Monday, 28 April 2014

Buzzcut 2014

Buzzcut  was set up in response to the collapse of New Territories, a festival that had brought many top quality international acts into Glasgow, but was still capable of controversy. Buzzcut is not a replacement festival, and if the growth of New Territories  reflected a period when large scale experimental performance challenged the boundaries between the genres of dance, installation and theatre, Buzzcut has rapidly become an iconic symbol of a younger generation's aspirations.

The ethos is clearly on DIY creation - the popular Five Minutes to Move Me strand emphasises how much can be done with so little. The more well-known artists, such as Action Hero or Claire Cunningham, are able to present more experimental work - Cunningham's Give Me a Reason to Live is a shift towards a more performance art version of her usual choreography - and up-and-coming artists are given a platform that will get more attention. Curators Nick Anderson and Rosana Cade founded the festival on the ideal of 'artists giving space to artists,' and this has led to a tightly-knit community supporting the main Buzzcut festival and its various off-shoots.

It is clear that the community-building is working: Buzzcut 2014 occupied the Pearce Institute in Govan, and the cafe became a space for celebration, friendship and conversation: the familiarity of the artists who were performing contributes to a safe atmosphere, both for new work and new friendships. The range of performances on offer ensures that diversity is more important than theme, or even notions of polished products, with walks, installations and coffee breaks all part of the fun.

There are problems with the model - any community has an in and out group, and Govan is not necessarily the best location for challenging live art - and the Buzzcut community does not connect, at least in terms of curation, with the other arts communities of Glasgow. Frustrating as this is, it is perhaps unfair: Buzzcut is affirming its own identity, creating a focus for artists working on the edges of traditional theatre. It is from here that effective dialogues can be made - with the music community, or the funding bodies that won't be able to ignore strong grass-roots dynamism.

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