Homage to a falling City: Bow Road Site

Homage to a Falling City, Beatrice Jarvis

Homage to a falling City
A choreographic visual installation by Beatrice Jarvis
Sound score by Tom Grant
Performed at Bow Road site May 15th 2009.

A space of peace. The city for dreams desires and fears. A movement of solace and empathy for the lost ideals.

Through a series of primal modern movement exercises this choregrarphic Installation forms a homage to the wasteland of the city that now exists as the shell of bow road. The spaces that have not been utilized, the gritty underside of the metropolis that has fallen into a heap of forgotten shoes. The city and my footsteps. The city and dead spaces, lost dreams and forgotten shoes.

This site specific choreographic visual performance utilises a handmade series of A0 paper prints of urban wastelands as an imposed back drop, collected together and over a floor of forgotten shoes. With a series of over 200 pillar candlese I pay a discrete homage to a lost city, a requiem for regeneration. Each candle becomes a glowing emblem in correlation to a sound score of the lost dreams of the city.

The performance is of calm intense nature exploring both the extremities possible of the human body from stillness to frantic, composed to contorted, breathless and calm, and the extremities of the space, from the darkest corner to the lightest pathway, through this exploration I will compose a site choreography on site which will reflect the effects of the architecture and ambiance on the human condition, emotionally and physically. The site and its motions and emotions will be the narrative structure for the intimacies of the human emotional cycle. The piece investigates the death of emotional connection to the processes of modernity and growth of the hyper modern, a cry for interaction and open eyes to the treasures of the past and fallen stars.

Practically this results in an installation of faded paper images of the space, a series of burning pillar candles placed in a floor of forgotten shoes, in the midst of which will be silent choreographic performance drawing from tai chi, movement improvisations, Graham Technique and elements of contemporary ballet, such synergy in movement direction will generate a movement series that in relation on the nature of the site for direction an inspiration ,my body mapping the dimensions, both real and projected to re-present the architectural form. The visual choreographic installation will be accompanied by a sound piece made in collaboration sonic artist Tom Grant to create a multi layered textural interview recording of dreams and lost desires that can accompany modern urban life. I map of a fallen utopia which I will chalk on the floor. This forms a street map and all the names of the streets will gradually be removed as night continues.

This piece explores the emotional and architectural aspects of the space in a practical form, seeking to reflect the death of a part of the human soul in a era of hyper modernity. I seek to actively encourage others to view the space as a ground for dreams and left over nightmares.

The piece is a striking visual image as well as a performance space, I am interested in playing with what constitutes as a set deign an what is the contradiction when this is then labeled as installation space, how such space configuration limit the potential of areas, this can be extended into performance language debate, as to how far the audience interact with the work, I am keen not to impose strict boundaries for the work as it both installation and live performance.

The work is subtle and reveals a great deal of vulnerability and plays with notions of loneliness and loss of sentimneatlity that urban life has a tendency to promote. There is an element of mourning to the piece it is deliberately vague as to what this is a homage to.

Whispers, echoes, the imprinted memory in my camera of a thousand forgotten footsteps, a candle burns bright in homage to a fallen utopia, a wasteland as playground for the disaffected.

Abstract Inspiration: HOMAGE
A text by Beatrice Jarvis

This is my Homage to a thousand city folk, those who linger, those who march, walk slowly, rush through the urban jungle as predators, a homage to those who linger as quiet soldiers, the veil of uncertainty.

Fields of the city that can be rambled through, as pastures of a forgotten dream scape, those who see the city through such sad eyes,, though who murmur quietly in their sleep of dreams unfilled.

The city can act as a container for our dreams, a maze in which we can act out our fantasies in flights of fancy and fluxus of uncertainty. The city is a vessel that can carry the tired mind, we position ourselves, set up our camps and begin to try and conquer. This is a life of uncertainty each day a new step in another direction leads to another hope and another musing of possibility.

What does the city dream, what peace and tranquillity does it hold amongst its tumultuous waters. This is a city where all co-exist, a hierarchy of non form and through the muddled definitions and whispers we begin to form a new shape, a city that we can call home.

A city of dreams. A city of reality. A city of distraction and voyeurism. We all use the city, abusing its streets day after a day with our heavy moulded foot prints. We use the city to take use to where we want be, what building do we work in, what route takes us there, who can envisage the city as its wishes, does the city have wishes or is an amalgamation of all of dream scapes, so jagged in their collective form that all separate is lost, except to the power of individual perception.

The city as an emblem for our desires, the whispers of a fallen desire to become something that this city cannot permit, the shouts of exaltation and passion when the city fits the identity that you wish it to assume. What does It mean to dream in London, how does the city act as canvas for dreams.

