To mark the 2-year anniversary of The Travelling Light Project, this blog post is about how, why and when this project began...
Experimenting in class with a suitcase and objects from around the world
In 2016, I was nearing the end of a postgraduate specialisation in Object Theatre, Interaction and New Media at the Universidad Nacional de Los Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In my third and final semester, there were 2 modules aimed at helping us develop our final projects. One was a practical weekly workshop ran by the amazing object theatre specialist Ana Alvarado (the pioneer of object theatre in Argentina). She really gave us the push to create, experiment and share our ideas. The other was a theoretical course with Liliana Lopez to prepare us for our thesis writing – which is always a daunting prospect for an artist, but Liliana had accessible techniques to get us thinking and with the help of these two great female lecturers/artists, I pinned down what I wanted to explore.
As I was nearing the end of my time living and studying abroad, I had naturally begun to reflect on my experience. My personality, even my identity had completely shifted. Through learning a new language, I had learnt to really listen for the first time. I discovered all the 'culturalisms' I had unknowingly developed just by being British-born, from silly things (not everyone puts milk in their tea?!) to more profound feelings of security and stability that I now realised were a luxury not a normality. I was tired of always being the ‘foreigner’ of being asked about The Queen and The Beatles - I had unwillingly been made a British Correspondent, being able to speak on behalf of the whole of the British Isles.
I decided I wanted to explore the idea of nationality and identity. As the world is getting smaller and migration becomes such a big topic, we need to re-evaluate our identities and look beyond borders. Through my artistic practice I wanted to celebrate the similarities and differences between people, cultures and countries.
The idea itself, was literally a lightening moment, walking down the street with my Argentine partner, I said “hey! do you think I could get one object from every country on earth sent to me and then make a performance with them all?!” His logical response was “no” and that was it…I’ve always loved a challenge!!
This project is still a challenge for me, with no financial support or funding I spend as much time as I can contacting people all over the world and playing around with objects, every time a new email lands in my inbox or a new object arrives I know that what I am doing is worthwhile.
It has now been 2 years since I started the Travelling Light Project. The website has been viewed by 1,521 people in 141 countries. I have received objects from 81 countries. 48 physical objects, 1 sound recording, 5 pieces of music, 8 videos and 19 photos. I performed the first version of the show in Argentina last year and I am currently working on the next version, which I can finally say, will be performed in Indonesia at the Papermoon Puppet Festival in October and I can’t wait!!