Posts Tagged: Charlotte Spencer

Review of Walking Stories by Charlotte Spencer

As part of my work for Arts Award portfolio I wrote a review of Walking Stories by Charlotte Spencer.

On 24th September 2015 in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in London.

The group audio walk, Walking Stories by Charlotte Spencer is more than what it seems to be.
This piece is about movement, the language of the bodies in space and the choreographed activity to the music outdoors and in green public locations. The participants are also performers and there is an invitation to connect with ourselves and with others.

At the beginning we are given headphones and MP3’s players with the soundtrack we all will simultaneously follow through the hour-long journey. This start already made me feel a sense of belonging and as an artist I learned other ways of encouraging group awareness. A combination between instructions for physical responses, voice over and commentary encourages us to explore our senses and rethink about time and space. It is like your mind is tuned into a different frequency.

The people in the park who are not participating will only see a group of people walking together, splitting apart in random directions, running in circles, laying down on the ground, lurking behind trees, piling up objects, etc. It must be very interesting for those who happen to be there and I wonder what crosses their minds. While participating, I was really focused in my experience and on the tasks and I didn’t pay that much attention to the audience around me. I felt they could be part of the set.

From my experience the trance-like music, the voice over in our heads and being focused in the behaviour of the body changes the quality of time. Suddenly I find myself more connected with who I am and immersed in the nature. I feel I am actually living the actual present and it takes me somewhere else deep and makes me conscious about matters I never thought before.

By taking part in Walking Stories, I learned to be more aware of the people around me, aware of nature, aware of time and how we feel time passing; noticing and being more conscious of the fact that I am alive, in a certain place, in a certain time, doing something.

This is an opportunity to make the most of our own individual impulses as well as to collaborate.

Maria Rodrigues

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Time is…

Time is or can be uncomfortable.
Time is timeless.
Time is what we want it to be.
Time is a luxury.
Time is blood.

Last Thursday, Charlotte Spencer led a 45min improvisation session and fed us with suggestions like: exploring time, moving constantly, to zoom in and focus in detailed movements of our own body and also to move as slowly as possible.
Right after we did a 4min task of writing constantly and each sentence we wrote had to start with “Time is…”. The sentences above are the ones that caught my curiosity the most from all the ones I composed.

From my experience while moving, I found it challenging to adapt myself gradually and not in an abrupt way from one suggestion to another. After the exercise, I had a “click” in my mind when Charlotte shared her vision on how hard it can be to move as slowly as we were doing: because we focus our attention in such a small part of our body and in its motion, that its likely we loose the reference points around it; we stop seeing the whole picture and its easy to think that every move feels enormous and that we’ve moved considerably in space.

As a group, we didn’t know how long the improvisation session took. In the end, we supposed it would have passed around 15/20min. We were extremely surprised when Charlotte said it actually took 45min. It was interesting to analyse our relationship with time and how our notion of time passing when doing certain actions.


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