Thursday, 24 July 2014

Glasgow dancer gets environmental (2011)

Rosalind Masson is one of Glasgow's most energetic young dancers: having been part of punk icon Linder's thirteen hour underground special The Darktown Cakewalk, a regular collaborator with Tom Pritchard and one of Dance Base's tips for the top through their compilation show at The Traverse last autumn, Masson now turns her attention to environmental catastrophe.
"What inspired me to make Our Oceans are Drowning is the melting of the polar ice-caps due to global warming," she says. "To me it just seems totally insane to think that this is a positive thing and to exploit the resources now becoming available - which is what's now being negotiated." And this is more than an abstract worry: "Cairn Energy, the forerunners drilling for oil in the Arctic are based in Edinburgh and I wanted to send a message to them. It would be great if they could come to the performance."
Masson may well be a familiar improviser, but she has been quick to integrate other arts into her work. For a time, she focused on splicing film and performance. "For me, film is all about movement and timing, while also being able to work in non-linear time and space through editing and post production. That's a lot of fun, but at some point I realised I needed to come back to my body."
The sense of alienation from the body Masson detected in her time as a film-maker reflects not only her musings on the way that environmental carelessness disconnects humans from their planet, but also a more general alienation of people from creativity.
"I have this theory that if dance, music, crafts and the arts were more a part of everyone's everyday life and culture then I wouldn't be doing this whole thing."
 "I guess contemporary dancers end up becoming these spectacles that sacrifice themselves - not for their art but from a frustration about the general state of things."
From the the original political inspiration, Masson's vision of  the artist becomes almost shamanic: Our Oceans promises to find the place where art becomes an act of political engagement.

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