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Resting Place; working in collaboration

Following on from Resting Place being launched at LPT last Nov there has been lots of activity behind the scenes to develop the project and take it forward. With Platform-7 now collaborating on the project it has made a big impact already, and although not the first time I have collaborated, it will be the first time with an organistion.

Resting Place is being developed in to a series of touring events that will begin in Ramsgate later this year, then travel to London, Folkestone and France before returning to France in 2016. The project will include a series of outdoor performances involving the installation of pillowcases , dance, spoken word and film.

We have already begun to think about how the spoken word element will be performed, with readings taken from Clarice’s diary.  In 2009 I produced a collaborative  sound pice entitled ‘Patterns of Thought’ which was also based around readings from the diary. It features the voices of Lorna Dallas-Conte, an artist whose practice centres around knitting and actress Heather Sawney. The recording was done by artist Russell Burden. (to hear an extract ) This piece took  a reading of Clarice’s diary overlaid with a reading of one of Clarice’s knitting patterns. Played very quietly in an empty space the piece evoked the conflict between the domestic environment Clarice had left and the horrors of the war zone to which she was sent. Revisiting this piece recently I was very aware that the voice reading the extracts from the diary seemed wrong. At the time this seemed right for this particular piece but it is not how I feel the readings should sound in Resting Place.

Diary cover

Diary cover

There has always been doubt in my mind if Clarice wrote her diary only for her. To me it seems that she wrote it to be read by others, hence the titles Adventures of a VAD and the subtitle Happenings of interest whilst in France. If that is the case then it could be read by anyone and the voice will then change. With this thought in mind John McKiernan (Platfrom-7) and I have been discussing how best the live readings of the diary should be approached. We both agree that a man  reading the diary would be interesting, and recognise that this will take away the impression that we are trying to re-enact or mimic Clarice’s voice.

Page 1 of diary

Page 1 of diary

Developing Resting Place as a collaboration has changed my feelings of ownership to the project. I have had to allow others access o the diary, and although it has never been an intention to keep the entire contents a secret, there was always a reluctance on my part to divulge the whole thing. Working with Clarice’s archive can at times become all-consuming. This in itself does not bother me but having others input and ideas has offered insight and thoughts that would not otherwise have been forthcoming. To be able to have the opportunity to ‘release’ this project has enabled me to look at it more as an outsider might. It is no longer solely my ideas and has opened up possibilities and opportunities that neither I nor Platform-7 had envisaged at the beginning.

We are only at the beginnings of the development of Resting Place and most of our time at present seems to be spent researching and applying for funding, attending meetings and networking. It is beginning to pay off though, with increasing interest in the project and potential for it growing almost daily.

We are currently awaiting news about one funding application and if successful we will be developing a ‘Resting Place’ website. At that time this blog will cease to be the place to find news about the project but I will continue to use this blog to post about the development of future projects to come from  Clarice’s archive, one of which I am currently thinking about at the moment. Clarice’s archive may only be small, but it offers such a wealth of possibilities with each project suggesting a further idea for development.

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