Bryce Hope, Imogene Newland and Angela Main
Setting: Twilight. Two women stand at opposite sides of a river, surrounded by arching trees and small rock pools. Maggie, dressed in red, sits in a boat, while Isobelle, dressed in white, stands by the shore looking outwards. The two appear to not be able to see each other.
Isobelle I am waiting for you on the shore, tears streaming my frozen cheeks. I can see your shadow hunched in the distant twilight.
Maggie A long time its been boat and then there is you. Drenched in some sort of gleaming river soot, only holding back for lust and a lack of certainty.
Isobelle I can hear only the sound of my breathing as you enter a pocket of mist. The light is waning and I feel you long before we touch, as if some kind of essence is entering me.
(Into the night): I have to breathe deep, even though my lungs are half filled with water.
I can’t see you anymore … Every time I inhale a gurgling sound rises from inside me.
Maggie Constant as the current I will rise to your call, deeply ingesting the far flown breath of another, silently stripping you of your gurgle, as if only to hold you a second longer in my light.
Fight Isobelle, with all your might.
Isobelle I can no longer hear you over the current, I can hear your calling but I cannot discern the words. I listen and wait. My body is drowning from the inside. I cannot fight anymore.
Maggie Then succumb. But only without gutting guilt. Be carried and spun on the transparent spate and leave me delving deeper for your trace. I will wade this body and grapple without you, my strength impaired by your absence and my motivation lost.
(Performance post-script, Imogene Newland & Angela Main)
River is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between performance artists Imogene Newland and Angela Main and composer and acoustic sound artist Bryce_Hope. Set in the stunning surroundings of Peterculter, Aberdeen, our project explores the folklore and mythologies surrounding Lover’s Walk on the River Dee through sound, movement and story telling.
Drawing upon a Butoh aesthetic and working with awakening exercises by Le Coq, our choreographic process has been guided by the river itself: the movements and currents of the water, the sounds that these create, and the sensations that each provoke within each of our bodies. Two main protagonists in white lead the action as four figures dressed in red follow, infiltrate, and consume them. The two are tethered by a rope, one is bound, the other, beckoning. She lifts the other into the water, screaming. They fight in the water, becoming ensnared, the rope escapes, the line that connected them lost. One begins to grapple in the water, finding heavy black stones that she holds to her womb in longing. She piles them up in to her arms until she can manage no more, dropping them as the other falls in pity. Both women beckon together. They drop and suffocate themselves repeatedly in the water. They emerge, arching their breasts to the sky, mouths open. The figures in red have appeared, echoing their movements as the two send ripples to each other, exchanging water in their hands; in one final desperate moment they embrace as the others close in around them. A chase ensues and war-like battle commences. The two in white lead the beat as the water is struck rhythmically with palms of the hands, an accelerando bass boom followed by a five/four cross rhythm between the dancers. They all plummet suddenly into a passive unison float, sailing towards the ford. The two in white head for the shore, grasping forwards with every desperate reach of the hand. One escapes ashore, while the other is lost, screaming in the current, dragged into the night.
The earliest origins of the name of the Dee can be sourced to Claudius Ptolemy in the second century AD. A geographer from Alexandria, Ptolemy dubbed the Dee as Δηoũα (=Deva), meaning ‘Goddess’. Indeed, mythologies of water and the concepts of purification, healing and fertility are widespread. The Greek Goddess Aphrodite was born in the ocean, while the seductive call of Sirens and the Celtic legend of Selkies are testament to the connection between femininity and water. It is perhaps no coincidence then, that the site where we found ourselves, so-called Lover’s Walk, was a place at which unseen trysts took place. The Dee was a location of retreat and romance for yearning couples wishing to escape for a private moment among the trees. The many tree carvings by couples along the route at Lover’s Walk provide echoes of these deep, unknowable pasts.
One of our starting points for visual imagery while rehearsing River stemmed from the iconic imagery found in Pre-Raphaelite painting. Rossetti’s 1853 painting Boatman and Siren depicts the peril of a fisherman being lured to death by the irresistible draw of a water woman, while Aloysius Bertrand’s first poem from Gaspard de La Nuit tells of a soldier who is beckoned into the water by nymph Ondine in exchange for everlasting life. Originally appearing in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Ondine appears in water falls and pools with the necessity to gain immortality by marrying a human, and she though human in appearance, lacks a soul, and so has no affection for him. In Orphelia, a painting completed by Sir John Everett Millais between 1851–52, a young girl is seen floating immediately before she drowns, singing with her face turned towards the sky. Taken from a description in Act IV, Scene VII of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Orphelia falls into the river from an overhanging tree while collecting flowers, her clothes allowing her to stay temporarily afloat.
