What Remains…Anatomy of an Artist

By: Maria Ogundele | Date 28.04.2016
A collective of leading choreographers and performers have put together an impressive and tightly packed programme of events for the sixth edition of London’s WHAT festival, entitled ‘What Remains…Anatomy of an Artist’. This event, which celebrates the links between choreography and other art forms, will take place throughout the 21 – 22 May 2016, at the Siobhan Davies Studios, south east London. Artist-led organisation Independent Dance and veteran choreographer Siobhan Davies, will be staging the festival - themed around a ‘forensic’ approach to art-making. Over the course of two-days, each carefully selected contributor, connected to the choreography and arts world, will examine the work of their chosen artist’s methods, inspirations, influences, biography or their actual physicality to create each of the ten projects commissioned for the ‘What Remains…Anatomy of an Artist’ festival.

Contributor Julie Cunningham’s ‘We shall see the sky’ connects spoken word poetry with the medium of dance through physical explorations of poems by author and poet Kate Tempest. Cunningham’s performers will use rhythmic connections to uncover themes of identity and place within the two opposing art forms.

Canadian born artist and choreographer, Matthias Sperling presents a screening of film ‘My name is Janez Janša’ documenting the legalities of three Slovenian artists all changing their name to Janez Janša (it’s also the name of their former Slovenian prime minister). Following the screening, which looks into the complexities of all Janez Janšas acting together within the same physical and media space, Sperling will hold a discussion about the film’s relevance to choreography – proposing that like choreography, a name is something that bridges body and meaning.

Links between voice and movement will be highlighted within artist Rajni Sha’s piece ‘Song’ co-created with performers Natacha Bryan, Collin Clay-Chase, Emma Frankland, Kazuko Hohki and Sheila Ghelani. The performance will be repeated by the artists throughout the festival. Each echoing the others through voice and body – attempting to reflect the simple beauty in noticing someone, just for a moment.

My Johansson’s ‘Nor I’ will also focus on repetition, detailing how the act of doing something repeatedly may eventually create a sense of cosmic calm or cosmic chaos. Johansson attended the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, as did graduate Olga Masleinnikova who presents Being Mr. X in collaboration with artist and lecturer Michaela Ross. Their presentation investigates the work of Mr X, an artist currently residing at the Bethlem Royal Hospital. The photographs, footage and installations focus on the spatial limitations imposed on him by his surroundings and reveals to audiences how he adapts his artistry within these environmental constraints.

The physical constraints of dancing on one roller skate while regaling stories of an avant-garde hero will be explored by Jamie Atherton with his ‘Possibilities for a Pleasant Outing’ commission. This ambitious project looks back at the life of dancer, choreographer and Andy Warhol associate, Fred Herko.

Other festival offerings include the ‘M-em’ (memory) installation, by the multidisciplinary group Air Field; and fans of dancer and writer Carolyn Roy, can take in ‘The Telling’; this offering will see Roy inhabiting the world of an un-named woman afraid of the imbalance and disorientation she experiences in vast spaces defined by rhythms.

Surface, space and balance are also explored by choreographers Katrina Brown and Rosanna Irvine within their ‘Surface / Sphere’ installation.

One intriguing installation entitled ‘Our White Friend’ sees dance duo: Colin, Simon and I, looking at American authority on white racism, Tim Wise and asking what might happen if we were to imagine him as an artist? Expect this to be a highly thought-provoking project.

Each of the ten ‘What Remains…Anatomy of an Artist’ commissions will no doubt serve as testament to audiences that the medium of dance and its connections to other art forms is limitless.

The event runs from the 21 – 22 May 2016. Some of the works within this festival include adult themes.


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