Every week, a small group of art students arrived to live on the site. As they waited for the next speaker to arrive, they had the use of some basic tools and materials in order for them to create and develop their own place and role within the project. They were given the following set of instructions upon arrival:
These are your instructions for the week. It is a basic guide that you can adapt. For the week you are there, it is your site. It’s a place that you look after and where you welcome both the visiting public and the guest speaker. You can manage the site in your own way: you can move things around, you can make things – either building up from what has been achieved by the previous group or breaking it down and starting afresh. You can make your own daily schedule between yourselves but please make sure that you follow the main principles in the list below.
When you arrive on Sunday, I will be at the site to meet you. If you get lost or delayed, give me a call (at the bottom you’ll find contact numbers and travel details).
In the main tent, there is a big blue folder that contains practical information such as detailed maps, location of supermarkets, who to ring when the loo is full etc.
– Look after and maintain the site.
– Welcome all visitors.
– Help with the smooth running of the event on the weekend.
– Spend your time not just as an individual hanging around, but also as an active group member.
– Set up the objects in the tent every morning and pack them away in the storage trailer every night.
– Inform yourself a bit about the speaker who will come when you are there. If people ask you what is going on/ why you are there, be open and say that you are participating in the project, it is an artwork part of sculpture projects muenster, that you are part of it and you are waiting for the next speaker to arrive – tell the visitor who the speaker is.
– Sit in the big tent and read the books.
– Eat at the site.
– Bring your own interests.
Here are two examples of a lovely day at Beautiful City. Of course they are just examples. It will change with actual practice and every day reality – you’ll find your own routines. The examples are just meant to show a flow of activity that is inter-cut with silence, rest and static moments. You can improvise with it how you like.
Day 1: A sunny north Schlossgarten, Münster, 3 people P1, P2, P3.
8.00 P1, P2, and P3 get up. They move the big table from under the dining canopy to the open field and eat breakfast.
9.15 Clear up breakfast.
9.30 P1, P2, P3 unpack the trailer of books, roll out the carpets, place all the books on the shelves, set up the sound system, put out cups, un-hook and roll up some of the tent sides.
10.00. P1, P2, P3 do some warm-up exercises for 15 minutes. Here are some basic stretches:
Lie down on the floor with both arms stretched behind you. Check that your legs are straight in relation to your body. Bring your belly button down through to your spine and try to keep your ribs together! This prevents the small of your back becoming too hollow.
First, from the tips of your fingers, bring your arms up above your head (at an angle of ninety degrees to your body). Follow your fingertips, and vertebra by vertebra, move up slowly to a sitting position. Make sure you keep your chin on your chest.
Follow your fingers forward towards your toes. Keep your pelvis in position so that you stretch your upper back. Keep your head between your arms. Vertebra by vertebra, move forward as far as you can.
With your pelvis starting the movement, slowly move back to the lying position. Keep your fingers pointing in the direction of the ceiling. Finish by moving your arms back to the starting position.
Repeat, repeat, and repeat!
10.15 P1 goes into the big tent, chooses a book and lies on one of the carpets to read.
P2 sits at the table writing.
P3 goes to collect water.
10.30 P2 pumps up the inflatable mattress (it’s in the trailer) on the opposite side of the site.
11.00 5 visitors are milling around. P2 goes to the kitchen area and boils some water for a cup of tea.
P3 joins P2 for a chat. P3 then goes to offer the visitors a cup of tea. A couple of them go in the big tent.
P1 gets up and gets a cup of water from the table, takes another book from the shelf – goes back to reading.
P1 gets up and listens to the sound recording of the previous talk through the headphones.
11.30 P1 leaves big tent and joins others for a chat/cup of tea.
P3 goes into big tent and lies on floor with a book open on her/his chest, arms at each side, as if asleep.
A group of 20 people on bicycles arrive. P2 walks through them to give water to P3.
P3 reads out aloud to P2 material from the book they are reading.
11.45 P2 goes shopping for food. P1 starts, for example, building an object/construction/painting from the materials in the trailer / or decorates the coconuts from the coconut shy with new faces.
13.00 Lunch outside, P3 leaves big tent and joins P1 and P2.
P1 sits with a view on the interior of the big tent and keeps an eye on things.
During lunch there is a constant stream of visitors. Say “hello”. P3 gets up and slowly walks around the site and joins lunch again.
14.00 Clear up lunch. P2 goes into big tent and chooses 10 books. P2 scatters them on one of the carpets and chooses something interesting to read.
14.15 P1 and P3 play the “coconut shy” with some of the visitors.
14.45 P1 goes for an hour break (if there are 4 of you, then 2 people go).
P3 carries on with object/construction.
15.45 P2 goes for an hour break.
P1 returns and hangs around doing what they like. They stop to talk to visitors.
P3 stops what they are doing and walks slowly and repeatedly around tent (not inside but outside).
P1 returns to what they are making.
16.45 P3 goes for an hour break.
P1 goes into tent to read. They try to find all the words associated with faith that are hidden in the puzzle on the carpet. P2 mows the grass.
17.00 Tea break. P1 and P2 sit on a big blanket in the middle of the field.
17.15 P2 gets up and lies on the mark “X”. P1 carries on drinking tea.
17.30 P1 goes into tent and carries on reading, picking up from the morning. They listen to the sound recordings through the headphones. P2 joins P1.
18.30 P1 and P3 set up dinner. P2 goes to read just outside of tent but does not sit by the doorway as if a guard – they sit on the ground.
