Video documentation of full performance (40 minutes). Siobhan Davies with guest Octavia Reeve.* Performed at Siobhan Davies Studios on 21st October 2020.
Summary Statement (300 words)
Transparencies is research through practice in which the choreographic practice becomes a memory finder, uncovering and separating out former investigations as a way to renew and recognise the complexities of past interactions and to understand better what dance can include in current and future enquiries.
The practice is built from over 100 images printed on acetate paper, laid out and occasionally layered on a large white surface. The images are primarily single figures caught in a moment of movement, drawing upon visual art, dance, sports, photography, biology and science. Each of these disciplines offers a different enquiry into the qualities, materials and stories of the human figure.
The constellation of transparencies reflects the choreography of a long evolving practice. Laying them out in different iterations each day offers me fresh insights into the connections which thread through both my and others work.
Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas gave me a framework which encouraged the contemporary within me to meet the past, sometimes by simply concentrating on one gesture.
In Transparencies, I can choose one moment in a movement and then gather visual information from other practices which expands the idea of movement as more than one ephemeral moment in time. Occasionally visitors from other fields accompany me doing the practice and the visual stimulation creates a discussion about the distinct and shared qualities we see in both our disciplines through each other’s eyes.
I am not trying to design or make meaning when I choose different combinations of images, but to look and learn from the relationships which can occur between them. For an instant something other than what I might believe in or predict twists into another focus. A particular configuration is present and the practice I am evolving learns to trust, and share the particular intelligence of felt experiences.
Transparencies Performance Series
Using the choreographic practice to create shared ground to stimulate conversation or provide other perspectives.
- 10 and 11 November 2018. Open Studio: Transparencies with Siobhan Davies. Light Moves: festival of screendance. Limerick.
- Document: Light Moves Catalogue (page 26).
- 29 November 2018. Transparencies: an insight into the creative process of Siobhan Davies. Siobhan Davies Studios. London.
- 28 February 2019. Transparencies: a process in company, by Siobhan Davies. Siobhan Davies Studios. London. With invited guests choreographer Nicola Conibere, dance artist and choreographer Fernanda Munoz-Newsome and film-maker duo Webb-Ellis.
- Nicola Conibere’s Live Reading of a text she wrote in response to Davies’ invitation to participate at this public event.
- 21 May 2019. Transparencies: a process of parallels, with Siobhan Davies. Siobhan Davies Studios. London. With invited guest visual artist and filmmaker Sam Williams.
*Rescheduled from 31 March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic
List of others who have witnessed Transparencies: Anna Barribal, artist; Gareth Evans, Film curator Whitechapel Gallery; Kate Coyne, dancer and associate director Michael Clark Company; Ali MacGilip, curator; Katye Coe, dancer; Efrosini Protopapa, choreographer and scholar; Nicola Conibere, choreographer; Susan Hitch, academic, writer and actor; Webb-Ellis, artist filmmaker duo; Sam Williams, artist; Fernanda Munoz- Newsome, dance artist and choreographer; David Hinton, filmmaker; Caryl Churchill, playwright; Keira Greene, artist and filmmaker; Chris Darke, authority on Immemory by Chris Marker; Octavia Reeve, Head of Digital and Content Ada Lovelace Institute; Freddie Robbins, artist and Senior Tutor at Royal College of Art; Zowie Broach, Fashion MA Head of Programme Royal College of Art.
- The Mmemosyne Atlas (Aby Warburg). The Atlas of Memory introduces a practice of being able to be unfixed while we access a past. The Atlas consists of a constellation of carefully chosen images pinned to a big board. A possible pattern of ideas and links emerge when looking at them, but this pattern is swiftly altered by simply migrating one or more of the images to another place on the board. The Warburg collection houses thousands of images in separate files. Present day Curators are constantly shifting images between the files bringing movement and change to each of the subject matters.
- Immemory by Chris Marker (artist and film maker). The original Immemory was an interactive disc where many images collected by Chris Marker were placed in different zones. These geographical zones implied a tour of the artists imperfect memory and by including some familiar imagery the visitor is encouraged to mingle their own memories and links into the journey they choose to take through the collection.
- Independent Dance Crossing Borders 11 October 2011 talk between dance artist Gill Clarke and cognitive scientist Guy Claxton (scroll down to Crossing Borders 2011, Guy Claxton). The conversation between the two touched upon how their different disciplines matter to each other and inform each other. Initially the two disciplines might appear un connected but their conversation revealed similarities. Both spoke about their particular attention to how movement feels and the impact that has on a better understanding of the body we are.
Transparencies Image Library
- An assembly of images (251mb) contained in 17 Folders titled Wave-Reaching, Standing, Tipping, Sitting, Walking, Spinning, Twisting-turning, Rolling, Running, Recoiling, Lying, Falling, Jumping, Fly-Flee, Dancing, Crouching, Crawling.
Related Events and Workshops
- 20 February 2019. 22 January 2020. Transparencies workshops for 30-40 students from mixed disciplines. Slade School of Fine Art. London. Invitation from Associated Professor Graham Bussin.
- 23 January 2020. Transparencies workshop for 30-40 students from Art and Design. Royal College of Art, London (held at Siobhan Davies Studios). Invitation from Senior Tutor Jeremy Millar.
- 24 January 2020. Transparencies presentation to 2nd and 3rd year Dance & Choreography students at the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts. Falmouth University.
- 5 February 2020. Transparencies presentation and workshop for MA students in Art Direction. London College of Communication (held at Siobhan Davies Studios).
- 11 September 2019. Choreographic practices (including Transparencies) presentation by Siobhan Davies and Julie Cunningham. Women We Create. An event for American philanthropists. Invitation from founder Marjorie W. Martay.
- 28 May 2020*. Transparencies lecture invited for Muybridge’s Legacy in Dance. Muybridge Festival. Kingston upon Thames.
*Postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Video from Siobhan Davies Dance’s Future Recollections Series showing Davies’ Transparencies practice early in its development
- Videos (two) of Siobhan Davies doing her Transparencies practice, recorded Feb 2020 at Siobhan Davies Studios. London.
* Octavia Reeve is Associate Director at the Ada Lovelace Institute
Transparencies Video Documentation: filmed and edited by Hugo Glendinning. Second Camera Tilly Shiner.
Photo Credit: Overhead shot of the images laid out on a white surface © Hugo Glendinning