Interview with Make Directors (Kirsten, Alex and Liam)
By Megan Rainford
The superb space, Make on the North Dock provides creative opportunities for communities and people to share work. The build provides a bright and open space with lots of character, showing a potential venue for a variety of differing arts. Working alongside the Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI) Make provides the space for its very first major event within the LEAP Dance Festival 2017. Offering a milestone in their growing journey as a company and location that is offering people expanded opportunities.
During an interview with the Directors of Make, they discuss the vibes produced by the space, allowing for an opportunity for people to collaborate and join forces. The community of people gathering for the festival provides a buzzing atmosphere where skills can be shared, a hub of knowledge. The directors of Make, Kirsten, Alex and Liam talk about their differing background that offer an assortment of techniques, the space gave the opportunity to show this collection of work. In addition, the idea of the space being used as a pop up dance venue, that dance as an art will be explored for the first time within the Make space. This has helped the venue to be seen in a different light. Therefore offering another art form and another community the chance to explore this fantastic space.
It will be very interesting to see the difference in the space and the way it will adapt to accommodate this art form. On a site visit, I had the opportunity to explore this space, allowing for photos and footage.
Interview questions with Mary Pearson – FoMO, MOFOs!
By Megan Rainford
- What was the main starting focus/stimulus for your work ‘FoMO, MOFOs!’?
Sometimes I meet people abroad in intensive situations (festivals or residencies) and there’s a creative spark. We have this mutual feeling that there’s something we need to discover about each other. I wanted to create a project to host these connections – one where I could make invitations that follow up on the intuition ‘we should do something together’. Like saying, ‘we should have coffee sometime’, it won’t happen until you decide on a time and a place.
- What inspired your theme for the work?
‘FoMO’ or Fear of Missing Out came into the picture later, when I thought about how the people I’d invited were living in different places – Rotterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Leeds – and how these days, staying in touch with people mostly means scrolling past their updates on social media, and writing them occasional emails.
I wanted to understand my own FoMO: what is the agitation I feel sometimes on social media, that something better is happening somewhere else? Or that irrational anxiety ‘everyone else’ is having a better life?
Somehow my invitations became offers to share a life, or trade lives. By spending a week with me in Liverpool, my guests would experience my daily life, and I would find out more about how they think and work.
Part homage, part identity theft, I decided to make a solo where each new chapter of the solo would be made after one of my guests left Liverpool. In other words, after we experienced being present together, I would make something in their absence based on their presence. It’s a kind of riddle.
- Had the process adapted or changed in anyway throughout the practice/rehearsal period?
What I did not predict – surprisingly – was that the experiences would accumulate. In my head, each ‘chapter’ was distinct and separate from the others. Of course this is not possible! Already when my 2nd guest arrived, I was having memories of my 1st guest. Already there were things to compare and contrast, and the ideas started talking to each other. By the time my 4th guest arrived, I was exhausted. There are times when I want more or less input – it’s important to have time to digest experiences. And the need for reflection is directly challenged by capitalism and Internet-speed communication. Consumer culture and advertising are usually telling us (or selling us) more, more, MORE!!!
- When working on your piece, did you find the process developed knowledge or just helped to portray and explore already existing knowledge?
I like to tackle a theme obliquely. Even though I read a lot of books about digital age communication, time, virtual reality and the Internet, I don’t often like to approach topics directly when experimenting in the studio. The exchanges with my guests included sharing skills and practice and enjoying each other’s company. I learned about their aesthetics, cultural references, current interests, and favourite approaches. How that tied into the themes of the piece was a long meditation. Bits of music or a film they’d mentioned would connect to the theme, or I’d create an image in my head related to something they’d said, etc. Some fragments were created together and used in the piece, but many arrived more mysteriously.
One thing that evolved is the theme. The initial question was about absence and presence – how is it different to be physically present with someone, versus connected by the ‘absent presence’ of the Internet? This has led to the heart of this show, which is about watching each other and being watched, or continuous exposure. How are we humans, as animals, being affected by so much watching? Especially since so many big P political changes have happened in the UK and the US while making this piece. I don’t think that we are fully aware of the consequences of this digital life. How could we be? Changes are happening faster than we can predict or observe their long-term effects. I hope that this piece – and perhaps more importantly, the responses to this piece – will help to develop new perspectives and knowledge.
- Does technology/sound play a large role in your performance work? Does this encourage new themes?
Absolutely. I am not naturally a tech or gadget person, but I love the new composing possibilities that come along with DIY sound and video editing. I have been enjoying collecting sounds from a zoom recorder, creating sound scores on garage band, filming and editing videos taken with my iphone… I am a collector and a collage artist. Technology only encourages me to more broadly consider everything as potential source material.
- Have you enjoyed the overall process?
The process has been completely enjoyable! I feel incredibly lucky to have spent time with each person I invited to share in this process. It’s precious to have time to work together in an entirely open way with the emphasis on the process. Product-driven culture puts enormous stresses on everyone – not least of all artists. By keeping the pressures of production out of our collaborations, they became gifts.
Thanks to all of these lovely people
Research collaborators: Stéphanie Auberville, Lea Kieffer, Deborah Black, Hannah Buckley, Anthony Cairns
Outside eyes: Jules Beckman, Anthony Cairns, Abby Crain
Costume design and collaboration: Alena Kudera Johnson
Graphic design and photography: Doug Kerr and Mark Loudon
Lighting design: Phil Saunders
Producer: Leo Burtin
I am grateful to Metal for being home base for this project, ACE for supporting international artists in Liverpool, and Unity Theatre and Au Brana for sharing their resources.
MDI and LEAP festival , Thank you & see you soon!