IA: The Dérive Project

Illegal Arthouse
The Derive Project

Anthony Askew & Tom Kindell
Exploring Body in Space through Workshops and Public Performance

In order to create understanding and transformation of the world we must create adventures. Society’s emancipation will not be found in the existing structures of the world, but in the cracks and lost spaces.
(PIPS, Providence Initiative for Psycho-geographic Studies, n.d.)

Based in Devon and Cornwall, Anthony Askew & Tom Kindell seek to instigate and promote experimental social ventures through the use of communications technology and dance.

The moor is a great space that has been designed by Mor-Design and is perfect for Urban Body movement. Kin could barely restrain himself from bending over a carefully positioned power point. Damn.

Statement
A sense of togetherness is important to the wellbeing of any community. By drawing attention to the typical use of public spaces and by using them ourselves, such a relationship can be developed with the local environment that it becomes a social space. Communications technologies attempt to clarify our perspective, they make our perspectives reviewable/ translatable/ communicable.

Context

It’s too easy to stop seeing, to stop noticing things, as familiarity takes away the novelty of the new. This is like saying, I know my home, it can not surprise me, so I see only the difference in it now. The people who visit my home town, who look around it like it’s an exotic and novel new playground, catch my eye. As do the new shops and the renovated building facades. Yet there is a monotony even here. The constant revelation of the “new” is so comprised of reoccurring ideas that it doesn’t fulfil anyone. Instead the implied notion of progression, where maybe there is no real progress taking place, draws people further and further away from their heritage and the history inherent to their home.
So can we go back to being questioning? Can we all be tourists here? Can we find something fresh in our too familiar home?

Concept
Over a period of one month, young people between the ages of 14 -22 are invited to participate in a local arts project that is being led by two young artists in the Falmouth and Penryn area. Participants will be introduced to the Urban dance movement style that has been led by Willi Dorner’s Urban Bodies projects. Tom Kindell will be leading a group of young people through a series of workshops ending with a set of three performances that will take place on the Moor in Falmouth.
Through the use of the dancer’s body and by documenting through film we hope to pose an intervention upon the typical daily flow of life in Falmouth Town. The choreographed body can be used to present old spaces in new ways. The physical performance intends to create a visually discordant situation that will cause people to gather.
The dancers will not be performing to present themselves exclusively but instead to introduce or highlight characteristics/features of the architecture or topography of the town. As this is a derive, or drift, audiences will be invited to participate in a short promenade within Falmouth town.
The Performance will be documented on video cameras as well as by people present on the Moor. Audience members will be invited to participate in the documentation process as they are free to document the performance with their own cameras.
The entire process will be documented and explained through film documentation on through an online blog format.

Choreography:
Development of movement, working with sites to determine choreography and primary camera set-up.
Performance:
Cameras are in place, anticipating the dance, the cameras belonging to the audience form a tertiary group of camera perspectives.
Post-Production:
The recorded interactions are manipulated, edited, or used, to emphasise intent and content.

Actions
• Locate several key sites and a trajectory for the drift.
• Perform routine research processes for each site.
• Speak to locals.
• Document process.
• Research local history and cultural relevance of sites.
• Create responses:
• Written
• Dance
• Film
• Drawn
• Lead Body and Movement workshop
• Lead Performances
• Document Performances
• Post-Production
• Evaluate project and prospects for further development/relocation
Intended Outcomes
• Series of experimental artworks
• Film
• Documentary

Further Information on the Project:

DATES AND RELEASES
Performance: August 1st/3rd/5th 2011
Final Material Release: Winter 2011

