In my first study on the beach I wanted to go at sunrise mainly because of the fact that the lighting caused shadows as an extension of the lines that I wanted to create with our bodies and the lines drawn in the sand.
It then occurred to me that everything that I was doing on the beach was impermanent and the actual time of day displayed a constant quite fast change: the sunrise created a change of light and complemented the constant changes occurring in the performance and then the lines made on the beach would then be washed away or walked over by people later on in the day.
I went to Morecambe Bay to investigate how the environment changed and behaved over time. I went for the sunrise at 6AM and checked the tide times so that I could see how the sand would change.
I went with the intention of keeping an open mind about the space - listening to sounds, looking at details in the sand and the surroundings to figure out what I wanted to add to the space as part of my art work. I know I wanted to mark it with my movement, but I need to work out the forces and body-visualisations to go with it.
I contemplated the body becoming part of the line I was drawing in the sand and adding a 3 dimensional element to the beach but I also contemplated weight and how lifting and pressing into the sand can affect the shape. I took a short video and got some stills, just experimenting and improvising. I couldn't do as much as I wanted today as I currently am recovering from a pulled hamstring.
Shen Wei is a choreographer who uses a combination of Modern Dance, Chinese Opera and Visual Arts to create cross cultural interdisciplinary works that draw on human relationships each other and our environment. He has formed his own movement language - "Natural Body Development" which he uses as the key element within large scale art installations, interacting with sculpture, video and various other mediums.
What I find particularly exciting about his work is that it is cross-cultural - he combines elements of Chinese Opera and calligraphy with Western Modern dance and surrealist/minimalist painting. He is the designer of almost all of the technical elements of his pieces which means that the movement fits into a set of complementary features making his pieces total and wholly portraying his concept. I find it fascinating the way he combines the art process and the dance process together: he allows art to be the result and the responding element to human movement and to make visual arts take form there and then as a result of dance.
His attention to detail is so sculptural in his choreography - you can tell he has had a past in art because of the way he considers the formalist element of the movement and shapes but at the same time when you look at the visual art elements of his work you can tell the story of the human form through being created by movement. He works from visual art works from movements such as Surrealism, minimalism and abstractism in order to generate his movement and then allows the body's natural response to the music to play a part in his choreography also. His utilisation of costumes in his choreography also greatly interests me.
I am curious about exploring the different ways in humans can affect places, leave traces, marks, imprints and interact with spaces that they encounter to mark the time that they were there and then move on. We don't tend to mark where we have been anymore as we have formed language to signify this. However, I personally am interested in communication without language as I think that our society is totally saturated with words and paperwork, false advertisement through persuasion and I think that there is space for truth to come from breath, natural rhythms, movement and path making. In the piece I would like to integrate a soundscape with emphasise on foot sounds, hand sounds, breath and voice to create an atmosphere of human sounds without language.
I have looked at cave drawings and the ways in which people used to mark their territory but it also provide travelling humans a pathway/sign. It's these kind of historical innate uses of drawing that interest me. I don't want to try and create a figurative piece in anyway. I would quite like it to be a 'Walk the pencil' in dance form. I have chosen to make this a group piece in order to draw upon the psychology of human interaction as groups as well as with the space through time.
My concept ties with Abstract Expressionism, however I have decided to expand on the traditional kinetic motion of drawing with the motion being created by the human body dancing. I would like to experiment with a variety of different materials and environments to trial how the human body can mark and connect with different spaces - the more natural settings the better. For example, the beach, the grass, trees, rocks. Hopefully site-specific experiments and improvisations will broaden our understanding of how our bodies interact with nature and our surroundings and we can then bring this into a blank canvas setting and draw what we have learnt.