:
I have always been interested in the poetry of images, in how art puts forwards an emotional understanding of subjects. But it was only recently that I understood how this creation of poetry in my practice could expand from the purely autobiographical and become a reflection of the world around me.
As an interdisciplinary artist my practice is based on the interaction between a variety of media. In the studio I experiment with different materials that gradually connect and give me the direction of the pieces I am producing.
I have come to see that photography often takes a central role in my process. The awareness of how light affects a subject will often play a part in how I construct my images. I believe that it is also my connection to photography that has influenced my achromatic pallet and the use of symbolic colour in my work.
In recent years I have become interested in exploring the boundaries of the illustration practice and seeing how it can be spatialised when combined with other media, particularly in a performance or installation context. This is how I started working on “Watching Murmurs”
I believe that the possibilities of the three dimensional work allow me to think the potentialities of narrative with more ease. I need to be able to manipulate and displace things in space and this is why I tend to privilege installation, performance, collage, cut paper and stop-motion animation.
I have been researching ideas of co-construction of meaning with the audience through layered information and the use of non-linear narrative. I believe that it is in the space left to the audience to project themselves into the work that the emotional connection with the work itself and its subject matter takes place. An open or non-linear narrative creates opportunities for this type of engagement, for the manipulation and reordering of the concepts presented according to the audience’s own experiences. It is this holistic understanding of something, because we are not only intellectualising it but living it, sensing it, interpreting it, making it ours, that can open barriers, raise questions, make us consider, and ultimately promote change. It is through this emotional understanding of what surrounds us that art can open the door to tolerance and active change in this uncertain world.
'Watching Murmurs' video-performance at the AOI exhibition 'Inspired to innovate' - October 2019 at the Hoxton Arches in London Photos courtesy of © The Association of Illustrators, 2019. Photography by Cristina Schek.
'Watching Murmurs, live at the Nachtigalla @MFNBerlin, April 2019. Photos (from left to right by Valentin Gieble & Annette Behr