The Lady of Shalott, painted by John William Waterhouse in 1888, is another haunting image of an ill-fated lady floating to her death in a rowing boat, a story that originates in Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem by the same name. As the story goes The Lady was forbidden to look directly at reality but instead had to watch the world through a mirror, the images of which she would then weave into a tapestry. Agonised by the image of lovers intertwined in the distance, she sees Sir Lancelot passing in the mirror and turns to look directly at Camelot. In fear that a curse will be upon her, The Lady escapes by boat during an autumn storm, singing as she sails to certain death.
Through meeting with the various community groups in Peterculter such as Knit & Knatter, we were able to collect a wealth of stories surrounding the River Dee that we have been able to feed into our choreographic process. Our dear friend Boatie Maggie has put in a frequent appearance, her presence like a phantom over the movements we created. Her counterpart, or sister-twin, Isobelle, was also known to transport people in a rowing boat across the river to Maryculter. As the story goes, a wire to stop the current carrying her away tethered Maggie’s boat. The Order of Knight’s Templar at Maryculter, established in 1187 by King William the Lion for French Soldiers during Crusades, adds a further mythological dimension, connecting local legend to images such as The Lady of Shalott. One of the only few remaining survivors of the Titanic, The last Gordon Laird, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, lived at Maryculter House up until 1935, when the estate was broken up, giving us a further connection to water and the power that rages within it. In alliance with Peterculter Heritage Centre, these stories have been collated alongside personal stories and memories of the River Dee and donated to the community as an archive of writings, images, poems, sound recordings and video documentation.
The sound setting for River featured ‘home-made’ instruments created by Bryce Hope imitating and extending Uakti’s idea of the torre (or Tower): a 1.5 m PVC tube fitted with six tuned strings that can be rotated and bowed to create an ethereal shimmering drone. During the performance, four dancers (Christine Adam, Amy Longmuir, Peter McRae and Richard White) played these instruments by following a sheet of continuous music devised from the snaking shapes of the River Dee. The dancers then enter the river for a percussive climax inspired by the water music of the Vanutu Women.
One week into our acclimatisation process for River, we could feel a transition starting to happen. The water that once felt frigid to our bodies was somehow becoming part of our own viscera, as if we could feel its swelling current shifting within us. As a vessel that consists of 50–65% water, the body is replete with its own pools, currents and outflows, yet these are sensations that we rarely draw our attention towards. As we rested in the water, feeling its flow and its energy, it was as if a merging was taking place; the currents of inside and outside combining. From this origin of joining, we felt movements taking place, not as an element that is imposed onto the water, but one that emanates as a mutual flux.
Over the ensuing days, the level of the river rose considerably, causing the water temperature to drop in tandem. Our night camp was broken by an unbearably cold 7am rehearsal, forcing us to reconsider pre-dawn filming. By dress rehearsal and performance, the lack of wetsuits lead to moderate hypothermia, including violent shivering, prolonged numbness in the extremities, high blood pressure and visual auras. The piece became in part about our fight against endurance, voicing our struggle against the frigid waters of the Dee while in knowledge that these could also easily be suppressed: our creative choice was to allow these vocalisations to arise, bringing our audience to a state of emotional saturation.
As performers we are somehow left with the indelible mark of going through something together, and for one performer, the traces of water over her body still present as she lays in bed the following evening. It is as if a part of us has been lost to the river, the performance a site of catharsis and renewed trauma, the creation of a mythology that re-shapes our lives into something more than we can bear to articulate. And as we built these different elements into our choreography, we found much that is process based and less that is sequenced. Our movements were formed on actions and tasks rather than being set in stone, our reactions to the water, our vocalisations and the physical impulses of the currents arising within us with genuine force. These utterances, these slips and maneuvers, are complicit with the challenges the river presented us with: slippery rocks and bare feet, shifting water levels that rise and sink in keeping with the latest rainfall, the moments where we fall and can no longer keep our balance, the sharing of a fluid that has become internal, the beating of the river that soothes and ignites, and the heron, that quietly sits and waits.
