Posts By: fionac

Nicola Conibere at Transparencies: A Process in Company, by Siobhan Davies

For many years, Siobhan Davies has gathered photographs, texts and images printed on transparent paper. Each individual image has its own agency that allows it to fulfil its own story and set of relationships. As Davies has begun to track the connections she has made to the collection, she has also identified the potential to access further fields.

As peers have joined Davies creative process, she finds herself able to navigate the collection in new ways. A Process in Company saw Davies invite choreographer Nicola Conibere, dance artist and choreographer Fernanda Munoz-Newsome and film-maker duo Webb-Ellis to see what perspectives they might bring to her intimate creative process.

Below is Nicola Conibere’s text she wrote in response to Davies’ invitation to participate at this public event (or listen to the live reading here: https://soundcloud.com/siobhandavies/nicola-conibere-at-transparencies-a-process-in-company-by-siobhan-davies ).

ONE

It was a chilly morning when I met Sue at Siobhan Davies Studios, a building that carried her name, housing an organisation that did the same.

The fresh air was held by bright sunshine – it had been unseasonably warm for the time of year. Crocuses in February.

Sue was given to wearing a lot of neon at this time. She was like a beacon for the images, words and movements around her. And, of course, for those she already carried.

So many curves of the spine, conversations with the ground, cradling of flesh, cradling of air.

The strange beasts that hover; headless torsos that flow; jackals and dodos suspended: a series of events; tributaries searching for a stem; impulses passing across a junction; a comic strip; cause and effect.

We recalled a moment some years previously when we had each forgotten the proper names of things. I was in Rio and she was in Reykjavik. In order for us to navigate our respective environments and the organisation of our diaries, we had to find strategies for identifying things to which we needed to refer. I found a repository of Latin terms in my hamstring and drew on those, but Sue reached beyond her body. She called a carrot a shivering synapse and this was its true alias.

She told me a story about Ada Lovelace she had read in a book about physical etiquette and Wildebeest. One day Ada had gone to visit an archive and, whilst waiting in the foyer prior to admittance, the archive had fainted. It simply fell all around her. Papers, specimens, digital videos, sheets of acetate, bricks, YouTube links and a great deal of yarn. Tumbling. Surrendered. Out like a light. Apparently it took Ada only a few seconds to recognise that this event was the archive’s form. The book stated that she had returned to experience many more of its moments of collapse.

These days Sue is much more into wearing ensembles of soft pastel. She told me that it offers a different kind of join. More spongy, absorbent. Less of a tractor beam.

We wandered over dirty paving stones and slid around in our socks on the smooth dance floor of a studio.

Is that it, I wondered? We whizz across planes. Cross shiny surfaces. Spirited from one world to another. Calling back to a trace of thought I left behind and urging its echo. A skull like a jellyfish; defiant cigarettes; passing for spontaneity; passing as truth; chivying multiplicity. I saw a grid that organised a body and lines of writing underneath, and then saw fauns and people dancing somewhere behind, beyond, inside.

As I left that day my shirt got caught on a corner of a table. It seemed such a cloying image to end with: the torn cotton, one end of the thread clinging to the surface, and the other reaching into air.

 

TWO

Dammit. Things were finally getting better for her.

She was just coming out of her shell and now this. Escaping from the weight of art history.

Do you really think it’s related to the murders?

I hope to God it isn’t.

They warned her not to poke around, making connections where they weren’t supposed to be made.

But she has a way of joining the dots. Of layering one clue over another to tell a whole new story.

Sounds like a dangerous business.

It is.

How far has she gotten?

How far she’s got depends on how far this thing goes. We know how a pelvis can sway, how much a body can give to gravity. But what if she’s found a new way to think about natural forces?

What do you mean?

What I mean, dumbass, is what if there’s energy that lifts us from underneath? What if those animals in the caves never had a ground beneath them? What if Yves Klein wasn’t falling but hovering? What if she’s found a way to connect the phenomenal life world of the body to the whole concept of the immaterial?

Hey listen, I served on the task force that investigated those questions. An FBI profile was as close as we came to apprehending a suspect. The perp’s gonna have acetate, a white board, string and drawing pins.

If we don’t find him in the next 24 hours he’s gonna walk.

Don’t I know it. He’s gonna repeatedly fall to repeatedly recover.

Let’s think about this: Buffalo, goddess, skeleton, family portrait: I know it’s a long shot but if we can work out what these images mean we can find the body’s proper name.

It doesn’t matter. If the original narrator is still around why didn’t they come forward at the time of the crime?

I am telling you there is something going on with this cave. The last people that lived there moved out in a hurry.

Why’d they leave?

I don’t know. But I think it’s time we found out. Fancy a road trip?

Ha. Knock yourself out.

You’re not coming?

No. I’ve got a murder to solve.

I’ll come.

You?

You believe in his crazy theories?

