Throughout Unit 2 I spent my studio practice articulating and defining an area within my interdisciplinary art practice. This exploration through studio work and labs as well as outside fieldwork led to the creation of my first performance piece, Second Space.
In January I helped out with the BA Costume Show by designing video visuals for the “catwalk”. The work was a real test, as we had to put everything together with only one rehearsal. We only had a half-day to put the Isadora code together for the scenes and one rehearsal to learn all the cues. Thankfully it went well despite missing a couple of cues in the first show. The video that follows shows the visuals I created in After Effects for my section of the show titled Ordinary Lives.
Shortly after the costume show I worked on a project that would be part of preparation for the labs which followed. My role as Technical Manager for Experiential Dance Company’s tour of Bridging the Void required designing and building a portable lighting system. I detailed my research and development on the blog describing the process and how I felt it would be similar to my approach to the lab work.
“In the last week I have been conducting my own experimental work, as part of my studio practice and for use in a dance company. I believe my approach to this work will be similar to how I will be approaching my labs in the next few weeks.
My role as a technical manager for Experiential dance company has involved the task of creating a portable lighting system that attaches to the dancers hands. The intention is to replicate the feeling of the sun emitting from the dancer’s hand while the space is in complete darkness. With this intention in mind I was able to investigate ways in how this could be achieved, effectively and inexpensively.”
This helped me feel more comfortable about the labs and how I would approach them, being able to dedicate myself to an idea for an intensive week and develop it.
In the introduction to the Unit we were told that we would be having a postgraduate forum. I was particularly nervous as I wasn’t sure what I could talk about that would be general enough for students in the different courses would understand. I felt that something too specific to my practice wouldn’t encourage discussion and not take advantage of the forum itself so I took a step back and thought about my overall practice and what I am doing. I decided to take this opportunity to explore a question I was asking myself. What Am I?
“I started this course fairly open to ideas in terms of what I was going to do for my masters and I had quite a broad mind outset in the first unit. As we are now in the second unit I am more focused and my area of work in within exploring interactive technologies in contemporary dance. This area is one I have previously explored. At the moment I am thinking about how I define my work, where is the practice situated, in order to help me understand myself better after University. This led to the question. What Am I?
I was able to “break” myself down into 4 areas. A Programmer, a Designer, a Director/Choreographer and an Artist. My presentation explored these areas and my experience in them, how they relate to my studio practice and how I will be using these and exploring them further in Unit 2 and 3.”
The key feedback I got from this discussion was around the need to label people and perhaps I am my own unique identity that is flexible. Since I can relate to all of the four areas then in a professional field I should be able to adapt and talk confidently within each area. I was also asked a question about who my role models were which was an interesting question as I realised that I tend to have role models within each field but I was suggested someone like Alexander McQueen who I could identify as someone like me with a multidisciplinary background although he is well known for excelling in one.
I was thankful for having the forum and it was interesting to hear other people’s topics and provide feedback in a casual group environment. The tutor within our group was Tanya Kovats and afterwards she mentioned to me that Siobhan Davies whose work I know very well would be coming to the University for a talk with her in a lecture and suggested I should come along which I did. After an engaging discussion Tanya invited me to walk Siobhan back to the station which I was really excited by! My blog post briefly talks about the inspiring discussion I had.
“I managed to have a chat with Siobhan Davies about my work and what I’m currently doing in my masters, which was an amazing opportunity. I felt very inspired by her as she herself was not professionally trained as a dancer initially. She started a Fine Art degree and moved to Dance.
We talked about the increasing trend of technology and video projections in dance and how it is already developing conventions that are repetitive and that there is potential for much more.”
Having been inspired by the forum and talk with Siobhan Davies as well as completing my first lab. I decided to reflect on my practice and begin to think about my work professionally and how I will progress after University. A result of this was how to show my work so I became interested in the idea of archiving and documenting my work as well as how it could be shown. I had an idea for my second lab, which in the end changed however I said:
“As part of Unit 2 I have set an aim to explore ways in which I can document and archive my work. The reasons for this are to help other people understand my practice, to be more organised and build an online portfolio and to improve my creative skills and thinking…
… I feel it is necessary to allow spectators to interact with my work as the concept of interactivity is a crucial part to my practice and documenting should not be limited to a video but beyond that creating a participatory event.”
In the end I created an installation taking on board some of the ideas from documenting my work as well as new research I found over time that inspired me. More can be read about my lab in the lab report.
A major part of Unit 2 in my studio practice was spent building a contemporary dance piece, Second Space, which was shown during the Interim show at the end of Unit 2. This highlights the transistion from Unit 1 to Unit 2 whereby I moved on from exploration of my own work and exploration of technology and began to situate this within a performance, developing and articulating my skills in order to develop choreography and build a performance piece. I also collaborated with a dancer helping me build my own choreographic skills and appreciate working with a dancer alongside my own work.
I have written about my experience creating Second Space detailing how the dance was made and what was created for the performance, you can read more here: Narrative Piece – Second Space. In the 3rd Unit I will be developing Second Space and identify my own role even further within a working environment.