*note: original spelling mistakes
have been preserved

From : hannah jones <hmjones99@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 10:39:31
To : racheldobbs@hotmail.com
Subject : the rules and question

THE RULES:

-3 hours
-a dialogue/exchange/investigation
-no other contcat other than email messages
-writing or getting distracted
(with evidence given in next section of writing)

For potential readers we should note that you are upstairs and i am downstairs in the Salle Demain as part of ‘THe Berlin Group’ meet. We are following entanglements as a way to think about/make work.
Our obstacles are:
-to use a ladder and a bucket
-to have a verbal fight translated in any chosen material
(performance forbided)
-to define each our own parameters within Low Profile

This following dialogue will respond to this third entanglment and also to an online text writen by Lone Twin which i can’t remember the name of now!

QUESTION:

Why are other people so concerned with ‘how’ we make work?

Good luck Rachel, I hope its not too cold upstairs..

* * *

From : Rachel Dobbs <racheldobbs@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 11:17:07
To : hmjones99@hotmail.com
Subject : RE: the rules and question

well hannah – that was a little quicker than expected!

there i was all set after going on a hunt for a piece of paper to write things down on and then realise that i can of course use my computer to do this – it’s only in the last two months or so that i’ve really been “using” my computer, that it has become an extension of my practice, and then of course an extension of our practice – it’s getting to be my notepad and my diary…

the computer has always been there (for us), but i think it started more with pieces of paper and pens

in true paper and pen fashion, i’m going to write a list of things to do while i wait for your email – this is also the first time i’ve really wanted to have one of those “you’ve got mail” alarms on my computer, maybe i should find out how to get one

list of things to do while waiting for an email:

+ look up – double acts/duos/collaboraters/partnerships
+ make a list of double acts
+ think about why other people are so interseted in “what” we do & “how” we do it
+ not get distracted by other emails i might have got
+ think about interchangability and “what do you do if…”

doubleacts.co.uk- double acts, tribute artists, look-a-likes, sound-a-likes

long list of “tribute acts” – including the famous double acts:

the blues brothers
the carpenters
everly brother (at least from what i can remember ther are only two of them)
eurythmics
flanagan and allen
simon and garfunkel
zz top (although now that i think of it, there are probably three of them!)

so – i was starting to think about what people’s perceptions of ‘double acts’ was – and started thinking about comedians

list of comedian double acts:
reeves and mortimer
cannon and ball
little and large
those two who made the tv programme where they had to go off and do ‘normal’ people’s jobs – (they were ‘hale and pace’ i now remember)
the chuckle brothers
bert and ernie (from sesame street)
the two ronnies
morcambe and wise
punt and denis

and thinking about whether people accept this type relationship, and if so why? they are working as a creative partnership, they share writing and performing credits, they sometimes appear with solo projects, but realise that they work most productivly as a team…

so, why is it that we keep getting asked about who ‘does’ what? whose idea such-and-such was? etc.

i have to admit i am intriqued by couples/partnerships/double acts – i enjoy watching the chemistry between creative people who work together (and by together i don’t mean in co-operation, it’s not about helping each other out, or working side by side – i mean together as in ’simultaenously’ as the new pocket english dictionary points out, for the same outcome or goal, one that is to be shared equally) – i like seeing the way they bounce ideas off each other, speak in a way that may be difficult for the uninitated to follow, find each other funny and interesting…

i suppose there is also that striving for insight – wanting to know what makes people tick – how and why things happen

i think there is also something important about the identifiability of people as a team – seeing what the interaction is between them…

the word team is making me think of football teams now, and the notion of ’star players’ and how that is often ‘put on’ people rather than decided by members of the team – how members of a team are picked out, selected to play in certain positions, to take on certain roles…

i think the word team may be tainted by this association (which is a shame as otherwise it could be quite useful – the dictionary says it means “a group of people forming one side in a game” – i am intrigued by this notion of a united front, who would refer to themselves as “we” – and of course by the game that “we” might be on one side of…

on the other hand – “teamwork” is defined as “cooperative work by a team” – which suggests to me a horrible office situation where you ‘have to’ work ‘with each other’ to ‘get things done’. i don’t think that is what our collaboration is based on.

i certainly feel that there has never been the feeling that we “have” to work together, in that sense

i hope at least some of that makes sense…

x rachel

* * *

From : hannah jones <hmjones99@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 12:04:07
To : racheldobbs@hotmail.com
Subject : RE: the rules and question

part two: sorry it took so long.