I do. And here’s why. Doc just called. The lab found fibres in the neck of our headless torso. It was identified as ancient tree bark and human brain matter, most likely from our killer’s metaphysical sense of self. But get this, even though they’re different types of material they take the same form.

You mean they look the same from outside?

That’s right. They form exactly the same pathways.

So we can narrow our suspects down to body people with a penchant for layering, weaving and the evolution of organic trails.

What about our gas company worker?

Well surprise, he doesn’t work for the gas company. And uniforms said there was no forensic evidence at the cave of forgotten dreams.

But what we did get from the Cunningham’s place were their copious call logs. 200 pages worth.

Looks like you and I might be ordering takeout tonight.

But whatever you find in there won’t explain Sue’s role in all this. Besides, why would she care what connects bodies that float and the gaze of a disembodied mind?

I guess we’ll never know.

 

THREE

The current description of Tesseract Technique is taken from the Encyclopedia of Layering Word-Body-Image-Thought. The author of this entry is not identified, however, the specificity of their references to the key concepts and requirements of the form suggest an expertise in the practice and teaching of this technique.

The key concepts of Tesseract Technique are 1. Refuse Opacity; 2. Invite multiplicity of the body as experience; 3. 4th Dimensional thought. This entry will introduce each of these three concepts and outline some of the underlying principles that cause them to vibrate with each other.

Refuse opacity

In order for the student to achieve appropriate physical alignment they must engage with their potential to look inside the structure of the skull.

From there, an ability to capture branches of thought and project their image onto the arc of the pelvis is essential.

As part of this process it is not unusual for students to encounter images of carved stone depicting figures such as: a headless goddess, a bear totem; a chariot servant; a photographic portrait.

Once appropriate alignment has been achieved the body will essentially become translucent.

Invite multiplicity of the body as experience

Tesseract Technique invites physical clarity, strength and flexibility by refusing singular form and narrative. It demands over spilling, accidental encounters and careless overlaps between a range of references extraneous to the body in its present moment and place. Through a regular practice of shuffling the spine it disrupts any singular naming and embraces fleeting images as rushes of identity that pass through and sometimes mingle in and around the body.

Students are encouraged to invite the following: buffalo to ride arteries, chairs to create flying buttresses and falling knees to propel a shivering synapse.

The way the body is held is merely a sum of how it might organise the images, words and concepts it carries on a given day.

In most cases, a given image will correspond with a given body part and so on, meaning some times the knee will adjoin a shoulder, or the wrist will extend from the ball and socket of the hip. A system of hand gestures might corrode into a staircase.

Etc etc.

4th dimensional thought

Whilst many students find the premise and proposal of fourth dimensional thought quite obvious, even mundane, it can be the most challenging of the technique’s core principles. Whilst engaging in the repetition of formal plasticity, they must thread the shimmering lies of a given image, word or memory into a projection of old school light. At the same moment, they must shift into a commitment to inappropriate alignment, embracing sensations physical uncertainty, weakness and constriction of physical and mental thought. Consequently, most students who complete this task, generally through an attitude of frivolity, will happily carry constantly multiplying threads of connection between their acetate references.

The entry ends here.

 

 

 

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the intelligence of intuition, by Katye Coe

When I dance I work to follow or attend to movement in ways that make room for something to arrive, perhaps even to become visible. That might be a choreographers idea or questions, maybe simply a curiosity to go somewhere in my physical self that feels juicy or pleasurable. I am giving and getting attention simultaneously. It’s not mine, these things that are being revealed or birthed if you like, I’m not the author, I’m a worker that opens the door to them and sets agendas aside to help the idea through the door and into the room!

And I am attending, actively listening through all my senses so that I can be ready to change, dive deeper, take external direction or instruction, and filter the myriad of emotional/ physical/ relationally and image responses that are constantly passing by as I practice/ rehearse/ perform.

I speak for a recognition of the value of this kind of thinking/ attention … a deep embodied sense that is experiential and felt not understood. I repeat, I don’t know, but I feel strongly the vitality of this way of learning and feeling and how it’s recognition might liberate other and little used ways that can make decisions and operate generously and hopefully in this world. And today I’m not scared of saying this in a simple, un-intellectual way.

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Tate n Lyle and Fionn Duffy Residency

We’re very excited for our residency at Siobhan Davies Dance. Here’s some of what we’ve been doing to prepare:

Skyping one another.
Applying to Arts Council England for funding to pay ourselves for our time there, and some ‘experts’ (friends we want to drink beer with) to visit us.
Talking to each other about whiteness, about somatic dance, about institutions, about buildings.
Listening to John Giorno’s Everyone is a complete disappointment on repeat.
Asking some friends if they’d like to share some work on our online radio broadcast, Radio Play (Tuesday 31st July, 6pm – till late).
Listening to the work they’ve sent along so far and been THRILLED.
At the encouragement of a curator, applying the work we’ll be making to a festival taking place in February 2019, despite not having yet made it or knowing much at all about what it’ll be. (We said it’ll be a sound installation and then described a previous work we had made).
Preparing for a lush sunny London: selecting sunglasses, summer frocks and tank tops; considering best beer and berries picnic fare; practicing our best dances for a sun-drenched studio with all the windows thrown open.
Editing together the sounds of our laughter. Have a listen here (isn’t it gross?).
On hearing that Ed Sheeran has been accused of plagiarism, listening back to our work ~ on the tube.
Waiting to hear back from the Arts Council.
Writing this blog post.

