A new work exploring Living in Present Absence
Created & Directed by:
With Support from:
Creative Scotland and Dance Base
Following the death of my wife Janis Claxton, I came across the phrase ‘living in present absence” which was the start of this artistic exploration of grief. The theme gained additional poignancy whilst I was living and developing the piece through the COVID Pandemic.
Video created with absent performers online during this time has been integrated into a live blackout promenade performance through which the audience are guided by myself. Featuring curated and reconfigured work by the following artists:
Skye Reynolds work Alive, created with Susan Worsford. Skye Reynolds’ Costume by Anna Cocciadiferro;
Sarah Bebe Holmes –You Passed Through Me with music composed & performed by Bado Reti;
Janis Claxton’s POP UP duet – Never with composer Pippa Murphy;
Janis Claxton – Blue .
Having been supported through a period of development by Creative Scotland, residencies at Dancebase , and the focus of my recent MA in Directing Circus and Performance, the work will be touring performance spaces across the UK in Spring 2023. If you would like to receive a promoters pack or find out more about hosting the performance at your venue please contact Susan Hay, Producer.
About the Show
From identifying the phrase ‘living in present absence” I explored the notion of living in present absence through in-depth research of the concepts of ‘disembodied presence’ and ‘embodied absence’. These concepts gained extra weight as Lockdown erased the ‘embodied presence’ of a number of live performers from the work, which have become ‘disembodied presences’ projected or digitally displayed within the piece.
From the initial concept through development and interrogation during my MA in Directing Circus and Performance, Something Happened – an immersive promenade multi-directional performance has been created.
Taking place in a blackout, the audience will be guided through the space and action by myself, illuminated by hand held LED light panels and domestic spotlights.The work features other performers via video projections and various digital screens rendering them as “apparitions”, by substituting their bodies for a presence of light it reminds us how absent they are.
The darkness is the pool of absence which the performers inhabit and the audience is immersed into. The minimal use of light illuminates a series of fractured moments occurring in this amorphous field of absence, emerging and submerging, to reveal an intimation that there is a lot more that is unseen, that cannot be known.
The work pulls together a series of vignettes using deconstructed dance duets, aerial and theatre. The use of cut up iPad portraits that speak about an unnameable event, remind us of the viscerality of body parts as well showing how these ‘actors’ are also merely haunting the space. The central event is referred to in the past but as something that will not stop coming back to the present.
WORK IN PROGRESS SHOWING
Thursday 10th March
Q&A at 3.20pm following the showing
DanceBase, Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU