We have now completed the three digital editing workshops in the new Taylor Digital Studio at Tate Britain. Reflecting back on the three sessions, one thought I have is that the invitation that has been extended to the young people, namely to create a film that represents their experience of a series of live art workshop sessions, is a very sophisticated one.
I was particularly struck by this when listening to a talk given by the performance artist Tim Etchells at Tate Modern on November 25th. During his talk Tim Etchells referred to the challenge of recording and reinterpreting improvisational work, drawing attention to the near impossibility of ‘recreating’ work of this kind. Similarly in the choreography workshops Sara touched on Yvonne Rainer’s preoccupation with this issue and Rainer’s concerns at one stage with individuals’ interpretations of Trio A that diverged too much from her construction of the work. This ultimately led to Yvonne Rainer working with a group of dancers (Sara being one) who are authorised to teach Trio A. In both these cases it would seem that the question of interpretation and how people make sense of something in order to communicate it to others is crucial.
It became apparent to me as I observed each participant creating their films that each 3 minute film (as we hoped it would be) will represent a unique interpretation of the workshop experience. The films give
an insight into what happened; what we did and what it looked like. They also suggest what was important to the individual making the film; what stands out in their minds as being key to the experience of those 5 days. And because of this each film is partial and necessarily incomplete, in that they are not a reconstruction of the workshop – it would be difficult, I would imagine, to recreate the 5 days based on looking at these films.
Instead the films constitute a continuation on from the choreography workshops, a further layer of meaning construction and ideas development. Furthermore, when we discussed the films amongst ourselves it became clear that this interpretive process is ongoing and will be expanded when we show the films (as we intend to do with members of Tate’s young people’s group, Tate Collective and colleagues at Tate and beyond) and re-interpret our experiences through their perceptions. In a sense, therefore, our challenge will be to determine where and when our ‘experience’ of the original workshops ends and how we can communicate this to others.