* at bread/drank coffee/explained to Deic what we talked about in the meeting this morning abd why i was “banging on the keyboard”/finish bread/watch the snow/press ‘vernieuw’ (refresh) (in total) 11 times/remember i havn’t paid my rent/decide that i dont like ‘real’ coffee without milk/odont finish coffee/ ban on going in the kitchen starts: 11:57am (still banned)/talk about whether or not we’d agree to being doner’s when we die – me and deric decide that we wouldn’t want them to take our eyes/anything me have seen and would prefer things that just make our bodies work – evi says she dosnt mind about her eyes/i sit and worry if my email might have failed – not because you are taking too long but becasue i can be impatient sometimes and i am convinced i have OCD – as you know, i wonder if its cheating to send a second email just to check you got the first one ‘just in case’

*i look up collaboration whilst realsing it has two l’s ont one – at this point i also think i should apologise for my poor spelling, not just because i think your mind, but just for other potential readers.

“collaborate: 1.work jointly on an activity or project 2.cooperate traitorously with an enemy. Derivatives: collaboration n.collaborationist n.&adj collaborative adj. collaboratively adv. collaborator n.origin C19 from L. collaborat – , ‘work together’..”

i hold the page with the bookmark:
‘why do we always end up fighting like this’
which i pulled at random from the bag of lines that we wrote for the argument entanglement yesterday.

*i realise that i find it very difficult to read your mail from the computer screen and that i would rather print it and make notes like i usualy do, but due to kitchen ban i will do my best.
I am also starting to need the toilet quite badly!

*I think its funny that you made the list of ‘double acts’ as before we started i thought of the same thing to do while waiting – i’ll try and think of some more..

I think this ‘like mindedness’ has something to do with our collaboration.
-We have a shared history which comes from first becoming friends, and then living togethe,r and then working together. I think this is important as we have come to know each other in a way which is almost like sensing each other – although that sounds a bit wierd!
But i mean it in a way, like i would know when you needed some time to think about something by yourself, you would know when i was frustrated or needed to OCD the studio and would let me do it, although i know its annoying! – etc

Also the sense of looking out for each other – finding interesting things for eachother – if i read something interesting i would send the reference to you or lend you the book or photocopy it for you and vise versa -If i found something on the net that was interesting i would send you the link.. -If i heard a funny story that i thought you’d like i’d remember to tell you.. -If something happened to me that i thought was important, strange, upsetting, sad, funny, annoying, embarrsing, exciting etc i would want to email you or tell you about it.

We share many (but not all – which i see as a ‘good’ thing) of the same references.
We have been to a lot of the same performances, shows, places – we share anecdotes and stories about certain things.
I tell you my stories about my past before you knew me and you do the same.
We build our lives through stories, we tell others our shared and individual stories as part of our work.

We have been ‘through things together’ this is starting to sound like Operah now, but i know that you will know what i mean. I made a list of the some of these things:

you were then when:
at my first day at uni and on the first night in our shared halls
when i electrocuted myself
when my grandad died
when i had tonsilitus and i ran away from home
when my relationships broke down
when my tv’s wouldnt work on the opening of my degree show
at my graduation
when i’ve been hungover
when i fell over
when i quit painting
when i saw my first live performance (and got very scared)…

These things are ‘part of it’.

I surpose that although this sounds cheesy! it means (and not as a cop out) that it is very difficult then to talk about defining our roles within Low Profile..its not that simple, its not just about who does what, its about a commitment to each other, as friends, and as artists who like the same things (on the whole!) and also to Low Profile – meaning the work that we make which comes from shared interests in thinking and making work and in the way that we think and look at the world we live in – sharing the same desire to ‘talk about what it means to be a human in this world, in front of others, saying things out loud, dangerous things, scary things’, and to do this through our stories, our telling and revealing of our own insecurities, desires, neuroticisms, fears, hopes, embarrasments, loves…

*The stuff you wrote about liking double acts/couples/partnerships makes me think about whaty we project as an audience members when we watch other performers. And i mean in terms of who they are, what type of people they might really be, who’s slept with who, who dosnt like who.. etc
And how we like doing this..

