In 1998 (a very busy year for us), we designed and developed I-lands. We’d been working in clubs and ‘raves’, at festivals and making street theatre for a while, and wanted to really stretch the idea of making performance for these spaces. Clubs, particularly had developed a culture of sub-circus spectacle and we wanted to make something very different from the anglegrinder-on-metal-crotchpiece work we were increasingly seeing. So, with the aid of the Arts Council, we enlisted the help of ‘Tinseltown’, Bath-based performance duo, to design and develop a new piece of work. We traveled to Bristol and ensconced ourselves in an artist-run building (since developed into the Cube arts centre and moved a bit), and worked our socks off to make the piece. The piece developed into a non-verbal performance, charting the lives of five ‘everyman’ characters as they mapped their way through modern life. See the film below for a taster of a performance that lasted between 25 minutes and over 3 hours (it’s only three minutes or so).
ilands was toured over several years to all kinds of venues from shopping centres to music festivals and ‘raves’. We were picked by the Eels indie band to support them on their UK tour, ending with a 4000+ capacity Brixton Academy watching a piece of performance art! When asked once by an arts officer how we evaluated a gig like that, I replied that, as we weren’t bottled off we could then assume that the performance went very well indeed. Literally hundreds of thousands of people got to see i-lands over the time we toured it, which is, we believe, an incredible achievement for a piece of quite challenging work, performed in very public contexts – the show ended, rather than with a bow, with the performers staring straight ahead and dancing whilst walking into the audience and melting away within the crowd.