Developed from the Illegal Arthouse preview work “Art of Nonconsequence”, this project now seeks to create a critically engaged work for the wider public.
This project is an inter-disciplinary and cross-practice, interactive and site-specific, performance artwork. Manipulating and sourcing material from communications technologies to create at a base level a community dance on camera film. The Derive project scopes and includes dance performance, film, installation, and psycho-geographical exploration.
As a site specific work the location is heavily influential upon the final product. It had been our intention from the start to find a social space to create work in for this project. There is a disconcerting lack of provocative/challenging activity in Falmouth town in some respects which is another factor which plays to contribute to the cultural value of this work.
Whilst the work overtly plays with the nature of the site and the liberties that such a site can provide, this work is politically, socially, and culturally conscious.
This Project was developed in response to the economic decline and the plight of engaging community arts activity in Falmouth (UK). The level of engagement between art, artists, and the local community is limited. This project intends to stimulate awareness and interest in the art that does exist and encourage the local culture in its development.
Performance art extends into the lives of people. Our work intends to create a gestalt artwork, a whole artwork. From the moment the project reaches the public it must be performative, if it is used, advertising should entice audiences to perform as themselves within a controlled situation that they may not know that they are even performing in. The illusions of the work of art must be able to withstand its infiltration of everyday life, its use of modern day technology to engage literally, as commercial ventures might, with the life that contemporary people live; the use of email, mobile phones, communications technology, social networks.
The performance itself, in its traditional manifestation, must fit into this contemporary context instead of falling back on established and predictable platforms such as the gallery and the theatre that have cultivated and nurtured specific audiences. Alternative platforms, particularly the street, pose interesting questions for the contemporary art world. By doubting exclusivity and the status of the established means of presentation, the artist can function to inform a wider social demographic of the value of art. Street art’s graffiti scene is often taking hold of temporary spaces that would be otherwise dank and barren and is turning spaces into something representative of the beauty of being. Artists who are occupying abandoned spaces with their art give such spaces an incontestable air of life and vitality. But how does the performance utilise this pirated arena? The use of such spaces is not new but it is a taboo space for the average member of public.
Editing techniques will be employed that de-constructs the documentation that is made, the film, the perspectives, the movements of performers and the movements of the audience members will be explored in the editing process so the film itself will bean exploration of the relationship between body and site. Emphasis is placed upon the intentions of the original body movement.
The arts are responsive. This is not to say that art is designed as it might be if it were in response to a brief, but rather art responds as humans respond to their habit as a matter of being.

Owners
Anthony Askew, Tom Kindell

Tags/Keywords
Revitalise, Street Art, Dance, Choreography, Site Specific, Architecture, Innovation, Experimental, Editing, Movement, Public Art, Community Arts, User-generated, Film, Contemporary, Askew, Kindell, Happening, Intervention, Audience Participation, Participatory, Urban Bodies, Culture, Youthwork, Experimental Film, User-Generated Film, Over-Exposure

NAT Toys

Close-Up from character from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Close-Up from character from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Close-Up from character from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Close-Up from character from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Two characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Two characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Two characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Two characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Characters from the Models From Childhood artwork made by Ceridwen Hazelchild (featured in photo) 2011
Four-characters by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011
Four-characters by Ceridwen Hazelchild 2011

It happens from time to time that the stars come out from behind the clouds and the moonlight casts crepuscular rays between the black silhouetted tree branches that otherwise stand between ourselves and the infinity of space. But whittle things down to a point and if you have a story to tell then you just need a way to say it that isn’t too complicated or too far detached from what people can empathise or sympathise with. That is what would make a good story, not the message necessarily but rather the capacity for it to be understood.

Initially I had considered a completely inappropriate opening paragraph about misguided Prana energies and then I could have gone down the road of onanisms and pearl necklaces and you can empathise with that if you have ever spent a moment as a human being, right… do you get me?

Ceridwen Hazelchild has created these adaptations of children’s role-models but in doing so she hasn’t taken the well trodden route of an artist making a point about manufactured concepts of beauty and perfection. Rather she has taken the tact of relating to her own childhood and the inappropriate nature of mass-produced toys to attempt to represent a very closed and socially correct person. Hazelchild’s Model’s from Childhood (2011) are based upon the image of New Age Travellers (NAT’s) who live life as what might be commonly called a gypsy. NAT children suffer when it comes to having role models, there are none to be found in mainstream media that can represent their lifestyle. As such it is common practice for parents to acquire the usual toys that are distributed and they modify them to better suit the situation. In this simple way the toys can be made to reflect them and their values – something which is otherwise oppressed through exclusion.

The blanket production of all commercial products, and not just the toys, mean that the cultural diversity and the lifestyles of people can be rendered invisible. Hazelchild has created her parodies of NAT’s sensitively following a research project that lead her back to her own roots as a New Age Traveller. After interviewing NAT’s about their own childhood memories she decided to create her own adaptations that would represent a challenge to convention. The dressing of mass-produced models is humourous, even if inadvertantly so, the idea of taking a model representing the “every man” or the “every woman”, as these models do, and then dressing it up in “new” clothes could be as much a fashion statement as this sentence appears to have missed the point. At any rate a critique of the mass-production industry is being made in a very overt and aesthetic way.

