<< HOME

 

.Wall painting (2007)
documentation

.Riley Martin (2006)
documentation of project

.Low Profile (2006)
review

.For Carla (2006)
short story

.Science fiction (2005)
3 short stories

.Queer perspective (2004)
short story

.Beste Pam Emmerik (2005)
2 water colours

.Exhibitions (2001-2005)
documentation

.Embroideries (2001-2003)
documentation





 

Low Profile are Rachel Dobbs and Hannah Jones.
They both like games, stories and laughter.


The performance Low Profile presents: A Lesson in Love (Rotterdam 2004) was a game. It was a game that Rachel Dobbs and Hannah Jones had invented. The rules to the game were listed in a leaflet that the audience could take and read. For this performance Jones and Dobbs had written down as many titles of love songs as they could think of. They had collected them in a hat and had taken them out one by one. This action determined a list of maybe a hundred songs, which was the base to their performance. For maybe an hour the audience saw Dobbs and Jones struggling memorizing all these titles of songs. They failed. Hey, this isn’t a nice game!

Dobbs and Jones are storytellers and they borrow words from others. They must have known that all these songs they thought of —tasteful or not— contained different connotations and different memories for people. Low Profile doesn’t try to dictate the audience’s perception. They tell you about their own experiences and feelings.

A cleverly told story was Low Profile’s An Introduction (Rotterdam 2004). In this performance Jones and Dobbs presented their need to grasp their lives in lists. The audience found ginger cookies on their seats. Dobbs and Jones were seated on a bench opposite to the audience. The overhead projector and slide projector, which projected traces of evidence for their story, became theatre lights.
Their game of list making had become a story, and the audience is trapped in a game between fiction and non-fiction. It didn’t surprise anybody that Jones and Dobbs made lists with artists to memorize or friends to buy Christmas presents for in April, but it was of course their reasoning of their choices that gripped the audience. Dobbs and Jones may seem absurd, but the artists mentioned in this performance aren’t absurd or randomly chosen. These offer the context in which to understand their story. And by presenting it as fiction in a theatre set-up Dobbs and Jones released their audience from playing the role of the voyeur.

Hannah Jones and Rachel Dobbs aren’t one. Each of them makes her own lists and has her own favours. In 2005 they question their dependency on each other in the performance Just in Case. With two paper megaphones they guided small groups of people in and around an art centre in Rotterdam without directly addressing them. They list their fears to each other by naming their personal emergency equipment. Sometimes they scream to each other over the heads of the audience. And sometimes they whisper and present it as a bedtime story. And what? They split up! One takes one part of the group. And the other goes into another direction with her part of the group. Luckily we all get united and bravely face together the steep ladder from the cellar to one of the exhibition spaces. Jones and Dobbs get the best out of their audience. Dobbs and Jones are kind artists. They share their fear of losing each other with their audience and by doing so conquer this fear.

With their performances Dobbs and Jones find themselves in a tradition between theatre and artists’ performances. They connect to artists and theatre makers who feel an urge to involve spectators, either physically or emotionally. By choosing everyday topics and presenting themselves as “only human” Low Profile intends to emancipate its spectators instead of using, insulting or hurting them for the sake of art.

Storytelling is manipulative. Jones and Dobbs are of course playing games with their audiences, but they would hate any inequality between them and their spectators. They give their audience the best part of their friendship: trust, understanding and ginger cookies. Dobbs and Jones are having fun, but I assume it is very hard work to keep their friendship both fictional and real, the motor and tool of their art. Dobbs and Jones will not be stopped until they have inspired their audiences to beat them in their own game and become artists themselves. And that is admirable.

Suzanne van Rossenberg
July 2006