Posted on Tue 6 Feb 2018
Week 2/3: New Talent Residency
This past couple of weeks has been linked to researching and organising what we know and finding out more about a certain time in history.
The past couple of weeks have been linked to researching and organising what we know and finding out more about a certain time in history.
The public resource that we are using is called Know Your Place - http://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition=. It shows Bristol via a map that has plotted points that explore anything from arial photographs from times past, blue plaques to unique stories that are linked to place.
We are now developing an art work that involves a number of characters that takes you through the streets of Bristol linking you with a view of the past and the present. Set in Bristol in the modern day and with flashback moments from 1967 you’ll get a taste of what it is like to relive the steps of a gay man where it was illegal to step into or out of a gay bar, hold hands in public or be with a person you love if they happen to be male and you are male. Through research common themes of encountering danger, entrapment, hidden conversations have come through. We will mix this with real accounts from archives of what it was like to exist in a world that is quite different to today.
As part of the Outstories project from 2013, there are huge amounts of transcripts on the Bristol Archive website. Finding this was a gold nugget as some of the participants directly described the events of the 1967 Sexual offences act and the parties that enthused. One shocking find was one anecdote that references to electric shock treatment in relation to sexual urges.
Bristol Library and the Microfilm machine
To find out what the press were saying and the general atmosphere of the UK at the time of the Act being processed, we have been deep in the microfilm archive at the city Library. Using this archaic machine to to find the moments after the bill was past was revealing because there wasn’t a huge amount of mentioning of the bill and when it was referenced it was not complimentary.
Warning, disturbing quote:
“Parliament Friday, July 21st 1967,
Homosexuals must continue to remember that while there may be nothing bad in being homosexual, there is certainly nothing good. If the opponent of the Bill thought that new privileged class had been created they should remember that no amount of legislation would prevent homosexuals from being objects of dislike and derision, or at best pity.” - The Times
Following my and Jo’s visit to Bristol Library we decided a visit to LAGNA- The lesbian and gay news-media archive in London, would be our next logical step. This public resource has a huge about of paper based media directly referencing the LGBT community over the past hundred years and beyond. We were particularly interested in the newspaper clippings from the months leading up to the sexual offences act of 1967 and the months after it had been put into action. Most of the clippings painted Homosexuals with broad negative brushstrokes which was not especially surprising. Up until the Bill was passed Homosexual behaviour was considered to be linked to a mental health disorders.
In contrast in the evening we went to see a theatre show called ‘Everybody's Talking About Jamie’ http://www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk which was a story about a teenager in Sheffield coming to terms with his love of dressing up and becoming drag sensation Meme-Me. To have a show like this that openly talks about gender identity, bullying, school systems and complex family relationships is telling to the change that has happened in the UK.
From research in the BFI collection we came across This Week: Homosexual. A documentary film clip shows a shadowed man being interviewed about being a gay man in the 1960s before the Bill passed.
From the found pieces of archive clipping we’ve decided the experience we will make will host many of the original press references and extracts of television interviews and programs.
Jo has worked on a script for the project and it is shaping up very nicely. It perfectly links a making element as well as the use of technology to tune into the past in certain areas of the city. We should be at a point soon to start getting voice actors in.
Nikki has been busy learning the codeing to associate particular places in the city to audio content which will be the way people will acsess the research that we have found and the new content we are creating.