We wanted to find a way to collaborate in an object-based devising process via Zoom, using the possibilities our participants offered to us. Through this process we explored ways in which objects connect intimately with, and can also hide, personal identity.
Calligraphy names and intials
We had a calligraphy artist in our group, Sam, who inspired us to use the initials of our names as a landscape and a memories’ carrier.
Sharing stories of names
The first phase of the process was crafted by Dafa in collaboration with Sam, the calligraphy artist. It began with participants drawing the initial of their first names in Arabic, then dividing these into 5 images about their past and the story of their name.
In the second phase of the process, run by Tobi Poster-Su of Wattle and Daub, participants worked in pairs to create performances in which they scrolled these images across his screen as a storyboard while their partner narrated what they saw, developing a new story layered over the initial memories.
Embedding memories into objects
The partners then embedded these images, drawn from their own memories, into objects, and created short performance pieces with the objects.
Here is a video of the performance Husam and Angie shared with the group based on Husam’s initial: a story different from Husam’s, but linked to it through the process of embedding memories within objects:
A: There is a man. He walks. He climbs. He climbs the steepest of inclines.
H: كان في هالزلمة اللي كان يطلع يتمشى ويطلع ع الجبل.
A: At the top, he stops. In front of him is a woman.
H: بأعلى الجبل. قدام عينيه شاف صبية.
A: They walk. They walk together. In time.
H: مشوا مع بعض، بنفس الوقت، وكانت اللحظة
A: The wood springs up around them and the tree with the deepest of roots rocks the baby.
She walks and she walks and she finds her own incline.
H: مشت ومشت ومشت لغاية ما وصلت لأعلى الجبل
A: She walks.
A: She walks.