All images © John Freddy Jones | Article written by Rosie Willmot
Sunday 28th October saw On the Wire’s first Creative Exchange, an event that aimed to establish a dialogue between our Dance and Visual Art contributors. Facilitated by one of OTW’s founders, Rob Mennear, the Exchange focussed on an improvisation workshop, with the dance artists working in pairs and small groups to explore concepts of movement in an informal atmosphere.
They were joined by a group of seven artists from around Cornwall – among them another OTW founder, visual artist Melanie Young – who were there to watch, examine, sketch and photograph this unique and interesting exchange. Working in various mediums, from ink to acrylic, pastel to print, each artist had their own method of capturing the dancers’ movements.
We were keen for there to be strong communication between the dance and visual artists, something that was established early on in the session, with the Visual artists being invited to interject at any point; to try and recapture a position, or ask the dancers to move faster, slower, as individuals or in groups. Likewise, during the break, the dance artists were able to walk among the work, seeing how their movements had been conveyed, and talking to the visual artists about their techniques.
The Creative Exchange was about pushing boundaries. Each artist worked in a way that they were comfortable and confident, in a setting that was relaxed, yet engaging. The challenge came when one medium met another: the dancers were made to reflect on how each individual gesture was being received, by artists who were scrutinising their performance and working directly from the movement of their bodies. Visual artists, ordinarily used to working from quite static or slow-moving models, had to suddenly change pace to try and capture as many positions as possible.
Originally with a time-limit of just two hours, the session was intense, but was a brilliant springboard for lots of different ideas towards final pieces for On the Wire’s visual art exhibition and dance performances. Due to its success, the aim will be to produce more of these events throughout the course of the year, in order to maintain the connections that were forged at this event. Works created during the Creative Exchange will be on display for both evenings On the Wire, alongside more developed works, inspired by some of Cornwall’s most innovative dance artists.