Exercise nr. 8
August 2020

Neskirkja (church), Reykjavík, Iceland.

Participants: 28

As a part of a performance festival (Plöntutíð) we organized a choir practice. Where the audience were incorporated into a plant choir as they arrived at the location. The voicing exercise focused on inner plant voice explorations and synergy eventually singing songs that relate to plants and plant care.

As the audience signed up and paid for their tickets they became part of the choir with a requirement to finish a plant personality test before arrival. Once they came they were sat down with one of the facilitators to reflect on their plant personality result and then given a cap to represent one of the four plant categories. During the practice different voice exercises were tested: some based on the assigned category of the participants and others based on communal voicing. Towards the end of the event the choir sang songs about plant care. The goal of the event was to form a plant choir but unfortunately further gatherings were cancelled on account of covid restrictions.

Plant Songs
All the songs were original with lyrics based on texts found in a 80’s book series called Everything about Indoor Plants (Ice. Allt um inniplöntur). This series was, at it’s time, intended to introduce plant care into the mainstream and written by plant enthusiasts. This aligns in many ways with the project’s intention, where the focus is relational more than academical. 

Our voice is super personal and using it in public can be very hard and scary - singing might be even harder. In preparation for this exercise a lot of effort was put towards incubating the participants’ fear of voicing and singing. Plant-categorisations of the participants were aimed towards group/team building - then wearing caps signaled those teams to others and the one with the cap. Putting on the cap was also intended to promote a shared feeling of awkwardness (we’re all stepping out of our comfort zone together), prompting further steps. This was coupled with a personal touch where before entering the church, participants sat down with a facilitator that explained the plant categories and their personal relevance. As the voicing started participants were asked to close their eyes in an effort to reduce self awareness allowing people to embody their voices before eventually opening their eyes. These activation tactics had the intended effect resulting in full participation throughout the exercises.

Location and props
The event took place in a church (Neskirkja) found in a residential neighbourhood in Reykjavík. Though the christian connotations were an obstacle, the acoustics outweighed them. This is also based on a local (Icelandic) view on christianity and churches which is in many ways less complex then elsewhere in the world. Churches are also intended for voicing and singing so they might have prompted the audience towards participation. Another element were the caps that signaled the wearer’s plant category. This was introduced in order to facilitate an inclusive environment and group building - everyone wearing a cap and then a select part of that group bearing the same symbol.