A reflection on Create to Move Residency at The Steeple in Fife in October 2018. Blog by Fiona Hermse
Blog by Fiona Hermse
We had decided that this residency week would be a time for us to figure out our collaborative working processes, as well as to spend dedicated time together as Artists. This was as opposed to having a pressure to create an end product or piece as such. Create to Move is a collaborative practice between Emma Macleod (visual artist), Fiona Hermse (visual artist, jeweller & community artist) and Emma Snellgrove (choreographer & dancer).
We were very lucky that we had bright clear days and sunshine for most of the week, and being able to wander in and around the village and to learn a bit about its history was enriching. It was also a real treat to wander and speculate in the woods and orchards which were blissfully and sometimes eerily quiet. We even saw a deer shining in the sunlight!
From a personal perspective, much of my current work is in the form of participatory arts practice, with a focus on healthcare and well being. Due to this, previous to the residency I had been reading and pondering a lot about human mortality and the often complex questions that come with it. In particular; care for older people and end of life care, as well as science and technology in medicine. The boundary between life and death is becoming increasingly blurred and this raises thought provoking questions. The three of us artists, and I think most of us in this society feel that progressions of technology (and as a result, A.I.) in all aspects of life are often paradoxical. For me, this cannot be visualised more strongly than when I think about how this has affected human health and our experience of death.
Short exercises and experiments we had carried out together on the previous residency, particularly ones I had observed, allowed me to visualise more refined concepts and to begin to create sketches and drawings as to how to take these further. These ‘sketches’ were both three dimensional in the form of sewn fabric props which were interacted with, as well as drawings. It was very beneficial to have these two other very talented artists working with me and our practices, though very different, overlap in a satisfying way. It has allowed me to further develop ideas with a figurative and performance aspect and begin to see how these could be translated into a collaboration of movement and performance.
Personally I would love to see this project one day culminate in a public performance and exhibition, with participatory or workshop elements. The main challenges I see in achieving this are the usual tricksters of time and money and I imagine this will be a slow burning project! Looking forward to developing a plan to keep momentum going over 2019!
A reflection on Create to Move Residency at The Steeple in Fife October 2018. Blog by Dancer and Choreographer Emma Snellgrove
Blog by Emma Snellgrove
Newburgh Fife was a perfect setting for our fourth residency as Create to Move collective. We are a slightly unusual trio of sorts yet the draw to collaborate together remains a strong pull. We’re made up of Emma Macleod (visual artist), Fiona Hermse (visual artist, jeweller & community artist) and me, Emma Snellgrove (choreographer & dancer)
Personally, Newburgh was a much needed blast of fresh air, we all had such a busy summer and we were keen to get out of Edinburgh for some much needed perspective.
The Steeple provided us with room to play, reflect, bond and research in a non-pressured environment. Daily walks were needed to invigorate our minds when felt trapped or stuffy. Having accessible walks from our doorstep provided some much sought-after research of the outdoors. Since this is a main theme in our collaboration we took full advantage.
As a dancer and choreographer I am often taking ideas from the outside world and bringing them into the studio and spend often gruelling hours finding ways to bring the outdoors to life indoors, thankfully as a collective we are keen to make and create outdoors, which is why I love working with Emma and Fiona, as we have a very unique style and method to how we approach the tasks that we set each day. And by doing so we have found very accessible, engaging and surprisingly funny interactions and ideas that bring a human playfulness to the outdoors.
I found myself wanting to reflect outdoors rather than writing a tedious amount of notes, I often spend hours writing before I approach an idea physically. This time I just wanted to be outside as much as possible. Newburgh Fife is a stunning location, there was never a dull moment of exploration, from the hills, to the forests, and beach.
We realised how precious and beautiful it was just to walk together in silence and let nature flood our senses. We became childlike, adventuring off the path, like little red riding hood, we let ourselves get lost and fell deeper and deeper into our creative maze of nature.
I kept asking myself how will people relate to my journey, how can I physicalise my experience? How can I empower someone to feel utterly compelled or at least curious to go outdoors and embody their journey?
I realised with the help and suggestion of Emma and Fiona, that having other dancers, or at least keen participants who wanted to engage with our research would be very helpful for me in a later stage, especially from a choreographic and interactive perspective. Although Emma and Fiona are keen to dance and come up with very sensorial tasks.
I need to see how we can make our work inclusive and create activities involving others that will enable us to highlight how much value it creates in society when people work together creatively; they enable each other.
Sustainability of the arts is a massive concern to most artists and art is essentially the bloodline to an individual’s wellbeing.
