A performance research project bringing together artists and academics from Beijing Dance Academy, Taipei University of the Arts and from UK universities and conservatoires to engage in intercultural dialogue and exchange in and through the performing arts.
Creative Process and online blog:
Online video and commentary
From Saturday 20 July to Friday 9 August
Performance Leaving home: being elsewhere
Saturday 10 August The Place Robin Howard Theatre
Conference The aesthetics of elsewhere
Sunday 11 August Queen Mary, University of London
This edition of ArtsCross has involved strengthening existing partnerships with Beijing Dance Academy, Taipei National University of the Arts, Queen Mary, University of London, University of Exeter, Step Out Arts and The Place, and has seen the addition of a new partner, the Confucius Institute, Goldsmiths College, London.
As in previous editions, choreographers and performers from Beijing, Taipei and the UK will each produce a dance work addressing the theme drawing on their different perspectives and individual styles. In London we are encouraging a greater focus on process, albeit a process that has outcomes in the performance and the conference.
This interrelationship between process and product is one that is open to debate, but ArtsCross positions the performance as a result of process, and combines the investigations of creative artists who are active in the arts marketplace with the debates of academic observers for whom performance is a practical as well as an intellectual endeavour.
In London, the choreographers face similar demands as those in other editions: to create work that is contained within a ten-minute performance allocation, to address the theme, to use up to six performers from the three geographical locations. The last stipulation is frequently the most demanding as it involves working with interpreters and with performers whose training in and understanding of performance may vary widely.
The task appears daunting to me and yet choreographers report that the experience is rich and stimulating, and this is also true of the academics. Of course we are working together and this is a key feature of ArtsCross – the exchange between us is not limited to the brief encounter of a performance or conference – we are deeply engaged in this dialogue and committed to communicating the concerns of our work as widely as possible.
I cannot be certain what issues will arise in London, but discussions in Beijing in November centred on issues of translation and interpretation. The theme for ArtsCross London will allow greater consideration of those ideas and encourage an exploration of what we translate from and to. Arguably most acts of understanding and processes of familiarisation begin with translation – relating new information and thoughts to points of reference in what we already know, what we have previously absorbed. A way of making the unfamiliar ‘familiar’ – a word with roots common to family, and of course that brings us firmly into the orbit of the theme: Leaving home: being elsewhere.
ArtsCross is however, a dynamic and catalytic space in which the creativity and rigour of the artists is matched by the spontaneity and rigour of the academic exchange – any attempt to anticipate the outcomes would simply create a hostage to fortune.
Let me end by encouraging you to join the discussion online, and/or in person at the performance and conference.
Let the exchange begin…
Professor Christopher Bannerman
Special thanks to ArtsCross ResCen Research Centre patrons:
Dr. and Mrs. Richard and Rosalind Lee