I have been invited to speak at the Art = Praxis Symposium in Glastonbury on Sunday 15th October. The symposium is organised by artist and scholar Dr Sasha Chaitow, whose exhibition Stained by the Light will be showing from 14th to the 23rd October at the Glastonbury Galleries. From the website:
The exhibition concept focuses on art as a living entity that can invite the viewer into a silent dialogue. The process of mindful, experiential engagement with the art is designed to evoke memories, raise questions, arouse curiosity, and invite the viewer to solve the enigma posed by the symbolic composition, resulting in a perceptual shift or realisation. The symposium features talks by artists and scholars exploring this question from different perspectives, from its use in ancient sacred practices, its utility as a method for inner work and healing, to its potential for social change on small or larger scales.
A great line up of speakers – Dr Sasha Chaitow, Cavan McLaughlin, Dr Simon Magus, Derek Bain, Dr Christian Giudice, Madeleine Le Despencer and Christina Oakley-Harrington – promising diverse perspectives on a fascinating subject.
I will discuss the role and nature of images in choreography and performance; my talk is entitled 'Severed head and nymph: icons animated and animating.'
Note that one who wishes to learn the art needs to / dance through fantasmata
– Domenico da Piacenza, Of the art of dancing (c.1455)
My dance is grounded in butō, a modern dance form that radically broke with other modern and traditional dance forms, not least in the originality of its choreographic method and notation system. Butō-fū are compositions of images, and imagistic or onomatopoetic language, that subject the dancer to bodily transformations by stimulating their sensorium, external and internal.
But the image also assumed a vital role in the choreographic theory of Domenico da Piacenza, for whom fantasmata denotes the dialectical rapport between stillness and movement – which he so vividly evokes with images of the Medusa’s head and a falcon taking flight.
Strikingly, the image is central to both Renaissance and avant-garde dance makers and theorists, and, I suggest, one reason for this is its complex interwining, at every level, with time, motion and affect. In my talk I will discuss this relationship, and the ways I use images in the creation and performance of dance, with reference to my recent work, The decollation of flowers, on the figure of the nymph and female rites of passage.