This is a city that no one speaks of such things. We adopt a mask of certainty, a shell of success that pretends that we are all simply satisfied with what we have. En mass we expect nothing , the city rules us, we are the humble subjects to its architecture, the forces that propel it forwards to grow and expand past all fringes of a green belt, what does it mean to exist as a solider of London.

Unity comes in market cafes, a new plot, something to call home a warm glance form a stranger and a free token of gratitude from the city in the middle of the night. This is city that we rule and are ruled by. A maze of unspoken codes of conduct and unimagined boundaries we are tiptoeing over as we stand close in a forced unity on the bus.

Does the city love, do we love the city. A mute textured interweaving of the subjects of our emotion. Positive influence of a bright sunny day and warm smiles that are a rarity in the bleak winter. The summer months bring fondness and the cobwebs of a cold heart are bruised aside into a heap, reaping mould to be worn in the winter months.

Is this the city of dreams, homage to illusion, a home, a turf? The relationships to the city are mixed and take no set form. Transient and non judgemental, egotistical and judging. Do people make places or can places make people.

Are we independent from this city or does to hold us in strangulation in the force of its grip, unrelenting and unappealing to our meek suggestions of desire to be held.

This is a city where dreams could be sewn into the tapestry of the tube network; illusion could be in the newspaper stand.
Can we shape such force, do we create such force.

What is a city to you?

The city streets as walk in the rain. The city that we dreamed of as an island of bliss. This landscape is the place that we can only dream of as fertile ground for the enactment of our dreams. as simple organisation as we can hope for in the grand scheme of things.

The city is going mad. The walls are tumbling down. Shop keepers are chain smoking at the door, people burst into tears in the morning crush. The streams of people are running as Torrent Rivers, what drives them necessity to pay council tax, toys for their children or to make it. To make what. What is success in a world of fast cars and smoothest skin? What is desire when pornography is the most commonly searched thing on the internet. What is love when you can buy marriage and divorce is a means of earning money? What is success when the rich can buy their place in parliament?

There exists a hollow of corruption which we cannot simply ignore.

A man in the post office complains that he has bad credit rating because he got laid off as builder at the age of twenty five and has since had a series of unfortunate events that has left him in London without a penny and now he is getting money from the government to plant potatoes so the homeless can eat. Words keep tumbling out of his mouth as he narrates the longer story as the queue has ceased to move and we stand in the brightly lit plastic space. Hi story doesn’t quite make all sense but the essence is there, he is still chasing butterfly dreams with a broken net and worn down shoes. There can be no simple answer. Is he not allowed to dream, can the government flatten that any further?

I never loved a city truly. always waiting for the next, fleeting glances of an uncertain comfort, a terror of settling too deep and wishing each night that the things I have left behind are safe warm and happy. The city can warrant a short stay of idealism that breed discontent and then you move o the next, till you decide the countryside would be a better bet, a safer solution to this crisis, a warm comfort blanket when times are all a little too cold. This can be named migration, flocking, many terms academics could proudly chuckle over.

The city does warrant a long term home. The man who sits in the café each day the same seat at all the same times and all the same people pass him and some sit and share a cup of tea and watch his world pass by him. He has been there over twenty years the café owner says, it feels longer than me. Is this the city? These are the people who have seen more and know more than any tour guide could ever highlight with a padded microphone. The city of dreams? The city of daily life and routine. This is a place where we each make our own rules.

But there are sets we forget that we are keeping too. We walk at the same pace as the person in front of us on the escalator, we wear smart clothes when we have too, we buy tickets for the trains, we stand in line, is this civil respect or conforming to yet another reality that we conform too and don’t even remember why or at what point that began to become daily life.

We have a wall to fight.

Regardless of what they say.

It can be two in the morning sat on the late bus home wondering what today has achieved.

Uncertainty. There can be no certainty. Only new dreams of a new place where none of this exists and we all live on a dream land and get along just fine.

A utopia is a self constructed dream field. a utopia is a result of an unfulfilled society.

Please let me in.

The city breathes softer now, as though as our outbursts have tainted it a little and now it is unsure as to how to treat us. The bus ride stays the same length and the bills stay as they always will rise. The government tries to soften us a little with extra benefits for those who dare to ask enough.

Installation shot. Made in collaboration with Dr Jarvis, Urban designer and Town Planner LSBU

The city un: built.

The city moves me

Performance still

This work is made as part of a touring series and will continue as a developed piece of work to a collection of locations.

Installation shot 2

All text and selected images copyright to Beatrice Jarvis.


One Response to “Homage to a falling City: Bow Road Site”

  1. […] A personal example of the use of this devising method can be seen in this project example: http://beatricejarvis.com/northbank-intervention-homage-may-09/ to generate http://beatricejarvis.com/homage-to-a-falling-city-bow-road-site/ […]

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