Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones

Company members included in the research and presentation of Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones are; Director,  Nicole Vivien Watson, Performing Artists; Charlie Dearnley, Christopher Fonseca and Alex Rowland, Set design by Graham Patterson and Sound by Tom White. Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones.

Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones currently exists as an enquiry and process of choreographic research, that is centred upon an experiential understanding and knowledge of British Sign Language, D/deaf culture, Japanese culture and Butoh. Language, sensation, communication and physical expression through movement, and wearable technology, are five of the principle interests that will be researched andthought-over throughout events taking place throughout 2019-2020. 

In December 2018, the first of four periods of studio research took place in Leeds, (UK) during which the named collective embarked upon the first chapter of their shared journey. The opening or gateway, to the collective’s coming together, was supported by the introduction of Ma (間), which can be translated as a gap/pause/interval — together the group began to physically interpret the possibilities of Ma, responding with an assertive series of gestures, postures and settlements of physical contact — instigated by the proposition of using the entire body as a listening instrument, capable of feeling, touching and seeing the colours and textures of sound, sound in space and in silence. 

As a collective of hearing and Deaf artists, the group's shared time and offerings of artistic and intellectual resources will provide and instigate new avenues of enquiry, that will inform how an audience experiences the final presentation of all considered elements of research, within the context of  live performances and discussions.  

With a commission from Dance City (UK), research funding from the British Council and Tokyo Council and partnership support from the Wellcome Collection (UK), Berwick Visual Arts (UK), and the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation (Athens), it is hoped to extend the reach of participation, by engaging visiting participants and audiences, who take part in the presentation of Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones, the opportunity to experience the wealth of cultural diversity, that is evident in the culmination of final rehearsals and live performances. Photography by Paul Miller, Dance City, Featuring SubPack - wearable technology that translates sound to vibration. 

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed & Raft 

Raft, Photography by Paul Miller, Workplace Gallery, UK, 2017. All rights reserved.

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Two live 20-30 minute performances with a 30-minute intermission.

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed explores creation myth and Messy Play, while Raft is a navigation of self via astrology. Made in collaboration between Matthew De Kersaint Giraudeau, Ben Jeans Houghton and Nicole Vivien Watson. The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed offers a study of the human body as an uncanny object that oscillates between figuration and abstraction, body and material, depicting an object becoming human, a human becoming an object and the protean states between.

Nicole Vivien Watson emerges from an industrial bucket, her body covered in dripping, viscous liquid. The work embodies a contemporary creation myth that melds object and subject, abject and sacred, non-human and human. By invoking the narrative imagery of creation myths where humans are formed from the earth, within the aesthetic of the fetish Messy Play and through the language of Butoh, the performance links our understandings of the contemporary body and our imaginings of a primordial past.

Raft explores inner and outer landscapes, through Nicole’s choreographed mapping and navigation of the solar system and the self-performed on a sculptural Zodiac stage. Presenting a dialogue between the microcosm and the macrocosm, mapping the relationships between distant stars, the present individual and the planets, in an exploration and interrogation of the esoteric and exoteric aspects of self.

Raft draws inspiration from: ‘The Archaic Revival’ – the invigoration of principles and practices whose efficacy was mislaid during the divorce of science and spirituality. ‘Alchemical Practice’ – the ritual arrangement of persons and symbols in the physical world to create a narrative dialogue that changes the conceptual and emotional world within us. ‘Self-exploration’ – the quest to know oneself via a navigation of our emotional and historical experience of being.

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed & Raft is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Auricular, 2014 - 2017 

Auricular, photography by Nicole Vivien Watson, Turner Contemporary, UK 2017. All rights reserved.

Auricular a multidisciplinary performance inspired by British Sign Language (BSL) sensory processing and communication. Auricular intends to construct an immersive sensory environment through dance, sound and BSL, evoking a state of being which plays between the sensual, physical and affected.

Dance City and BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art (UK) firstly commissioned Auricular, in 2014 and 2015. With support from Arts Council England and partnering organisations, Auricular was then recently presented in April 2017, at CCA: Glasgow, Berwick Visual Arts and Turner Contemporary.

“British Sign Language is a language of movement, space and expression. As a movement researcher and choreographer, I am fascinated by the depth and clarity of a language that does not rely on the spoken word”. (Ref, Nicole Vivien Watson, 2015)

Auricular  is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Project Godie Live Events, August 2016

Co-Produced by Surface Area Dance Theatre and Adam Denton and Directed and Choreographed by Vangeline. Project Godie is a multi-platform exploration of the shared industrial, military and cultural heritage of the North East of England and Japan and is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Performing Artists: Molly Procter, Nicole Vivien Watson and Vangeline, Sonic Performance: Trans/Human, Costume Design and Creation: Katerina Dipla, Lighting Design: Louise Gregory

"It's more about movement than dance; and those movements have only been arrived at through long, drawn-out exercises in stripping away layer upon layer of socially conditioned thought and action to eventually reveal the twitching, pulsing sentient being suffocating underneath".

Review of Project Godie Live Events: Kopf, Biba. The Wire. (2016, November). On-Site. Exhibitions, installations, etc. p.83

Project Godie Live Events, photography by Aaron Guy, All Saint's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2016. All rights reserved.

A Mountain of Black Stones, 2015 - 2016

A Mountain of Black Stones, photography by Nick Tsakanikas, Beton7, Athens, 2016. All rights reserved

A somatic live performance, that rests upon the interplay of sculpture, performed movement and sound. The environment of the performance is conditioned by a large and sculpted spatially - dominate the quantity of coal. Buried within the sculpture are four independent stereo units, amplifying a composed collection of sounds, constructed from a series of real - world and synthetic sounds, dissociated from the living environment of the performance space. Thereby making a distinction between contexts that are physically known to those that are abstracted.

Performances are choreographed to evoke metaphorical meaning, this experienced individually, by the audience, from the first moments of encountering the sculpture. The intention of the performance is to facilitate an immersive sensory environment, whereby the parameters of the viewer’s awareness becomes blurred. Supported by the Embassy of Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Athens and the British Council in Athens.

Performed by: Nicole Vivien Watson, Installation by Yorgos Maraziotis, the Sound performance by Klunks.

Selected Repertoire

Reparation 2011

By Vivien | Feb 18, 2015

Castle Keep, Newcastle upon Tyne Reparation is a culmination of research, collective discussion, shared motivation and choice. Expressing through creative movement and improvised music, the physical representation of self-conscious social emotions  placed in opposition to that of primal emotions such as fear and anger. Reparation can be described as an illuminated proximity of emotion, untrammelled…

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The Flowering Moon 2010

By Vivien | Feb 18, 2015

Programmed by Movement Research – Judson Memorial Church, NYC The Flowering Moon is the third collaboration with members of No Neck Blues Band – NYC. David Nuss and Mico performed live with principle dance artists Molly Hodkinson. Acknowledged as a meditation that draws upon the strength of physical and spiritual visualisation. With thanks to Movement…

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Dust 2010

By Vivien | Jan 20, 2015

Grainger Market, Newcastle City Centre Surface Area Dance Theatre, in collaboration with Benjamin Freeth, presents Dust. A live performance of choreographed movement and manipulated audio recordings. Dust presents themes of connection, purpose and response. Exploring how we connect with each other, the world around us and our responses to the daily influence of the media…

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