River was supported by Creative Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and sonADA. Special thanks go to: Callum Stewart, Francesco Sani, Paul Hyes, Lisa Main and Mark Newland for their support during the project.
Imogene Newland is a Sub-Editor at BST. This performance piece was not reviewed but the submissions section is open to all and no favourable treatment was received on this submission. Imogene Newland, Bryce Hope and Angela Main received funding from Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland for the research and performance of River, with further support from sonADA.
Bryce Hope is a composer and acoustic sound artist hailing from the Highlands of Scotland, living and working in Aberdeen. His recent works have included his piece for solo piano tEn (2016), which was awarded the CarlawǀOgston Composition Award in 2016; Happy Richard (2017), which utilised the spoken word using text by Connor Leggat; and his up-coming five-part piano suite, The Immortal, inspired by the work by Borges of the same name. www.soundcloud.com/brycehopecomposer.
Multidisciplinary artist Imogene Newland’s seductive and provocative style blends the boundaries between art forms including choreography, sound, film and performance art. Her series of works, including Blood Piano (2011), Tipping Point (2014), The Point is This (2015) and Earth Sounds (2016) explore such themes as the intricate female form, the relationship between sound and body and the role of genders in social and cultural settings. www.imogene-newland.co.uk.
Angela Main is a performance artist, poet and craft-maker. Having studied a BA Honours degree at Northumbria University in 2009, Angela went on to work within a diverse range of projects including performances with BBC Radio 4, Woodend Barn, sonADA’s Torry 24 and The Human Clock with Janine Harrington. You can discover more about Angela’s work on YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.
Shoes Without Feet (Duration 1.54)
621 Hardendorf Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307, US
Synopsis – After the chaos of the Nazi march in Charlottesville, one key voice is conspicuously absent.
Caroline Rumley is a multi-modal storyteller from Maiden, North Carolina. After stints in D.C., L. A., Istanbul, Berlin, and eastern Tennessee, she landed in Atlanta, where she is surrounded by her husband, daughter, a sturdy pit bull, and a geriatric cat. She holds an M.F.A. in Theatrical Design and is currently studying Film at Georgia State University. Her recent work includes both moving and still images.
Laurel Jay Carpenter and Philippe Wozniak
6 Bentinck Villas, Newcastle NE4 6UR, UK
Corresponding author: Laurel Jay Carpenter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Objet petit a
A visual and sound installation with durational performance
Energy Control Room, National Palace of Culture
Sofia Underground Performance Art Festival, Bulgaria
Performed for 2 hours
The energy control room of the National Palace of Culture (NDK) inspired CarpWoz’s research on the symbolic power of prominent architecture and its mysterious inner workings, including objectophilia and the Lacanian concept of objet petit a. This deep love of and intimacy with an object, as related to the unobtainable object of desire, channelled the development of a durational performance with sound installation, Objet petit a. As a further nod to Lacan, CarpWoz explore the significance of edges, the human urge for that which is out of reach, on the other side. Sites, states and situations that exist in-between, including points of entry of the body, thresholds of structures and borders of all kinds, therefore hold special significance. Objet petit a enacts an impossible quest to cross a literal threshold, seeking improbable silence, hindered by a sound installation triggered by the performers’ movement. If only the pace were slow enough, imperceptible, the alarm would not turn CarpWoz back to the starting point again and again. Sounds of a Geiger counter and detection alarms measure an invisible danger, and peripherally relate to the current migration crisis. Layered with personal, cultural and political connotations, Objet petit a explores the complexities of identity within a heightened state of unrelenting desire.
A visual and sound installation with durational performance
Private entry, Royal Residence of Haus Baden, Schloss Salem, Germany
Performed for 3.5 hours
In their first collaboration, Carpenter and Wozniak bring their discrete expertise in visual and sound composition to create a hybrid form where installation, sound and sculptural performance share equally in the inspiration, creation and presentation of a new work of art.
Initially inspired by the site of Schloss Salem itself, the pair rigorously researched the devotional practices of the former Cistercian monks of the abbey, using scholarly and experiential techniques. Bernard of Claivaux was an early influence in the order by citing ‘the narrowest gate and steepest path’ as the surest and purest way to enlightenment. The visual, sound and performance elements of Without each employ an aesthetic of austerity and self-denial shared by the Cistercians.
