The pleasure of live performance.
It can have the feeling of a fiesta or a therapy group or a sinister encounter, there is so much to experience.

With Punchdrunk’s ‘The Drowned Man’ it was like being dropped into the middle of a David Lynch film.

Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man

Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man

Bewildering yet sexy and beguiling.

Punchdrunk's The Drowned man

Punchdrunk’s The Drowned man

If there was a linear plot I didn’t follow it. Stories were told through dance and physical theatre with a little dialogue and a fair amount of miming to sultry soundtracks,

The dance was extraordinary, fast and furious as characters appeared, flung each other around and ran off before you could catch your breath.

I spent a lot of time wandering around deserted corridors, entering mysterious rooms labelled prosthetics or suchlike, seeing other masked figures slide into the gloom.

Suddenly a door would open onto a scene, sometimes disturbing, descending into violence as we stood anonymously and silently circling the victim.

Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man

Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man

Through some subtle kettling the audience were amassed in one vast space for the final explosion of dance.

Separated at entry we were able to meet up in the bar with our friends to share impressions and find that we had all experienced something completely different.

I missed a whole floor of this vast space – maybe two even.

It’s running for a bit longer and I would love to go back.

Timepiece from Conrad Shawcross at The Roundhouse was a more controlled affair.

Conrad Shawcross 'Timepiece'

Conrad Shawcross ‘Timepiece’

Seeking to reimagine our experience of time passing through the mechanical movements and shadows passing across the huge dome.

I wanted to try to make the familiar the peculiar again; to turn
time and the clock back into the celestial, primeval experience that it once was
for us all.

Conrad Shawcross

It was kind of meditative.

Siobhan Davies Dance Studio performers responded to the space with a reworking of Rotor.

While wheels and arms shifted above the four dancers mirrored the movements of a clock hand walking in concentric circles.

Siobhan Davies Dance ROTOR

Siobhan Davies Dance ROTOR

The concentration was intense.

There was a follow up wonderful idiosyncratic piece Songbook composed by Matteo Fargion. The performers stood in line making expressive sounds with accompanying physical expression.

1309 Siobhan Davies Dance
Like a human instrument. An investigation into how and why we make sound. It was fun and slightly ridiculous.

The complete giving over to the production of a sound, feeling its shape as it leaves the body.

Much like Bjork sings. Every nuance is felt.

Amazing to see the very last performance of the touring show Biophilia at Alexandra Palace.

Bjork Biophilia

Bjork Biophilia

In a dress that looked like a multitude of breasts, Bjork charmed us with the intense beauty of a performance that makes you cry it’s so perfect.

‘This is kind of without humans and both zooming out like the planets but also zooming in into the atoms and in that way aesthetically sympathising with sound and how sound moves and physics of sound and how notes in a room behave, how they bounce off walls and between objects and its kind of more similar to how planets and microscopic things work.’ Bjork

Each section is introduced by the familiar tones of Sir David Attenborough giving insight into the infinite connections of the biosphere.

With bolts of electricity triggering sound and handcrafted instruments that ranged from a combination fusing the Celesta and the gamelan, a traditional Indonesian percussion ensemble to a giant pendulum contraption designed and programmed by musical robot maker from MIT, Andy Cavatorta, the ancient crafts collided with futuristic  technology.

The spectacle was completed by the soaring voices of her Icelandic choir drumming their bare feet like frenzied maenads.

Bjork Biophilia

Bjork Biophilia

Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson stages large scale durational performances which can become feats of endurance for his performers and audience.

Ragnar Kjatansson

Ragnar Kjatansson

At the Venice Biennale he turns an old fishing boat into a floating stage carrying a troupe of musicians sending plaintive notes across the water. It has a rather comedic appearance as it traverses slowly back and forth across the docks at the Arsenale.  A deflated sort of pomp and circumstance.

A more introspective performance is seen in Tino Sehgal’ s Golden Lion Award winning piece at The Venice Biennale.

Tino Sehgal

Tino Sehgal’s perfomance piece

We witness communication from a new perspective.

Animalistic, primeval it takes us away from our known language of words. The performers were immersed in the dialogue between themselves.

Using song, beatboxing, humming the piece develops freely between the participants like any conversation might.

Tino Sehgal

Lizzie Sells and Frank performing for Tino Sehgal in the Central Pavilion Venice

It was like watching someone being massaged by sound as one body responded in movement to the sounds from the other.

Tino Sehgal

Lizzie Sells performing in Tino Sehgal’s piece at the Venice Biennale

Speaking to Lizzie Sells afterwards she explained how she becomes so involved in her performance that she is unaware of the audience around her, even when they are being loud and intrusive.

An oasis of calm.

Illusion, as in the romantic notion, suggested in Ibsen’s play The Master Builder, of building ‘castles in the air’ as a refuge from reality is something I am trying to capture in new work.

I have not settled on a title yet but the work involves an urban roundabout scene and a tear through reality to a paradise behind.

The first few prints from a collagraph are not very successful as the plate must settle and mature so I have used one of the unsuccessful prints to test the tear.

1309 roundabout tear

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