LOST N’ FOUND GLOVES
Artistic Research Project
How can I make a connection with the city?
In the course of daily life, the direct impact of environmental factors on human psychology is undeniable. The bond that a person establishes with their environment is based on understanding, comprehending, internalising and interacting. In order to maintain a natural life in a completely foreign environment, one must first of all build this bond from scratch. Lost N’ Found Gloves is just one of the results of this effort, a method of establishing an indirect relationship with the new culture that I have entered into, the city it has shaped and the people of that city.
Cycling in a foreign environment offers different data than walking in it. What can be perceived while travelling at a certain speed varies. For example, while walking it is possible to see small details, to stop and read texts, while cycling, as a result of focusing on a wider perspective, larger objects and unusual things become more visible. The things that caught my attention the most were the Dutch architecture, the centuries-old trees and the chopped trees, and the objects that people dropped on the bike paths.
As a theatre designer, I produced most of my work for theatre plays staged on black-box theatres. It was a new concept and unmissable challenge for me to produce a work based on a location and to make a narrative out of that space. Applying the site-specific working method to an entire city not only helped me explore and examine the skin of the city, but also forced me to pay attention to my surroundings, evoked a new level of awareness.
Collecting and archiving meaningful materials
Collecting and archiving is a method for artistic research and a scenographical practice for me. As any practice-based research, it is a way of gaining knowledge and experience. The material I collect maybe insignificant individually, but the the pattern I find in the collection reveals a meaning, a narrative.
It started with a single glow that I suddenly decided to pick up on a rainy night.
I didn’t know what to do with it. I just wanted to return it to its owner.
So the collecting started.
How can I find somebody who dropped a glove in a city?
It might help to know when and where they were found in which condition.
So the archiving started.
In March 2017, I found 86 gloves in 3 cities, in May, it was 105 in total.
How will I find the owner? Who will hear about it, how?
So the Instagram sharing started.
Who are these people? What were they doing?
Where were they going? How did they drop it?
So the stories started.
When I curated the collection into an exposition of an archive,
it revealed my story with the city of Utrecht.
The curation of this archive reflects the detective impulses of the collector. The choice of chronological order, incident scene and victim photos, criminal evidence such as date, time and location, and possible story suggestions aim to create a detective atmosphere. In this way, the individual gloves were transformed from being abandoned wastes into found relics, and the owners of the gloves were put in the position of lost. With the Instagram profile, owners are also actively sought and openly invited to come and take their gloves back. Provided, of course, that they submit the other pair as proof.
The entire archive displays the collector’s subtle story in a spatial design. Although there is no performance, it offers a performative narrative. Spectators recreate this narrative themselves and witness the collector’s relationship with the city of Utrecht.
Performativity of the act of collecting and archiving
The moment I picked up the first glove on the road, something changed permanently. The first question was where and how to store them and this question was actually the start signal of the formation of a new archive. The need for an inventory with serial numbers, time and location of the found glove with a tag on the map and a photograph to be stored with each glove emerged immediately.
This procedure directly affected my consciousness and awareness. From that moment on, all my cycling experience changed into something else. I am more aware of where I am; looking at the road I am riding on and also I am more concerned about my belongings too; where are my gloves and phone and wallet etc. But more importantly, looking for gloves on the road, paying attention to something I did not before makes me realise other details about the city and the people of it. Examining the skin of the city and observing the habits of people formed a connection between me and the city.
Performativity is about an action that has an effect, that makes a change. Sruti Bala* indicates in “The Entangled Vocabulary of Performance” that (…) culture is performative, in the sense of being lived interaction and process and not stable identity (…), which means, living in a society and a certain culture shapes the person and their vision, perception, thus their attitude and behaviour; with another saying, it shapes their way of living. Shifting to another cultural domain or just doing research about it, it will be necessary to reconsider everything learned and widen the perspective in order to adapt and interact. Lost n’ Found Gloves helped me to figure that out.
*Bala, Sruti (2013) The Entangled Vocabulary of Performance, Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities.
LOST N’ FOUND GLOVES
is part of the HKU Theatre Expo
ARCHIVE OF ARCHIVES
ordering, arranging and rearranging,
original order vs composed order,
filtering, subdividing and erasing…
Archiving is a scenographical practice.
It takes up space.”
HKU Master Scenography 1st Years Exposition
23 – 30 January 2017
HKU Pastoe 0.19