Megan Arnold | Tricia Enns | Penny Hallas | Jessica Lerner | Andrew Maize | Euros Rowlands
We are proud to be presenting films by artists Megan Arnold & Penny Hallas, Andrew Maize & Jessica Lerner, Euros Rowlands & Tricia Enns as part of our Reframing the Past>>Emerging Futures project at IF 2022, a 24-hour celebration of improvised arts starting on August 26. The festival features a lineup of 150+ amazing artists of all artistic disciplines from around the world, performing new, improvised works on the theme of “Improvising in Transition.” To learn more about the festival, see the artist line-up, and find your local start time, visit the IF 2022 website. We can’t wait to see you there!
These first two editions—IF 2020 and IF 2021—were 24-hour digital celebrations of off-the-cuff art-making that showcased new, improvisational works by hundreds of performers, hailing from 25+ countries, practicing across all disciplines: music, dance, theatre, poetry, visual arts, and more. Through a digital video livestream and simultaneous international radio broadcasts, our Festival was able to reach thousands of attendees from 55+ countries. Through collaborations with dozens of amazing arts organizations, festivals, radio stations, and other community partners around the world, IF was able to bring niche pockets of community from across the globe together, creating a provocative, ephemeral portrait of art-making during the pandemic.
We can’t to see you at IF 2022—24 hours straight, starting at 7pm (ET) Aug 26th or 1am (UK time) Aug 27th
About Reframing the Past>>Emerging Futures
elysium gallery in partnership with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) commissioned 6 artists from Canada and Wales to work together, developing cross-Atlantic strategies to create critical and experimental new work online. Through a series of monthly online artist discussions, we created a innovative platform for their creative collaborations that evolved into developing these short experimental films that eventually formed part of Elysium’s contribution to IICSI’s IF Improvisation Festival in 2022.
History is a constantly shifting entity, requiring constant discussion and reappraisal to reflect our evolving attitudes and better frame our current circumstances. This experimental project purposely paired artists with polar-opposite approaches to their art practices to provoke creative and aesthetic negotiations that explore cross-Atlantic relationships to history, power, and people.
This pilot project aims to strengthen artists voices, inspire, and influence national and international collaboration, and produce a forum through which to discuss and confront our nations intertwined, difficult histories, and to forge better futures.
These films are not polished finished articles by any means, but more like fragments of ideas and experiments.
Many thanks to our partners the IICSI, our funders Wales Arts International and Arts Council of Wales, the artists and their mentors Daniel Trivedy, Stephen Donnelly and Jonathan Powell.
About the artists:
Megan Arnold is a Filipinx-Canadian multidisciplinary artist currently pursuing an MFA with a focus on performance at the University of Guelph. Her work explores tensions between humour/pathos, art/entertainment, and fantasy/reality. Karaoke is Megan’s favourite activity.
Whilst drawing is at the heart of my practice, I use video, painting, photography and sculptural elements, often in the form of found objects. Collaborative approaches are integral to my practice, especially with performers: I welcome the disturbance, challenge and enrichment of multiple perspectives.
Andrew Maize is an artist whose playful and meandering practice draws upon language, relationships and technology as catalysts for conversation. He is currently reading Nan Sheppherd, training to be a postal worker and rubbing his left eye with the dry hand of the same side.
I am a researcher, designer, facilitator, creator, artist, and performer. Currently I create participatory work that uses paper making, debris, place making, illustration and performativity to explore new ways of understanding our relationships with urban spaces. I am currently curious about the point(s) of intersection between place making, storytelling, and our forgotten detritus.
My practice explores the layers and dualities that exist in our relationship with others and with our own selves. These works are created through a combination of paint, photographs, magazines, and adverts, and attempt to unify disparate elements into a whole which has an emotional and intellectual resonance. I am interested in the process of memory, of the way remembering, forgetting, and imagining, combine to create a visual echo of what maybe once was. The works do not refer to a specific memory, but are an attempt to evoke the feeling of a vague and diminishing remembrance
I use movement as a sculptural material which acknowledges my identity and sense of embodied imagination as a woman. Through the simultaneous mapping of my interior landscape in connection with the exterior space, in my movement practice I conjure up emotive scenarios and play out surreal connections. Responding to what is present in the moment; I draw out imaginative landscapes which are grounded in the details of the body.
image – Penny Hallas and Megan Arnold
About the Films
Tricia Enns & Euros Rowland
‘Through / Flow’ / ‘Llif / Trwy’ is the result of a six month collaboration between myself and Tricia Enns. Tricia is an artist based in Montreal, whose primary focus concerns the interaction between ourselves as individuals and the public spaces we inhabit and share as equal cohabitants with others. Working remotely with Tricia through What’sApp and Zoom meetings, we built up a library of images, filmed footage, and audio field recordings around Swansea and Montreal, initially based around the concept of living in cities which are “officially” bilingual, and the historical and social connotations associated with such a title. I have always been interested in the remnants and fragments left behind over time, but my conversations, both visually and virtually with Tricia, made me more aware of the urgency of seeing the beauty of what is around us in the present, whether in the joy of really hearing the everyday sounds we take for granted in a seaside city, or the tactile and compositional beauty of walls hidden away in Landore or every other corner of this, or any other city. Certain themes evolved over time – water, debris, fabric, stone, language, song, the unseen and unheard threads running through. We decided on a final process of the two of us working with the other’s visual footage, and the context of this process originated in Tricia’s playing with opening pieces of footage in different windows on her computer and juggling images to see if a visual narrative would unfold. During this process, I found myself playing through a compositional struggle as I would when working on a more physical artwork, which, again was discussed as we moved towards the completion of the film. These conversations, while open and exploratory, brought a unity of final process, drawn from an unspoken appreciation of what we’ve learned from each other. What we have, in the end, is a walk, a listening, an exploration of the hidden stories, the hidden beauties, and frailties, of these two cities, deconstructed without association and reassembled through understanding and empathy.
Jessica Lerner & Andrew Maize
a room but one mirror is the process of finding a virtual meeting ground between Andrew and Jess’s disciplines of kinetic drawing and performance of authentic responses to body and environment. Throughout their collaboration, they developed a culture of care and reflection within bi-weekly improvisations. Focused on play and experimentation, they worked in an organic way within the recent phenomenon of Zoom, embracing the time/space, glitches and layout as an intrinsic part of the story and composition of the work.
Penny Hallas & Megan Arnold
The Future of the Universe / Mae Dyfodol y Bydysawd is a 5 minute karaoke-inspired video, created by Megan Arnold and Penny Hallas. Our Canada / Wales creative partnership grew out of a commission to make experimental new work as part of a digital / online project hosted by Elysium Gallery, Swansea, Wales and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation in Canada. It is being shown as part of Elysium Gallery’s contribution to IICSI’s Improvisation Festival 2022. The project invited us to reframe the past and imagine emerging futures. Megan was starting from her explorations of humour, slapstick, performance and astrology and Penny from her observations and interpretations of the way power and hierarchies are laid out in the land. Together we thought about ideas of predestination and freedom, and the possibilities of breaking through and beyond expected channels, personally and societally. With a mutual interest in play, accident and risk as integral to the creative process we started to share visual experiments with no idea of where they might lead us. Gradually over the six months of the project, the visual material melded and condensed into the 5 minute video, set to Megan’s music along with lyrics that arose in the course of our discussions and exchanges. Without being portrayed explicitly, international events over the course of the partnership are incorporated in the work, so that for us, it reflects global as well as deeply personal experiences or themes, played out in an imaginary (but perhaps visionary?) intergalactic arena.