22nd June

When I visited Helen and Laila in Farnham the University had just completed the BA degree exhibitions and most of the students had left.
The University was quiet and almost emptied out.
It was a very lush and verdant place to be nearing midsummers day.

They had both brought large suitcases of stuff when they had arrived to begin the project. This seemed to be in possible preparation for a journey, a kind of migration from the familiar. Locally rummaged objects and things had been used in their office/studio to prompt individual and mutual exploration of ideas, concepts and play.

There seemed to be parallel activities happening, sometimes synching, responding, exchanging….a kind of currency…offering up…surfacing of what is important, what matters ….then and there…at that time.
Extending, mapping and measuring material, bodily and spacial limits appeared to be one strategy they employed together to excavate and interrogate their practices from the known into the unknown.
The unknown (in all its many forms) seemed to become the new territory, a point of reference and discussion…a platform… a place to work and exchange.

Siobhan Davies Dance
2nd August
Helen and Laila where based in a large dance studio and had managed to expand their approaches and processes to fit it. A roll of paper stretched from one end of the studio and back. Making two white parallel scrolls, a responsive territory for both to inhabit, negotiate and view simultaneously.

Using video (too) throughout the two residencies revealed to me the extent of their mutual thinking and journey. It framed the time based ideas and improvisations giving another perspective and vantage point from which to evaluate, ruminate and understand what was happening… in particular together.
A Choreographer’s Handbook (by Jonathan Burrows) seemed to contribute to and equip this discussion/approach in the same way as they used the practical facilities and workshops in Farnham.

Warming up, limbering, setting up agreed initial parameters in preparation for the unknown ones seemed to be close to the heart of process. Newness as revelation and freshness (rather than as novelty) seemed to be surfacing (as I left) and plans to take work outside in full view were afoot.


7 January 2013


Annie Cattrell



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