Brief: Engage a diverse audience on the theme of species loss
Performance Team: Amber Lau, Sanjana Dhanakoti, Ana Sousa, Jiayi Zeng
Media Team: Amber Lau, Tonicha Child, Pat Wingyoopongphun, Jason Xiong, Shuyi Xu
Art Team: Riezan Haddad, Masa Planinc, Carol Chen, Kaiyang Wang

Animal Funeral Performance Day

On the actual performance day, only one third of our class (including us) came to attend the animal funeral. The weather wasn’t that great as well, it started to drizzle as soon as we left the school building, but on the positive side, the bad weather also helped to set the tone for the animal funeral. The heavy rain didn’t come until the end of the performance, hence we were still able to perform smoothly.

Started off the performance outside LCC

Challenges

Throughout the performance, we have encountered some challenges, details are as below:

1. Fluctuated Weather
The fluctuated weather in London made it harder to confirm the time and date for the performance. Even when we looked up the weather forecast, there weren’t many sunny days during that period.

Drizzle day

2. Restricted Location
The size of the coffin has restricted us to decide the performance route. Since we had a human size coffin, it was hard to travel with such big prop. There’s also a possibility of getting reject if we take public transportation, hence the route we planned was a bit away from the downtown area.

3. Wrong “Instrument”
From our conversation with XR, the activist wouldn’t spend extra money to buy props, they would normally use what they have in their house like pots and pans to use it as an instrument. Consider we still need to use those kitchenware for cooking, we only used a kitchen plastic container and a toilet brush for the performance, however the “instrument” we had weren’t loud enough on the street. The effect it brought to the performance was not the best.

4. Incomplete Message Delivery
Even though we were able to get the public’s attention, the performance itself didn’t touch their emotion deeply. People still didn’t seem to know the seriousness of species loss, the message didn’t convey fully.

5. Incomplete Ending (Reset Button)
The performance was supposed to end with the non-resettable reset button so as to trigger people to reflect, however the button didn’t work as expected. The volume of the speaker didn’t go as loud as the animal cry sound, thus the public didn’t get the message. In addition, not everyone weren’t willing to press the button. Even when we explained our idea to them, some people still found the button would pop up with something which might scare them.

Sound feedback of the reset button was too low

6. Lack familiarity
Our original plan was to leave the coffin in front of Southwark Council, but since we didn’t do a site visit with the route beforehand, we didn’t know the pavement was very narrow, we wasn’t sure where to place the coffin at the end. And finally, in order not to hinder people we brought the coffin with us after the performance.

Public have limited space to walk after placing the coffin

Findings

1. Importance of choosing the right time and location
Fewer people
appeared on the street even that was lunch hour. The route we went to was a less popular route, there weren’t many restaurant nearby.

2. Stop by certain location is better than just passing by
Since there weren’t many people on the street, we didn’t stop at each check point but passing by. The moment when we had more interaction was the time we stopped in front of the traffic light and southwark council. The pause allowed people to gather and create discussion. People would asked us about the performance content and took photos/ videos of us as well. It allowed the audience to interact with us.

People discussing and taking photos/ videos outside Southwark Council

3. Busy street VS less populated streets
People would take photos, videos or have discussion about us when we walk along the main street. In contrast, people tend to ignore and go over us when we were at places that was less crowded.

4. Loud volume sound catches people’s attention
Use of animal cry/scream sounds enable us to catch people’s attention from far places. There were teachers and students looking at us when we passed by a school.

Animal cry sound catches people’s attention

5. Empathy from animals
Interestingly animal themselves tend to be more aware of the animal sound than human. There was a dog who kept looking back to the coffin (where the animal sound came from) when its owner and him passed by.

6. The performance did get people from the council’s attention
A member from the Southwark Council who also is part of the XR had a conversation with us, and asked about the purpose and aim for the animal funeral performance. She mentioned her department is also working on something related to our topic.

We also encountered a person who had a completely opposite believe system, that was also an unexpected find.

7. Appreciation from the public
Some people appreciated the message we tried to send out, they gave us a smile to encourage us along the way. Yet, some also ignored the performance — ignoring the reality and urgency of species extinction.

Reflection

Consider with the time concern, we weren’t able to make a lot of big changes, or dig into details with every aspect, but if time is available, I would prefer to do an on-site investigation with the route. If I know some walk path are very narrow or less popular, I would rather choose to walk along the main street rather walk pass to specific firms that doesn’t have people to interact with. Of course, if I spent extra time doing one step further by just using the street view function in Google Map to view the route, the result could have been different as well. I should pay attention to more details like this next time!