Saturday, 4 January 2014

residency and showing reflections – what next?

With the time, energy and space from an important developmental stage in this project and in my practice as a solo performer I feel free and available to blurt.

On returning to Canberra from Bundanon I presented a 25 minute showing at Gorman House Arts Centre – QL2 Dance. I was eager, though quite scared and vulnerable, to present this work that I had in the immediate time been working so intensely on, but also to talk and discuss ideas of the importance of this process in terms of making it a long term career project one that I come back to at different stages in my life.

The showing went relatively well, feedback was positive and the small audience excitedly engaged in discussion about ideas I might like to explore or questions to consider. I found this sooo useful and though feeling exposed, exhausted and self conscious it supercharged me with an enthusiasm and trust in this project and my developing approaches to process and presentation.

Questions mostly surrounded the idea of including emotional place in this work. I am not sure it fits so well, in the way that I attempted here anyway especially as the other content is largely dealing with physical, natural or built, environment and movement responses to it. But I feel that I want to include these 'sites', ie. emotional places in the work, but perhaps it is about considering the physical environments in a new way to extract or to bring these emotions to the surface.
To continue this project for the duration of my life/practice I something that immediately felt possible and felt right when it was suggested to me at Bundanon. It is incredibly potent for the sociological, environmental, personal and process aspect of the work. In doing so I might interrogate and document the changeability of site/space as well as evolutions in my interests, movement, relationships to and experience of a new or re-visited site as time ticks by.

After talking to Leon, Josie and their friend Kate on our final night at Bundanon I have become more aware and connected to the origins of movement/dance in term of ritual, which in Australia is Indigenous ceremony and songlines. These are, to my knowledge performed only at certain sites and time/seasons and on particular surfaces and routes/journeys, and link to my own dance in site, time, culture in contemporary society. I am super excited to research this further and I see the potential for creating a site specific dance that indicates a contemporary ritual, ie. What is the ritual dance of /Australians today? What are the  ritual ceremonies connected to site/space time? What is the movement of these sites, times and ceremonies?
So after this revelation I hope to research and continue my site dance experiments with this historical/cultural awareness and an awareness of identifying my own rituals/movements connected to site.

I hope to continue the development of a full length solo work, a physical thesis on site dance, combining live performance and film. I will actively seek out opportunities to continue its creative development and present this work in a season in 2014/15.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

rain relax and reflect

A beautifully cool and rainy day today, perfect for some culminating work to round off my stay here at Bundanon.

I woke and donned my joggers for an early morning walk and some site dance down towards the homestead, I was hoping to capture a shot with the vibrant 'purple trees', but a little disappointed with their density of flowers I sat and wrote a little. A reflective verse I think you might call it about my time here at Bundanon:


Abun-dance of space,
calm, yet so active
thoughtful, imagine
experiments that bubble
up over the Cambewarra Mt.
A shot in time
glimpse to his-story
Studio dance
amidst a half done canvas
slumber deep, analysis
to feed
a lifelong curiosity
we will see

Walking back to the residence I was enticed by the sandstone wall of the Bundanon homestead and could not resist doing a site dance here. It was amusing to play with moving under and focussing on the single window. I was surprised that on the whole side their is only this one window, but I suppose all the window were strategically placed to over look the river. What fun this was to dance early into my day in the cool and refreshing air.

After brekkie, coffee in hand, I sat down to do some serious edit work on a film I started yesterday that I hoped would be a summary of my time here, site and studio dance as well as collaboration with other resident artists (and resident wildlife). Have a squiz below. It was great fun and packaged up my memories, discoveries and experiments very well.

This afternoon after some other boring emailing and admin artists buis-o, ran over to the studio through the steady gentle rain and began to refine and film scenes I hope to present on Tuesday. Josie and Leon had invited me to a BBQ this evening so wanted to achieve a good recap before a relaxed finale evening. Feeling content with leaving the projection work for rehearsal on Tuesday headed to the BBQ, whipped up a salad and met Kate (a lovely friend of Josie ad Leon) ad together spent the evening chatting, laughing eating and sipping. I felt guilty and then refreshed by the wonderful and sometimes trivial conversations we were having, but loved every second to wind down and just be IN the place and enjoy its company. Kate, another video artist and obvious avid historian, gave me some great insights about song lines of indigenous peoples in Australia, and that depending on the surface they would travel, move and sing in differently between sites. ie if it was sand or thick bush they would sing/move in a particular way.  I found this fascinating in regards to the connection between site and movement and artistic/cultural expression. Looking forward to doing some anthropology study on this.

