Home > Snail Piece > Lab Saturday!

Lab Saturday!

Yesterday at Underbelly Arts was Lab Saturday, with tours spread over the afternoon and a talks session at The Clare Hotel to discuss the role an audience can play in creative development. Nathan and I took part in the talks on behalf of Applespiel, and got to witness the other artists discussing their past and current works. Several ideas, I wish I had thought of. At the end of the first week, we have a chance to reflect on our experience so far.

We took advantage of a showing in The Clare Hotel to try a new approach, a more structured, playful approach based on a real-world decision making model, the formal debate. We also tried to load the decision and give those condemning the snail some ammunition by claiming that I found it in my family’s treasured vege garden. We invited audience members to join one of two teams, those demonising the snail, and those canonising it, in view of the proposition to execute it. Demonising group were reluctant to form but delivered some creative testaments against the character of the snail, while canonising group looked to be more involved and cohesive. The snail escaped the ultimate punishment .
For the following session, we went back to what has proved to be a successful model for inviting audience response, the story telling session, led by Duffy. This elicited some excellent conversation and debate amongst the audience, with one woman getting up to take the hammer away from the snail and daring us to come and get it. Our reflection afterwards centered on the ongoing issue of the theme of the audience’s discussion, which is often an animal-rights discussion or a talk about art rather than a focus on the decision making process.
Prior to the final showing, we discussed how we use these showings, and what part they play in our process, particularly in producing a final work for Saturday. Are they shows that we owe the audience, and how much of that thinking informs our preparation for each day? Or are we simply allowing the audience in to see us work, in which case how much does each individual showing help us work towards a final product, as opposed to showing them the process in some other way as we work? This informed the final public tour, where we held another story session, and then displayed the original work this time not exclusively for the audience to take part in, but as a demonstration of what we are doing here at Underbelly Arts.
At this half-way point, taking stock of our Underbelly Arts experience and looking towards the final week as we drove to Newtown for delicious pizza and then off home, we reflected on how rewarding the process has been. Bringing this project to Underbelly Arts and approaching it each day in an ongoing process, constructing new models, working according to audience feedback and reaction, and most importantly doing all of it as a creative team, has already been a valuable developmental experience. More on that at the end of next week.
For now, Sunday is a day where we are absent from Chippendale. More to come Monday.
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