As part of our research into site specific performances we were set the tasks of analysing two companies and studying their methods. Our reading group decided to focus on Blast Theory and Forced Entertainment. In our reading group we chose to split the workload and then teach each other. I focused on Blast Theory.
Blast Theory are based In Brighton, I instinctively searched for their name on a search engine and came across their website. Their documentation is fantastic; I was able to access a steak peak/snippet of the majority of their performances. The main ones that stood out to me were Rider Spoke (2007) and Fixing Point (2011).
“This is one of those moments when you’re on your own, you might feel a little odd at first, a bit self-conscious or a bit awkward, but you’re alright, it is okay.” (Blast Theory, Rider Spoke. 2007)
“Rider Spoke was first shown at the Barbican in London in October 2007 and has since been presented in Athens, Brighton, Budapest, Sydney and Adelaide.” (Blast Theory, Rider Spoke. 2007)
Rider Spoke had the audience ride through the city on bicycles and equips with a handheld computer that they can record messages on. The audience then finds various ‘hiding places’ and records an answer to the questions that the computer has asked them. The handheld computer also sets the audience various tasks, such as finding a stranger that catches their eye, and to watch/follow them. This piece is entirely dependent on the audience; and “this sets the stage for a very personal and intimate form of participation”. (Blast Theory, Rider Spoke. 2007) with the use of technology and an informal setting it really makes the audiences aware of their surrounding as they have to seek out certain places to uncover or eavesdrop on other peoples recordings. This piece asks you a question alone, to reflect on your life. If you find the hiding place of another audience member, the device allows you to listen to their personal answer.
You can watch the video here – http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/rider-spoke/
“I believe there is a real willingness there on behalf of the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army), they want to find him as much as we do.” (Blast Theory, Fixing Point. 2011)
This sets the audience off with a smartphone and a pair of headphones. They then listen to an interview by Anne Morgan about her brother Seamus Ruddy, who was killed in 1985 by “members of the Irish National Liberation Army in Paris” (Blast Theory, Fixing Point. 2011) The audience has to follow a map to uncover various ‘fixing points’ in the ground throughout the wooded area, to unlock another part of the interview. Anne Morgan gives a heartbreaking interview of how her brother body was never found. Blast Theory first showed this piece in Suffolk, an area with a strong Military Background.
You can watch the video here – http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/fixing-point/
Blast Theory uses the contemporary mix of technology and uncovering certain sites in order to tell or create a story. Their pieces rely on audience participation and use simple but effective methods to display their performances. They choose their location wisely, and this is obvious with ‘Fixing Point’ as they choose and area with a strong history of military activity.
Images taken from Blast Theory website.