Hello again (rat friend, blog friend)
I almost dropped the entire rat project. The semester ended and I felt empty, like I hadn’t accomplished what I’d set out to do (rat costume, documentary, among others). Then summer started and lots of other tasks shifted my priorities away… but in the back of my head, and in my dreams, rats lurked on.
The rat dreams I’ve had this summer have had rats cast as independent friends, or as a group I’m responsible for, creatures to take care of and watch out for. In one dream I protected baby and adult rats escaping from two plastic bags from my parents’ cats, who are mouse killers. The rats in my dreams have been benign, even benevolent, yet uncontrollable.
The Rat Island video idea has percolated back to the front of my consciousness. I really want to do it, even if it’s the swan song of rats in my work. The peripheral logistics are not terribly complex. The most complicated part of realizing this project is designing and setting up the structure to ensure the safety of the rats, and myself, and to ensure that those practicalities do not interfere with the [undeveloped] vision for what the whole thing means. It’s not a very deep idea right now. I need to make some drawings…
New developments: While I’m still undecided about the details of the interior/exterior design of the structure I’ll build, and the costume, I’ve come to the conclusion that the video shoot should be a live performance. Basic elements of live performance are essential to how I choose to engage people as an artist. I’m interested in how live performance and documentation can be inseparable and rely on each other. I’m interested in residue.
The structure containing the rats, myself, and the water will be in the middle of the room, with three camera operators and two rat trainers positioned around. The interior of the structure will not be visible to the viewers. There will be a live feed from the three cameras projected into the space, or maybe onto the structure itself. The event will be treated more like an opening than a theatrical performance, serving stale or half-eaten food, and half-consumed wine and beer. Viewers will be able to walk around and converse however they like. Hopefully the video projections and structure will be conversation starters. The room will be mic’d and so those conversations can be layered onto the video composition I’ll create from the footage of the three cameras. I think I might move around a little more in the chamber as well.
Just ideas. Press onward.