"From ancient times to the present 'spectacle' (the visual aspects of human performance–architecture, scenery, costumes, makeup, lighting, special effects, and staging) has been used to expressively embody and evoke meaning in rituals, ceremonies, and artistic performances. This course [Eye Appeal: Spectacle on Stage and in Life at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro] will examine the use of spectacle as an expressive mode of communication in human performance from antiquity to the present."
(Bob Hansen, 2004)
"Using actors within carefully considered settings, Hannah Starkey's photographs reconstruct scenes from everyday life with the concentrated stylisation of film. Starkey's images picture women engaged in regular routines such as loitering in the street, sitting in cafes, or passively shopping. Starkey captures these generic 'in between' moments of daily life with a sense of relational detachment. Her still images operate as discomforting 'pauses'; where the banality of existence is freeze–framed in crisis point, creating reflective instances of inner contemplation, isolation, and conflicting emotion.
Through the staging of her scenes, Starkey's images evoke suggestive narratives through their appropriation of cultural templates: issues of class, race, gender, and identity are implied through the physical appearance of her models or places. Adopting the devices of filmography, Starkey's images are intensified with a pervasive voyeuristic intrusion, framing moments of intimacy for unapologetic consumption. Starkey often uses composition to heighten this sense of personal and emotional disconnection, with arrangements of lone figures separated from a group, or segregated with metaphoric physical divides such as tables or mirrors.
Often titling her work as Untitled, followed by a generalised date of creation, her photographs parallel the interconnected vagueness of memory, recalling suggestions of events and emotions without fixed location or context. Her work presents a platform where fiction and reality are blurred, illustrating the gap between personal fragility and social construction, and merging the experiences of strangers with our own."
"Much current scholarship in the field of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, including my own, focuses on the actual performance of plays in their own or later periods, regarding the texts that survive as, in different ways, blueprints for performance, and exploring them in the context of their performance spaces, actors and theatre–practice and of other agencies such as audiences that impact upon those texts in performance. My own research in these areas is largely conducted through practice.
But let me just sketch a brief background. In 1998, a sea–change occurred in the lives of arts (as opposed to humanities) researchers in the UK, with the creation of the Arts & Humanities Research Board (now Council) which, for the first time, funded practice–led research in the creative arts. I cannot stress too heavily the impact this had on the landscape of research in the performing arts.
That's not to say, of course, that research through practice had not been conducted before then. If I take my own department at Bristol as an example, scholars such as Glynne Wickham, Richard Southern and Neville Denny were experimenting from the early 1950s by staging medieval and early modern plays, and using their findings in their published work.
But the arrival of the AHRB not only provided funding for practice–led research in the academy, but in so doing, confirmed it as being as valid and – not to be underestimated – as respectable as research conducted through more traditional or conventional means. And – a point to which I shall return – it opened up debates not only on how such research might most profitably be conducted, but how it might be disseminated in forms other than the books or journal articles that had predominated – and be disseminated, in fact, through the practice/performance itself."
Bill "Viola's The Greeting is pretending to be a picture, hanging on the wall of the National Gallery, as part of 'The Passions' exhibition in 2003. The context of the gallery space and the badging of The Greeting as a picture give the work something different, making it more than just a film. The significance is in the context of where it is shown and the pretence occurring that this is a picture. Indeed, when walking downstairs in the National Gallery towards 'The Passions' exhibition, it is seeing it hanging on the wall that strikes immediately; I am being invited to believe that this animated film is pretending to be a picture. The analogy is of the picture becoming an actor, pretending to be something else. In terms of form, The Greeting is a film. Therefore, what is it that makes it now defined as an exhibition, a part of Viola's 'The Passions' in 2003? It is only the fact that it's part of a gallery that makes it an exhibition, although in reality it is also actors directed by a video artist into this film, slowed down and with no sound, which is pretending to be a painting. Therefore, it is conceptual art, in that what the artist is doing is not just making a painting, or having the idea for a painting, but having the idea of where it should be staged. The inscribed text of the space in which it is viewed makes a difference to what the viewer or spectator sees, and what is going on."
(Alison Oddey, 2007, p.70)
3). Alison Oddey (2007). "Re–Framing". In: "Re–Framing the Theatrical", Palgrave Macmillan. 1–21.
Fig.1 Bill Viola (1995). "The Greeting".
Fig.2 Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo "The Visitation".