After 30 years of making outdoor arts we may be experts, but we still have a lot to learn.
We always question why some things we do work and some things don’t, why some spaces seem better than other spaces, why one audience is different from another.
This curiosity has led company director James Macpherson to go back to University and study first for a Masters and now for a PhD in contemporary outdoor arts. In a nutshell, the research uses time-lapse video to document and analyse the triangular relationships between Audience, Space and Performance.
This research has proved useful to festivals in quantifying audience engagements and in helping to analyse and evaluate the ways audiences interact with, and repurpose public space. It has also discovered some quite stunning facts about the ways people engage with outdoor arts which seem to demand a re-think of the metrics we are currently using.
The methodology developed is known as rhythmanalysis (Lefebvre, 1992) as it is particularly focused on the flows and patterns of audience movement over time. James has performed a rhythmanalysis on 18 festivals across Europe, given several academic papers, spoken at conferences and been commissioned to write a book chapter on the subject
Examples of the research outputs are available here and include edited time-lapse films, statistical analysis and written reports.