Research
 

 

My artistic research has been driven by a desire to understand about life through art beyond borders. It pushes me forward, seeking connections, exploring differences. 

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Photo from Synaesthesia – Interdisciplinary Encounters, by Aman Bloom

Activating agon in performance: UK, Europe, South Africa (2008 -)

Reaching one’s own limits and going beyond oneself, the conceiving of sports as a metaphor for life, and looking at a syncretic form of performance combining sports, dance and theatre became a long research project. What became apparent in all my performance productions was a consistent preoccupation with struggle and conflict which featured both in the content and context of my works. 

Looking into the physical contact in fighting arenas ignited my interest in boxing. It found its first physical expression through a research project at the Repton Boxing Club in London (Homelands Festival Chisenhale) and progressed over six years through my South African residency. This involved  Makhanda Joza Boxing Gym, working with the SA welter weight champion Mzi Ndwayana  and the Armoury Club Cape Town, a team of sportsmen, academics and intellectuals sharing a love for combat sports.     

          

  I was awarded The Association of the Deans of Humanities in South Africa (SAHUDA) fund to develop the concept of boxing into a multi-facet project, including, boxing training and workshops, exchanges, lectures, discussions, and a boxing event.

The examination of the body working in extremis included a collaboration with Dance Science dancer, Professor Emma Readding. We set out to investigate the territory of preparation for physical and mental exertion (2009-2012). This research took us to Washington DC and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science conference (IADAMS), where we delivered a performance-led research presentation, with medic Sara Chin, and dramaturg Mary Ann Hushlak. 

All this culminated in the topic of my PhD, entitled Activating Agon in Performance. It was based on a distinct body of works (2005-2017) as a contribution to the field of performance.  .

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Spaces Between: Japan

(2018 and continuing)

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From searching for the tensions and frictions created in the gaps between forms, practices, spaces and communities I progressively shifted my perception to look at the empty spaces between. 

A creative relationship with Integrated Company Kyo founded by producer and artistic director Yuko Ijitchi, begun in 2018. It was centred around a collaborative attempt to bring some elements from traditional Japanese dance and theatre forms into contemporary performance without them loosing of their gravity and cultural essence.  

Navigating the Kyo project was delicate and complex and involved an array of activities and organizations. It took the form of artistic residencies, research, workshops, talks and performance productions. These activities included: investigating folk dances at Amacho island – Oki prefecture. The research was supported by the Ministry of Culture in Japan, local communities and the SOAS Institute in London (2019); working with the Theatre of the Deaf - Totto Foundation (2018-2019); creating a site - specific performance for a group of learning difficulties at Tottori Summer Festival (2018); offering a workshop and a lecture invited by the Physical Education Department of the Tottori University; producing two full scale performances for the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre (2019 & 2020). These activities activated further connections with Japanese artists and new ways of approaching my artistic practice.

I was funded by the Hodgson Trust UK, to produce a written document in 2020 as both a post- research reflective journal and as an entry to future research on Japan: Spaces – Between.

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