Audience Review: Goose-bumps, intimacy and freedom

by Lucy Anderson


Place : A collaboration of music and visual media to represent our relationships with location and the physical environment; how we use it and how it changes over time

I’m writing about my experience of how the evening’s performance felt for me, as an audience member.

As soon as I entered The Warehouse at Waterloo I perceived a real sense of the energy and creative collaboration which had brought the event in to being. Every element of the performance was artfully crafted by the union of musicians, composers and artists brought together by New Dots.  Visual installations of photos were hung above the audience; the programmes are attentively and beautifully produced; even the screens were hand-made and niftily hung from the rafters.

I really enjoy the collaborative outcomes between composers and visual artists which the New Dots concerts bring to being. I am absolutely fascinated when witnessing the expression of other people’s imaginations. The interviews in between the pieces also add so much to the intimacy of the occasion and my connection to it. At times I wonder where on earth their inspirations come from – of course I’ll never know but I’m glad they do and I love the sense of freedom the creations inspire within me.

The four pieces were each unique in their stimulations.

The first piece, Ethereal : Space composed by Monika Dalach and accompanied by a short film by Maja A Ngom, set me off with goose bumps. Every collaborative element of setting up the hall suddenly burst in to life with the musicians emerging from within the audience and using spoken word alongside the emerging notes, and the film really provoked thoughts of the dawn of life, a lonely but wondrous place.

 Place audience review 2 

I had read the description for the second piece, Seán Clancy’s Seven Lines of Music Slow Down & Eventually Stop, before it started and I imagined being able to hear the effect of the transition from Dublin to Birmingham ‘without really knowing how one got there’ – this experience I can certainly relate to! The slowing down however was not what I had anticipated – it wasn’t a sad dwindling demise but a soft, expressive, sometimes insistent and enjoyable relaxation. When the stop came it was actually unexpected to me but it also felt satisfying and decisive.

The third piece, Cartography of Convoluted Spaces by Camilo Mendez and imagery composed by Cathy Pyle, caught my attention for the word ‘cartography’ – it’s funny that words can evoke a feeling of connection – even without a shed of map in sight. I enjoyed the focus of the photography on the detail of displaced household objects – paying attention to these parts of people’s lives which are in limbo waiting to become owned and used once again. Cartography and Convoluted Spaces certainly traversed new landscapes for me. This composition made the most of adapting the instruments to create different sounds and take them, and us outside of our comfort zones. For me it explored the dark unknown places in between objects; evoked strong sharp lines, and made me think of the spaces in awkward moments. I was glad to hear that this is beautiful to Camilo Mendez as his compositions are an expression of what he hears within his mind.

Finally we were treated to the inventive double collaboration between composer Nick Morrish Rarity, with photographs by Richard Davis and photographic / video editing by Jacek Zmarz. There was certainly a wide array of explorations in to a diverse use of the instruments and also Junkspace instruments – I particularly liked to see the bicycle wheel, as a keen cyclist. It was intriguing that still photography could be made in to moving video.

The Workers Union ensemble are quite remarkable and I am so glad to have seen one of their performances. A close knit-group from far and wide across the UK, they have clearly got a very strong identity. Through the course of the interviews between the pieces it was interesting to hear more about their involvement in the collaborations; how the group came to form and the unusual combination of instruments.

Overall a sense of promising creativity and inspiration beyond my own usual experiences. I left for home feeling in awe of the artists and delighted to be able to witness all this thanks to New Dots.