The site is surrounded by special stones, collected and catalogued at the castle as a record of glacial movement. The sound is collected from the movement of stones rubbing against other stones and the body, just as the visual installation is constructed of a low plane of suspended stones. The performers moved through the space—trudging against the resistance of string and weight, extracting a deep sadness in their blind search for the special rose quartz gem mixed in with the gravel. This movement physically created the interactive soundscape by the subtle sway of the stones triggering the sound samples. In effect, the whole installation became a musical instrument activated by the performers.
Can we prove our devotion without longing?
CarpWoz is an interdisciplinary collaboration. Laurel Jay Carpenter, a US artist based in the UK, is a visual performer investigating longing, vulnerability and intimacy in her durational live works. Philippe Wozniak is a German performer and composer. His recent work in collaborative, multimedia, experimental orchestrations is supported by his dedicated practice of the upright bass. After meeting at an artist residency in 2014, they formed CarpWoz the following year. Continuing their collaboration as an investigation of a hybrid form supported by historic and cultural research surrounding specific sites, Carpenter and Wozniak bring their discrete expertise in visual and sound composition to create a fusion where installation, sound and durational performance share equally in the inspiration, creation and presentation of new works of art.
Carpenter has been performing for twenty years, and has presented at festivals, galleries and contemporary art centers extensively in New York City and internationally in Spain, Germany, Poland, Norway and Italy, most notably as part of the 2007 Venice Biennale and the 2013 Festspillene i Bergen. She is honoured to have been an active member of the Independent Performance Group (IPG), founded and facilitated by Marina Abramovic as an early incarnation of her institute in support of the next generation of durational performers. After 11 years, Laurel recently resigned her tenure as Associate Professor of Art at Alfred University in New York to embark as a PhD candidate under the supervision of Sandra Johnston at Northumbria University. She now lives and works in Newcastle, UK.
Wozniak’s work in conceptual art and contemporary music began through his studies at the CNSMDP in Paris with the ‘l’Ensemble Intercontemporain’ and IRCAM. His work deconstructs and reorganises space and time in sound. Wozniak investigates the perception of common realities, acoustic and visual, by indicating individual components (which mostly remain unrecognised by our consciousness) and metamorphosing them. He works across various disciplines, including video and sound installation as well as performance. As such, collaboration with other artists is a significant aspect of his larger practice. Wozniak is currently based in Berlin.
Moving Memories: Movement Transmediated to Solid Form Through the Use of Digital Technologies
Twitter & Instagram: @LucieLeeDance
Facebook: Lucie Lee Dance Company
Linked In: Lucie Lee
Moving Memories is an interdisciplinary collaboration of three art forms–dance, digital and visual arts; committed to process and material. This is experimental work exploring the principles and notion of ‘immersion’. The theme of Moving Memories is human emotions and the tension in humanity and its effects on the body, using dance theatre, motion tracking, sensory scent, visual projections and 3D printed sculpture. This is first in a series of works with theme ‘state of mind in Relaxation to Progression’.
The Lucie Lee Dance Company is an emerging professional Dance Theatre Company, which embraces the use of digital technologies within a performance. The company produces experimental dance theatre and site-specific work. They also deliver dance, choreographic and digital lab workshops in education and community settings through their Outreach programme and Justify Move Dance Academy.
This sculpture was created as part of the interdisciplinary experimental work Moving Memories, which explores the principles and notion of ‘immersion’. The theme of Moving Memories is human emotions and the tension in humanity and its effects on the body, using dance theatre, motion tracking, sensory scent, visual projections and 3D printed sculpture. This is first in a series of works with theme ‘state of mind in Relaxation to Progression’. This live performance shows the process of the work and it is designed to become as an installation in its own right.
Lucie Lee was one of four artists chosen to receive support at Kala Sangam through the company’s Artists Takeover programme in 2017. The movement element of Moving Memories was created during a week-long residency at Kala Sangam.
This work is funded by Arts Council England, Kala Sangam and Bradford Council; and supported by Mind the Gap and Bradford College.
Lucie Lee: Choreographer and performer.
Ian Randall: Sculptor. Artistic support and mentoring. Creation of wire model.
Michael Dunn: Technical support, visual and sound scape/design.
