#6: Walk-Formation-Walk

Preparations for performative works
In Delphi, I found myself lost in both the now-moment and in history. Exploring the site, I decided to wander around while making notes of both my state of mind and of my findings. I also took photographs at random.

Here’s what I wrote during the first hour:
‘I am walking, I look around without concentration. My focus constantly switches on and off. Turmoil in my head. I climb the stairs slower and slower, stop, take my camera and make pictures of plants and flowers.
I hear tourist-guides around me. They chatter in Greek, American, Chinese, Italian.
I pick up lost pieces of paper ( a Wi-Fi number, a lottery paper, a ticket origami, folded). I took a picture of one of these.
I listen to bird sounds while I’m walking.

For some time I follow my shadow, until the stairs lead me in another direction. Cameras  are clicking everywhere around me. Now I am at the spot where Zeus threw down a stone to mark the centre of the world.
I feel rushed, groups of tourists are passing. I cannot concentrate. I continue and wait, standing in the shade of a tree. Looking around: stones everywhere, remnants of columns. Excited shouts of tourists who discover signs, braille texts.
It starts to get warm now: 30 ° Celsius and it is only 9:45 in the morning. The slope is in full sunlight.
Why can’t I remember this place the way I experience it now? I was here before, somewhere in The 70’s.

I want to know and not know at the same time.
I decide to stop writing and to take pictures, I want to be in the present.
I am aware that I am walking here to prepare a performative work that I will carry out this afternoon. I would like to postpone this moment of developing an idea.
I start writing again because I am afraid to lose the experiences, the details. I am a lousy researcher. I can’t concentrate. I switch my focus to easily.

I am climbing on. From the theater I look down at the temple of Apollo in the valley. I think about teaching materials for my pupils (age 7-9). A tourist shouts ‘stop!’ to her group, pointing that she wants to make a group photo.
My pencil drops a heavy shadow on the paper. I could make a drawing now but I decide not to.
I have to find my focus.

I continue  my climb up to the Stadium.  Alexia just comes down with a story about the behaviour of an eccentric female-guard.
I am curious, I get distracted again.  At the stadium I meet  Frans and Maarten and we talk about possible works. While descending  the mountain I do some tests for the afternoon works. I regain my focus. But because of that I lose the scurrying around aimlessly and with that, the feeling that anything is possible. I find back all possibilities in the test with water. Then I get distracted again.’


Action and effects of water
While descending the mountain  I sometimes stop to pour a bit of water on the ground and watch it transforming in different shapes and disappearing by evaporation. I make several pictures. While focussing on the action and effects, I felt tourist passing without giving any attention. Or were they just polite and let me go on, thinking their own thoughts?


Performing a walk-formation-walk
For this performance I asked the other participants (Frans, Jello, Maarten and Alexa) to join. We started like any group of tourists, walking disorderly following the instructions of the guide. At a signal we gathered and formed a circle with our backs pointed inwards. After a while I called the name of something I noticed at that moment. The others did the same in other languages. We left the circle again, started walking disorderly, and the gathering repeated in different places for 3 times.

After Maartens ‘Line-up in the shade’-performance I felt less at ease. I felt more observed. The sound of saying words loudly makes the act more noticeable.  I start choosing more eye catching places to form a circle, like the theatre. The side effects were unexpected: a group of tourists (from Shanghai) asked us to join them for a group selfie while singing out loud together. I do not know whether our performance triggered a sense of community . I guess it is a coincidence.

Ellen3    Ellen4

Map of Storage waiting for research
For my 4th performative work  I used the concept Map of Storage of Frans van Lent. I took a series of photographs with a filter I borrowed from Alexia Karavela. She brought several different camera-filters. I chose the one with a grid on it. I started to look for a non-object while other visitors of the archaeological site were moving in prescribed directions. As soon as I found an unnoticeable spot, I took several pictures, holding  the filter between the non-object and the camera-lens. The results were unpredictable. The filter with the grid directed my choice for taking or not taking a picture. Sometimes sharp, sometimes blurry, sometimes with the background in focus.

On a map I marked the places where I took the photos.

Ellen5    Ellen6