Workshop @ Research Matter(s) Conference / by Emily Sparkes

Back in July I was asked to deliver a workshop as part of the 'research matter(s): Conversations about research in Arts, Design and Media' conference organised by the pgr studio. As a way to articulate my research process, by way of rethinking the traditional paper format, I organised a 40 minute tableau vivant workshop which invited participants to (per)form group poses based on figurative paintings. Around 50 images were available to choose from, ranging from the 1400's (Da Vinci's Last Supper) to the contemporary works (Big Swans by Yue Minjun).

In the great tradition of Cards Against Humanity, I also included some cards to pair with the pictures, for the more adventurous participants. These included '...the slapstick version' ' '...in the style of street fighter' '...in zero gravity' '...mid-sneeze' '...embarrassed by your nakedness' and '...but you're the Kardashians'. Pens, paper and office supplies were available, as well as whatever else we could find in the room, in order to make shoddy props and costumes. We kept the prep time short, and held each tableaux for around a minute each, since it is the nuances of the images that come from the manic, amateur nature of the staging and the duration of the pose, that are often the most interesting and worthwhile aspects.

'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy' by David Hockney (1971)

'Las Meninas' by Diego Velázquez (1656)

'David with the Head of Goliath' by Caravaggio (c.1610) [the porno version]

'Madonna of Chancellor Rolin' by Jan Van Eyck (c. 1435)