A beautiful evening and peaceful day, feeling lucky, creatively chard=ged and a little bit drained.
In the mowing I hope to do a walk, a little studio recap time, advanced packing up and chat to David here at Bundanon before heading home to Canberra.

A mind, body and soul opening, two weeks! - and the best part was I got to dance AND enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the world underneath our feet.

"dance, dance otherwise we are lost"- Pina Bausch

Leon, Josie and myself.
Thanks guys you are beautiful people and incredible drone rangers!

Bundanon Recurring - a summary of adventures during my residency.

Friday, 13 December 2013

the drone rangers, episode 2

Rose at an early 8am this morning to meet Josie and Leon, my fellow artists in residence, take on the beaming sun and visit the amphitheatre with for some more drone filming.

The warm light seeped through the trees onto the beautiful flat mossy rock I had had a dance on before, it was stunning! For this film I set myself a movement score, circular, linear and liquid as well as responding as though dancing organically with the drone. I had a ball doing this, engaging with the drone quite literally and at times offering a smile to the phantom, which is the name Leon and Josie have given it. My only regret is the end, which I so carelessly gave in and didn't perceive what effect this might have on the edit process.

Leon and Josie were happy with the take and we wanted to do another site, so after gathering some supplies and lathering up with sun block, headed to the river here at Bundanon. We found a beautiful headland of a small river beach and decided to do some water filming, exploring slow ground level movements as the drone hovered over, first with camera facing the river and then looking straight down. It was boiling hot, so I was relieved to be in the water, though he sun in my eyes facing straight up, was piercing. These takes were both incredibly fun, again aware of the drone, but also exploring the sense of the watery environment I was in. At time Leon came very close to me with the drone, which I loved and later saw the effectiveness of this footage.
Arriving back we peeked at the footage which looked awesome, so stoked to do another session with the drone, Leon and Josie. We chatted about collaboration and had some well deserved coffee and omelette (thanks Leon!).

I was eager to get into my day and begin to tackle editing some footage of my site dances here at Bundanon. choosing some music, which I think always helps in the flow of an edit, I spent a good 2 hours starting to compile these sites, spliced with rehearsal footage of me working the Dot studio. A nice contrast I think and representative of my experiences here.

This afternoon/evening I worked in the studio to record and edit some audio and movement for the joy component of the emotional place scene that is still well in development. It was an interesting ride to access physical states of joy, vulnerability and love within a 5 minute section and I am interested to see how this reads to an audience.

With night setting in I was able to use the projector to play with the head torch film material from the takes I took on Thursday and Monday nights. Thursday nights footage was unusable and decided to stick with one torch light anyway and test how I could let the projected torch/dot of moving light manipulate my movements and how I might interact with it in the space. Further experimenting to be done but found some interesting physical responses like blowing it, jumping over it, and letting it pull me around.

Finally I did a quick recap of some projection scenes, making use of the dark, as tomorrow I hope to film a proper run of all the scenes for my record and feel prepared for the showing in Canberra on Tuesday.

Time has just flown and can't believe it's my last full day here tomorrow, and although I have achieved a lot I feel as though I'm just starting to get into it.

If only more time, and well I guess there always is.

 being joyful?
river site dance
amphitheatre rock with drone

Thursday, 12 December 2013

creative vulnerabilty

After a relaxed morning dropping Dave at the bus in Moss Vale, I had a beautiful potter about and drove back to Bundanon to start my days work. I didn't mind this lag in starting so much, good to reset and refresh and get out of the studio after yesterdays progress.

I arrived back and had meeting with Josie and Leon to view their draft edit of the river drone filming we did on the weekend. It was really well edited and the shots from above and at ground really show the action and landscape just beautifully as well as my strange relationship to the drone. I suggested perhaps a shorter opening to the first film starting lying in the water and hope to tomorrow have a play around with the footage myself just for fun and see how different (or the same) it might be. They had in mind some further drone adventures exploring some rocky, leafy and river sites on the property which excited me greatly. They thought that perhaps this time my relationship could be more organic and comfortable and as though dancing with the drone around me. So tomorrow we will rise early and be the drone rangers once again!

