Over the weekend I saw the beautiful piece 887 by Ex Machina starring Robert Lepage. It was truly wonderful. Like magic happening before my eyes.
In part of the story Robert is complaining on the message bank to a friend about his 'cold cut'; the edited history of his life that would be shown if he dies. He is angry that none of his theatre/performance works are mentioned, only his television stints. He says 'if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there with a fucking iPhone to film it does it make a sound?'.
If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?
I'd been musing on this statement in a different context; what is art without an audience? Okay, it's a stretch, but go with me.
As an actor, what is my work without an audience? What is my artistic practice? This question was asked of me recently, and I didn't have the answer.
For me, a lot of my work has had an end result - that of a performance and an audience. Be it acting in someone else's show, a creative development, working on my own pieces, it's all for performance and an audience. So take the audience out of the equation and what does that leave?
It's not just a question of why you do your art. For me telling stories is important and I like reflecting the world back on itself. Along with bringing joy, escapism and entertainment. But again this requires a viewer.
So what is my practice?
Answers.com says artistic practice 'refers to the way an artist goes about doing his/her work. It can include influences, ideas, materials, tools and skills'.
That does not help.
So I don't know. I don't know what my artistic practice is and I don't know if it matters that I don't. I'm still going to make art. Perform. I just can't put words to it.