Foghorn# 3 -The march Performance: 15 mins. Royal Academy Courtyard
As the roll of a drum sounds, an apprehension of martial ceremony fills the air. A snare played with authority to command the feet of its followers. Why is it that this aural connotation universally summons not a tap of the foot that most rhythmic music evokes, but a reaction of rigidity and attention. Though this snare sounds out of tune, at least two octaves lower then most, it creates a warmer beat. Wrong to the ear, without its sharp pitch it is off key, out of sync and uniform. It creates a mimicry of martial music by stealing from its arsenal of musical instruments.
As a figure finally emerges from grand doors, onto courtyard steps. An exaggerated peek protrudes out from the face, eyes hidden by its bazaar proportions. The performers head is forced to rigidly look straight on, only being able to see peripherally. A calculated pattern of movement and positioning is needed. The peek of hat acts like a tool. It is not a restriction, but a guide. Like a spirit level, the line of the peek focuses, the line of eye level, to create a perfect posture for marching. Each adjustment is made according to the action of marcher. Gestures are embedded in the marcher using the materiality of the object.
All insignias are removed making it unclear as to this personnels level of authority. Giving an open reading to her gestures, whether she is being led by agreed commands set out prior, or as to whether she holds the highest rank of authority and is commanding herself.
Another uneasy element to this march is its lack of aural command. There is no piercing voice of the drill sergeant present, to highlight changes in foot and to interrupt with commands to shift direction. “Attention” is no shouted. The ever closed mouth marcher moves on with a seemingly casual act of mimicked formal procession.
Though as to interrupt all choreographs a long drawn note from an off tune bugle raised to her mouth signifies a commencement. As the flag is raised the pole rigging too is attached to the skirt of the performer. The drawn force violently razes the skirt too exposing the performers legs. Her bare legs have a relief print, from the flag printing process on them. Areas where the flag made contact with the skin, have dried in, leaving the traces of muddy lilac paint. AS the performer salutes the flag, the flag itself moons her back and also the audience.
As the artist puts herself on stage to preform in all regalia, there is a certain responsibility and authority to lay claim. A responsibility as author when taking the authoritative role of the all encompassing creator. The artist when taking a stance lays claim to their act, their inhabited space, their statement made. The artistic researcher unlike the scientific has an ability not only to discover but also the freedom to create. Though with freedom comes responsibility.