After our responses to the installations on Wednesday 16th July we were introduced to the final project for abandoned practices by way of a contextualising lecture from Matthew about The Chautauqua Assembly. Named after the Chautauqua Lake in New York State where the first assembly was held in 1874, the Chautauqua events were interdisciplinary educational summer camps where participants would be exposed to political lectures, scientific demonstrations, religious instruction, music and entertainment performances (including magic acts and puppet shows). The assemblies spread across rural areas of the United States and were extremely popular until about the mid-1920s. They have been attributed with being an instrumental space for the development and organisation of the woman’s suffrage movement.
This progressive, if slightly quaint, approach to interdisciplinary adult education became the context for three presentational modes that our final performances might engage with:
- the traveling exhibition
- the entertainment performance
- the expert demonstration
As a point of contrast (and in honor of the Magritte exhibition next door) Matthew also argued for surrealism as an abandoned practice therefore we could engage with “the surrealist lecture” as a mode.
To activate this presentational mode we were encouraged to engage with Dali’s concept of a paranoid critical method whereby we:
- gather/consolidate information or a legible image from some accidental confluence of observations.
- Submit the image to rigorous intellectual treatment as if it had been composed not unconsciously but deliberately.
Finally, in honour of some of the discussions emanating from visiting scholars Augusto Corrieri and Jane Blocker’s papers we were to think about the final mode of “a non-human performance”.
Following this introduction we were split into groups of 6 using a chance operation of selecting an abandoned practice card from a box. Our group received the “Ornamental Hermit” card which I will explain in a separate post.
Our task for the final performance presentation of this three week course was to devise a 2 minute solo and a 3 minute trio in response to this abandoned practice that will then become part of an 18 minute piece within our group of 6. We were asked to pick one presentational mode to engage with for our solo and one for our trio.