Monday, 23 February 2009

Highlights of NRLA 2009

Ivana Müller (Croatia) -
'While We Were Holding It Together

While We Were Holding It Together creates images in becoming, always changing, depending on who is looking. Is it a rock band on tour? A picnic in the forest? A hotel room in Bangkok? We look, imagine and reinvent while searching for what is hidden and for what we want to see.

She develops defined performative concepts that use twists in perception or logic as a starting point, creating pieces that are poetic and scientific, philosophical and humorous, intimate and political at the same time. In her recent work she explores notions of self-invention and storytelling, often working on the borders between fiction and reality.

Highlights of NRLA 2009

Franko B

I'm essentially a painter who also works in performance. I come from a visual art background and not "live art" or theatre, and this is very important to me as it informs the way my work is read. In the last 20 years or so I have developed ways of working to suit my need at that particular time, in terms of strategy and context, by using, installation, sculpture, video and sound.
Franko B

I’m Thinking of You presents a surreal, dreamlike image... a romantic vision of childhood fantasy and abandon. The body is central, but we are also presented with objects and music, which take the viewer through a contemplative, personal experience.
The first inspiration for I’m Thinking of You came from a childhood object, which Franko B made into a sculpture, altered for safe use by adults. The idea was to allow adults to play, to forget their problems, to let go, or just to have fun - in the same way that children are allowed to. Over time, and through engagement with the composer Helen Ottaway, the idea has developed and changed, with Franko using performance and music as a means to create his desired image.
The piece is presented as a durational installation, with audience members entering in small groups for 5-10 minutes at a time to have their own encounter.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Highlights of NRLA 2009

Raimund Hoghe

Raimund Hoghe was born in Wuppertal and began his career by writing portraits of outsiders and celebrities for the German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit". These were later compiled in several books. From 1980 - 90 he worked as dramaturge for Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal which also became the subject matter for two more books. Since 1989 he has been working on his own theatre pieces for various dancers and actors. 1992 started his collaboration with the artist Luca Giacomo Schulte, who is till now his artistic collaborator. In 1994 he produced his first solo for himself, "Meinwärts", which together with the subsequent "Chambre séparée" (1997) and "Another Dream" (2000) made up a trilogy on the 20th century.

"Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote of throwing the body into the fight. These words inspired me to go on stage. Other inspirations are the reality around me, the time in which I live, my memories of history, people, images, feelings and the power and beauty of music and the confrontation with one's own body which, in my case, does not correspond with conventional ideals of beauty. To see bodies on stage that do not comply with the norm is important - not only with regard to history but also with regard to present developments, which are leading humans to the status of design objects. On the question of success: it is important to be able to work and to go your own way - with or without success. I simply do what I have to do."

"As I worked on my first solo 'Meinwrts' (Mewards) rather than begin in a studio, I worked in my flat, mostly in the evening, after nightfall. A window attended as a mirror. In the darkness the glass reflected my movements and the space in which I was. At the same time there was the possibility to have a look outside - on the garage roofs, trees, street lamps and a school in which Japanese children sometimes practised German folk songs. Perhaps these early attempts in front of the window reflect my interest in theatre: the relationship between the inner and outer worlds, what's personal and what's universal, nearness and distance, dreams and reality, past and present."

The National Review of Live Arts

Saturday 14th February at the Arches and Tramway

It’s time to welcome our community together again from across the globe to celebrate the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Once more, an exciting and eclectic mix of seasoned international artists, mid career artists with new ground breaking works, Elevator artists (appearing perhaps for the very first time at a major festival) and you the audience all get to rub shoulders, exchange stories, business cards, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. Be it your first visit or an annual migration, enter with an open mind and enjoy.

Saturday 14 February

Marcel Sparmann - meeting point

Early Bird with Franko B

Zlatko Kopljar


John Dummett

Shaun Caton

Sophia Yadong Hao

Clara García Fraile

Helge Meyer

The Paperbirds

Kenny McBride

Rebecca Cunningham

Augusto Corrieri

Beth Greenhalgh

Ruby Pester

Clara García Fraile

Wendy Houstoun

Tramway Programme

Ivana Müller

Kate McIntosh

Raimund Hoghe

"In a world in which the rate of human suffering is not slowing and in which political engagement is ever more muddled, where is the artist left standing? In the words of performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, whose own work arrestingly deals with issues of exploitation, suppression and power, he suggests that it is possible to remain true to both the necessity and the privilege of art making: “Artists make practical solutions; we make people think, imagine and laugh. Sounds so corny, but so appealing que no?”

