BE THERE, DO THIS - visitor scores for social choreography and self-shouting

walking score: ground painting on parade square of former casern in Diest (BE), 2014

Be there, do this

I. from within
II. from above
III. from under

for a self-performing audience

3 works - from big to small scale
acryl paint and print

at Citadel Diest, Belgium
28 Nov - 21 Dec 2014

more info on the group exhibition of Citadel'arte

For photos of I. and II. scroll down.

Photos and info of "III. from under" you find here.

"Be there, do this" was realized on various occasions, each with it's own score and set-up and since 2019 under the new title "Figures of Walking Together", at:

Assistance, technical drawings, realization: Miriam Rohde
Big thank you to Shella Claes, Jan Volders and Willy Vanlommel 

Quickly written text with some layers of meaning and technical concepts behind this works:

The venue is an old citadel, a military fort from around 1830, finished the moment that peace 'broke out', so useless from the beginning. Till 2010 it was home to parachute military companies. Now it is a lost, beautiful building in a lost small town, huge site with great spaces, old military graffiti, traces of vandalism and a roof entirely full of plants, even trees.

The works:
'Be there, do this' plays with the phrase "been there, done this". It thinks as invitation to understand contemporary being as an active mode: do it! To be somewhere is a performative state. Play your life. Do stuff. Where ever you are.
Something like this. Suits the story of this building, since it was always used against its first idea (namely to shoot dutch soldiers from inside).

"I. from within" takes place at the parade ground, the huge square in between the buildings (which form a broken pentagon). I made a parcours/score on the entire ground by painting yellow lines with red/blue words and some fermatas.

People are invited to walk the three paths (alone, with three or with groups). The patterns they will walk are a collage from drill-exercises and playful choreographies. The movements contain some major themes:
- how to fake a group with small amounts of people
- how to give some elementary elements of drill choreographs (like time-cues or space-cues: "to the   

  left: now!" of "to the left: from here!")
- how to make traces of past programs of the square visible, and how to make them ridiculous
- thinking about an embodiment of history
- make people do stuff, that they make up themselves (like shouting, without saying what)
- playing with the imperative of art works: think this! Do this! ( aren't we commanders of experiences? Have an experience: now!)

"II. from above" is a board made from aluminum with a blue-orange print on it. 

It stands on the roof of the building where people arrive after 2/3 of the exhibition parcours. Here, they see a board, like a tourist sign with information about (in this case) the drawing on the square, which they can see from up there. 
The sign gives certain functions of the square away, without telling the entire story. It also mixes explanations (Drill, flag, parade,...) with a humorist critical definitions (drill: repetitive exercises to get information deep into the bodies of the executors, tribune: rows of seats for the parents to watch their kids, microphone spot: used to make the commander being understood a little better) and some odd hints and one performative request (spacial experience: a combination of sensual information, memories and feelings, you are here: please, shout something and enjoy the echo).

III. from under are 4 painted graffiti in the old storage space in the basement. The space is quite big and has an acoustic with almost 10 seconds of reverb.
- The graffiti are designed in the colors and styles of the left-over graffiti of the soldiers, who occupied the space until recently (yellow and blue).
- They contain words, musical symbols and fragments of the choreography on the square outside. (I. from within)
- The text asks people to either (1.) shout, (2.) sing, (3.) talk or (4.) cough.
- The musical symbols support this with some suggestive notation (however, nothing seems to be clearly determined, no lines of a proper systems, instead notes  floating
freely in space). 

The shouting could be an echo of former commands (military orders often consist of two shouts: first the information, then the order for action). 
The singing could become a chord of several voices, performed by just one person (the reverb makes the tones overlap for a moment).
The soft talking results in a drone, a constant noise. 
The cough is merely a percussive accentuation of the space. Coughing as just another vocal action, here compared with sounds we consider as beautiful.

Interactive work in an exhibition context has the special capacity to make people dare. They dare to do more, since nobody watches. Only the people on the roof top could become the watchers in the watchtower. Maybe. But that depends on what they shout. 

with Miriam Rohde, who was a great help to this project!

instructions "stop", "turn", "wait" (fermata), "turn", "go"


instrumental compositions & co.


Album NYH