María Álvarez: Digital artist and coder.
Darren Evans: Film maker.
WeDo3Dprinting company: Design and 3D printing.
Dale Air: Sensory scent.
Special thanks to: technical & digital support, Graham Thorne, Callan Evans, & Anna Carlisle MA a freelance lecturer and choreographer specialising in Laban Studies and Dance, Gavin Rees choreographer and Bradford Dance Network, Alex Croft and Kala Sangam team.
Lucie Lee is an artist who researches the collaboration between contemporary dance techniques, improvisation and digital dance practices. Using modern digital technology, Lucie and her company of collaborators, create live art and installation work across the country.
Lucie’s work, and the work of the Lucie Lee Dance Company, provides an insight into how the technological advances of the 21st century are shaping art for the future. Visitors to their exhibits and audience members at their performances will find work with more dimensions than that of simply dance, and an engaging consideration into the mind of one of Yorkshire’s innovative performers emerging today.
The Body as ArchiveǀA Tanzfonds Erbe Projekt
The Body as Archive is a documentary film based on research that considers ways in which the dancer’s body can be regarded as archive. A few hypotheses are intended as a frame of its research; is the body of a dancer only a repository of forms of usage?
Dancers create, accumulate and carry knowledge – where is it stored and what do they explore through their practice? Is it possible to locate kinetic knowledge and understand its connection between subjective vision and objective realisation? How do cultural and social contexts reflect in the body of a dancer?
The Body as Archive explores the role of dancer in the preservation of collective knowledge, it’s transmission and it’s accessibility.
With the participation of Prof. Dr. Maaike BleekerǀAllison BrownǀProf. Patrick HaggardǀFabrice Mazliah, Jone San MartinǀMichael SchumacherǀProf. Dr. Gerald SiegmundǀProf. Wolf SingerǀDr. Ing. Michael SteinbuschǀThomas Thorausch and Ildikó Tóthǀstudents of Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt am MainǀInstitute for Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL and Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of LondonǀInstitute for Applied Theatre Studies/Justus- Liebig-Universität GießenǀP.A.R.T.S. Brussels.
Directed by Michael MaurissensǀWritten by Michael Maurissens and Darko DragičevićǀFirst Assistant Director: Darko DragičevićǀDirector of Photography/Editor: Alexander BasileǀMusic composed by Gregor Schwellenbach
Produced by CARRÉ BLANC Productions
Funded by TANZFONDS ERBE – Eine Initiative der Kulturstiftung des Bundes I Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
Supported by Deutsches Tanzarchiv KölnǀHochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt am MainǀInstitute for Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL and Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London IInstitut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft/Justus- Liebig-Universität GießenǀMax-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, Frankfurt am MainǀP.A.R.T.S. BrusselsǀDeutsches Tanzarchiv The Forsythe CompanyǀTechnische Universität, DresdenǀZentrum für Austausch und Innovation Köln
Premiered at Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln, Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Köln on Monday, 24 October 2016.
As a (dance) artist and in the context of the digital revolution, I am constantly confronted with the challenges of documenting art works and performances.
New media offer a considerable tool to capture, document and disseminate artistic creations. But what about all that cannot be collected? What about the emotional experience by both the performer and the spectator? What about the dimensionality of a work?
In that perspective, I intend to explore the role of the human body at creating, accumulating, storing and transmitting this non-perdurable information.
The initial motivation was triggered by the recent closure of the Forsythe Company, raising two questions: What will happen to the immense work created in the frame of the company? Who/what carries that heritage?
Taking this event and these questions as a springboard, the project investigates the role of dancer in the preservation of collective knowledge.
The film aims at exploring these topics by creating a dialogue between experts from various fields, such as art, science, cultural theory, architecture ….
How to archive dance? Why to archive dance?
Michael Maurissens was born in Brussels, where he also began his dance training. He later studied at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung in Munich and the Professional Ballet school in Zurich. He has since danced with Ballet Nürnberg/Tanzwerk Nürnberg, Amanda Miller’s Ballett Freiburg Pretty Ugly, Mannheimer Ballett and pretty ugly tanz köln. Maurissens graduated from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne in summer 2013, his studies focused on scenography, applied visual arts and documentary filmmaking. He now directs and produces films, experimental video works, performance documentations and involves himself in collaborative visual art projects.