On the Horizon

You watch.

You are in a line. You are a formation.

You are not alone.

We are in this together.

You take a breath.

You watch.

You rest your hands on your laps. 

You shift your weight in your chair.

You try and avoid your neighbour’s gaze.

You like to keep it to yourself.

You are alone.

You watch.

You do not know what to expect.

But someone is watching you. 

Watching your back.

You are being taken care of.

You are not alone.

We are in this together.

On The Horizon is a performance project developed by theatre maker Chloé Déchery and choreographer Jane McKernan (UK/AUS), which takes the notion of the horizon as a starting point – as a tangible space and a conceptual framework to consider our relation to landscapes as both spectators and active agents.

With each new iteration and for each new place, On the Horizon is developed in direct relationship to a chosen site overlooking a public space in the city, opening up towards a vista (a park, a harbour, a valley, a hill). Every new version of the performance is based on thorough observation and field-work while the artists spend a few days living near the chosen site, sometimes working with local habitants, collecting oral history interviews about their experience living in that place.

The work takes the form of a “group viewing of a horizontal landscape”; spectators are seated alongside rows of chairs facing a particular iconic view of the city and are invited to listen, with an individual set of headphones, to a podcast narrating and commenting upon the view that is set in front of them. While the audio recording starts with a factual description of the immediate surroundings – taking into account its geographical, architectural or meteorological defining features – elements of fiction as well as discreet performative interventions set within the landscape (including a choreography of smoke, confettis, leaves and balloons) are progressively incorporated into the narrative so that the spectators are prompted to doubt and question what they are actually watching.

On the Horizon is a piece that enables the spectators to fully engage with the acts of watching and listening while allowing them to be immersed within an open environment made familiar and alien all at once.

Coming together from distinct art-form backgrounds and opposite hemispheres, Chloé and Jane seek to find a common form to discuss their experience of being in the world, and to share their findings with others. While tapping into a collective understanding of the horizon as a romantic metaphor for longing and aspiration, the notion of the horizon also designates the artists’ common interest in exploring what it is we do when we really try and pay attention to what is around or ahead of us. With On the Horizon, we seek to highlight the power of performance’s here and now, combining fiction and reality; live performance and sounscdapes; choreographed action and collective imagination; crossing intentions, scripted text with acts of genuine serendipity.

Credits
A project conceived by Chloé Déchery, developed and written in collaboration with Jane McKernan.
Sound design and music by Lewis Gibson.
Dramaturgy by Simone Kenyon
Video Documentation by Susanne Dietz
With initial contributions from Erin Brannigan, Lizzie Thomson and Paul Gazzola
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England (GfA) and the British Council (the International Artist Development Fund). Development of the work has been generously supported by Dance4, InDialogue Critical Path, Sydney, Australia and University of Surrey.
References
Espectadores, by Aleix Plademunt; Isabelle Chapuis and Alex Pichot’s The Blossom Project; Lines, A Brief History by Tim Ingold; The horizon: a history of our infinite longing,by Didier Maleuvre; Girl Chewing Gum by John Smith; Bivouac and Actions en milieu naturel, by Philippe Quesne; Vue sur le Parc and Syndicat d’initiative and Panorama commenté by Grand Magasin.

Further information

The project was recently redeveloped thanks to a residency undertaken at Dance4 and facilitated by InDialogue in November-December 2016. A first showing was presented on 2 December 2016 at King Edward’s Park, in front of the Dance4’s building.

The artists are currently working towards a final version of the piece which should be finalised and ready to tour by late 2017.

For further information about the project, you can also read the blog written during the initial  research residency that Chloé and Jane undertook at Critical Path in Sydney in March 2015:

http://onthehorizondecheryandmckernan.tumblr.com

For further information, please contact Chloé on chloe@chloedechery.com