Perception---you have that power.

There is purpose in design. There is information in a setting. There is truth in your environment. Fake or real, it's there.

All images are copyrighted by Heidi Hoffer unless otherwise indicated. Your courtesy in using my photographs must include crediting me as the photographer. You must tell me when and where you've used them and send the link to me showing your use of them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Performance Art Installations

Signatures was curated by Wits scenographer Jenni-Lee Crewe. Her students were the artists, and each had to create a piece involving their take on what performance art is today. I provided most of the lighting - there was one piece that defied lighting as it's performance was all smell and tactile work. One piece used large maps of differing translucencies and a ceiling of ever-changing map projections and post-it-notes to locate memories. My photos of that unfortunately did not come out. Three of the pieces were on the amphitheatre stage which shared the same setting, including a rectangle of glossy black on the floor. In one case it was a duck pond, and in another it was a barrier for the performance.
This piece involves heavy metal safes, white gloves, ear phones, and things inside the safes that you could look at and consider. The safes were presented on white pedestals with white fabric leading down to them from the ceiling.

There were seven of these safes, all presented as if they were in a gallery. Very audience-friendly.

Across the room from the safes was this cut-out tree with all the good and bad terms for "woman" painted on it. A woman in yellow sat underneath with a huge pile of lemons, eating lemons like they were going out of style.

At the end of the room was a room-sized box of paper with a doorway and a window and a moveable lighting instrument. Participants could draw or paint the outlines of their shadows. In some cases, outlines were enhanced with paint after being drawn in pencil. This could be viewed from above, through the door or window, and through the walls from outside since the walls were just thin paper.

Here is the artist outlining a particpant's shadow onto one of the walls as seen from the outside of the box.

One of the performances in the Amphitheatre used masks, and sound effects came from the actors. The glossy black rectangle was a fishing pond with ducks in it for this one.
One of the Amphitheatre performances used only the glossy back rectangle, with dance-like movements contained tightly by the rectangle. Notice, too, the rectangular mirrors in the upper right reflecting the activity.
In this third Amphitheatre performance art piece, the actor's movements were directed over a loudspeaker by someone in the lighting booth, who changed the procedure every performance.
In the final installation, the audience was invited to go outdoors to watch and hear the boys in blue commune with a blue-wrapped tree against the sodium vapour lights of the city.

I should add that if and when I can get other people's photos of the smells and the maps installations, I would love to post them here as well. I would also love to get a close-up of the masks used in the duck-pond performance. They were papier-mache masks, very lightweight.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

South Africa's Natural Heritage

Photo by Heidi Hoffer.
Took a break and visited this Lilac Breasted Roller. Fortunately this lovely bird sat rock-still so I could get a nice photo of it. I used a 17-85 lens, and blew the image up like mad to get this. Not too bad, eh?
Animals are a part of South Africa's Natural Heritage. I have been able to see up close several mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. I recommend the following blog for really nice photos and commentary on this diverse topic: South African Photographs  The author's blog contains links to other blogs of a similar nature, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wits Theatre Facility Tour Part 2

So far, I’ve shown you pictures of main theatre lobby and loading bay. Now, we’re off to the scene shop, costume shop and more! More parts of the tour will follow. If you're interested in a specific area, let me know and I will seek permission to photograph it to show you how things are done here. It is really interesting that the flow of the architecture for the purpose of making theatre is similar to everywhere else I've been. I mean, a light booth is a light booth is a light booth. The basic functions remain the same yet the chain of command can be different.
The workshop is full of natural light, and is quite large. The TD and the ME’s offices are in one corner of the shop, with the PM’s office right above theirs.

The paint area functions as a catch-all for the several shows that are produced by the workshop. Once a show buys paint, it is difficult to keep that paint in stock because every last drop is used on another show and so on with very little waste.

The workshop has your typical arc welder, oxyacetylene rig, and band-saw and other power tools.
Here is the arc welder.

And here is flat storage.
Here is the Greenroom for the Wits Main Theatre.

The dressingrooms are light and airy and have lockers for street-clothes.

Upstairs in the hallway off the costume workshop, there are windows into the scene shop which allow natural light into the hallway, and a great view to the construction areas below.

Here’s another picture of the hallway showing how big the windows are that overlook the workshop.
The costume shop is a bright and cheerful place to work. It is small like many other costume shops I’ve been in, and this one has the added duty of supervising the small properties such as liquor bottles and telephones.

Storage for notions and jewelry-making etc. are near the offices of the Costumer/Shop Manager and her staff.

This is a view of the costume shop looking toward the offices. Notice the Juki!!

The laundry room.

The shoe room.

The small props room.

One row of the costume storage room.

Some of the colorful costumes in storage.

The students, staff and patrons get to grab a drink or a snack from the cafĂ©  in the lobby, and come outside onto a terrace for some sunshine.

One of the other venues managed by the Wits Theatre complex is The Nunnery, actually part of an old Catholic church.

The Drama Department is in a different building from the Wits Main Theatre. It is across the road in what used to be a dental school. This is the lobby of the Wits School of the Arts in which you'll find the Drama Department. The school houses all of the arts, and actually several buildings are used to contain rehearsal rooms, offices, studios, workshops, practice rooms, sound labs, and so on.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wild Performance Art Installation

"Signatures" opens tonight on Wits campus. It is the 9 event performance art piece I designed the lights for. Some events have more supportive lighting than others, as the piece demanded. Here is just one picture of the wildest event. The two young men and the tree. They were making animal and other environmental sounds and they moved with the tree. Fascinating.
Ika (center) and fellow student commune with a blue wrapped tree. At times in their performance I swear the tree moved instead of them.

Click here for Facebook Event description of Signatures!