The making of dance, the uncrowned Gesamtkunstwerk.

Before I start, I must admit that as a former dance and choreographer the author of this post is somewhat biased… but enthusiasm is positive!

Rambert Dance have shared with us some of the most inspirational videos ever. Have you heard of Rooster, Christopher Bruce’s masterpiece set to the music of The Rolling Stones, an electrifying celebration of the Sixties? Have you seen it? If not, they are on stage again! First up on 20-24 May in Sadler’s Wells. The truly inspirational stuff, however, can be found in the rehearsal clips. The dancers’ relationship with the choreographer  is flavoured with admiration, obedience, dedication, worship and love. Love shines through the whole process during which both the choreographer and dancers forget about the rest of the world and perhaps even forget about the rules of gravity and their own mortality while they work and work and work to achieve divine perfection. The results bring together grace, movement, music, expression, poetry, visual art, performance, story…. dance has got everything in it. It is perfect. Start the transforming journey right here and finish at Sadler’s Wells for a cathartic experience.

image_4 (5)image_5 (2)       The making of Rooster                                     Rooster rehearsal

 

Really, it gets even better. On 15th of May we can enjoy live discussion between Rooster’s author and three other great dance artists from the comfort of our own homes. A total of four giants of contemporary choreography from both sides of the Atlantic are represented in Rambert’s forthcoming programme for Sadler’s Wells: Richard Alston and Christopher Bruce from the UK, and Lucinda Childs and Merce Cunningham from the US. With contrasting approaches and styles, they have made some of the most influential and acclaimed dance works of the past 50 years.
Ahead of the Sadler’s Wells performances, Alston, Bruce and Childs come together for one night only to discuss their lives in dance. They will be joined by former Cunningham dancer Jeannie Steele, who staged the late choreographer’s work for Rambert, and the panel will be chaired by dance writer and critic David Jays.
This unique event is an opportunity to gain first-hand insight from some of the artists who shaped contemporary dance as we know it today. Viewers can join in the conversation, posting questions online for the choreographers.
Watch it live here from 7pm.

 

Now, if you are really getting into dance or Rambert in particular then there is the Rambert Event in their own new space on three dates starting from the 28th of June. It is an extraordinary feast of dance featuring sequences, excerpts and complete dances in various spaces between which you may move as you please. Become part of the total artwork!

 

Text by Kati Jagel

The art of printmaking and your chance to take part

To those who are not familiar with printmaking and assume that it is just artless mechanic mass (re)production – and I used to be one of these people – the following videos could be real eyeopeners. To those who appreciate prints, the following videos will be… well, beautiful!

There are many different printmaking techniques, all executed manually and with great craftsmanship – discover them here. The artist is not always involved in the actual application of the ink to the canvas but is always the author of the artwork in terms of having drawn the image and it’s colour schemes. It is a rather unique process compared to painting or sculpting or any other traditional fine arts. The results can look like drawings, paintings or even photographs depending on the style and detail. Collecting modern prints has become very popular and some can be worth thousands of pounds as some of the keen TV viewers might have discovered on  tonight’s BBC2 ‘Collectaholics‘ programme 🙂

Printmaking workshops are getting ever more popular all around the UK. In Cumbria the next Printfest is soon about to take place – on 3rd and 4th of May – and there are always opportunities for the guests to get involved there! Not to mention the over 40 national and international artists exhibting… At the same time down south in Exeter, Spacex gallery offers printmaking workshops for children which you can read more about on their webpage.

To get you inspired have a look at the two print exhibitions at gallery/ten in Wales and if you are a true fan and considering going to Printfest then check out what a weekend in this UK’s only artist led print festival might look like.

image_7

gallery/ten print exhibition February/March

image_4 (3)

gallery/ten exhibition March

image_6 (1)

Printfest weekend

 

Text by Kati Jagel

 

 

Remix Review: video within video = new narratives

The multitude of audiovisual media around us means that we often engage with more than one screen image at once. Most people are familiar with the situation when a family gathers around the TV but everybody are on their phones, tablets and laptops at the same time, dividing attention between the film or TV show and social media or even a YouTube video. An interesting phenomenon may emerge in the process as two narratives (a Facebook news thread could also be seen as a narrative) get mixed into a new one.

This is similar to what happens in artplayer’s Remix Review films. The multiple videos from different organisations on the site are brought together to generate a new perspective on the individual videos as well as to link them into a thought-provoking narrative.

