After a long hiatus, here’s the documentation for Body Island, and a teaser trailer!
Posts Tagged ‘performance’
I’m giving them more and more space to explore, inside the structure. Soon I’ll remove more and more of the hiding places, ending finally with just a scaled boat and a body. I’ve been working with them late at night, the most active time for them– and the least for me these days. 11:30pm-1:30am. Last night I fell asleep in there while some of them ran around.
To get them to follow my finger, I scratch the floor until they come over to investigate, and just before they get to my finger, I move it away at a steady pace. They walk a few steps, and I give them a treat and signal the correct response with a vocal cue (I’ve been using ‘yes’). With repetition, everything stays the same except the distance grows. If they don’t get it at a certain distance, I make the next one easier, until they get it.
Working with 10 rats at once is impossible. So I’ll have to figure in time to work with each one individually, for about 10 minutes at a time. Before that, they all need to become more confident with being around a giant who picks them up and makes silly sounds at them.
This is little Ivo, grooming outside in the playpen:
Dino and Livio running around and play-fighting. These guys are escape artists, and amazing when they dash.
After a long play session, rats get tired:
Last Tuesday night (3 days ago). Here’s Mario, very inquisitive and bold. Yet he found a spot where he likes to be scratched (where most rats like it). After less than a week, this guy is calm and friendly with me. The others are a bit slower on the uptake, and some are still shy about being handled. Time is passing quickly! Next up is introductions/re-introductions, large-scale playtime in the structure, empty structure playtime, and water desensitization.
Since last Wednesday, all the rats have become comfortable taking food from me as I hold it. Now they’re running up to me to take it when I make sounds and open the cage. Fairly good progress for ‘feeder’ rats– rats that sit in a cage their whole lives not getting handled and then getting fed to snakes. They still don’t love to be picked up, but they let me massage their jaws, and start bruxing (grind their teeth) which means they like it. Now we play a game, they run up grab a piece of food (I’m using Cheerio-like things) and run away to eat it.
The scab on my hand is from last weekend’s performance, not a rat bite! Some rats are developing personality traits. Enio, one of the large ones, is always coming up to greet me, and is very curious about the outside world. Dino, one of the smaller ones, is a cache artist. He takes morsels of food from the dish, one by one, and takes them downstairs for later. Extremely cute. They’ve been wrestling and relaxing.
Tonight some of them made a breakthrough. I put the rat towel on my lap and push my leg up against the top of the triplex, where the opening is. I left the cage open and they began to explore. They came out, tentatively, and explored the territory under my shirt for a while, nuzzling and rustling. The nicest part, for them and me, was that they didn’t poop at all! That means they were not freaked out. Getting there, getting there. Next up is more of the same. Not going to push it too fast. Sensitive creatures. If I do this 2-3 times a day, unforced, they’ll be good to go. There was one little guy who is an escape artist, crawling down the side of the cage. He’ll have to be watched closely.
Kiss for me?
One thing I’m not looking forward to is introducing the two big guys to the rest of the bunch. Apparently a rat can eviscerate another rat in the blink of an eye. There’s tried and true methods to introductions that I’m following, but it would be much better if they just play nice from the beginning. Good source material for all things rat: http://rattyrat.com/ , and http://www.joinrats.com/ . Here’s hoping.
Finished some more of the top section, just have to add the basin, basin bracing and plywood facing, inside ceiling, and top floor part. Oh, and waterproofing the hell out of it. Thanks to Aki, Megu, Pau, and Edgcumbe for the lift! And then Edgcumbe stuck around and we cut some of the walls. He is a table saw. Thank godge for him. Getting a better sense of the space– and the acoustics… gonna be tough to figure that one out.
View from camera 1, top left corner:
View from camera 3, right middle height:
View from camera 2, down center:
This is the 4′x4′ sheet of 1/2″ thick polycarbonate. Have to bolt it to the frame. Also, missing is the angle of steel that will go across the long 2×4 as bracing. It’s clear, but there’s protective film covering both sides.
The build of the interior structure is well on it’s way. Thanks to the help of some really smart and hard-working people. Joe, my bro with design assistance; Aki, Eric and Megu with hard labor and mistake correction. More on Saturday, adding the top frame and starting to figure out how to do the basin. Seeing the real thing come to life makes me feel like a Power Ranger or something.
Building the middle frame. The costume, the costume:
Lining up the studs:
Considering how to lift over. Actually, with 3 people under it, it felt more like 20 lbs each:
Securing studs using 6″ corner brackets. The weight of the top frames with water will settle the studs into place, the corner brackets or more to keep them from shifting. Plywood facing will prevent racking.
The way it looks now, with 2x 150 watt bulbs. With the two-way mirrors it might not be bright enough, so I’ll have to see about the gain on the cameras, or open the iris up. Adding 1/2″ plywood walls soon, just have to figure out the cuts for openings and so forth. Max inside the structure:
Two-way mirrors for the camera turrets. Ordered from seethroughmirrors.com, 1/4″ acrylic. When it’s completely dark on the camera side the acrylic is transparent, with a bluish tint, which I’ll have to figure out how to correct in-camera. The other side (in the light) is pure mirror and reflects. In this photo I’m not completely shrouded so you see the reflection of my shirt.
From the other side. Completely reflective.
Yesterday morning (2/22) I went to Petco and got 10 white male rats. They are living in my studio for the time being. Their names are Aldo, Bruno, Ciro, Dino, Elio, Fausto, Giulio, Ivo, Livio, and Mario. To tell them apart I’m going to write the first letter of their names between their shoulder blades in non-toxic washable marker (standard practice for rat disambiguation in the home). I got 8 ‘medium’ rats, all from the same cage, and separated them 4 and 4 in two duplexes with mezzanines. Shoulda sprung for bigger tanks. I’m going to get another tank on Friday. The two ‘large’ rats are on their own for now because they were not part of the same colony. Another reason for writing letters on their backs is to know how they’re getting mixed up after play/training sessions.
When I got them to the studio yesterday, they were understandably shocked and non-responsive. I suspect they were not hand raised and not hand-fed. It’s only now, 38 hours later, that most of them will take food from my fingers, and one of them is showing a genuine interest in climbing on me, and looks at me like ‘thanks’ when I give him banana. That will be Bruno.
I have a training session planned for the morning.
Less of a mood board in the broad sense of corresponding to the entirety of the work, and more of a glimpse into a couple of moods emerging from the work with the performer. Cracked mud and water are not my images, but the others are. Dry and taught vs moist and loose. Cool and serene vs wrenched and distressed. Extreme Photoshop!!!
These are final, but there are a few details that need to be sorted once the main structure has been built.
Top view, middle frame. Steel angle is bolted to 2x4s. The 4′x4′ polycarbonate is placed over the square opening in the upper right corner:
Steel angle support. Have to rout the doubled up 2×4 where the steel will rest:
Top view, top frame. Needs more support, but otherwise doable and easy. Measurements. Not shown: bracing and support for walls of basin:
Top view, basin cuts. Numbers correspond to measurements:
Basin roll out. Numbers correspond to cuts when rolled up. This is going to be very difficult to achieve. Might need a back-up plan: