Initial proposal

MA project proposal written 10/7/11

I would like to explore the incorporation of automata and mechanical movement into
street theatre performance, through costume, props, puppetry, wearable staging
and vehicles. I am particularly interested in exploring different kinds of
mechanical movement and how they may relate to the body (performer). In effect
the ergonomics of combining mechanical movement with an operator/performer
using costume, props, and vehicles etc.

I am interested in exploring how different kinds of movement can be achieved using
both manual and power driven motion, while considering the constraints of
street theatre. I wish to study wear-ability, weight, transportability, scale,
and safety. As well as the impact upon the audience, and the likely relationship
to the performance venue space. I would like to work closely with practicing
performers to test out ideas and gain valuable feedback upon my research.

I particularly wish to expand my skills base to include engineering related
techniques. With regards to subject matter, I am influenced by fish, animal and
insect movement, surreal combinations of imagery and observations upon everyday
life. I would like to explore basic mechanical principles such as, cranks,
gears, levers and pulleys etc. I would also like to take influence from Heath
Robinsons illustrations and the steam punk genre.

My interest in this area stems from childhood, and the influence of my father who
was a motor engineer, I also feel that I am making up for a lost opportunity
when I was unable, at the age of14, to take Information Technology as an exam
option in 1984.

I also feel that this would be a logical progression/continuation of my research
project undertaken at the London College of Fashion during 2001, when I looked
into the incorporation of technical effects technology into performance
costume, such as LED light and vacuum formed sculptural elements.

This desire to continue exploring the incorporation of mechanical movement into
street theatre performance began with an idea in Autumn 2009 as a progression
of my current street theatre costuming achievements. A visit to Machines de
I’lles in Nantes in Sept 2010 increased my interest in mechanicalsculpture and
I have since been studying the work of François  Delarozière, Johnny White,
Theo Jansen and Conrad Shawcross.

I am also very inspired by the work of Dutch street theatre company, Close Act, and
would like to use this opportunity to visit and interview them. I would also like to use
this opportunity to visit galleries, sculpture installations and performance events
of specific interest.

I feel that exploring these ideas away from commercial pressures would allow me
to increase my knowledge, insight and skills base, thus enabling me to realise
such full scale pieces as a professional practicing artist with competence.

I envisage being able to create a series of maquettes, models, samples,
prototypes and working full scale pieces, within the college’s 3D dept as well
as at my own 300sq foot workspace. I will require technical advice and training
for certain construction techniques.

The opportunity to engage in an MA programme, I believe, would provide me with the
necessary skills too further increase my personal professional development.
Ultimately, it is my aim to be able to submit a piece of work for the ‘On Your
Bike’ exhibition being held at the 20-21 Centre inScunthorpe during June 2012.

 

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