Many of you have already seen the first Remix Review which brought together music and gaming technology, viewed through the eyes of young people. We are proud to publish the second Remix Review by video artist Anton Hecht, a YouTube phenomenon know best for Bus Station Sonata. This latest remix called Passing BY is an experiment that takes the term “moving image” to the next level. The film consists of various videos by Axisweb and a-n The Artists Information Company played back on a tablet device which is passed on in a circle while the device is also being rotated with random frequency. Sounds confusing? Interestingly the effect is quite the opposite and it is likely that you find yourself listening to the interviews and discussions in the original videos with much greater attention than you would if they were just presented on their own. At the same time the film tells the story of our lives in the present day. What does this effect say about the future of sense perception in the multi-screen era? Is linear communication on a single screen becoming thing of the past? Experience it yourself right here:

image_2

 

Text by Kati Jagel

Tradition meets innovation at Aldeburgh Music

2013 is the centenary of Benjamin Britten, the composer, conductor and pianist who once lived and worked in Aldeburgh. To celebrate Britten’s talent, Aldeburgh Music brings together the old and the new in their Faster Than Sound series that ‘joins the dots between musical genres and digital art forms’. In Britten’s footsteps which was performed on February the 1st brought to the audience the natural sounds of Aldeburgh and Britten’s cello music most probably inspired by these sounds. The sound work was done by the renowned BBC wildlife programmes sound producer Chris Watson who retraced Britten’s most beloved paths and recorded the sounds surrounding these environments over the period of one year. At the performance these sounds were played back on an ambisonic sound system while Britten’s cello music was performed live by Oliver Coates.

Faster Than Sound programme supported by Art Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation has resulted in multiple innovative projects and their website promises more to come in the near future. While In Britten’s Footsteps is not on artplayer yet, there is a chance to have a look at another Faster Than Sound event – Game. Classical orchestra side by side… electronic toys! How do the musicians cope with the invasion of dolls and cars? Quite brilliantly, this is the stuff of twenty first century at its freshest. The high production values of the coverage of Game forbid me to say any more, this one has to be seen (and listened to):

image_4

Aldeburgh Music have not, of course, turned their back to traditions. Blissful extracts performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra and astonishing views of Suffolk landscape that Benjamin Britten once was so inspired by can take you on a journey completely different from Game – an epic, timeless dream of grand narratives and great art.

image_1

Aldeburgh Music have set up a whole new website for Benjamin Britten where you can learn more abut the great composer and keep up to date with events surrounding Britten’s centenary: http://www.brittenaldeburgh.co.uk/

Text by Kati Jagel

Childhood imagination and local legends

Community arts organisation Arts Connection – Cyswllt Celf have recently brought to us two beautiful films created together with arts professionals and local children. Before going into details, the sheer quality of these films needs a praise on its own – truly outstanding!

Let’s start with Gwion, a free-flying animated story created and drawn by years four, five and six of Ysgol Pennant. The imagination and creativity of young people never stops to amaze me – the easiness with which the narrative develops is in many ways liberating. Children may be our best teachers with regards to imagination. Six frogs, two bees, one fish, two shark’s teeth, starfish and a drizzle of sheep eyes… stir continuously for a year. Maybe that is he secret potion for starting to believe in everyday magic again?
Old legends are turned contemporary by replacing an eagle chasing a bird with an airplane chasing a hot-air balloon while happy endings can be found in X-factor success. Refreshing or what? Enjoy Gwion here:
image_4

A more sinister plot characterizes the short film Spirit of the Hollow Tree from 2008. Deaths, ghosts, top hats – the stuff of BBC adaptations only this one here is for real… if you are willing to believe.

Based on myths and legends the script of Spirit of the Hollow Tree was written and made by the young people of Llanfyllin who also sourced the props and costumes and starred in the film. The project came to life partly thanks to First Light Movies Pilot Funding Scheme, you can have a look at their current opportunities here http://www.firstlightonline.co.uk/fundingstream/young-film-fund-pilot-grant

The haunting music composed and recorded by Meriadoc Lawes and Dave Bibby deserves extra mention as it provides the film a certain kind of darkness which, at the same time, is enchanting rather than scary – much like the woods themselves. Now it is your turn to meet the spirit…

image_4

Text by Kati Jagel