After meeting them and a quick bite to eat at 3pm I was thinking a lot about where to go from here. Even though I had some scenes in mind for development and refining, I was actually feeling a little low, almost a come down, after the adrenalin and emotionally charged time from yesterday. And I think this statement helps shed light a little bit on the way I was feeling-

A note about creative people : "Like the color white that includes all colors, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves. Creativity allows for paradox, light, shadow, inconsistency, even chaos –and creative people experience both extremes with equal intensity" - creativity scholar Mihaly Csikszentmilhalyi

I was keen to delve further into this idea of emotional place and I guess I felt in the perfect zone to do so. I brainstormed and researched the concepts of joy and vulnerability and ended up writing another poem, quite erratic and stimulated from thoughts of now and memories of performance, creating and putting myself and my ideas out there. With the writing that ensued and I headed to the studio to create a phrase of movement to accompany it, though I am still stewing over whether this is the best or most communicative way to express physical vulnerability. Perhaps simply standing a reading the text, without my most natural/prevalent form of art expression -  movement, renders me more vulnerable?

At dusk I headed to the road that leads into Bundanon and did some site specific dance on and next to the road and a speed sign. It provoked some shaking skipping and looking movements that repeated and grew in intensity. Back in the studio waiting for dark,  I quickly reviewed some phrase material for my muscle and text memory and did some cool down yoga and deep stretching which I really have needed more in this residency at the end of the day but have neglected to do so. It felt luxurious to spend the time to do so, and my body is thanking me hopefully.

At dark I stepped outside and up the hill slightly into a backdrop of tall trees, set my camera and mounted my head torch. I refilmed a dancing torch light scene so as to make sure the torch and my head stayed in the frame this time. I look forward to playing with this as an improv score tomorrow eve I hope.

Bed is very inviting right now and keen to have an early night to restore energy for fun with the drone tomorrow.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A day that seemed and WAS perfect.

After waking late and a beautiful flowy yoga session with DCAF, I began to put my head down today to work towards refining and rehearsing scenes for another showing I hoped to present this evening.

I refined the edits of the Norwegian Opera House film and integrated/overlayed Lisa's, my awesome Norwegian friend who had returned my email. She had sent her voice grabs of some questions I asked her to answer about place, architecture and this building in particular - which is where we met! It was awesome to see that the film and audio seemed to merge nicely, but after the showing this evening I see that I need to work on the pacing still further of the video and thinking perhaps to incorporate my voice speaking Lisa's words too, so to have the colliding of language/culture united through place and our common interest dance/theatre.

I also worked on dotty dress chore and improv scores, getting closer to a structure that will communicate the sense of an aesthetic and image based place/site - in the dress! I am enjoying the confines of the framework and possibility within it each time I explore this scene but perhaps need to solidify more clearly to maintain audience engagement in clarity in what I am 'saying', which actually I need to clarify also.
I had a beautiful picnic lunch and a sublime siesta before heading back to the studio excited to recap and refine 6 scenes that I want to show this evening. I ran through each scene methodically, sometimes hard without the projector image/film as many of the scenes rely on this but the light is just to bright pouring into the space. But really I shouldn't complain in the least, the space is insanely beautiful and as I remarked tonight "I want this studio in my life". During rendering of the film and audio I busied myself with a site specific wine, wombat and bath dance, yes that's right, at sunset I danced in the field with a wombat, a bath soiled with poo and a glass of wine waiting for me and many kisses to be had with my guest camera man.
I am happy with how the showing went tonight and loved having DCAF around to bounce ideas off and hear is responses, thoughts and feedback. He thought it is accessible, powerful, personal and is very ME, in terms of my tendency to create quirky, fun and positive works. Over the moon with this I am excited to really nail it and bring it home over the next few days and still play with new and developing  ideas as well. I am hoping to do a showing next week in Canberra, to enable a further opportunity for dialogue and sharing of this practice and to fuel its ongoing development.
Greta and Matt, the screen writers also here at Bundanon, said a few days ago they think it an incredible project to keep working on throughout my life, to keep building this library of site specific dance films as I grow and change and develop over time. Talking to DCAF today he agreed and suggested the piece could be a series that could be an evolving expression of my relationship to this process, to space, to myself and the world in which I exist. Love it, and I absolutely can't resist this challenge and JOY!
An incredible day, with all the perfect lucky am I!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Poetry in motion?

Today was the 9th Day here at Bundanon, a little over half way, and I'm finding it a really important and telling time for me as a creator and performer.

