Thursday, 20 July 2017

Over The Dramaturgy: FK Alexander @ Edfringe 2017

FK ALEXANDER is performing at Summerhall 

(I Could Go On Singing) Over The Rainbow

Various dates between 11th - 27th August 

With live accompaniment from Glasgow-based noise band Okishima Island Tourist Association, FK Alexander sings along to the recording of the last time Judy Garland ever sang Over The Rainbow, four months before her death. Stand hand in hand with FK in fixed eye contact, and witness others do the same.

This performance is an intimate interactive live experience of undivided attention and love, for an audience of 20 at a time.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
This piece was inspired by my deep connection and love for Judy Garland. I had wanted to find a way to share this with others in a way that didn't require anyone to be a fan of hers or know much about her.

The idea to combine Judy as a iconic figure with Live Noise music was to place two seemingly opposite worlds to bring out the tensions, connections and emotional qualities in each, by the other. The one to one hand holding element came late, almost out of a purely practical conversation, but its really the lynch pin of the work.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Lea Cummings and Sarah Glass were artists i'd worked with before and knew their work for some years. I knew from working with them that I could trust them to powerfully hold the space with me, to make the sound that was needed, and to be the right energy as people to do this work, especially as we have done this piece for 5/4/2 hours at a time, and now for the whole of August.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I was always interested in making performance since being a child. Not that much else occurred to me.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes - in that there was no rehearsal, there were diagrams, I talked to close friends about it, and I went with my gut instinct and imagined deeply through meditation and visualisation.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I try not to hope or expect - Any experience towards an artwork is valid and allowed - bored, elated, frightened, excitement - I welcome it all. I make the work as an genuine and heartfelt offer of love and connection and let people be as they are with it.

Photo credit: Jannica Honey​

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Im not sure about the word 'strategies'....I try not to think about 'The Audience' like people other than those 'on stage' are to be considered as a sudden mass - Due to the one to one aspect of this work, I am able to take the time to stand hand in hand, eye to eye and consider and cherish each individual as a unique vibration - this is very special.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
I call myself a performance artist, probably as much to do with a nostalgia to a time I was not a part of but wish I had been but have fantasised that notion out of all probable reality. - but my work takes various forms so I wouldn't say its in a 'tradition'. Tradition is the illusion of permanence anyway. 

At the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, the Glasgow-based live artist FK Alexander and the gang had a stellar time where this piece of undivided attention, brutal-radical-recovery and noise moved many people to tears and almost all people to speaking about it to anyone they could. 

The run sold out, and FK won a Total Theatre Award for Emerging Artist and has since been touring across the UK and internationally. In 2018 there are also tours of the USA, Australia and mainland Europe confirmed and in the works. It's been a wild ride... but just speaks of the resonance and timeliness of this work. 

People appear to need it! 

This August, FK Alexander is part of the Made in Scotland Showcase... almost DEFINITELY as the first piece of noise-based, durational performance art to be included in Made in Scotland's history and we're delighted to be occupying that space. 

additional questions about music

the idea of the performance as a gig: what qualities do you think make this the case? what do they share?

Nick Anderson said to me my work has a similar atmosphere to a rock show - Which I and some others have agreed with - Atmospherics, Tension, Expectation, Build up, To this, there are obvious parallels as I always employ sound/noise/volume and almost never spoken text. 

I am literally singing, there is literally a band playing live. People come to see 'me' - (as the figure of Judy) and be sung to. Red lighting, strobe, glitter - all common aspects of a rock show. 

are there any musicians you'd point to as an influence - or a pleasure that may not influence but gives some sense of your approach to music?

Lea Cummings and Sarah Glass are as much an influence as they are collaborators. 

Judy Garland, even though her songs sung by anyone else I woudn't really enjoy that much. 

Marilyn Manson, Manic Street Preachers - two of the most 'uncool' bands to site as major influence. But they were concept performance bands before they were rock bands.

Shit like Throbbing Gristle, Swans, Desalvo, Atari Teenage Riot, Deathgrips, Madonna, 20s Big Band, JAZZ. 

what is gained by live musicians on stage?

Gang mentality. Collective Power. United Vibrations.  The mystical power of 3 (in this case)

and is anything lost?

absolutely not. 

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