ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Collective Imagination


Tuesday was great! Once again: new things coming very quickly from old things. I think the wonderful thing about working in a collective is the accelerated way in which you get from one idea to another. Verity and I speak a lot about things we agree with, things we don’t agree with, and things we’ve seen, but we don’t really speak too much about how to get from one idea to the next. We first came together with the ideas of human connectivity, and presence and alertness to space and time, and since then we have just been following this thing that seems to be leading us. A few weeks ago Verity put forward this idea that we run and run and run and run around an oval, to try and break physical habits, and also to pull us out of that cerebral state of being. I didn’t understand the idea until I watched her run laps around the oval, and saw this total transformation in her movement and her interaction with space. Since then we’ve built on this discovery, sometimes lead by Verity’s suggestions, and sometimes by mine. Its funny that I had to wait to see Verity’s idea realised before I could understand it, yet it fits so neatly into this trajectory that we’ve been on since we started. We were saying the other day that in visualising how our ideas may look, compositionally; we’ve had to give life to this kind of collective imagination. Its cool – the idea that there is this pool we can each dip in to. I’ve never really had to try and create that before; it’s a unique experience.


In claiming that we are on this seamless trajectory, I think its important to realise that we do experience miscommunication, but this also helps us move forward. For sure we have bad ideas, but they’re never really bad, because failing ideas can come good. So in a perverse way, they’re kind of great ideas. Something we’re currently unsure about could turn out to be a really, really bad idea, or might bring a whole new element to our work. We’ve recently been discussing how much of our ‘personal’ relationship we can inject into our piece. Can we use snippets of ourselves/our relationship, caught in moments when we’re not working, (ie, snippits of conversation, etc)? Or will that turn us into characters, wedded to the specific relationship that we have? Our purpose in our work is to create a space/experience that directs the viewer’s focus to human connectivity and the body as the vehicle of experience. So, if we use our relationship in our piece, will the body, as a universal and relatable thing, become less accessible to the audience? Will the viewer be distracted by who we are?


These are questions we’re currently pondering, and playing with.


Anyway, Tuesday! In the same vein as our oval experiment, I ran laps around the block and periodically, Verity filmed my chest, capturing the motion of breathing. Our initial thought was that we would get changing colours in my skin as I did more and more laps. This kind of happened, but more that that, what we really caught was the way the chest moves to draw in oxygen. The footage is completely bizarre. It’s not even really clear what part of the body it is. Without its context, the image is completely disorienting, and what becomes more apparent is its sculptural quality. I think this makes it more compelling to watch, and really challenges the viewer to re-adjust to the bizarre image. Anyway, images below!


Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 1.08.18 PM

Till next time,

N & V




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