I had the privilege of working with Tinhouse and Norwich Puppet Theatre on the Torch Relay and Lords Mayor's Celebrations in Norwich last week. Oohh the fun we had larking around, getting people wet, singing songs and holding up the traffic. It was great to work alongside such great performers and on such a beautiful boat, although I don't vouch for its seaworthiness!
Working with teenagers can be challenging sometimes, you either get a lively bunch who won't stop talking or, you get the groups who literally do not say a word. This group was of the second variety. So it was pleasantly surprising that, when asked to choose artefacts in the Sainsbury Collection which they then had to mimic with their bodies, they all got stuck in and gave it a go!
This activity was designed with looking in mind. We get bombarded with visual language all the time and rarely get the chance to stop and look, free from pressure to make judgments or criticisms.
Participants are asked to work in pairs, one stands facing the object and tries to mirror the object using their body. The other participant, has their back to the object and is looking at their partner, uses the opportunity to do some quick life drawing. The pairs then swap a number of times so each gets a chance to be model, drawer and to look at a number of objects they are attracted to in the collection.
As well as looking, the other result from this activity is the energy it generates especially in a gallery setting. There is lots of movement, stifled giggles and curiosity from passersby. It can turn an otherwise uninterested group into a lively, moving, autonomous, enquiring and chatty bunch (temporarily at least!).