Tag Archives: performance

Underbelly at The Shoebox Experiment

The Shoebox Experiment lightbulb

Wednesday 4 May, 7.30pm

The Riverside, 1 Mowbray Street, Neepsend, Sheffield, S3

Signposts, South Yorkshire, presents the second in a series of performance experiments – three pieces in three different mediums.

The Shoebox Experiment (3 x 3)

Quint and Jow
Quint and Jow

Quint and Jow share a common goal: to prove that there’s more to the average pub quiz than meets the eye. Forming a team called The Venns, they spend improbable amounts of time in the pub… testing their theories, of course.  Through charts, graphs, and (their favourite) Venn diagrams, Quint and Jow will bring you exciting and unexpected findings from their not-entirely-serious research project. The Venns: A Quest for the Perfect Pub Quiz is created and performed by Chella Quint and Richard Jow

Screenshot of Underbelly

Underbelly is an award-winning work of digital fiction about a woman sculptor, carving on the site of a former colliery in Yorkshire. As she carves, she is disturbed by a medley of voices, from when women used to work underground mining coal. Created for the web, Underbelly is a playable story with multiple endings determined by choice and chance. Lurking within the dark regions of its map-like narrative terrain, are hidden voices, animated elements and grotesque imagery, which Christine Wilks will unearth in her live performance of the work.

Tim Ralphs performs The Nose
The Nose!

Gogol’s “The Nose” represents one of the pioneering triumphs of the early absurdist movement; transcending satire, narrative and common sense. Locally  based storyteller Tim Ralphs transports the Shoebox to St Petersburg’s prospects in this hilarious and enticing re-imagining of the tale as a live performance. A drunkard barber, a womanising Major, a buzz of rumours and the inconceivable disappearance of The Nose!  Originally conceived as a series of podcasts, ‘The Nose’ is recomposed for the Shoebox Experiment.

Audience Feedback from the First Shoebox Experiment:

“Was brilliant. So different to anything I’ve seen before!


“I enjoyed the atmosphere, mellow attentiveness, intimacy, surprise, voices, passion, stories, HEART, writing!”

Tickets: £4 (£3 concessions) are available at the Shoebox on the night and can be reserved in advance by email. Plus a fully stocked bar to whet your whistle and the company of a warm, welcoming audience ready for something new! Contact naomi.wilds@ntlworld.com or 0775 352 8919 to reserve your space. Map and directions.

See you there!

Shoes red as wounds

Performing at Inspace and my Underbelly Cabinet of Curios

For my performance of Underbelly in Edinburgh on Halloween at Inspace no one can hear you scream I intend to wear shoes as red as wounds. Why? Because Underbelly is an exploration of women’s bodies in relation to the land – past and present, inside and outside, above and below ground – and shoes, especially red ones, are loaded with associations.

I’m tempted to say more but instead, it might be more fun to point you to my Underbelly Cabinet of Curios. It’s a digital collection of some of the sources, influences and catalysts that gave rise to Underbelly, and a peek at one stage of the process of writing and structuring the piece. Within the cabinet, you’ll also find some connections and contextual curios, creative works by others in other media that struck a chord with me in relation to the themes I explore in Underbelly… and, if you follow the merry dance, the significance of red shoes.

Since I spend so much of time stuck at my desk in front of a computer, I’m really looking forward to stepping out and into performer’s shoes – not least because there’s such a fantastic line-up of other artist-performers at Inspace on Halloween:

48 hours | Inspace no one can hear you scream

Sunday 31st October 2010, 7.30 for 8pm.
Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB

As part of the third International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, we present an evening of language in digital performance with works by Martin John Callanan, JR Carpenter & Jerome Fletcher, Donna Leishman, Maria Mencia, Netwurker Mez, Stanza and Christine Wilks.

