Working in the Glory Machine

The Glory Machine is a theater performance that consists entirely and exclusively of filming and editing a promotional trailer for the performance itself. We see the lightning-fast build-up and recording of eighty micro scenes, which are simultaneously arranged and edited into a short performance trailer.

The Glory Machine - JG 2022
My workspace is assigned to Assembly in premiere (as I do not get much time to do indepth editing, colour correction. I do that later, after the show is finished.)

The simultaneously arranged and edited in short performance trailers, part is me. I have worked with Billy Mullaney since 2018, in the role of a live video editor (on-stage). In the Glory Machine, we see an ensemble of 6 performers including Billy (and excluding me). They are executing a series of 75 shots which is being made life for the audience. Receiving footage through SD Cards is my interaction with the ensemble.
When you are seating facing the main stage you will see a complex assortment of props. They are set on the perimeter of the stage and between the stage and the raised seating. To the left and to the right of the audience there are two projections. The one to the left of the stage is Camera 1 and the other projection is a mirrored image of my screen. Both projections are always on.
The projection on the right reveals and scales up my technical task. The audience has direct access to this. Together with the live-action on stage and the viewfinder of Camera 1.
The ensemble set up sets, shoots, check the footage, (retake if necessary), cleans up, and calls up the next scene. This is how the work progresses. At specific intervals, I would get footage in. I edit following a (secret) storyboard on my desk.
There are 4 times in the performance when I am asked to share my progress. At the very end, Billy invites the visitors to stay for a little bit longer. We serve them snacks until I get a rough cut done. That usually takes me an extra 15 minutes to finish. Then we show the rough cut. I copy all the footage and the premiere file on a backup hard-disk and have a beer. The next day, delete everything and repeat.
Although I am facing the audience, I do not know how they perceive the work as I do not have the time to glimpse at them. I can only hear their reactions, the giggles, the laughter, the excitement. Sometimes I can feel the tension because it seems that everyone stopped breathing.
The performance is inspired by the many ways in which we present idealised versions of ourselves online. It is a playful response to the intensive work an artist is forced to do to increase their own online visibility.
From my experience, this work is also about how and what we remember of theatre and how we see ‘things’. The choreography’s complexity. And the way the tasks get executed by the ensemble reminds me of the self-bureaucracy in which we live today. The exhaustion of accomplishing admin tasks in an everyday life especially online. Each shot is part of the cosmology of symbols and references to theatre and the society we live in. And what you experience from the stage most of the time is hilarious.

I have my File browser on Freeflow, This allows me to position the footage freely, I create a grid of the footage in order to be able to quickly follow where I am.

the workflow from my side is this

  1. copy footage from SD Card to a local folder
  2. eject SD Card and put on the green marker for the others to be able to take it back.
  3. rename the video clips from their defulat name to a corresponding storyboard.
  4. Import into Premiere
  5. Organise in Free flow
  6. Cut and Collate.
  7. Wait for an SD Card to be placed on the red marker. 
  8. Repeat

photo by Thomas Lenden - Billy Mullaney - The Glory Machine Veem - House of Performance The Glory Machine is een theatervoorstelling die volledig en uitsluitend bestaat uit het filmen en monteren van een promotietrailer voor de voorstelling zelf. We zien de razendsnelle opbouw en opname van tachtig micro scènes, die gelijktijdig worden gerangschikt en gemonteerd tot een korte voorstellingstrailer. Als een soort virus volgt The Glory Machine de logica van sociale media door zijn eigen promotiemateriaal te produceren en zichzelf voor onbepaalde tijd te reproduceren. De voorstelling is geïnspireerd op de vele manieren waarop we online geïdealiseerde versies van onszelf laten zien. Het is een speelvolle reactie op het intensieve werk waartoe een kunstenaar gedwongen wordt om de eigen online zichtbaarheid te vergroten. Billy Mullaney stelt ditmaal de online aanwezigheid boven de voorstelling zelf en gaat met The Glory Machine all in voor het “culturele kapitaal”. Gemaakt door: Billy Mullaney. Performers: Esmée Begemann, Elliot Dehaspe, Jimmy Grima, Maja Grzeczka, Billy Mullaney, Ylva Rietman en Tom de Ronde

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