Seeing Anew: the role of lighting in creation of place in site-generic/specific performance

Rowland, N. (2019) Seeing Anew: the role of lighting in creation of place in site-generic/specific performance. In: TaPRA Conference 2019, 4-6 September 2019, University of Exeter. (Unpublished)

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This paper explores the role of lighting in creating place and the challenges and opportunities introduced by site based performance.

Located somewhere between site-generic and site-specific performance, as defined by artist-researchers Wrights and Sites (cited in Wilkie, 2002), Vision by Clare Norburn is a concert drama touring churches in the UK. Each venue requires some re-staging to account for different pathways, entrances and exits available, but is also re-lit for each space.

As lighting designer for this work, I will discuss my reasoning and intentions behind the on-going re-lights and how this work explores lighting as a scenographic device that invites new encounters with place. Through a practice that invites dialogue with and response to the existing architecture, history and social conventions of the venues, I propose a parallel between approaches to site-specific dance that invites the audience to see a place anew.

In considering lighting as another body, mindful that "each living body is space and has its space; it produces itself in space and also it produces that space' (Lefebvre 1991:170) discussions of transaction support an approach that explores dialogue between architecture and light in the creation of event and place. Rachel Sara notes the way that an approach to architecture that foregrounds the intersection between event and place, "begins to imply a commonality with dance, as an activity that is concerned with constructing event and place" (Sara in Hunter, 2015:64).

A proposal of a site-specific approach to lighting for performances of Vision therefore seeks to employ a practice routed in phenomenology and highlighting encounters with place through event. Rachel Sara’s research identifies an ocular-centric approach in architecture, that can also be found in lighting and suggests that "an over-emphasis on the eye denies the rest of the body" (Sara in Hunter 2015:64-65). This paper begins to explore the potentials of employing a site-specific dance informed approach to lighting as a methodology for reintroducing the body in lighting practice, and agrees with Rachel Hann’s assertion that “Place is always multi-sensorial and phenomenological by definition” (Hann, 2019:20).

I consider what is at stake when we slip into an ocular-centric construction of space and what relationships might be forged through encouraging dialogues between light, architecture, and movement in the construction of place and event.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV1580 Dance > GV1782 Stage. Setting and Scenery
Divisions: Academic Areas > Department of Dance
Event Title: TaPRA Conference 2019
Event Location: University of Exeter
Event Dates: 4-6 September 2019
Depositing User: Natalie Rowland
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2020 16:01
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2020 16:01

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