19.00 Dinner, BBQ.
20.30 P2 tries to sit on top of the herman de vries sculpture.
P3 and P1 clear up.
21.00 It’s a bit chilly; everyone puts on their ponchos and has a drink (thanks Esther for making the ponchos!).
22.00 Everyone rolls down the sides of the big tent and secures the tie ropes. They all pack away the books in the trailer, clear up any rubbish, shake and brush off the carpets if needed – roll them up, pack away the sound system into the trailer, put away the slide projector. P1 deflates mattress. P2 and P3 clear up kitchen area and pack kitchen equipment in trailer.
They all write comments, tips and the day’s report in the log book.
Day 2: A rainy day north Schlossgarten Münster, 3 people P1, P2, P3
8.00 P1, P2, and P3 get up, look outside and groan. It’s raining.
They move to the big tent and set up breakfast inside. It’s warm and not raining hard so they roll up a few of the tent sides.
9.30 Clear up breakfast.
9.45 P1, P2, P3 put on raincoats (they are in the trailer) and unpack the trailer of books. They place all the books on the shelves, roll out the carpets, set up water cooker in tent and put out cups.
10.15 P1, P2, P3 do some warm up exercises for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Here are some exercises:
(the first three are taken from “Games for actors and non actors” by Augusto Boal.)
Having a shower:
Imagine that you are standing in the shower with the water on. Go through the exact movements you would make if actually cleaning yourself. First, take the soap and rub it all over your body; making sure that the soap gets into every single crack and hidden fold. Make a conscious effort to imagine the process of every action and movement. Feel these thoughts as you move. After lathering up well, wash the soap off. Make sure there is absolutely no soap left on any part of your body. Wash it out of your ears, from under your armpits, from in between your legs, your toes, everywhere! When you have done this, dry yourself off with a towel; again making sure that every single piece of your body is bone dry.
This exercise asks people to let go of their busy minds, to be in the moment and focus inside themselves. It is an important part of the process of getting everyone available and receptive.
Ask everyone to walk around the space. The walk should be brisk. Give three hits on a pair of wooden sticks or a drum (never use a whistle!):
1 is a signal to freeze.
2 is to change focus by turning just the head.
3 is to follow the head and move in that direction.
Practice this a few times, spacing the three hits on the claves evenly.
Then you vary the spacing of the three hits. Pre-empting the next move will catch out people, often moving into the space before you give the instructions. This usually happens because the participants are busy thinking, ‘Right, I understand now: 1, 2, 3, and move…’ instead of being present in their bodies and waiting for the signals.
This exercise helps finding new ways to move and integrates body parts that are often neglected when you move. You can also use it as a warm-up.
Lying on the floor, you need to stand up in 10 counts. Go back to the floor in 10 counts. You then stand up in 8 counts, 6, 4, 2, and 1.
Talk about the differences. How does the body behave instinctively, in a state of urgency?
Everybody sits with her or his legs apart, one behind the other. Give a countdown of ‘One, two, three…go!” The whole line turns over at the same time, with everybody ending with their legs on the shoulders of the person in front of them and their hands on the floor supporting them. The line looks like a millipede. Then, the millipede has to walk!
A great one to end on:
Everyone is to stand in a circle as large as the space will allow, facing the centre. Teach the group to hum a simple tune and then give them one word that contains at least two syllables. Practice fitting the word to the tune. Everyone is to start singing together as quietly as possible, and when they have completed a verse, take a step forward to the centre. Begin singing again with increased volume. Carry on with this, getting louder and louder as the group approaches the centre of the room. The circle will begin to break up as people crush together. Everyone must keep singing. They can clap and dance too.
11.15 P1 and P2 choose a book and lie on one of the carpets to read. They read out aloud to each other.
P3 walks around the site criss-crossing it, circling around the trees, around the herman de vries sculpture, walking backwards, repeating pathways, walking sideways, rolling and then round again back to the tent.
11.45 P3 dries off in the big tent and wraps up in a rug.
P2 goes shopping for food and drinks.
12.00 15 visitors are milling around. P1 makes a cup of tea for everyone. General chitchat.
12.30 P1 and P3 discuss the subject matter for a play that all of them will write and perform that same day. P1 wants the subject to be … “art in public space: a dilemma”. P3 wants the subject to be “the new G8 with George, Osama, and Tony”. They argue for a while.
P3 starts writing a script. The script is about three people stuck in a lift. P1 makes some A4 and A3 announcements using the felt-tip pens. One goes up on the notice board outside, the others are taped onto the sides of the tent and on surrounding lamp posts.
13.00 Lunch inside tent. P1, P2, P3 discuss the play over lunch.
14.00 Clear up lunch.
14.45 P1 and P2 go for a 2 hour break. They cycle around Münster looking at the other works in the sculpture project but end up in a café because it is too wet. P3 continues script.
15.45 P3 has tea break.
16.45 P3 goes for an hour break. P1 and P2 finish off script.
18.00 Tea break. P1, P2, P3 rehearse play.
19.30 The rain has nearly stopped, dinner under the canopy outside.
20.30 Final rehearsals.
21.00 The play begins.
22.00 Everyone rolls down the sides of the big tent and secures the tie ropes. They pack away the books in the trailer, clear up rubbish, shake and brush off the carpets if needed, put a lock through the chairs, pack away the sound system into the trailer, put away the slide projector. Clear up kitchen area and pack kitchen equipment in trailer.
It starts to rain very hard, everyone sleeps in the big tent.