Monday, October 16, 2006

Experience the Difference

‘Experience the Difference’ was commissioned by the Centre of Contemporary Art (CCA) in Glasgow for the exhibition ‘The Magic of Real Life in Real Situations’ (2006) and also included in ‘ET TU Tribute’ (2006) curated by The Embassy Gallery at Edinburgh Sculpture Court.

‘Experience the Difference’ was a performance that re-enacted original dance routines from selected Michael Jackson’s pop videos. The selected dance routines taken from the videos ‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ were studied, edited, and methodically learnt by ‘Lisalouise’ and the performers. The process of deconstruction and reconstruction created a precise yet fragmented interpretation of the influential performances. The final re constructed routine created an original if not disjointed interpretation of two seminal moments in popular culture. The performance was presented out of context of the original video narrative and although suggestive of the primary reference altered by the learning process, performance style and environment.

‘Lisalouise’ collaborated with a composer to create a musical re-working of the referenced Michael Jackson tracks (‘Thriller’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’). As with the choreography the musical score was deconstruct and reconstruct to create an interpretation of the seminal songs. The score was composed using the original sheet music on the digital composition programme ‘Sibelius’ and performed on a grand piano in order to create a hybrid of compositional styles.

Berg och Dalbana

‘Berg-och-Dalbana’ is a series of filmed performances presenting the interventions of ‘Lisalouise’ at the derelict workers village of Portavadie on west coast of Scotland. Sound artist Matt Wand collaborated with ‘Lisalouise’ on this project.

Portavadie was built in the early 1970’s, during the infancy of North Sea oil exploration, as a construction yard and worker accommodation facility. The campus itself could be described as a modernist take on Scottish vernacular style architecture with it’s rendered white concrete structures. Unfortunately, the yard was abandoned before it went into production and is now a series of fully furnished yet never occupied cottages that have become overgrown with plants and overrun by sheep.

‘Lisalouise’ worked with the interior corridors, rooms and spaces of Portavadie as initial inspiration as well as the performance space. The doorways, window frames and natural light sources were appropriated to create partially obscured, spotlit views of the performance activities.

The accompanying audio presents the reworking of the seminal rock anthem ‘Hocus Pocus’ by the Dutch progressive rock band Focus. ‘Hocus Pocus’ was a number one hit for Focus in the early 1970’s and was so popular that Polydor allocated all it’s record pressing facilities to this one song. Focus was formed by Thijs Van Leer, Martin Dresden and Hans Cleuver and the quartet where the first to apply the traditional vocal technique of "yodelling" to this modern popular classic.

Portavadie and the song ‘Hocus Pocus’ have been married together by ‘Lisalouise’ to create a modern day 'prog rock' opera. Both are all but forgotten forces of the early 1970’s and ‘Berg-och-Dalbana’ presents a snap shot of a time, reliving the heady moment of brutal modernist architecture, economic progress and yodelling.

Berg och Dalbana was supported by Castlefield Gallery in Manchester and funded by the Arts Council of England and Scottish Television Media Group.


In 2002 ’Lisalouise' were commissioned by the new work programme at the Arches in Glasgow to present 'Helpmehelpyou' a live performance of semaphore code streamed via the Internet. ’Helpmehelpyou’ utilised media streaming in order to communicate the performance message to a variety of locations simultaneously. The original performance maximised the audience at two contrasting locations, the live performance on the west coast of Scotland and the project space, where the streamed action was presented, in Glasgow. The project was funded by Scottish Arts Council , The Arts Council of England , The Big Idea and My Beautiful TV .

The message signalled through semaphore comprised of platitudes and advice taken from a variety of self-help manuals that address the angst and stress of modern day living. The signalling system is known by very few and so these life affirming messages were almost certainly read first and foremost as an intriguing visual spectacle. In this respect the performance, streamed footage and resultant documentation could be read as a comforting reminder that somewhere, someone cares as well as a hypnotic distraction from everyday life.

The original streamed documentation has subsequently been exhibited at a number of galleries and public screenings including The Hereford Salon in London (2002) The International 3 Gallery in Manchester (2003) and The Big Screen in association with the Corner House Gallery and BBC North (2004 & 2006). In additiont to this the live performance was presented from ’Arthur Seat’ as part of the group show 'Bishops Move' at the Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh (2004). The filmed documentation of the live event was presented throughout the subsequent exhibition.

The message signed.
Be confident.
Believe in happiness
Imagine feeling good.
Embrace criticism.
It is possible to change the world around us by changing ourselves.
We are not victims we are empowered.
To change your attitude is to change you life.
It’s time to learn how to be a great team player.
Make a new choice.
There is no problem that trust cannot heal.
Do not deny your feelings.
Anger is a form of control.
We only give the love we allow ourselves to receive.
We use others to people our conspiracy against ourselves.
Expectations are hidden demands.
A willingness to forgive and to forgive another can release you.
Guilt is merely a trap.
Judge judgment.
Living ones purpose is leaping the abyss to love and leaving the bridge for others to follow.
Competition is a form of delay.

Spinny thing

This rotation sign featuring the text 'Spinny thing' was exhibited as part of the group show 'Manchester vs. London' at Leytonstone Centre of Contemporary Art (LCCA) in London. The show was curated by Patrick Brill, David Mackintosh and Jessica Vorsanger.

Return of the Connaught Rangers, Jack Cades Rabblement and Off the Port of Le Havre

'Return of the Connaught Rangers.....' was a performance for video commissioned by Brass Art and the Arts Council of England for the exhibition 'Paradise Revisited' at Bury Art Gallery in Manchester. An edition of the video was purchased for the galleries permanent collection.

Somethin’ stupid

'Somethin’ stupid' was commissioned by the Philadelphia International Festival of Visual and Live Art. The performance of semaphore code was presented from the roof top of a multi storey building in down town Philadelphia throughout the duration of a weekend. The semaphore display signalled the lyrics from Frank and Nancy Sinatra's song 'Somethin' stupid'.

This performance was later pressented as part of the exhibition 'Stuffed' at Stuff Gallery, Bethnal Green, London.

Lisalouise and Lisalouise - 1

'Lisalouise - 1' a performance and video piece commissioned for Expo, Part of 'Now 99' live art programme. This syncronised dance piece was presented at the Royal Moat House Hotel in Nottingham over the duration of a weekend. Accompanying the live performance was a self playing grand piano.

'Lisalouise - 1' was a continuation of the performance piece 'Lisalouise' in which the same syncronised dance piece was presented in the window of Forsyth's music shop in Manchester. As with the Expo piece a self playing grand piano accompanied the performance and it was presented over the duration of a weekend.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lisalouise Presents

Documentation of a syncronised gymnastic display for the group show 'Lowry's Livingroom' at From Space Gallery in Manchester. Curated by Bono & Sting - David Mackintosh and Graham Parker.