The last day of the Energy Gift Exchange was busy and varied.
The first group were from Coleg Ceredigion, adults with mild learning difficulties. Most of the group were happy to participate and worked in a focused and concentrated manner. Although not everyone had a go at the easel working with the hand in the projection, everyone drew. One member of the group had been in a previous workshop. He gently asserted himself as the ‘expert’ in the group and encouraged some of the shyer members to participate.
Writer and performer Amanda Rackstraw arrived in the middle of the day to work with me. Amanda had prepared a mixture of traditional stories and poems including some of her own work. We warmed up with poems, then she told two longer stories, one about the Finn Folk and the other, a transformational tale called ‘The Skeleton Woman’.
The final group to come in to the gallery for a workshop were students, also from Coleg Ceredigion. These lively young people are taught Performing Arts by Louise Ritchie, who is also doing a practice based PhD. I did an initial demonstration exchange with one of the students performing while I drew his movements. The process of performative projection drawing intrigued them. The students took over the exchange taking turns at drawing and performing. Students not in the projection activity practiced drawing-from-observation-but-not-looking-at-the-paper with materials provided by Aberystwyth Arts Centre for The Big Draw.
The students and Louise discussed how this method could be used as a form of choreographic scoring both to document and generate movement. They were communicative throughout the drawing process.
One of the last exercises involved two performers working with Mike Pearson’s ‘In All Languages’ movement vocabulary, which Louise has taught the students – and two artists, assigned to draw a performer each. As the four worked together an intense focus developed culminating in a tangible buzz of energy at the completion of the piece. They speculated on further possible applications of this performative approach and were stimulated by working across art forms. I look forward to seeing how they develop their ideas.
The Energy Gift Exchange is now complete.