In the style of the NAT, the models have their clothes tailor-made, Hazelchild having made them by hand herself. Each character has their signature Big Boots which are significant of the lifestyle of the NAT – having to slip the boots on and off as they go between Caravans. Also the clothes are made in the style of military surplus clothes as is convention.

This show was a part of the Contexture show that took place at the Woodlane campus in the Dartington quarter.

All of these spaces mean something but like everything else we are prone to forget what or why

The Jewish cemetery or graveyard is in a non place outside of Famouth Town. Rumour has it that the founder of the town or perhaps the Mayor of Falmouth was an anti-Semitic man who didn’t want the town to host any memorial to the Jewish life their. Curiously there doesn’t seem to be many remnants of the Jewish community here nor any mark of any contribution that they must have made to the life and culture of the people here. At any rate this monument to their existence has been left to become decrepit. That said, the atmosphere created by the obvious human abandonment is still something to be treasured, lost spaces and relics are always curios to us as they are symbolic of past ideologies, civilisations, etc. In this instance the symbolism is not so old but it is definitely representative of a very particular xenophobia that existed here once.

It has to be admitted that the air of xenophobia still seems present here although it is probably aggravated now by a mixture of things including the economic depression, the influx of people to the local college and the flow of foreigners to the port. Young people particularly seem indignant towards University College Falmouth which has been munching up European funds (bringing money to the area) in order to expand its grounds, earn more capital from an increase in student numbers, and develop its reputation as a Art and Design college. Unfortunately the college is quite outdated in its approach to the arts and probably ought to be re-named a design college to make its output sensible with its ethics and educational programs. This said the most important thing to be aware of is the poor relationship that the University College has with the local community. Community arts projects, necessary for most contemporary arts practices and personal artist sustainability, don’t appear to take place or be promoted. Instead there is a sense of loathing towards the student population from some groups of people resident in Falmouth who perceive the student demographic as a self-interested group who are taking away the employment opportunities from them. Community Arts projects would of course break down this anxiety and the perceived problems of having an increasing number of incoming students to the local area, it would also open up more interesting discourses surrounding the local economic situation and would allow for students to develop their social interests in a first hand manner; Something that is widely lacking in Arts education.

Euclidean Sensationalism (Feeling square)

[Young people are the voiceless face of our society. They are paraded around in clothes symbolic of common good yet these clothes are poorly made, they barely cover their shoulders and they do not last. Why are we always making opportunities for children when there are none for adults? Why do we promote creativity in the young whilst prohibiting it beyond childhood? How have we become so scornful of the things that contribute the most to our well-being and happiness? How have we collectively become so confused in our values and our thinking?] Pretext

I am hoping that fairly soon I get the joke and I can start laughing at my own life. Because being so serious is going to give me a heart-attack.

It’s Tuesday – check your calendar, I might be wrong – and there have been no storms today. Which is good because there hasn’t been one in the last month or so that I have been here and we have to have some consistency in our lives don’t we.

As it stands though, the work load has been bizarrely intense, the word bizarre is being used to describe the fact that “not working”, i.e. being unemployed, ought to be easier than having an utterly banal retail/industry vocation. Vocation is a bit strong, I mean job.

Really quickly, these words represent the things that are happening:

Paperwork, workshops, timetables, photographic documentation, applications, meetings, funding, gathering support, advertising, writing, living, defecating, urinating, eating, sleeping, walking, running, and running out of time.

Far from being bored I am extremely tired from the persistent level of pressure that I have created for myself. Having no training in project management, this is the role that has been one way of another been cast upon me. Not a problem though, I am a driven man with the capacity to handle what I have set before me. Insanity seems to be one of those things that is more of a character trait than a threat and is probably essential for the work at hand. At any rate, it has to stop.

There can be no pictures to accompany this post. Ideally there would be no words either…

My Grandma once told me that there was a period in her life where she could not find any words worth writing in her diary. However a diary being what it is, a record of day to day life, she would write, “nothing worth mentioning happened today” – or words of the same token value. I would not like to say the same but there are days when this logic could be applied.