Site Specific Performance – Mike Pearson

Pearson, M. (2010) Site-Specific Performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian

Pearson focuses his work on the different approaches that one can take to Site-Specific performance. Pearson suggests that in order to explore a ‘Site’ fully you must ask questions and put yourself in different situations in order to fully appreciate it and locate ‘Hidden Histories’ within it. Pearson believes that physical land should be merged with the community who live on it and from it.

Pearson offers a practical approach called the 11th week approach that explains different ways in which artists can practically engage with a site in order to understand it more fully and gain different perspectives on the area.

Bubbling Tom

I have previously studied some practical work that Pearson has presented ‘Bubbling Tom’ please find an explanation of this below;

Pearson, M. (2006) ‘Bubbling Tom’, in In Comes I. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, pp. 21-29.

Bubbling Tom is a site specific solo performance by Pearson, it tells the story of his childhood through a guided tour. He visits 10 locations and tells of his past, he tries to emphasise the importance of place when it comes to memory through the use of multiple locations.

He uses archaeology in order to represent his experiences, he uses photographs and maps of how the areas used to be in order to bring the past into the present. He even uses scars on his body.

Pearson states that he was drawn to Site specific performance and solo performance because of the emphasis it places on voice, the importance of the teller (tone, speed pitch) and the way in which the teller engages with the audience as a direct result of speech be that of learned text or simply conversation.

Pearson and our project

Pearson’s work is interesting in the development of our own project as we are looking at taking our participants on a walk. As a result of this reading I desire our project to keep a strong connection to the land that it takes place on. Subsequently I feel that research in to the histories of various landmarks will give participants an aim while still giving them freedom to roam. It will also allow them to consider the area for what it was and get a sense of both past and present.



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