I’ve said yes now, that’s it.
OUTPOST Studios, 26 April 2014, 8:30pm
Alice Theobald was born in Leicester, 1985
She is currently studying at Royal Academy
Alice currently lives and works in London
A conversation between Matt Wright, Tom Salt, Rob Filby and Alice Theobald.
Matt Wright: How would you briefly explain your work to someone who’s unaware of your practice?
Alice Theobald: My practice usually takes form as performance, video, elements of music and spoken word; very often a play with form and content in terms of referencing its construction, but then the content might be more emotive. I’m interested in how one represents emotion and feeling. Or seduction, and trying to expose to the audience what it is that’s seducing them at the same time.
MW: Members of the audience will initially be confronted by you facing away from them, almost as if viewing the event from your point of view, like a director of a film. Do you consider the angle from which the audience spectates?
AT: Yeah. I’m always trying to explore the idea of the stage and how to make it bleed into the audience, where the stage is and how, trying to create a more expanded idea of performativity. Kind of wanting the audience to be immersed in it somehow. With the space at Outpost being so large, I like the idea of the audience being spaced out and finding there spot, angle and different viewpoint. Heightening the idea of the subjective gaze, I’m interested in that.
MW: Are there any aspects of the event that you will consciously alter from the Chisenhale performance, given the different environment, audience and time of year?
AT: Well. The spaces are very different. Chisenhale was very much a white gallery space, no windows, whereas this space being in an old office block with broken blinds and old carpet feels in a way very apt to some of the themes in “I’ve said yes now that’s it.” I think it’ll be a lot more cinematic with it having its own history as an office. The meaning of a derelict office space kind of adds to the tone, with ideas of work, regression and leisure. It feels almost like that space is made for this piece in a certain way, a sort of post-apocalyptic atmosphere.
MW: The use of lighting features prominently and you have asked for the performance to be around the time of sunset. Do you feel like these shifts have a significant impact or intentional effect on the audience?
AT: Yeah, I think lighting has an incredible effect on how you can manipulate the mood of an audience. It’s features so prominently in theatre and cinema as a tool. This choice to have all the lighting and wires on show, used as props, is part of that exposure; playing with this push and pull of seduction. I had to make the performance happen later so it was darker in the space. These broken blinds and windows; I wanted to respond to the sight, in the sense that its going to have all the outdoor lighting from the buildings in the city and the potential shadows that might come in just after sunset, that will add to it.
MW: If you weren’t exhibiting in a gallery or office space, are there any ideal locations that you would like to exhibit your work in?
AT: I’m not sure, usually the locations offer themselves up to me somehow and I like responding to them. Like the film that was in….
(Rob Filby enters)
Rob Filby: Sorry. People are looking for you, shall I tell them where you are, are you recording?
(Rob Filby exits)
AT: Yeah. So if opportunities come up to film somewhere, I like responding to them rather than seeking them out. The film that’s in this piece came about from a residency that I did in Oman and so it’s all shot on sight and in the hotel. I really enjoyed working in a hotel actually; I’d do that again probably. It was very much inspired from that kind of sense of estrangement in different spaces, in collective space, private space and a sense of unison. The sense of unison that you might feel when you’re in a hotel room where everything is the same, all the rooms are essentially the same but reversed or the other way round and everyone in their own little pockets, essentially doing the same kind of thing. So yeah that sense of togetherness….
(Tom Salt enters)
Tom Salt: Sorry I’m just getting my coat, which I don’t know what I’ve done with, oh I do know what I’ve done with. We’re gonna go the pub.
(Tom Salt exits)
AT: I’m going to be doing a short residency in a space in marble arch which is in an old flat with 50s wallpaper which has been painted over the top, so again its got its own history but its this empty shell where you have a sense that something’s been there, that its been lived in. I’m going to use that as a film set for my next piece but I feel like I only know what’s going to happen once I spend time in there, which is often how I start pieces.
MW: Can we expect similar mediums or themes as ‘I’ve said yes now, that’s it.’ in future exhibitions, such as the RA degree show?
AT: Yeah so that space I was talking about will all derive from there. Its going to be a video installation with separated camera shots, roughly synced and I want to play with and continue on the idea of eliminating the expression or the human expression in the films as well so through the way it’s shot or the lighting; which is what I had been playing with the film that’s in this piece.
MW: You’ve also made music on the record label Upset the Rhythm. Have you ever upset a rhythm? And do you approach music differently or similarly to how you make artwork?
AT: Yeah. So I’m in a band called Ravioli Me Away, which definitely has similar themes; they both play with sincerity, humour and double meanings. Ravioli Me Away perhaps has more overtly political themes. We also dress up; taking different characters each time we have a gig, so it has a performative element.
(Later...a reflection on the interview)
AT: Trying to recall ideas in a concise and linear way is difficult, which is actually in keeping with themes of my work. In terms of misalignments in thought and action, words and the gap between what you’re thinking, what you mean and then how it’s expressed. When you’re having a conversation with somebody or whether it’s made through creative means.