Filters on the Present Day

Our piece is not focused on trying to replicate the past in minute detail but to merely re-present echoes of the past. Just as Mike Pearson had done in his performance entitled Bubbling Tom (2000) this performance was set in the nineteen fifties, but rather than attempting to take his audience directly back to that time, he represented traces of the past through gestures and speech, he states “I evoke this place fifty years ago: performance as a lens or filter, residing exactly over the current everyday.” (Pearson, 2010, p55) this is similar to what we would like to do with our performance. We know that it would be impossible to create an exact replica of 1915 but we can use elements of that time to create a filter or layer over the present day.

The audio that the audience will be listening to will have the sound effects of the war and of machinery to represent an essence of the munitions factory. Whilst the audio will be set in 1915 the interactions that we have with the audience will be current day, as in we will not be acting as if we are in 1915 as that would not work, the audience knows that we are not in 1915 and the interactions are not as isolated compared to the audio. Although those moments are set in the present, they will be reflections of the past. We will, with the audience, perform actions that reflect on the work of the Lincoln war workers. For example the building of the aeroplane is a reflection of how the munitions workers of Lincoln were the first to create the tanks and aircrafts for the war in 1915, but we will be making a modern reference in relation to that work by building a small toy plane that the audience can fly themselves. We will be creating our own memories for the audience to look back on, as we look back on the work and roles of women during the First World War.

The piece that we have create has lot of focus on memory, this is something I have already touched upon in my last post with the reliability of memory and the flexibility of certain memories. However, something that I had neglected to think about,until after our session the other day, is that we ourselves are creating our own memories within the performance.When discussing working with memory in performance Mike Pearson states that memory “might indicate for the popular imagination how we ourselves, and our immediate environment, are part of a historical process.” (Pearson, 2010, p57)   Taking pictures of the interactions we have with the audience members, leaving our own trace.


  • Pearson, M. (2010) Site Specific Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Laura Swain

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