The Blue Scarf (A Measure of Fidget)

The art of giving a numerical expression to the amount of boredom expressed by an audience.

Act 1: Knitting etc.

Act 2: Where was I again?

Act 3: Head, Shoulders, knees and toes.

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The act of knitting, as anyone who has done it will know, is very time exhaustive. Through time and constant action, it begins to have a valuable outcome. The blue scarf that became a tool in Joel O’Donoghue Companies A Measure of Fidget, has been a catalyst throughout this project in developing my reflection around what it was we were trying to do. 

In A Measure of Fidget, knitting is used to communicate ideas of repetition, and every day action as performance. It is something people do to pass time. Something people do with a final outcome in mind. Through the process of this performance, the blue scarf becomes a documentation of every step, from idea development, to final performance, as the same piece of knitting is continually being used. As such, it begins to question whether the final outcome of this project is the live performance, the physical outcome of the scarf, the documentation of the entire process, or something else entirely. 

Considering these various elements in this way has its roots comfortably in Fluxus, and Dada before it, and like these movements, something far more valuable then any single object can be seen to be emerging. A network of people working with similar intentions, and more importantly, working with conviction. 

An unexpected but exciting outcome from the scratch performance at Displacement festival, was peoples desire to participate. ‘Let us join in!’ was scrawled across many of our feedback sheets, which has filled me with excitement at the possibilities ahead. While act 2 contained beautifully choreographed and improvised movements from Joel, act 3 Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.. made the performance highly accessible to all audience members. From Gary Campbell singing it in Japanese during our warm up, to children joining in during the performance, the playfulness of this act was sucessful in a way we hadn’t predicted. 

Queuing the audio that Joel was responding to, the performance also developed an aspect of trust and endurance. He had no way of knowing when I was going to change the audio to move on to the next act, and as such, had to trust that I would push him hard but know when to stop. The dirt and sweat that gathered on his costume was developing evidence of this. Using uncertain circumstance allowed us to create an opportunity for learning, for everyone involved. 

Choreographer and Performer Joel O’Donoghue  Producer Kaiya Waerea  

Sound Designer Ben Grant Costume Designer Rosemary Maltezos

Check out Joel O'Donoghue Company here