Making of: Flying Behind the Scenes

A collaborative participatory arts project is an interesting undertaking for our team. I asked them all to tell me a little about their experiences so that we could get a complete picture of how the performance piece “What if… we had wings?” is taking shape.
 

Barbara
What do I like about the project?
It is colourful, demanding and enriching at the same time. While working for the blog and on the arts research aspect, I am exploring my own artistic and personal identity in so many ways. Sometimes very intimately, sometimes on a large scale. I trace my own visions, my personal heritage, and remember people that impressed me such as Tante Rose. (https://what-ifblog.net/2014/06/13/tante-rose-and-the-book-of-poetry/)

 

To share my thoughts via the blog and other social media felt a little frightening at the beginning, almost like revealing too personal aspects of my life to an anonymous community. The community grows, slowly but steadily which is good, people come back to us, they start to comment and share. And out of the anonymous mass they become real human beings. We might even start to write each other, chat on Facebook, connect across the borders of countries and cultures. I find this absolutely fascinating.

 

And I am curious how we will combine all of these influences in our artworks and give it back to our community.
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The artist team, creating.

Anthony
The What If? project presents an interesting opportunity to collaborate once more with David Stalling and Barbara Lüneburg and also with Cathy van Eck over an extended period of time to research and develop a performance/gallery work. An unusual aspect of the the project is the inclusion of works generated by an anonymous community into the fabric of the What If? artwork. I often use ‘found objects’ in my own personal work & so I’ll probably be thinking about similar ways of how to gently knit the community works into What If? so as to form something cohesive or other.

 

About the video: I had been taking photos & making short video primarily for documentation purposes; a sort of visual & sound ‘note-taking’. It’s something I often do as you never know what you might capture during the processes. I noticed Cathy was making this particular ‘flying’ gesture. She had talked earlier about her ballet experience and I thought this was something that was quite evident in this pose.

 
Cathy
I very much enjoy working together with Anthony, David and Barbara. Often it is not that much about talking through our ideas, but working all together in the same room, hearing what the others are doing, and just exchanging a few thoughts is really important. We are all four of us working as authors, composing the same piece of music, which is a new experience for me. So we have to leave gaps for the ideas of the others, and also literally be silent sometimes so the music of the others has its place. We often use the same recordings as a starting point, but use them in quite a different way. What really helps is of course the feedback of the others. This gives me new ideas, and often courage to continue in a specific direction.
 
David
What does this project mean to me?
It means relocating from Dublin to Vienna temporarily, for our various block working sessions since the start of the project. I very much enjoy collaborating with my friends and colleagues, Barbara, Cathy and Anthony. In many ways, “What If?” is a continuation of a series of mixed media performance works that I developed with Barbara and Anthony each summer over the last six years at the Hilltown New Music Festival in Ireland. Each time we had just two or three days to compose, rehearse, and perform the pieces to the festival audiences. I like working that way, present ideas to an audience when they are still very fresh and spontaneous. We used violin/viola, field recordings, electronics, video, and some more unusual props and instruments, such as vintage record players, mirrors, and other found objects from the surroundings of Hilltown House. “What If?” had its first beginnings at Hilltown in summer 2013, where the four of us met for the first time as a group. Having a lot more time, and to develop the project on a larger scale is very exciting and I look forward to see where our creative journey will lead us.
 
What I like about this project (and about collaborations in general) is the way we are combining our various skills, characters and temperaments to create a work together. A work, which in the end will contain elements of of our individual practices as well as something that can only evolve from our process as a group. I consider the inclusion of the anonymous (online) community in the project as somewhat of a ‘wild card’. It will be very interesting to see how they might influence the  outcome, and most of all, I hope to be able to meet our online contributors in person some day.
 
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Artists’ workstation.

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