Synaesthesia, Sound, Dance and Embodiment - a research and development residency and the Sound and Colour production
In June 2018, I was in residency at Bath Spa University with my new production Sound & Colour. For five days, we researched and developed the production’s latest performance work. Before the residency, we held a community workshop in Bath and we closed the residency with a masterclass and a work in progress showing.
The Sound & Colour production
Sound & Colour Production centres around the fascinating and rare neurological phenomenon called ’synaesthesia’, where the trigger of one sense simultaneously and involuntarily triggers a second sense and as a result the senses blend.
The project emerged from my MA in Dance at Bath Spa University (2016/17), where I started research into the relationship between synaesthesia, embodiment, and dance in a practice as research (Par) project as well as in my artistic works. By now, the production feeds into and is nourished by three strands:
- Artistic project - live performance
- Workshops and discussions
Sound & Colour gives insight into synaesthesia and stimulates discussions on the variety of perception that is inherent in us as human beings. It highlights the beauty and enrichment diversity holds for communities and for society while offering a somatic, felt experience to the audience. With its qualitative, embodied research into synaesthesia, Sound and Colour aims to contribute to an integral understanding of this phenomenon, which is still predominantly quantitatively researched.
For the residency at Bath Spa, I worked with two musicians - Ciaran Markey (sound artist/UK) and Kavall (musician & composer/GER) and another dancer, Matt Cleary (dance artist/UK). We researched intensely into the relationship between sound, movement and embodiment by going through cycles of receiving sensory stimuli and expressing them: sound, listening, drawing, moving and resonating in stillness influenced one another in a creative exchange.
Passing fluently from task into the other, we took the sensory information from one medium to the other and so that they influenced each other mutually. Core to our research were the work with space, (sound) waves, density, colours and kinaesthetic resonance.
We started the residency with a series of workshops where each of the artists involved held a session focussing on his/her interest in the theme (neurodiversity and the research into the relationship between sound, movement and embodiment) and shared their approach to create work.
By entering the research in this way, we gained a greater understanding of the different approaches to the theme and everyone’s area of interest. We broadened our individual understanding of the theme by incorporating somebody else's ideas and experienced diverse ways to enter the research.
One very important aspect of the work was the verbal exchange on the drawings and the information received through the senses. By sharing the individual impressions, we became aware of the various ways how we, the four artists, processed and expressed sensory information. This diversity was even stronger visible in the exchange with the groups of participants of the community workshop, masterclass and showing.
A thanks to Bath Spa
I am very grateful for the support Sound & Colour Production received from Bath Spa University, not only by providing space in kind and marketing support, but moreover - and even more importantly - for the support I received for my work from staff and students from the Dance department and beyond.
I am very happy that Bath Spa University was the kick off venue for Sound & Colour Production’s research and development phase, which will continue in 2018 and proceed in 2019, when we will premiere the first performance.
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