Woke bright and bubbly and again I sat and contemplated what next? Some coffee and sun salutes set me in motion and I began to experiment with the idea of emotional place. To me this project, in process and performance is about physical and geographical locals or sites but can it also encapsulate the idea of emotional states. I composed a poem, not a good one, I'm definitely no poet, but to get out in language an expression of particular emotion and try to describe or colour the sense of the indescribable. From the poem I created a phrase of movement, gestural and very specific working from instinct and memorising the poem as I went along so as to speak it live with the movement.

This process of slamming text and movement together is something that I have particular interest in at the moment, and perhaps offers a way in for the audience but also provides somehow a different access point for movement creation. It took me a few hours to do this, much longer than I had anticipated, and so the plan was thrown a little today. But really the plan is there for the real process to take over is my theory.

It was warm again today, particularly in the Dot studio so headed back inside the accommodation for some lunch and film editing. I worked on compiling the Norwegian Opera House scene that I had started a couple of days ago, and considered what might accompany it. I though to use text in Norwegian about the design of the building and the architectural philosophy integrated as part of the image somehow and tried a scrolling text effect right to left, but this really didn't look good nor achieve what I wanted. I wrote to my Norwegian friend, Lisa Marie, whom I met at a site specific improve on the roof of the Opera House actually when I was there in October. I asked her if she could record some text I had found spoken in Norwegian and I will try it overlayed with the film/stills. I need to work on the rhythm of this still so it has the right build climax and resolution.

Later in the afternoon I headed back to the Dot studio and did a recap of all the scenes to date before driving to Moss Vale to meet my beautiful and incredible and insightful D-CAF!

Below are some pics from the Gonski studio where I did the poetry composition this morning, they are shots of the tables where previous artists have worked, splotched and stained with paint. Artworks I would hang though happily on my wall. But beautiful to see this layered build up of history. That question of what is art until someone say it is eh..

Monday, 9 December 2013

ampitheatre amidst the trees

A warm and muggy day in Bundanon, And after an awesome Skype session with my beautiful friend Emi in Toronto where the max temp is -2 degrees I thought it a perfect day for some reflection, butchers paper updating, re-editing of movement and film and adventuring walks with the site dance.

It was a little hard to get going today but eventually got my motor running and learnt the whole river pebbles improv from the video edit to accompany some pool splashing audio. A kind of beautiful juxtaposition I hope of a dry, harsh and pebbled river bed with a luxurious yet sterile and artificial hotel pool. I worked on this tonight briefly with the projection, but further work to be done to sync my movements as best I can.

I also began experimenting with improvisation following out of the set movement I had created for the Dotty Dress. I also realised that it could work to have this scene separate to the original film in the running of the piece, but as a recurring motif. For me this specifically 'costumed' section is a comment on the face value, the image or aesthetic place that we often put ourselves and others in. I discovered some interesting scores I can use for improv in this section, including playing dot to dot!

After lunch and putting out a load of washing, the butchers paper was calling! I wanted to recollect my thoughts and nut out the why? The clarity of what each of the scenes I am creating is commenting on. I was quite certain with some of the sections - making statements environmentally, socially and communicating about artistic process, giving the audience a sensation of place - but others I hope to find their place by the time I leave on Sunday.

This afternoon I walked with Leon and Josie to the amphitheatre, which was a short walk along a beautiful track amidst stunning trees, bark and greenery. We arrived and I was stunned at the beauty of the rocks, the trees growing out from the escarpment, the textures and palate of greens, and smells and incredible canvas I was seeing. I watched on as Leon and Josie had a fly of their drone amidst the trees, quite a challenge to navigate, but they did really well to coordinate it with many obstacles. The footage would be beautiful! Well worth it. I then did some site dance on top of the beautifully moss patched rocks and underneath the cliff like rock that seemed to have been cut away by water. It was awesome to be moving here, and kind of felt insignificant and uninteresting as compared to the natural beauty around. I had fun none the less and think I'll come back here for some further adventures, if not just to sit, read or write.

After a quick review of some of the scenes with the projector now that the light drench studio had dimmed I ventured out to the black of night and amused myself with a head torch dance in the middle of some huge trees and a very barky/crunchy ground. I'm interested to use this footage as an improv score to follow the torch light, or like a glow worm insect, manipulating and leading my movements live in front of the projected film. Ill test this over the next day or so, I may need to re-shoot it.

Excited for a visitor and solid development time tomorrow so best get some rest.