Siobhan Davies: What we can learn from contemporary dance
Books & Exhibitions
The work of Siobhan Davies Dance fits no certain category. The London-based collective call what they do ‘investigative arts’. And their ambitious new installation, Material/rearranged/to/be at the Barbican Centre, is a continuous moving landscape exploring the body, gesture and movement through a diverse group of choreographers, dancers, artists, designers and scientists.
Siobhan Davies is a contemporary dancer and choreographer who continues to push the boundaries of performance dance to include the broader arts as well as language and science. Here, the team individually and collectively explore the work of Aby Warburg. In the early part of the last century, the German art historian and cultural theorist collected diverse images of gestures from different times and places and positioned them side-by-side to reveal previously-hidden relationships.
On the opening night, the Barbican’s Curve transformed into an animated theatre of movements and gestures as dance choreographers (Andrea Buckley, Siobhan Davies, Helka Kaski, Charlie Morrissey, Efrosini Protopapa, Matthias Sperling), visual artists (Jeremy Millar, Emma Smith), and designers (Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren of Glithero) performed and exhibited their work, overlapping one another for a truly engaging evening.
The installations include live performance, film projection, and objects in ever-changing arrangements to interrogate the relationship between mind and body. Morrissey’s Actions from the Encyclopedia of Experience, for instance, sees him performing actions and gestures in relation to categories – from the basic to the bizarre – which he projects on a screen.
For Spinach, it is crucial to remain engaged with the arts as artists tend to look at the world differently. Their work can guide and excite us to explore beyond the obvious fields that involve our design and branding industries.
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