I have been obsessed with systems… Looking back at recent works I have done, and at how I want to move forward, I realised that what I do is create systems within which the work can happen. There are site and context-specific in the way that they adapt themselves to specific locations, and would take on a different shape wherever they take place , but they are also transferrable from one place to another.
I have made about 50 drawings, and below is a selection of 3. They can be read in different ways, and the key language is:
- People could either be a group, or the same person at different times.
- Stickers could represent an object, an attitude, an action, a sentence, etc.
- When stickers are divided, this could be in term of physical size or intensity. When they change color, it can mean that they are completely transformed every time, or developing into something.
- Arrows could represent a shift in time or space, or the passage from one person to another, or one group to another.
I was delighted to be chosen to take part in Longhouse Action Research programme 2010-2011. After 5 years of working as an artist since my graduation, I feel this is the right time to look back, analyse what is really important for me within my work, understand how I place myself within the bigger picture and how my work can have an impact on current social, political, and cultural issues.
In my work, I create what I call “short-circuits” in the public realm, in order to propose new ways of experiencing daily routines and everyday environments. Audiences’ reaction is at the heart of my practice, and each project takes on the best suited form to create the desired reactions in response to a given context. This led me to develop a wide range of artforms, from physical objects (I Thought It Was Real), to ephemeral interventions and performances (The Man Who Was Everywhere). Most of my works tend to create ‘mysterious’ situations, leading viewers to communicate to try and solve this ‘bug in perception’, and producing small communities united by the experience of a moment.
More information about my work is available on www.laurencepayot.com. Below is a video of The Man Who Was Everywhere.
Recently, I felt the need to give my practice a shift, and accentuate audiences’ direct involvement in shaping the work, moving from active spectators to active actors. I want to give people the confidence of tracing their own proposed versions of how we can experience and shape our daily lives and widen our perceptions.
The aim of my proposed Action Research is to carry out investigations into this new way of working by testing a new ‘system’. I am hoping that this will open new possibilities and will lead to try out a pilot project which I can tour in different cities and develop in the future. The project that would allow me to try this out is called Coincidence and would take the form of an invisible theatre (a form of theatrical performance that is enacted in a place where people would not normally expect to see one, and in which performers attempt to disguise the fact that it is a performance to those who observe and who may choose to participate in it as if it was a ‘real’ event). The project would consist in:
- Gathering a large number of volunteers within a given area to become actors in Coincidence.
- Meeting with groups within the community to decide on the content of the performance and create ‘instructions’ for the actors.
- Performing: by sending simple instructions daily to each of the actor. All the actors would receive the same daily actions (ie. “Say hello to every person you walk passed”), thus potentially creating coincidence, and social patterns within the area.
The first stage of my research will be to develop concepts and ideas within my work, refine the location for my work in general and more specifically find a area to develop a pilot of Coincidence.