make-shift (2011)

make-shift is an innovative “expanded media” event created by Paula Crutchlow and Helen Varley Jamieson. It combines screen-based media, physical performance, networked performance and audience engagement to produce a magical theatrical experience. The work happens simultaneously between two domestic houses and a bespoke online performance space that anyone with a broadband connection can access. The theme of make-shift is the consequences of connectivity, and it is a light-footed and adaptable event that uses found household objects, recycling rubbish and internet technologies to speak about the fragility of ecological and human relationships.

Full Description

Performers Paula Crutchlow and Helen Varley Jamieson (one in each house) broker interaction between the local and remote audiences in the format of a performative salon. Moments of scripted and visually poetic performance are interspersed with webcam videography, digital imagery, avatar puppetry and audience participation, giving each audience a voice through audio-visual streaming and online chat. The online screen space is projected in each house as part of the on-site scenography. What is written in the chat is thus not just side commentary but a direct intervention which affects the reading and meaning of the work.

An audience of approximately 15 people gathers at each of the two houses for the performance event, which takes place over approximately an hour and a half to two hours. The performance unfolds in a mix of physical actions, poetic text, audience participation and group activities. Images from art history to natural history are combined with hard facts and troubling uncertainties to offer a shifted perspective on contemporary realities. Audiences (local and online) are encouraged to submit materials (images, videos, sounds) in response to the event, feeding into an accumulative scenography with each presentation. They are invited to leave comments and links on the make-shift web site, to relevant issues that have been raised by the work. The web site will become a living document that makes visible the network of materials, ideas and opinions across all the performances. In this way, make-shift is an evolving structure or score which will be refined in response to each presentation.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2011
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Monday Feb 14th, 2011
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • Helen Varley Jamieson, co-deviser, performer, broker
    • Paula Crutchlow, co-deviser, performer, broker
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