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My week of work experience at Siobhan Davies Dance by Rosie Lowndes

Siobhan Davies Studios, Photo by Gorm Ashurst

My name is Rosie and I am in the middle of my work experience placement at Siobhan Davies Dance. I had visited the building a few times before when I was younger, but on the Monday morning that I started, as I walked up to the front entrance, I was overwhelmed by waves of nerves and anxiety. I was ridiculously nervous, and as a result, all the way through my initial tour. I could genuinely only manage to smile and nod. I smiled and nodded a lot, to the extent that I had a headache and my face hurt. My nerves were relaxed after a while however, and I settled into a routine of filing press clippings. The people working here are genuinely lovely and very friendly, which was a huge relief.

My second day was quite low-key, which was very enjoyable. I had my first taste of office work, with my job of researching potential wedding bloggers. I had fun with this, and got into a swing after a while. I also realised that I would be working quite a lot with Excel Spreadsheets, which was unexpected for me. I had had an idea of the job being mainly physical, but it made me realise how different elements of life are often intertwined, especially with modern day technology. You can’t really have one without the other, because technology and human physicality combined make all things work-wise so much easier. Only the second day and I was having a revelation. Wild.

The third day of work was really busy. On Monday my supervisor had come to me with a detailed spreadsheet of my week ahead, and I was impressed with her organisation skills (-here’s to you Fiona!). Wednesday by far was the busiest day. In the morning I used social media and wrote about dance and art, and filed some more press clippings, and had an early lunch. After that I attended an informative copywriting workshop with the rest of the office, and I got to know a few my ‘co-workers’ .I am currently looking forward to what the next couple of days will bring.

I am glad that I managed a work experience here for a lot of reasons. The people working here are really interesting and fun to talk to and in general it has a warm and inviting atmosphere, mainly because it is quite relaxed and informal. In the future other work experience-es will also like working here, especially if they were allowed to sit in on a performance, or maybe even be involved in the process of creating it.

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Participant Images from Still Moving 2015

Still Moving 2015 was a photography course led by Siobhan Davies Dance in partnership with Morley College which invited photographers of all levels to look at the art of photography through a choreographic lens. Eight participating photographers worked with dance photographer and artist Pari Naderi over three days to find their own approach to capturing movement and challenge how we watch the moving body. During the course the participants explored how to capture movement within a still image, and the relationship between the photographer and dancers. They also gained knowledge of how to edit their images. Here are some of the final images produced by the students:

Photographer: Ariadne Mikou

Photographer: Ariadne Mikou

Photographer: Ariadne Mikou

Photographer: Ariadne Mikou

Dancers: Bradley Mail, Cathy Burfield

Photographer: Derek John. Dancers: Bradley Mail, Cathy Burfield

Dancers: Fenella Juanita Barker, Asako Ogawa, Jo Redfearn, Kumi Liley, Luisa Asirvatham

Photographer: Derek John. Dancers: Fenella Juanita Barker, Asako Ogawa, Jo Redfearn, Kumi Liley, Luisa Asirvatham

Dancers: Iratxe Gardoqui, Dave Banks

Photographer: Karen Rowntree. Dancers: Iratxe Gardoqui, Dave Banks

Dancers: Fenella Juanita Barker, Asako Ogawa, Jo Redfearn, Kumi Liley, Luisa Asirvatham

Photographer: Karen Rowntree. Dancers: Fenella Juanita Barker, Asako Ogawa, Jo Redfearn, Kumi Liley, Luisa Asirvatham

Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smai

Photographer: Mystique Holloway. Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smai

Dancer: Ellen Slatkin

Photographer Mystique Holloway. Dancer: Ellen Slatkin

Photographer: Peter Ergis

Photographer: Peter Ergis

Photographer: Peter Ergis

Photographer: Peter Ergis

Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smail, Cathy Burfield

Photographer: Emily Jenkins. Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smail, Cathy Burfield

Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smail, Cathy Burfield

Photographer: Emily Jenkins. Dancers: Ellen Slatkin, Bradley Smail, Cathy Burfield

Dancer: Bradley Mail

Photographer: Louise Hercules. Dancer: Bradley Mail

Dancers: Bradley Mail, Cathy Burfield

Photographer: Louise Hercules. Dancers: Bradley Mail, Cathy Burfield

Dancer: Bradley Mail

Photographer: Louise Hercules. Dancer: Bradley Mail

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

Photographer: Jean Johnson Jones

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