Exchange and Dialoge

Gemma Coldicott writes about her MA research.  She is studying for an MA in Inclusive Arts Practice at the University of Brighton. The three people who have joined her have a variety of dance backgrounds and abilities. Dance Renegades is also asking you, as a reader to interact with her BLOG.

Considering proximity on a global scale
The journey begins with two identical solander style boxes, each with seven compartments, designed and manufactured in London. One became filled with artefacts representing my critical thoughts and professional portfolio from the first year of my MA. With accompanying ‘ikea style’ instructions, provoking reflection, dialogue and movement, the recipient of the box becomes a participant in an embodied response to my critical thinking. I am not present during their experience. 

In September I travelled to Japan with this box and bestowed it on my Japan based research participant. Contents explored then removed (excluding a blank roll of paper) it currently resides in Tokyo, to be replenished over the coming weeks with objects from forthcoming explorations.

The three participants in London, including myself, the lead researcher, have the second box. Together we are exchanging ideas, engaging in dialogue and exploring the transference of instructions from one person to another. We are filling the box with objects we choose, selected for their resonance to our life or the research sessions, and covering the paper with reflective drawing. Our sessions have taken on a rhythm, involving rituals and ceremony.

They each comprise of:
1. Reflection on the previous week, verbally and through drawing
2. Opening ceremony (choreographed by the Tokyo participant)
3. Introduce an object to the box
4. Dialogue and improvisation
5. Discuss and implement rules to direct the improvisation
6. Reflect on the session, verbally and through drawing
7. Closing ceremony (choreographed by the London participants)

We record our sessions and share elements of them via vimeo and a research blog,   Documentation is therefore a significant component of this project and is happening in four methods: photo, video, audio recordings and drawings.

Despite a distance of over 5,000 miles between us, nature appears to be our connection. The transition from summer to autumn has brought leaves into our work and more importantly opened up dialogue about time, and it’s passing. The season has also brought the sun occasionally into our dance space, a rare sight in the UK at this time; it has been celebrated when it has appeared.  

Alongside the action research my academic investigation is following several themes:
1. Transgressing the ephemeral. Documentation as the connection between visual and performance art.
2. Spectatorship, witnessing, noticing. Audience as collaborator.
3. Instructions, instructing and mapping. The space between self and other in the conveyance of ‘idea’.
4. Interaction, immersion and participation. Chasing trends in and performance at the expense of authenticity.
5. ‘Liveness’. Can ‘we’, audience, creator, conduit, all be present all of time.

The action research will conclude at the end of January. My findings will be communicated in June and July. You are invited to engage with this research via the blog or directly through email.

Gemma Coldicott MA Inclusive Arts Practice University of Brighton

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