My time at Mawddach Residency gifted me with much space and time I really needed. Artistically, it feels like I have peeled another layer of onion, digging further, deeper, closer to myself and I came back with a different perspective.
It was dreamlike. I had everything I have wished for. The beauty of the natural landscapes, inspiring presences of people, the loveliest cat and most importantly: space and time. I spent every day in the state of awe at the beauty and the sounds of the surroundings. I woke up every day to the scenery of the estuary outside of the bedroom windows, presenting the cinematic view of the water with ever changing glorious dances of the ripples and the waves, which meets the mystical landscape and the sky. The sky colours the entire water often in pastel colours in pink, blue and purple at the dusk with the descending skyline in the darkness at the edge. The darkness and the silence envelop the whole place like a thick blanket, bringing calm, solitude, and serenity at night. I did not go very far and spent most of the time around the house, sometimes walked around with my big headphones on and the recorder in my hand, listening intently to and recording the ebb and flow of the water, the birds chirping, the rain dropping and my own footsteps. I savoured the ever-stretching moments of quietness while smiling at myself somehow expecting it to be disrupted by the sound of cars, which so often disturb me at my own home.
Prior to the stay, I only had a vague idea of what I was going to do, but everything worked out organically in the end. My idea was to absorb the environment through my senses and different mediums such as drawing, sound and video recording, photography and translate them through movements and music and synthesize them into film. As I wanted to be fully emersed in the environment, I focused on drawing, sound/video recording whilst keeping my movement practice on and I left the editing of the film and the music till I returned. I felt fortunate to be matched with an artist who was on a similar wavelength (Martina Ziewe). Despite meeting there for the first time, we ended up having some deep healing conversations. We collaborated and helped each other recording and filming our work. Through a process of repeating practices, I explored the relationship between environment, drawing, movement, film, music, healing in different ways.
Though I deeply enjoyed the time I spent at the residency, after returning I had reservations about the “point” of any of the artefacts I had produced. I had produced much, allowed myself to explore freely, but for what? This feeling of disjointedness endured while reviewing and bringing these disparate elements together, sorting images, listening to recordings, selecting and editing and footage. Yet upon layering the field recordings and music, what seemed vague and meandering suddenly felt cohesive and whole, and I became quite emotional. I discovered a new way to create music for me, which was to make a dance film as a kind of visual score and to improvise a composition along to, which in turn acted to score the film. As I watched the film, I noticed how my movement has changed from the early days of my stay to the later. The more supported I felt by the environment and the people, I was able to move more fluidly. It was as if my body absorbed the rhythms and the shapes of the nature and learned to open the senses further. As my body translated the features of the environment – the wind, the sun, the landscape, the presence of the other (my camera operator, the lovely Martina) – so again did I translate my body, mirroring it’s gestures musically, layering the film with both my improvised musical response and field recordings I had made. It feels like I had unlocked something of myself and I am eager and inspired to replicate, explore, refine this new process in other inspiring environments.