Left Behind Together
2 - 21 November 2013
Lucy Beech born 1985 in Sheffield
Edward Thomasson born 1985 in Stoke-On-Trent
Both live and work in London.
A conversation between Lucy Beech, Edward Thomasson and Kate Murphy
Kate Murphy: Thank you for accepting the invitation to show at OUTPOST. Why did you accept the invitation?
Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson: We have been keen to make a video work together for a while, when we received the invitation it seemed like a perfect opportunity to develop something specifically for the space. We have in the past developed videos out of performance so we felt it would be interesting to use a similar approach to developing a performance directly for camera.
KM: The work brings forth something of the psychological theatricals that human beings play over and over again, amplified by the looping activity sequence and a singular repeated script; so incremental shifts in delivery become rich for lack of other change. Everyone is accounted for and gets their turn to lead, but when it’s all the same being said, the same being affected, why contribute?
LB & ET: As with all psychological theatricals that human beings play the performers action is not closed, it is directly in relation to an audience. The text in the work is intended to move between an abstract account of individual experience, instructions for a collective dance and a description of the relationship between the audience and the group of performers on screen. The contribution might be to do with not wanting to be the one that’s left behind.
KM: Does something come from working together that you can’t have happen alone, in your solo practices?
LB & ET: We started working together because both our individual practices refer in some way to the initiation of performance in non-theatrical environments. Coming together to make live work meant that we were able to address some of the questions that were coming out of our individual practices by directly performing them.
In approaching this video project it was important for us to put aside the specific strategies we may have developed in our individual practices regarding narrative and the way the camera records performance. Instead we think of this video as very much a recorded performance.
KM: Lucy, you talked about the work feeling close to a performance because of the static-camera documentation quality in cohorts with a no-narrative approach to script. Edward, you described the work as an installation. We’ve talked about embracing or abolishing terminology, as one sees fit, in order to function as we’d best like. Can you ever find it interesting to consider where your work might belong in regards classification?
LB & ET: Yes, I think this is something we think about a lot and one of the nice things about collaborating is that those different approaches or ways of thinking about a work come in and out of focus when developing it.
KM: You spent time doing live sound edits in the space. Time is quite important to us all and can make such a difference in quality if distributed well. What aspect of your practice is given the most time?
LB & ET: The choreography of sounds always seems to be where we spend our time. Previous works have involved the live construction of sound, rehearsals for presentations of these works always focus on the nuances of the soundscape. Sound editing in the space felt very much like one of those rehearsals.
KM: Eric Berne, who developed the theory of Transactional Analysis, suggests that, “games are ritualistic transactions or behaviour patterns between individuals that can indicate hidden feelings or emotions”. Are there particular emotions you’d like the work to make felt by the gallery audience?
LB & ET: We wouldn’t like to say what emotions the work might produce in an audience but we’re a certainly interested in the notion of games, often the performance work is built out of a logic that might be thought of as a game.
KM: Why do the players play... why do the performers perform in your work? Are we and they all amateurs in our respective fields? Do we distinguish between amateur/professional based mainly on difference in ambition? Do you have ambition mainly; for particular works, for particular exhibitions, or perhaps for your careers?
LB & ET: This difference between amateur and professional is something we are constantly dealing with as we continue to work with a mixture of trained and untrained performers. There is something interesting in the idea of performed learning, that is perhaps why the performance always feels like a demonstration and repetition of this act of learning.
If performance is initiated outside of the frameworks of the theatre in everyday life then essentially we’re all amateur performers and to some extent we must then try and be kind to our fellow players and allow for the mistakes implied by amateurism.
KM: As we walked down Prince of Wales last night, it was a treat to see people dressed up for Halloween. You in particular Edward seemed taken by the private encounter people had with themselves - the moment at home when they decide to and then begin to, paint a banana on their face. How do you feel about the show?
LB & ET: Yeah it was amazing, I wish we had not been installing so we could have participated and constructed a costume. This visibility of the private in the public and the space between the two is something we continue to work from and with.