Sunday, 9 August 2015

Flow with the Dramaturgy: Gemma Connell @ Edfringe 2015

The Artifact Presents… 

Flow! is a revolutionary open stage event that sees dancers in close conversation with poets. From its roots in the USA, slam poetry has become a cultural phenomenon, touching the hearts and minds of those involved in the hip hop genre, as well as that of modern literature. 

Over the years, the lines between this form of performance and other arts have begun to blur. Flow! takes this a step further, allowing the spoken word to entwine itself with the human body. This event sees a succession of duets and group performances, teaming up poets and dancers to showcase their art forms collaboratively. Each pair locks, pops, spits and rhymes their way through a spontaneous set.

Curated by The Artifact's Artistic Director, Gemma Connell, this event features spoken word artists Katie Ailes, Tim Honnef/Jonas Müller, James McKay and Cameryn Moore as well as dancers Nerea Gurrutxaga, Penny Chivas, Madira Gregurek and physical theatre performer Lewis Sherlock.

17th and 18th August, 8:15pm
Sweet Grassmarket: International 1
Apex International Hotel
Tickets: £8/£6The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Flow! involves a spontaneous version of dramaturgy. The event is designed to create unique moments of performance, live on stage. The atmosphere is informal and the audience are made well aware of the concept – the dancers must respond to the spoken word artists through movement, but they have no idea what is about to be said. Based on the kinds of performers we have curated for each event, we challenge them with different tasks, at times also asking the audience to challenge them too. Our audiences have previously been incredibly receptive to this, revelling in the knowledge that what they are witnessing will never happen again. 

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
The idea for Flow! came from being exposed to a rather huge amount of spoken word in the corridors of Contact Theatre in Manchester, as a young dancer. I've not necessarily been influenced by any particular dramaturgical tradition, but as a hip hop dancer I was always concentrating on the beats and rhythms within music, differentiating the “booms” and “kas” from the baseline and the melody. Hearing so spoken word, I felt a similar feeling of “I could work with this” and the event evolved from there.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
As I say, Flow! is an event where anything could happen – the process actually happens on the stage. I try to get a feel for each artist and how they are interpreting the tasks or how they are involving themselves in a performative dialogue with the others. I often come up with new tasks in the moment, based on this careful watching of those I have curated.

What do you feel the role of the critic is? 
The role of the critic is to impartially judge whether the performance has achieved what it set out to do. For me, a critic shouldn't focus on personal taste, more on whether a piece was successful in moving its intended audience.

The company are currently promoting a crowd funding campaign for these shows, plus upcoming shows with Sweet Venues in Dundee. More information on that campaign can be found here. 

About The Artifact
The Artifact deals in stories. We work by creating, curating and producing a series of experiments. We aim to discover.

Led by Artist/Producer, Gemma Connell, The Artifact collaborates with organisations and individuals internationally, looking at art and performance as a way of discovering more about the human condition and our relationship to the world that we live in. 

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