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Curious in the Eastern Region

Curious are Associate Artists at Colchester Arts Centre for two years from January 2010 to  the end of 2012.

As well as developing their own work, they will be working with other live artists, seeing work and leading residencies and retreats in the Eastern region. They have already undertaken two retreats in the region and the first, in Colchester, led to the formation of Live Art Collective East. The second retreat took place in Ipswich in Summer 2010 and a third retreat is planned for Summer 2011.

Regular blogs and reviews will be posted on this site.

Curious ran an artist retreat for 12 artists from the Eastern Region in Ipswich 30th July - 1 August. The retreat combined creative workshops with professional development and regional networking strategies.

Documenta, Kings Lynn 28-30 June

The end of the month saw a really interesting collection of work as part of Documenta; a delightfully creative artist-led initiative with UK and international artists participating. The setting of the Kings Lynn Arts Center is really gorgeous and the spaces were really thoughtfully used. Lets hope this organization gets all the support it deserves as it has much to offer.

Co-Curator of the event, Richard Layzell, had some lovely work on show particularly interesting was ‘The Shed’. This piece was developed in Shanghai as part of the Visiting Arts One Mile Squared residency. You come upon the work as if by chance. You enter a warehouse on first glance full of clutter. You become aware of a cacophony of noise – its sounds like hundreds of song birds have been let loose. Then to your left you glance movement. On a seemingly haphazard pile of boxes is a beautiful projection of Chinese men surrounded by bamboo cages of tiny birds. We happen upon this vision just as Layzell, suddenly stumbled upon this scene on his recent artist trip in China.

There was a really lovely range of work thoughtfully curated - to mention just a few: a ferry ride to a ‘pick your own gift’ jumble sale, Kate Hodges Backstreet Tour which gave a highly informative, unique and often surprising look at Kings Lynn, a hypnotic video piece ‘YOU’ by Australian artist Allan Giddy, Tiki Mulvihill and Fae Logie’s ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’ and Brigitta Laube’s mesmerizing pictures of the Rhine.

Junction Sampled: Live Art 1-3 May 2010

It was impossible to see everything in this action packed event, especially as Curious were also performing, but some of the pieces we did have the chance to sample were:

‘Breathing’ - a chance to take hold of a moment with artist Caroline Wright, enclosed in a tiny one-person tent under the stairs in the foyer of the Junction. I unzip the tent and enter a bright white space. Caroline gently instructs me to sit down. There are two white bowls filled with water between us. Caroline places a white towel over both our hour heads and says,’ Breath with me.' Together we breath the moisture evaporating from the bowls of water. The smell is menthol, eucalyptus. It is head clearing and reminds me of being off sick from school - the smell of Vicks Vapour Rub. It is pleasant and I relax in this moment of breathing together. Gradually the rhythm of the breathing changes, it gets faster and faster. I try to follow, to keep up. The tranquility of a moment ago changes to a feeling of panic, claustrophobia and breathing becomes breathlessness. But then Caroline’s breaths slow down and mine with her and all is calm again and the performance over. A lovely moment where breath became so present and so absent at the same time.

Abi Cunliffe’s quiet ‘Reflection’ conjures a moment of stillness amidst the hectic programme of work happening all round it. Using audience members and seemingly random words on paper she creates a silent contemplation of the Moments in Between Everything Else. The placing of the words on the window reflects the world in between and are a lovely trace to leave through the weekend of performances.

With ‘64’ Vicky Weitz leads us to contemplate a very different world, more familiar to Alice’s Wonderland where anything can happen - and very well might! In her energetic funny and engaging performance Weitz whips up her audience into participants of a game where no one is sure who is in charge and what the rules are. Weitz has a great persona and can pretty much get us to do whatever she wants!

Another pair who exhibited good audience control were Hunt and Darton with their madcap ‘Break Your Own Pony’. This was a really enjoyable performance that knew its withers from its walking trot. It took me back to the days of the WH Smiths ‘Win a Pony’ Competition in a piece that was smart, saucy and a little bit posh. Like Weitz , these gals also put their audience through their paces and good teeth and flowing locks are rewarded with satin rosettes.

With ‘Reduced Frequency’ Richard Dedominici has whipped up a whole whirlwind behind a door on the first floor. Witnessed only through the tiny spy hole in the door you are privy to an office in chaos and a wind that you could feel against the lashes of your eye that upturns office furniture and runs amok with the filing system

In ‘Projection of Circumstance’ the Escape Artist takes us on a physical visceral journey of experience. The performance starts with the lights coming up on a figure prostrate and immobilized. He is tightly wrapped, mummy-like on the floor. Through struggle and effort the escape artist breaks free and pulls himself upright, and finally stands,his naked stomach contracting, concave. The journey ultimately delivers him into the light of love and acceptance.

A background to all this work through rain, wind, freezing hail and sudden shafts of sunlight was ‘Hop Skip and Jump’ – the hop scotch game that really builds up those calf muscles and gets the heart racing. The stalwart participants kept up their steady pace over the long hop scotch court, cheered on by the LACE organisers.