Land Marked (2001-02)
A performance & street intervention about learning landscapes, negotiating territories, sharing cultures and making home.
“You’ll be OK… when you settle in” say people to those who are homesick. What does that mean? Is it like clods of earth that get trodden into the ground over time? Is it like finding your place so well in a new environment, that in the end you become camouflaged?”
Context: Euro-love and the Schengen agreement, low-tech sound experiments, fieldwork and fake sound effects, childhood nostalgia and as it turns out… false hope.
Carrying with them everything they own, three suspicious foreigners arrive in a new place. Your place. Asking for your hospitality because – ‘it’s a harsh world out there, and nothing is worth more than a little kindness to strangers’ – they proceed to map and learn the territory, to name the landscape and to make this place a home.
Land Marked was created in 2001 – echoing and reflecting on the UK’s then obsessions with how communities are made and broken (Survivor, Big Brother, the EU…). The piece addresses the manipulation of territory, the circulation of power, and the patrolling of borderlines – from the micro level of the family to the macro level of nations. Heimat, Casa, Hjem, Home.
On a blank piece of 4m square paper, the performers work with pens, domestic lights, and a ghetto blaster to construct and reconstruct a ‘living’ map – their own memories of home interwoven with stories and images of the local land and community. This creates a performed geography where ‘real world’ sound objects and ‘fake’ sound effects collide with each performers ‘mother tongue’ in a landscape where metaphor and memory are friendly neighbours. Under the guise of democratic process, the three strangers argue and rearrange themselves into teams of two against one, to try and establish a shared history. Alliances are made and broken as each person desperately tries to smuggle into the group their own idea of what a home should be.
The piece was performed simultaneously in German/Italian, Norwegian and English remaining highly accessible to a wide range of audiences. Each performance of Land Marked was responsive to a series of street interventions where research in the form of memories, histories, sights and sounds gathered from the local village – town – city was incorporated into the subsequent performance shown in that place.
Land Marked performance
Land Marked installation
Land Marked interventions
HEM Live Art Festival
Further developed through a 6 week residency at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt for the Plateaux Festival 2001.
Street interventions commissioned by HEM Live Art Festival 2002.
- Work-in-progress sharing at International Devised Theatre Conference, Dartington College of Arts
- 9 – 30th September 2011 Residency, Mousonturm, Frankfurt
- October 2001 Performance Dartington Arts
- 7 – 9th December 2001 Land Marked Plateaux Festival, Mousonturm, Frankfurt
- 26 + 27th July 2002 Street mapping Intervention HEM Festival
- 1st August 2002 Performance Exeter Fringe Festival
- 4th August 2002 Street Mapping Intervention and Performance at The Round Festival, Wimborne
WHAT WAS SAID
(My home is) with friends that come back, walking down the steep path next to the rock formation called Holderstein I meet a little stream. (My home is)dark trees in a snowy forest, everything is wet and dark here on the valley floor.
(My home is) flat green countryside that falls off the horizon. On my right the sound of the river under the bridge, children wading in it. I always walk on the left hand side of the road. 10 meters further down, next to smart cars parked end to end the bull dog lives at the restaurant. Flattened nose against chicken wire.
Young birch trees and green leaves- the path is slightly overgrown. (My home is) being in blueberry bushes with blue tongue and swarming mosquitoes. (My home is) chasing my dog and hiding in adder filled fern. Walking down from the bare stone granite of the water’s edge- green algae, black mussels and the worn out shell of a crab.
“..highly entertaining…this pleasing performance consists of melancholic sequences, comical interpretations of the everyday and a fresh charm which leaves the audience amused and more sensitised to their own feeling of being ‘at home”
“charming anecdotes…beautiful images and engaging texts”
“I go there again and again. This is how I get to know people. And how I get to know about people. Keep the microscope still if you want to watch moving bacteria, if you know what I mean. I’m not good at approaching people myself. Persistently going to the same place makes people react to me. This is how I manage to slip in. Suddenly they notice me and ask me who I am and what I am doing here. I belong into the scene, start to become a piece of furniture.”
“Bars named after places, cities, countries. Closed police station. Open building site. Fountains. Parks that don’t seem safe. Men who suck their teeth. New skyline shadowing older buildings. Black church spire. Floating restaurants. Always looking the wrong way crossing confusion. Black dogs. Seeing the same person twice. Original English versions. Mexicans in the zoo. Anglo friendly German/American Boxers. Medieval squares with gangs of tourists. Trams that nearly run you over. Swarms of people heading for the supermarket. Soapy sewer smell. The sound of crickets behind a boarded window.”
“We already met one guide. He was listening to our conversation the train, and then offered to help us find our way. He was small neat and clean, and wore conservative clothing and carried Marxist political literature. We took a surreptitious photograph for our records.”
“We began in heiligesomethingstrasse where every time I am confronted by an imposing heavy building, the seat of morality with no one ever seemingly in it. Frankfurt Strasse, Herrn Strasse Grosse Market Strasse, was slowly settling into my bones – shops – C&A, the comforting rainbow flag. The sun shining on perfectly coiffed grey hair, the man more hair-sprayed than the woman. No Traffic sounds. A passing plane and subdued conversation. A squeaking bike wheel and an order placed with children in the background. Another set of males wandering.”
“The U bahn has brought me quite far out of town, and when I get there, there isn’t anywhere to go. The station sits adjacent to a busy road where cars drive fast. I can hear teenagers on street corners and a BMW that isn’t tuned in properly. There are tall concrete blocks of flats here with geraniums and satellite dishes outside of nearly every window. I can see someone’s pink washing hanging up on the line, maybe a red sock had been put in with a white wash, but that’s a different story.”
Eurohouse by Fellswoop Theatre