INDEPENDENT DANCE WINTER LABORATORY
with JAYNE PARKER.
9th – 11th December 2016
I had the pleasure of taking part in a Winlab (Winter Laboratory) workshop with Jayne Parker, a British artist and film-maker. Hosted by Independent Dance at the Siobhan Davies Studios, in Elephant and Castle. I was astonished by the range of artists that were involved in the production of dance on screen within the UK.
Here is a short summary of what I experienced and things that came up that were of interest to me. I’ve tried to keep it short, as there were loads of issues discussed, but I hope that this can give you a small insight into what we got up to.
Some beautiful and thought-provoking examples of work were shown by all participating artists. From work that was recorded with super 8mm film, to full HD digital cinematic trailers, to even filmic experiments with movement, stabilisation and the camera. Just seeing the array of alternative dance and filmic practices, in such a beautiful ambient studio, was enough to give me Goosebumps from the sheer opening out of my existing experience screendance within the UK. Travelling around the world to festivals to find little pockets of the dance-film community is one thing, but to see the level of exploration that is happening within your own country is so exciting. Especially if you had no idea it was happening… Anyways, I digress…
We were given the opportunity to delve into a practical exercise. Which resulted in some amazing shots being informally constructed in teams. Here’s a little preview of my groups work…
It was refreshing to be able to play with the camera without the pressure of having to create a final product. This practical playtime is so refreshing and something that I would advocate for other corporations to encourage and support. I know my next aim with The Motion Dance Collective will be to look at developing practical workshops like this further and I definitely would of loved more of it at this Lab.
This was a very interesting day because we were freely invited to provide any work that we were working on or wanted feedback on. I jumped at the opportunity to show a piece I was in the process of creating and had gotten to a place where I was stuck on how or what I was trying to say with the film. I wont go into too much detail about the film itself, as I will now get to finishing it and release it soon, all you need to know is that it was speaking about subjects and questions that I felt I had no place in answering, but what one of the group made me realise, in their feedback, was that it isn’t wrong at all to present a question. That artistic work doesn’t always have to provide answers and can sometimes just present a question to a viewer. My mind was blown!
Before this workshop I had been so pre-occupied with trying to provide answers when creating my dance narratives and constantly feeling dissatisfied if my films didn’t do so. However, I now realise that it doesn’t have to be the case, especially when I myself don’t feel I have the answer.
What I really like about the laboratories I have been to so far is that they have left me with more questions than answers and I find I use these questions when I develop future work. In my experience Labs have mainly focused around a discussion rather than a more lecturing approach. Questions are proposed to the group to answer as a whole and therefore the issues discussed centre around everyone’s practice in order to further inform and inspire individual practice. This is such a great way of understanding a practice through the experience and expertise of others and I find that I end up becoming a sponge to the information.
In most cases you have some pieces of information that really apply to the work you are presently creating. However, there are those opinions that you may disagree with or you cast to the side thinking that they could never apply to you. I have found that when making work, some things never have applied before can suddenly become relevant dependant on the context.
For £150 this workshop was a little pricey, but with the amount I learnt and experienced in the two-and-a-half day period, it was definitely worth every penny. I encourage all people who are interested in screendance to get out there and talk to other artists around you who are doing similar work. Even just setting up small gatherings to talk about a particular practice will change the discourse that can be developed for our art in the future.
Here’s to fighting creative isolation!
Thanks for reading,