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Open your eyes: working with my children on Sit with me for a moment and remember

Pinchbeck, Michael (2018) Open your eyes: working with my children on Sit with me for a moment and remember. Performance Research, 23 (1). pp. 113-116. ISSN 1469-9990

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Abstract

For the forthcoming Performance Research issue ?On Children?, I reflect on a performance installation I recently created with two of my children ? Dylan (8) and Lydia (5). A bench with a plaque reading Sit with me for a moment and remember is placed in a gallery and a live encounter takes place. It is both a dedication to a loved one and an invitation to a stranger. You are invited to sit on the bench to listen to a recording by Dylan and Lydia that reflects on what it means to sit for a moment and remember. A meditation on parenting and remembering, solitude and loss, the piece enacts an encounter with an absent friend or loved one. The text, spoken by my absent children, becomes a mediated presence and evokes a fleeting memory of someone you may have lost. For this article, looking at the piece through the lens of performance installation and the process of making Practice as Research, I relate the piece to the writing on absence by Peggy Phelan, Jacques Derrida and Amelia Jones. I consider how it performs absence and, in doing so, evokes memories of presence, through the voices of children. Baudrillard said, ?The child?s first relation to its toy is: how can I break it??. Tim Etchells, Director of Forced Entertainment writes of their work: ?we have this similar sort of relationship to theatre.? This article seeks to unpack the inherently unpredictable dramaturgy and post-dramatic, ?toy-breaking? potential of working with children.

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