For Documenting Intimacy, Taylan Halici created a series of audio recordings which you can listen to below.
I was very surprised when Brian and Marisa approached me to take part in this project. In the past five years, since March 2010, I’ve been hiding…
It was a kind of active hiding, during this time I’ve worked at my own pace consolidating my practice as a performance maker. I wanted to follow my interests, feelings and beliefs without any pressure to deliver a commercially viable end result. I set myself a couple of rules:
A) The work I created during this time would only be presented within the borough I live in.
B) The work would be offered free of charge.
Friends of Friends is one of the pieces that came out of this process. Friends of Friends is a one-to-one piece that takes place outdoors and lasts about 90 mins. I love performing it and have been sharing it with audiences since March 2013. It’s a difficult piece to document. Firstly, because it’s impossible to document a one-to-one piece without framing the audience in the documentation. What does this do to the inherent agreement between the spectator and artist when they enter into the performance together? Does the spectator’s role become one of representation in a document of the event? I was concerned about what a need for documentation would do to this relationship.
Nonetheless, I did invite a good friend of mine who is sensitive to the particulars of this work to photograph it. Taking part in Friends of Friends is by appointment, so in this case I had the opportunity to approach audience members before the performance to ask for their permission to be photographed. One agreed and we photographed the piece. My friend was very good at judging his distance to our activity and I never felt that he was a physical obstacle. It never felt like the relationship between me and the audience member was compromised by his presence. With the spectator’s permission I used some of the images on my Facebook page. However, I decided to remove them after a short while. Something didn’t feel right. Whenever I looked at them, it felt like they exploited the relationship that was formed through the piece. I was also concerned that the audience member might have agreed to being photographed because the piece was offered free of charge. I decided not to use the images as a representation of the piece on any platform.
The second difficulty related to the documentation of Friends of Friends is about my own relationship with documentation. I always had a problem with documentation. Documentation has always been an afterthought, I have no use for it. My mind accepts all the practical uses good documentation can offer, my heart longs for obscurity. I make live work, the essence of it exists in the live moment. I’d like to not think about documentation while I make and share my work.
So when I was invited to think about how I would like to document Friends of Friends as part of Documenting Intimacy project, my initial response was that I didn’t want it to be documented. After all I was hiding. Then I told myself to be flexible and I thought about how to have a record of the piece without documenting a live performance of it. I highlighted three things about the piece:
- The one to one format means that each experience of the piece is determined by that particular spectator’s personality and response to the work.
- The essence of Friends of Friends is the audience’s experience.
- As it takes place outdoors there are many changeable factors that happen around the piece that affect the audience’s experience, so no performance is the same. The documentation should accept and record these differences.
The solution I came up with was documentation in the form of audio interviews with people who have experienced the piece. This would offer a reasonable representation of the live experience. It would be very subjective and involve recalling memories which will have been distorted by time. The form of the audio interview would allow me to be absent from the documentation too. This again puts the audience and their experience at the heart of the documentation through their own words.
I was very fortunate to have producer Jessica Harrington as a collaborator for the documentation process. Jessica got in touch with past participants of Friends of Friends, organised and ran the interviews. I hope you’ll enjoy the results as much as I have.
Taylan Halici is a British- Turkish artist working in performance and writing. He has an undergraduate degree in business, the knowledge from which is sometimes transferred into his performance work which aims to subvert the terms of exchange, gain and productivity. After finishing his degree in Istanbul, Taylan moved to the UK for postgraduate studies in Theatre Practice and Acting. He initially started making performance alongside his work as an actor. The main thread of his work is solo, alongside a long term collaboration with Tim Jeeves. In the past 4 years he’s been making work that takes place outdoors in his neighbourhood, offered to audiences free of charge. ‘Friends of Friends’ is a one to one walk that takes place at Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery, ‘Work Fair’ is a day long performance for an audience of one (this piece was made in collaboration with Tim Jeeves and was given to Taylan as a gift with full rights) and ‘The Shortest Day’ is a series of 11 one to one performances made for 11 individuals (theshortestdayishere.tumblr.com).
Taylan is also a marathon runner, running his 6th marathon in London in spring 2015.