Walking this morning to think about research reminded me (yet again) that movement can generate a pace and a reflective way of thinking. Thinking about comob and what we might do next, I realised that the interesting thing is the ability to reflect in situ on something that effects that place, or through being in one place there is an opportunity to think about another place through differences, similarities, and the act of being in public. When I’m writing I sometimes need to be somewhere public to reflect on it, to be able to imagine the reader coming from a different place, to extricate myself from the focus necessary to write and see it from literally somewhere else. I’m sure many people can do this without going anywhere, but for me its about movement and location.
With mobile technologies there is a temptation to think that because they are mobile that location doesn’t matter, that we can use them anywhere, and in a sense that’s true. But what interests me is how reflection in-situ allows for different ways of thinking, ways of putting practice together with theory and reflection. And really this is what I’ve been coming to for a while. That in having a connection to somewhere else mobile technology allows the distant and the close to co-exist for us in real time and perhaps create a third thing that is a co-location. (What once I described as a meeting in the ether mid way between our physical locations).
Performance is a part of this that we’ve discovered through art works, that in knowing that someone else is watching a movement, or that our movement is for future use, there is a tendency to perform a sense of place.
There are two ways that we could interpret this performative sense of place in locative art works. It can be a literal performance by the participant, as in ‘Rider Spoke‘ by Blast Theory, or ‘As if it were the last time’ by Duncan Speakman. Participating in both these works I felt very exposed and awkward as I performed a set of instructions in a piece orchestrated by the artists, in which I had to speak personal thoughts out loud into a microphone in public, or do actions that were meant to be significant but to me felt forced. I am not the ideal participant for those works. For others however, these experiences have great resonance as seen in artists documentation. The work was able to facilitate a shared experience that allowed for new behaviours in public space, through the participants becoming performers through movement and the resonance of location.
The other way that place is performed in locative works, that is a sense of performance which is self-scripted and reflective, that I think is generated by the connective qualities of the technology combined with the qualities of walking that encourage reflection.
This sense of reflection in action and in situ, movement as a performance, has the potential to be worked as both a social science method and as an artistic practice.