As an artistic collaboration Bridge Song has developed in multiple layers within a staged process. The first is development of visual, textural and movement based material on location and through studio based research. It involves the intense working relationship between dancer Rebecca Youdell and myself. Not a new collaboration, over a number of years we have developed projects stemming from a mutual interest in art and environment concerns. For Bridge Song this process has extended the creative visualisation of human to environment relationships. As exposure to the precinct started to infuse the imagination, I was able to offer choreographic concepts to Rebecca as a foundation for studio based movement investigation. As indicators these choreographic concepts provided a number of feedback cycles which in-turn infused the imagination suggesting ideas for some of the video sequences. For example the concept of Newspaper Spirit a scene occurring at the beginning of the performance component has the performer in an inverted position, moving slowly imperceptibly. The corresponding video sequence depicts a discarded newspaper gently moving on air currents. The dancers response to time, place, sound and image are moments that surface in the work. Equally swelling the content and duration of the performance component.
The collaborative layers are conversations using various communicative and creative tools. Associations and responses play off each other and a body of material develops around the theme. Limitations and extensions are evaluated, initially defining parameters for ongoing direction. Evaluation and auditing of resources both creative and physical punctuated the collaborative process several times over the projects development. Significant signposts for ongoing direction were: creative satisfaction within developing components, financial resources available to process and product, development of artistic collaboration and quality of interrelationships with associate entities.
With enough of the content developed to establish scene lists and transitions the original collaborative layer became fragmented into specific discipline tasks and focused artform development. For myself the tasks included producing video components that integrate into stage design and performance elements, stage and lighting design as well as graphic ephemera. The collaboration with musicians developed into significant aspects of the stage component. For example one scene I had been developing prior to meeting the musicians involved the image of performers manipulating burning rope to symbolise the metaphor of burning bridges. Erik Griswold's composition for drums with sticks attached by ropes substituted burning bridges with the scene Bridging the Gap. The burning ropes remain in development. When listening to the Clocked Out Duo recordings I could recognise an element of playfulness and humour. This was a welcome quality, which informed and introduced some new directions. For example the collection of percussion instruments inspired me to design a drum cage as a framing device for Vanessa Tomlinson to perform within while simultaneously fulfilling the need to extend stage and performance dynamics.