*o.k, another question then, if it is so interesting to others to ask ‘how we make work’ ‘who does what’ ‘how we come up woth ideas’ etc then maybe we could question or think about other ways of thinking about:
-How we could define our ‘roles’ as people and as performers within Low Profile, -if there could be an at all interetsing way of doing this for us – is there something maybe that you ’see in me’, that you ‘apreciate’ about my contribution to Low Profile, and me the same for you..
Or is this a harmful thing to do, something that we refuse to do?

*this makes me think of my insistence to be a co-collaborator/co-director/co-performer in terms of writing about our pratice for my Ma and in terms of the assesment of our work for my Ma.

What do you think?

I need the toilet now,

Hann xx

*p.s i think its also about developing a language together – more on that later.

* * *

From : Rachel Dobbs <racheldobbs@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 12:57:38
To : hmjones99@hotmail.com
Subject : RE: the rules and question

well han –

in the inbetween time i’ve been listening to the ‘kitchen ban’ being given and carried out and finishing/understanding why there isn’t any smoking in the kitchen, becuase the smoke does just come right up the stairs/thinking that i should have shut the door at the bottom of the stairs but thinking it might be ‘cheating’ to go down and do it/making lists of the things i had forgotten/a list of tv double acts – which are quite a different category from the comedians, less to do with partnership/a list of “how it all started”/list of things other people might be intrigued by/worry that you might not have got my last email/think about using this type of format for making work again, but definately getting one of those ‘you’ve got mail’ alarm things so i don’t have to keep pressing refresh/thinking how i appreciate the quietness of my house

how it all started –
helping each other out
living together
co-operating
discussing ideas/ other artists work
going to see work together
building a frame of reference – like people do who get to know each other do
not a strategic alliance
taking it one thing at a time – not long term, maybe just one off
deciding that we should have a collective name to give to the work we do together
trusting each other with ideas
learning how to work jointly on ideas/production

things other people might be intrigued by –
us arguing
what we disagree on
who has all the ideas
whether we are lovers

tv double acts –
ant and dec
zig and zag
ann diamond and nick something
chris evans and gabby roslin
richard and judy
jamie theakston and jane middlemiss
andi peters and ed the duck
philip schofield and gordon the gopher
trevor and simon
tom and jerry
paul daniels and debbie magee

other things i had forgotten:

laurell and hardy
it’s not too cold up here
three hours is not very long
french and saunders
adam and joe
kylie and jason
peter cook and dudley moore

while i read your email, a smile of recognition creeps up on me – i like it that you have been worring about the same ’stupid’ things i have – whether the email got through, whether it would be cheating, what’s taking so long etc.

i makes me think about the part of the process of how we make work that is about things that keep cropping up, things that stick, things that end up being important – they aren’t often the things we think are important or worthy when we set out…

they are not dealing with social change, or about making the perfect piece of art, or making something that is about ‘genius’ or ‘issues’ or things like that – they are the connections, the bit in the middle of the venn diagram, the crossovers, the things that are mutually experiences and hold mutual interest

i think it could be dangerous to use statements like ‘we like the same things ‘ (although you and i will know what this statement means for us!) – i think each of us has a different reading on things (i’m not talking really about ‘art’ here, this is ‘things’ in general) – we are bound to have, we are different people in different situations, this is not a ‘bad’ thing – it just means that when the crossovers happen (and luckily for us the happen very regularly), they are all the more valid and important

the word ’share’ seems to keep on cropping up through this too – the idea of sharing interests, for me could be translated into an answer on the whole ‘roles’ issue

sharing ideas/responsibility/experiences/stories/time/energy/resources/findings…

it is strange having this type of email discussion – these are not usually thing we talk about in our emails – in which we share a jumble of what has been going on in our lives/our thinking about work we might be making/what was on tv last night/what someone said in the pub/critical texts/asking questions/swearing about things that are irritating us/reasons for why we ended up crying/giving answers/reminding each other of things we need to do or shouldn’t forget/our frustrations and our ideal situations

somewhere in this shared mess is “how” we make our work – “how” we get to a cretain point at which we are ready to say things out loud – it seems to make sense that we share this “saying it out loud” in the same way

i fear that if we look to hard at this “how” that it might stop happening
that it could turn into a formula
that there would then be a “way” to do what we “do”

i find this quite scary (the idea of there being a formula) because it shatters what i want to believe about creativity and how the creative process work – finding the formula would be a creative process (as in the experimentation that is involved in devising a scientific formula), but then what use would it be?

is there something to be said for mystery? for there not being answers to some questions?