Axis Dialogue online journal

"It’s probably the most valuable strength in the whole NRLA canon, this point of conflict that the work can stir inside your head, so that even as you are evaluating it you are re-evaluating yourself and your values and the distance between the self you are and the self you’d like to think you are."
Mary Brennan, The Herald

"Yes, it can be a walk on the weird side. But NRLA is also an unrivalled opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most innovative, radical talents and with work that resolutely crosses boundaries of form and cultural taboos."
Mary Brennan, The Herald

"Prepare to be dazzled! One of the most outstanding displays of contemporary live art in the world, New Territories showcases fresh and experimental performance..."
Glasgow Diary

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Myths, Heroes & Legends

The term "myth" refers to a story that attempts in more or less symbolic form to explain the mystery of the origins of the cosmos, the earth, and humanity; the theme of life and death; and the causes and meanings of natural phenomena. All of these have bewildered humanity since ancient times. Humankind uses myth as an attempt to express its relation to nature.

Originally, these stories were passed down orally from one generation to the next and, over a span of several centuries, underwent many changes. The ancient world attributed the Iliad and the Odyssey—two epics considered the earliest and greatest works of Greek literature—to Homer. Homer is believed to have been the first poet to record these myths into written form, in approximately the eighth century B.C., thereby preserving them for future generations.

Many generations and peoples after Homer have continued to look at these stories because they address issues common to humanity. These tales were told to explain the surrounding world, human behavior, and problems common to all societies. In addition to explaining natural and religious origins, myths also provided humans with a history of their people and their neighbors. For the Greeks, myths shed light on aspects of their lives and how they had become who they were.

The materials in this curriculum focus on Greco-Roman mythology in antiquity and its significance for later Western art and culture. There was a fundamental difference in attitudes toward mythology during these two periods. Whereas in antiquity mythology was inextricably linked with religion and daily life, in post-antiquity, mythology primarily became a source of inspiration for a variety of themes in art and literature. The diversity and universality of these themes, combined with the inexhaustible metaphorical possibilities of the ancient myths, ensure the survival of mythology in Western art up to the present day.

The Abduction of Europa

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1632


The idea of the hero was perfected in ancient Greece. For the Greeks, heroes existed on a cosmological level between humans and gods. According to the poet Hesiod, heroes were a godlike race of humans who had lived in a previous age. Although they themselves were mortal, the heroes attracted the attention, and often the protection of, the immortals. In another tradition, heroes emerged when gods and men were still living together as a generation of children of half-mortal, half-divine parentage

In their strength, their passions, and their achievements, the heroes far surpassed ordinary humans. All heroes are nevertheless mortal and in time confront their mortality. Yet even in death a hero may surpass ordinary peoples, for the glorious deeds that have brought him to his death may also bring him everlasting renown. Some, like the great hero Herakles (whom the Romans called Hercules), actually became gods after death. In ancient Greece, heroes had religious cults associated with them and were able to intervene in human affairs, possessing a status similar to that of saints in Christianity. Over the centuries, the definition of a hero broadened to include any human who displayed great strength and courage.

Statue of Hercules (Lansdowne Herakles)

Roman, about A.D. 125

Gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome have provided the subject matter for much of Western art. For the Greeks, there were 12 main deities (all related to one another) who lived on Mount Olympus, where they observed the progress of mortals. Aside from these major gods, the universe was filled with innumerable minor deities. The Romans, in turn, merged many of their native gods with those of the Greeks.

Since antiquity, stories of the ancient gods and goddesses, such as Zeus, Aphrodite, and her son Eros, continued to be depicted, even while they had lost their religious significance. In the Renaissance, a classical education was required of all learned gentlemen; knowledge of Greece and Rome demonstrated one's knowledge, taste, and status. A universal language of images was reborn, but often with new allegorical and intellectual meanings.

Joseph Nollekens, 1775