Interdisciplinary Encounters 3: Objects of Desire, South Africa. Photo Aman Bloom
I seek to add new perspectives to my practice that challenge my familiar modes for producing work. Developing collaborations outside my own individual work are central to this process.
The original impetus for this was developed through my seven-year residency in South Africa. This experience allowed me to see the world through different lenses, reaching its peak in the global pandemic.
I actively sought dialogues with peers and joined artists and other professionals in their performance areas and across different disciplines.
I think of this new turn in my current practice as a kind of activism that involves a diverse bunch of co-activities including research, workshops, mentoring, and performance production across the tertiary and independent artistic sector.
I have been invested in an international interdisciplinary artistic community, a sustainable artistic practice, and have dedicated myself to supporting the work of younger artists. The process of exchange and co-creation fostered a renewal in me as an artist.
Neil Luck & ARCO, UK
Neil and Athina began their interdisciplinary exchange in 2009 through Athina’s project In Preparation (see Performances). They share research ideas, performance projects and workshops. Since 2018, Neil invited Athina to his music-performance practice, as a creative collaborator.
Athina has performed in Regretfully Yours. Commissioned by and performed at the London Contemporary Music Festival (LCMF) 2018. Composed by Neil Luck.
Shared workshop: New Memories for New Muscles: Rethinking the warmup as a site for radical ideas and aesthetics. A Trinity Laban ChoreoLab student commission (Feb 2022).
We - Neil Luck & Athina Vahla - believe now is an important time to rethink how work is made, what it needs to say, and what it could look and sound like. This requires a radical deconstruction of how we work together. This project is focused on the act of exercise. What if we view the warmup/exercise as a radical act in itself - existing totally outside of the regular, institutional constraints of making work perhaps these exercises can be sites for experimental new aesthetics or styles. Perhaps they can challenge performers with new, hybrid forms of creative expression. Perhaps they can be political and critical acts themselves.
Quote (above) from Shared Workshop Brief
Athina offered mentoring support to Neil’s music performance, THE MELTING CEREMONY for the Spitalfields Festival, QMUL Octagon. (July 2022). A new piece about ‘Britishness’ and arcane folk rituals.
Still from video footage by Rasmus Reimer Larsen.
In autumn 2022, Athina and Neil will embark on further performance research with Neil’s group ARCO, funded by the PRS Foundation for Music.
David Tucker (Raging Calm), UK (2021)
Athina worked as a movement director in collaboration with Film and theatre director David Tucker for the work The Tempest.
The Tempest was funded by the Arts Council of England as a research and development project based on Shakespeare’s adaptation of The Tempest. A two-week workshop resulted in a complete sketch of The Tempest as a work in progress and as an education tool, due to develop in full production in 2023.
A man lies unconscious in a hospital bed; tubes, bleeping machines. A nurse enters, waits. Relatives gather round the bed, silent and solemn. One of them nods to the nurse, who reaches out to the machines. The flatline noise... And then… A deafening clap of thunder – the man sits up…This is THE TEMPEST, conceived as the final dream of a man raging against the dying of the light – a passage from furious assertion of the ego to peaceful acceptance of death.
A Tempest for the age of Covid-19.
Katarzyna Dębska & Jerzy Mączyński, Poland (2021)
Photo by Katarzyna Debsća.
Athina was invited by the Polish du artists Katarzyna Dębska and Jerzy Mączyński to collaborate on Inflow Outflow, a live performance with multichannel sound and video installation, in their SAUNA studio space in Warsaw. Athina inputted the space and movement – design, Katarzyna the video concept and Jerzy the sound concept.
SAUNA STUDIO- the abandoned SPA complex, includes a sauna and a pool, of the former Polish-Soviet Friendship House in Warsaw, transformed into a place of cultural activities.
SARIANI project comprised of audio-visual events organized by Sauna Studio in Warsaw (29/09 -1/12) including concerts combined with visualizations, video installation and accompanying exhibitions and was co-financed by the “Music” program implemented by the National Institute of Music and Dance (NIMIT).
For 2023, Katarzyna Jerzy and Athina are planning to develop their collaboration further, designing, and co-curating projects which activate SAUNA as a cultural and interdisciplinary meeting space.
Photo by Michał Małotaa.
Photos, Gail Sneddon of Youth Dance, Dance North Scotland.
Athina and Gail have worked together since 1999. In 2019, Athina was invited by Gail on an artistic residency in Scotland to collaborate on her research project GODDESS at the Tramway in Glasgow. The work was initially inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.
It was followed by a residency at Findhorn Foundation and a co-creation on the Youth Company of Dance North Scotland.
With support of Dance North Scotland, Gail’s and Athina’s collaboration continues. Current activities include Athina formally mentoring Gail’s creative practice as part of her Arts in Moray (AIM) artist in residency Dance North Award, and inputting workshops for the Youth Company , as well as dramaturgical support for Gail’s work on the Youth Company Savage.
SAVAGE on a Moray beach in The Northern Scot
Dance North Scotland has additionally supported Athina with completing her PhD through offering an artistic residency. Through this residency Athina also entered the gardening team of Cullern Gardens, Findhorn Foundation. Volunteer work for Cullern Gardens has progressively become a part of Athina’s creative practice, in the way that horticulture can inspire further artistic research related to systems such as those of rhizomes and mycelia.
Marie - Gabrielle Rotie (Butoh UK), 2020
Marie invited Athina in her creation Mujokan (2021) Japan House week in the Temperate House of Kew Gardens (2021), to contribute a solo performance.
Marie also worked with Athina as a collaborator in her choreographic work for Robert Egger’s film The Northman (2020) and more recently the Netflix series The Witcher (2022), with Athina assisting the studio research for The Northman and inputting to the dance research and the rehearsals on set for The Witcher.
Photo credit (above), Keiko Ikeuchi.
Dr. Sara Chin, Medic (2019)
Athina’s and Sara Chin’s paths crossed through the years several times, collaborating on the sited work; Wrestling an Angel in an abattoir at Clerkenwell, the Alchemy project in 2012 UK Paralympics, In Preparation, dance science performance and paper at the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADAMS) conference in Washington DC (see the Performance section of this website).
Just prior to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, our meeting in one of the most serene of gardens resulted in the most unlikely of conversations about a lecture on gunshot wounds. The conversation lit our fuse (akin to internal ballistics) and we were catapulted shortly afterwards into a Manchester artist residency (again, akin to ballistics).
The residency took place at Studio307 and included conversations and a workshop with authentic movement practitioner Amy Voris. Click here for a link to some documentation of this work. The embryonic development began at that stage, and It is an ongoing project.
Sara Chin performs Ballistics (2019)
Sara Chin performs Wrestling an Angel (2005)
As with a surgeon suturing any injury, it is not about the etiology of the injury but about how the integrity of the body be made whole. We were seeking to reach inside our bodies after injury, oppose the ruptured edges of anatomical layers to restore and reveal the whole.