A permanent installation commissioned by artsdepot arts centre in North London, and winner of a Milly Apthorp Trust award 2006. The work aims to integrate the everyday actions of the public around a long bench into a continuously evolving choreography based on sitting and standing.
Benchmark focuses on public activity around a long bench seat, located directly outside a theatre. Members of the public (viewers) can sit on different parts of the bench from which a video can be seen projected onto the opposite wall showing an image of the same seat but with a number of performers moving on or in front of it. These performers react in different ways depending on: where the viewer sits, how many viewers there are, and how close together they are sitting.
If nobody sits on the bench:
Images from around the artsdepot interior are shown on the opposite wall. If someone sits down, say in the centre of the bench, the video changes to a view of the bench, a performer enters and walks to the corresponding position on the bench where the viewer has just sat. The performer then executes a unique piece of choreographed movement around that area.
If more than one person sits on the bench:
The installation measures three aspects of activity which influences the video – where viewers are sitting, how many viewers there are, and how closely grouped they are, i.e. a measure of intimacy. If two viewers sit far apart from each other the installation plays two solo dances (2 super-imposed clips). However if they do sit close together a duet will appear (1 clip with 2 dancers). A similar process applies for 3, 4, 5 etc people: 3 people = 3 dancers, 4 people = 4 dancers etc.
Artsdepot, Barnet, London
performers: Lyndsey McConville, Robert Bell, Bonita Chan, Aya Kobayashi, Lyndsey McConville, Matthew Slater, Aneta Szydlak
choreography: Yael Flexer
concept & installation: Nic Sandiland
funded through Arts Council England and the Milly Apthorp Trust