The electronic writer as trans[per]former

What’s the ideal skill set for a transliterate creative practitioner? I’m not sure. All I know is it’s very broad, encompassing a wide range of creative, multimedia, storytelling, problem-solving and technical skills – at least it is for an electronic writer/artist like myself, who tends to work alone. Here I’m thinking mainly about the skills and creative abilities you need to develop and create a work of digital storytelling or electronic literature. But what about once the work of e-lit is finished? How can you help it reach an audience? How do you promote it? That’s when another set of skills comes into play.

screenshot of Underbelly by Christine Wilks

We’re used to seeing print writers give readings on the literary festival circuit. Electronic writers need to do this kind of thing too. Self-publishing and submitting work for online publications and exhibitions is fine, but you can’t just rely on an audience finding your work on the web – like musicians and print writers, it helps to go out on the promotional trail, make a live appearance, give a performance.

Later this month my transliterate abilities as an e-lit performer are going to be tested – at Ilkley Literature Fringe Festival, with a great group of poets and fiction writers, and at Inspace in Edinburgh, with a fabulous line-up of digital writers and artists, as part of the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2010).

In Ilkley, I’m performing with a group of creative print writers who came out of the Yorkshire Art Circus writer development programme some years ago. It’s a kind of reunion and to give ourselves an angle, we’re staging it as The Writers’ Group Exposed!!! We’ll be simulating a typical meeting – well, maybe not so typical because there will be an electronic writer in the group. It’ll be interesting to see how my e-lit (Fitting the Pattern) is received in this context.

For any writer, it’s seldom as simple as giving a reading, as the Ilkley gig demonstrates, but for the electronic writer, inevitably, there’s even more to consider. You’ve got to sort out the tech (computer software/hardware, digital displays/projection, sound, etc.) and more than likely you’ve got to be able to operate your tech and read/perform at the same time. Those are the practicalities, but there are also aesthetic and dramaturgical considerations too. How will your live self, your bodily presence, affect or interact with the virtual presence/s, visually, sonically and kinetically? Should work designed for the web be repurposed for live performance?

Canadian electronic writer Jim Andrews has an interesting take on this. Here’s his plan for a work he intends to perform at e-Poetry 2011:

Basically, the idea of the project is to scream my fool head off while playing Jig-Sound and dbCinema as instruments.

You’ve seen musicians play an instrument while they sing. Well, this is similar. Only I’ll be telling a story between (or perhaps during) screaming bouts. And the instruments I’ll be playing are Jig-Sound, which is sonic, and dbCinema, which is visual.

If live gigs are part of the process of reaching an audience, then should one build that potential into the design of the work from the outset (or at least somewhere along the way during the process of creation)? Should one consider it an opportunity for transmedia storytelling rather than promotion and networking?

In Edinburgh I’m performing Underbelly – playing it like an instrument – in an evening dedicated to Language in Digital Performance and, as such, the occasion will give me scope to explore these potentialities. For the most part, Underbelly presents a diegetic story-world that explores a psychic landscape where the predominance of spoken word exploits the intimate relationship between voice and the body, voice and interiority. I designed the piece as a work of playable media but not particularly for live performance so I’ll be adapting it for the Inspace show, mixing my live voice with the multiple voices on the digital soundtrack.

screenshot of Underbelly by Christine Wilks

The ICIDS Language in Digital Performance event is billed as Inspace no one can hear you scream and, since it’s taking place on Halloween, we’ve been invited ‘to engage the spirit of this festival’… so, who knows, I might end up screaming too.

Article cross-posted from Transliteracy.com

Underbelly in PW10 at Arnolfini

Performance Writing 2010 – PW10 festival 8 & 10 May

PW10 is a partnership event between Performance Writing and the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It will be a two day gathering of many who have been associated with Performance Writing over its illustrious 15 year history. The weekend will comprise performances, talks, readings, exhibitions, interventions and a workshop.

Underbelly is part of an exhibition of digital textwork/e-literature curated by J. R. Carpenter for the festival. It’s being shown alongside these works by the following fantastic writers/artists:

Before sending a CD of Underbelly to J.R. for the exhibition, I made some tweaks to it, which I’ve long been wanting to do but hadn’t found time lately due to the demands of my freelance work. So now I think I should accept – deep breath – that the piece is finally finished! I can move on to new work… Bliss!