Our topics are; AI and technology, the essence of human nature and the natural environment.I understand all these areas as being art. Art is communication whether that be maths, music, dance or literature. They involve the individual, the individual offers insight, an idea, feeling, an experience that needs the other. I am excited to communicate and use our research to involve other people.
A reflection on Create to Move Residency at St Margaret’s House in July 2018.
Blog by Emma Macleod (visual artist)
The first of our Create to Move residencies as part of our AN Artist Bursary, was a 3 week-long residency at St Margaret’s House supported by Edinburgh Palette in one of their gallery spaces.
Although this was a relatively long residency, we couldn’t all be there the whole time as we all had other work commitments. One of the challenges when working collaboratively is finding time together; working around one another’s schedules can be tricky especially when freelance jobs can come up quite last minute! Despite this, the time was really helpful and fruitful for all of us in the collective (Emma Macleod (visual artist), Fiona Hermse (visual artist, jeweller & community artist) and Emma Snellgrove (choreographer & dancer).
One of the interesting things about this residency was its setting in a gallery open to the public alongside other exhibitions. We decided that keeping the doors open some days & taking part in the opening night (despite it being in the first days of our residency!) would allow us to interact with the public. We decided to pose some questions on the opening night around our topic of “AI & Technology” and asked visitors to respond on post it notes and on a chalkboard. We had some engaging conversation about peoples’ hopes, dreams and fears of technology. Emma S and I (Emma M) also did an informal improvised performance.
One of the starting points of the residency was a reflection on a video work that I created, which involved found imagery of Sophia the robot with an extract of spoken words from Becoming Animal by David Abram. The video concentrates on the articulation of the carefully engineered fingers, and became the starting point of some movement tasks exploring intensive concentration on one part of the body, and ideas around manipulation and technology.
Emma S invited dancer Christina Liddell to join for part of the residency so that they could work together on choreography. From the point of view of a visual artist, I found it interesting to observe the way dancers naturally work collaboratively, and the choreographic methods of exploring through improvisation and then working through to the development of a sequence, repeated, honed and tuned.
Throughout the residency we tried to find different ways of working together, some of this was sharing in deep conversation around our topics, others were setting tasks for one another and exploring these together through movement or material manipulation, other times we worked individually in our research and then shared collectively. One of the things we’ve discovered is the need for a balance between working individually and in a shared capacity.
It can be challenging trying not to get bogged down in a final outcome, but allowing yourself to explore freely and to play. In a time-pressured environment – short amount of time together and other work/life commitments – everything feels like it has to count towards an end goal. Movement, however, is a fleeting thing and presents a refreshing new direction for an artist like myself interested in object and image making and creating things that “last”.
You can see a snippet from one of Emma Snellgrove’s improvised performance here https://www.instagram.com/p/BlgKwRGgk6m/
Create to Move is a collaborative practice between Emma Macleod (visual artist), Fiona Hermse (visual artist, jeweller & community artist) and Emma Snellgrove (choreographer & dancer).
We are a recently formed collaborative arts collective. Key to our practice is a shared interest in exploring movement and the body through a multi-media practice that centres the research and development process.
We have three fundamental topics that we’re exploring 1) AI and technology; 2) the essence of human nature; 3) the natural environment. We’re interested in where these topics intersect.
Our key question or statement at the moment is:
Physicality of touch, making and movement vsAI & technology.
In an increasingly computerised, urbanised and mechanised world, seemingly on the brink of an AI revolution, what are the values of nature, and creativity? As artists we share certain responsibilities to help to preserve the ways in which we express our humanity; through dance, making, play, craft and art. How is technology currently affecting us and how could it shape our futures?
We received an AN Artist Bursary this year to develop our practise together through a supported residency which would allow us some intensive shared time together. We are at the very beginnings of our collaborative working, so this time was spent learning how we could work together both in the context of researching our topics, and working out methods of how we can create together across different disciplines, without the pressure of creating a finished outcome.
Our interest in working together started in late 2017 when we worked together on Edgelands as part of Art Walk Porty in Edinburgh. We then found other opportunities to come together through a one-day collaborative workshop at GOMA in Glasgow that brought together youth dancers & artists, followed by a mini-residency at St Margaret’s House in Edinburgh. This spurred a desire to continue working together in some capacity.
Through our AN Bursary we were originally planning a week-long residency in the Scottish Borders, however on further research we discovered that this wasn’t the best option. In the end we had a 3-week long residency at St Margaret’s House supported by Edinburgh Palette and AN, followed by a week-long residency at the Steeple in Fife, Newburgh, also supported by AN.
The following blogs will be a reflection on our residencies and methods for collaborative working as part of our de-briefing work and reflections on how we might develop work in the future.