i hope you haven’t got too worried about not getting an email back – i tried to be quick – i didn’t want to cheat – i didn’t want to let you down – i didn’t want people to think the wrong thing…

hope you have time for a reply before the end – i like there being an end in this – it’s quite different from how we’d usually do this

i’ve been trying really hard to do my spelling well but at the same time i’ve been forgetting that people are going to be reading this

write soon
x rachel

* * *

From : hannah jones <hmjones99@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 13:26:28
To : racheldobbs@hotmail.com
Subject : RE: the rules and question

*Things i did while waiting:

+ pressed ‘refresh’ 10 times
+ ate nuts and svaed some for you
+ laughed with deric as he realised his name ‘Deric Carner’ is also Deric Corner’ and how that could be like a instruction, ‘Deric, corner’!
+ printed the last email and re-read it and made notes on the things i forgot to write about, respond to – i almost always do this every email you send to me, dont know if i ever told you that!?
+ watched the time and wondered if there would be time to reply – three hours is very quick really
+ remembered to drink water, wondered if you had any
+ picked out another argument line from the bag which said ’so why are you bothered then?’ which made me laugh in relation to this – made me think of serendipity (god knows how you spell that!)
+ thought of more double acts
+ helped kelly and tobias film there lines
“why dont we just find something that we totaly disagree on”
“but we have to agree that we are both friends even if it goes completly wrong”
“you don’t have to have great ideas every day, dont worry i will take you with me”
which i liked.

*double acts:
ant and dec
jake and dinos
gilbert and george
lone twin
third angel
we stand up
bik van der pol
ultimate chaos
the saatchi brothers
brad and jen (although not now!)
bill and ben
john and yoko
ozzy and sharron

*in response to ‘why other people are so interested in what and how we do it’ i wrote: becasue they’re not in a collaboration / maybe they have been in organisation which are more about compromising/organisation/ negoiating – not equal collaboration in terms of wanting the same things/ intrigue about working methods/proces – not having to do it alone

*i’ve got 15 minutes im fasting as fast as i can

*we just got told off for smoking in the kitcen again! – so the smell does travel

*i dont’ like formulas either, i was bad at science and maths. I also think its dangerous. I think its more inetersting to tell the stories.
-The stories of how we got to be doing this together, the stories of our process.
– Often i think that the gaps in-between are the most interesting things. Like the gaps that are always inherent in ‘to do ‘ lists, or in this email that we dont have time to cover or to write about in real detail.
-The gaps in stories also that we forget about or decide not to tell dependiong on who is listening. -This echos the performances that we make in the sense that we do share something of ourselves but only so much, and in a way to open a space for our audiences to see themselves reflected back within rather then to make work which is just self refrential.
-So it seems to only make sense to talk about our process/our roles/the way we do things/ in the same way
-I would even say that although we are interested in making lists of all kinds that maybe the list of ‘our roles’ is a list that can not exist, that does not exist, that we are not interested in making and in
fact refuse to, becasue it is not interesting to us, becasue it is harmful – because this is a collaboration.
-Because we want to share, and reveal, and to tell, but we also want to leave people wondering, making them think about themselves, there own processes, ther own ways of working.
-we want to create that space for our audience to be in and i think we want them to wonder and imagine and project into us as people and performers in the same way we do for other performers..

*4 minutes, just made it,

Hann xx

* * *

From : Rachel Dobbs <racheldobbs@hotmail.com>
Sent : 24 February 2005 13:31:17
To : hmjones99@hotmail.com
Subject : RE: the rules and question

i hope that there will be time just before the end for these things…

other things i forgot to say:

+looking over at the still untouched “essays on the blurring of art and life”
+about the words “co-direcor” and “co-performer”
+about the reaction people give to you when you say “i work with her”(and relate it to their experience of ‘people they work with’)
+about the edges of ‘life’ and ‘art’ and how it’s gone way past that
+about working against the clock and how ‘fun’ i find it
+about my over-use of different types of punctuation in different emails
+the feeling of running out of time and whether it is exciting or not
+the way i do things and the way it ends up not being a very efficient use of time
+the way i should spend more time revising/looking back at what i have done/reconsidering things i write – this would help!!
+how setting rules and time limits can be really helpful, but works better when you’ve got someone else to check up on you
+practice writing things that other people will read

i’ve cheated – but i just wanted to get that in – now i’m going to finish reading your last email and come back downsatirs – i’ve been ok up here – thanks for saving some of the nuts for me

x rachel