Three channel video installation
Duration 25 minutes
Commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2014
Where does a story begin and end? Can a character become real? Artists Heather and Ivan Morison take us on a humorous exploration of how fiction and every
day life can be woven together. Smile All the While uses games and improvisation to trigger unexpected and playful situations. Presented on three monitors and structured as a play in six acts, this commission for the Whitechapel Gallery draws on Heather and Ivan Morison's interest in performance, storytelling, object theatre and comedy.
A man, a woman and a young girl are telling a story. They talk about love and friendship. They are playing games that involve objects, words, jokes, waiting and watching. The conversation follows certain rhythms, patterns and rules. The space turns into a set, and dialogues evolve as a kind of story-making-machine. Within the character's immersive and strange world, one becomes aware that 'each rule has a consequence'.
Heather and Ivan Morison were inspired by a year-long residence in a local school, where they explored with students ways of learning and making through play - using objects, trees, puppets, shelters and writing to test out possibilities of how to be creative within the school environment.
Known for their large scale sculptural installations, one-off happenings, a nomadic puppet theatre company and fictional writings, Heather and Ivan Morison challenge the boundaries of different art forms and consider how places and communities can be transformed through collective action.
Produced with assistance from DiverseWorks, Houston
Filmed by Harry Dearing III
With special thanks to Thomas Buxton Primary School (London Borough of Tower Hamlets): teachers David Cooke, Olivia Greenaway, assistant head teacher Zinath Begum, and all the many students of Year 4 that took part in the residency, from September 2012 to July 2013.
Thanks also to the actors Tek Wilson, Kaleb Fields and Kallen Haynes.