Korallia Stergides and Beckie Cove (BA Performance Design and Practice) and Sam Shaw (BA Fine Art) discuss collaboration and working across disciplines.
CSM Live: Practice Exchange’s final performance takes place today Friday 13 May, visit the event page for further details.
Korallia: With this project we set up a framework that allowed things to be more unexpected. Do you think that allows more freedom for the audience to interpret the work?
Sam: It’s an interesting one because it’s whether or not you are accepting of the idea that anything could happen and how you feel about it, that energy is really driven into the audience. You might get some people who feel uncomfortable or some people who don’t understand what is going on. The audiences’ perception is always different from our perception, but if we’re in tune with what we’re doing then I find that offers a mutual relationship between the artist and the audience.
Beckie: Do you think that performance helps to start a conversation with the audience?
Sam: I think it definitely helps the audience articulate something in their own minds about the work. We’re the catalyst for a discovery and we’re presenting ideas to them. The audience is there for a reason, they’ve come to listen, watch and find out more.
Beckie: You have to go in completely comfortable with the not knowing where things are going to go and be able to be intuitive and responsive about what other people are doing. I think that this is something that has taken me three years of get comfortable with doing
Sam: Yeah, you aren’t going to do it straight away and if you do it is kind of bizarre and you are probably kidding yourself, you’ve probably missed something that you could have avoided, it’ll be more likely to go hideously wrong. It is about paying attention to other people and their interests and their intentions and not always coercing people into your agenda.
Korallia: I think the kind of reflection that we had when working with Fine Art was developed through lots of discussion about the work we were doing. I think that in a way, you have to see talking as part of the work, it is just thinking through vocalizing. The point of collaboration was in the conversation.
Sam: I really enjoyed hearing all of these new words to do with the theatre. You don’t have to work in the middle of a theatre to understand, you can take theatre language and make links with music and artistic languages and it begins to spread through everything and you can see it all develop. It starts to take care of itself – that’s a brilliant moment and it’s because of this cross collaboration that this can happen.
Beckie: The terminology became useful as a material that we could all share and then rebel against. Terms like audience, theatre or spectating, they were all terminologies that became something we were all conscious of and as artists you often want to challenge the meaning of terminologies. Although all of the performances have very different outcomes, they all were trying to challenge these key terminologies.
Sam: It is interesting that we try and redefine things in terms of our own experiences. There is still something about words written down on paper that means we feel like it is some sort of authority. We have an understanding that if something is formally written down we must obey it, but a paintbrush has just as much authority, it is a tool for us to understand and explain things and connect with people on a deeper level.
Beckie: I think that one of the most valuable points of the project for me was that initial point of just sitting down and showing each other what we’ve been doing.
From my perspective there is this mystique around fine art in the college and it comes with that lone artist idea that they just want to let their art speak for themselves, but this collaboration with performance has opened up that conversation and wanting to start dialogues about our work.
It was breaking down that wall between the two courses and I think seeing that journey is really nice.