All my foreshortened life
Scintilla is about searching – –
ever since I could run ahead / and get a grip on a crag
seeking out what it is to be human and to have a voice
my eyes have been reflections of slate / flaking
through fragments of poetry from David Hart’s book-length poem Crag Inspector
from one day to the next / from one week to the next / from one month to the next / from one year to the next. In the morning
interwoven with music, breaths, live electronics and choreography.
I wake with their shapes in my mind
Since February 2019 I’ve been working with choreographer/dancer Dane Hurst who has created layers of choreography inspired by the poetry
so that sometimes at breakfast / after an intense dream of flying
and in May 2019 we staged a work-in-progress performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
I am the mountain, its hardness, / its cracks and gullies. In the mist cormorants
guillemots, gulls, / razorbills, puffins, occasionally / gannet, shearwaters and, I saw once, / an arctic skua,
The intimate performance space added an intensity to the event, and the audience were invited to contribute to the creative process in a post-performance review:
have no statutory existence, / only presence.
‘moving and beautifully conceived’, ‘organic and beautifully layered,…it seemed to inhabit this really interesting space between abstraction and a concrete narrative’, ‘And what we were watching…was a passing of time with that deep awareness that time passing in that perhaps confined way hurts.’
The poetry led me to consider isolation and how it has affected me.
I might tell you about the writing I have seen / running along the sheer faces after rain
My ultimate vision for Scintilla is to create something that not only explores those difficult, perplexing, tragi-comic moments we find ourselves in when we are isolated (for whatever reason)
from crag to crag, or when I’ve been tired at the end / of a hot day, but honestly I can’t say
but that also allows people to engage directly with the material within the piece – the sound, the movement, the words. I am starting now to work with experts in Virtual/Augmented Reality and app design along with mental health support professionals to expand these ideas,
I’ve ever been able to decipher it. The signs,/ you understand, the inherent speech of the rock,
expanding ‘out’ from the more traditional staged performance with a passive but engaged audience. My long term aim is to reach people who would not usually come to a contemporary arts performance – for whatever reason – and to encourage them to explore finding their own voice, and join me in the search.
its necessary speech. I could ask myself again / say next Friday week and see if I have better luck.
Poetry fragments from Crag Inspector by David Hart published by FIve Seasons Press ISBN 0 947960 29 5
I am looking for further funding to support the future development of Scintilla and to realise my dream.
If you would like to help, like this blog, share it, get in touch and/or donate online — it all helps! Thank you for your interest and support.
Thanks to these organisations currently supporting Liz Johnson and the Scintilla project: Sound and Music New Voices artist development scheme, PRSF Women Make Music, Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund, STEAMhouse and Wild Plum Arts.