Loading.....

Magnetic North Blog

This is some blog description about this site

Rough Mix in Aberdeen

This year's Rough Mix takes place at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts.

The participating artists and our Artistic Director Nicholas Bone talk about their plans for the residency in this video:

Tickets for the free sharing of work in progress on Friday 15 July, 6pm, are available here. 

Rough Mix Aberdeen has been realised in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts and is supported by Creative Scotland, the David & June Gordon Memorial Trust and Aberdeen City Council creative funding.

Continue reading
846 Hits
0 Comments

An introduction to Rough Mix 2016 in Aberdeen

This year’s Rough Mix will be the seventh time we’ve run this multi-art form residency, but the first time we’ve taken it outside the Central Belt. The 2016 edition will take place at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen and is being produced in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Each Rough Mix is different, its character created by the mix of artists involved. This year we have a wonderful group of artists from near and far: playwright Arthur Meek will travel 12,000 miles from New Zealand, while visual artist Aminder Virdee will come the 16 miles from Inverurie. It is always fascinating to see how the ideas each artist brings develop over the two weeks. We’ll be blogging regularly during the residency, and you are welcome to join us for a sharing of work at The Lemon Tree on Friday 15th July at 6.00pm.  Book a free ticket here.

Rough Mix involves 15 people: 5 experienced artists, 2 emerging artists, 6 performers, a stage manager and me as facilitator. Each contributes to the success of the residency, but the project ideas that the experienced artists bring are at the heart of what happens. Here is a brief introduction to the experienced artists and their projects:

Aminder Virdee is a visual artist based in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. She graduated in Mixed Media Fine Art from the University of Westminster in 2012, since when her work has been shown in galleries across the UK. Her recent work includes ...And the Odds & Sods - a piece motivated by the ‘Fit To Work’ ATOS scandal in 2012 - which was part of a touring exhibition across London and England with Shape Arts; Keep This Leaflet, You May Need To Read It Again, shown at the Bonington Gallery in Nottingham and the COAST festival in Banff.  Exploration of the disabled identity is a crucial aspect in Aminder’s work, influenced by her own experiences. The synergy between her body and her immediate environment is entirely dictated by her physical impairments and she implements different approaches to her work according to the way her impairments manifest themselves at any one time.

Aminder’s project explores stereotypes, connotations and narratives of disability. She plans to create multiple fictional identities for herself as performer, building on her personal experiences. These new-born identities will each have a narrative relating to bodily difference, supported by fictional evidence such as hospital letters, x-rays and scans. By performing these new characters herself, Aminder aims to use the disabled body as a critical aesthetic medium rather than an object.  Aminder's sharing of work in progress will be BSL interpreted.  

aminder-virdee.com

 

Arthur Meek is a playwright and performer from New Zealand. His plays include Trees Beneath the Lake, On the Upside Down of the World, Charles Darwin: Collapsing Creation (Downstage/ Nelson Festival of the Arts), Dark Stars (Artworks/ international tour), Yolk (Young & Hungry), Mando the Goat Herd (Allen Hall), The Burn (Wellington International Fringe), and The Eeneid (IronBark at the Bush).

He is the co-adaptor of On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me as Her Young Lover (La Mama, New York) - which he will perform at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe – is an original member of the musical comedy band The Lonesome Buckwhips, and was the co-creator and star of the television show Feedback (TV2).

Arthur is exploring Samuel Butler’s 1872 utopian satire Erewhon as the starting point for a new one-man play. The novel draws on Butler’s experiences as a sheep farmer in New Zealand in the 1860s and Arthur’s starting point is the illustrated talk that Butler’s narrator describes giving after his escape from the land of Erewhon.

www.arthurmeek.com

 

Katherine Nesbitt is a theatre director. Originally from Belfast, she is now based in London after 10 years in Glasgow.  She’s created work for the Tron Theatre, the Arches, Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre, the Scottish Refugee Council, A Moment’s Peace Theatre Company, Prague Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe.  She has also worked as an assistant director with Magnetic North, Oran Mor and the Traverse Theatre.

Her project explores the miscommunications that are present in all relationships, and the compound effect that depression and anxiety have on the ability to speak to one another honestly and clearly.  The project will build on the idea of a couple who speak to one another both directly and indirectly on stage – telling each other one thing, and then telling the audience another – but the female character’s direct speech to her partner will be in another language.  This idea explores research that has shown that learning a second language can have huge benefits for some sufferers of depression or anxiety.  People are found to often be less emotional and more practical in a second language, and Katherine is interested in the idea that this might enable one character to speak more openly to the other about her problems.  This openness, though, is only effective when the second language is also understood by the listener, which is not the case with her partner. Katherine will use this as an opportunity to explore how we perform or translate our internal selves to others.

Marisa Zanotti is a film maker, writer and researcher based in Brighton. She originally trained as a dancer at the Laban Centre and has worked extensively in performance, choreography, theatre and installation practice.  She co-directed San Diego with David Greig for the Edinburgh International Festival in 2003 and worked extensively in new writing theatre as a movement director from 1996-2002, collaborating with many directors including Vicky Featherstone and John Tiffany, on plays by Abi Morgan, Stephen Greenhorn and David Harrower amongst others.

She has consistently explored new technologies in her work, initially in relation to their role in live work and more recently in transmedia work. In 2012 she developed the UK's first choreographic Web App for phones and tablets with choreographer Ben Wright. She is currently collaborating with choreographer Lea Anderson on the The Pan’s People Papers a transmedia project commissioned by South East Dance with funding from The Arts Council of England. 

Her project arises from observing her own behaviour when using connected devices and questioning how this affects society more widely.  Are the fragmented attention spans of being constantly connected to different online platforms creating new languages and capacities?  She will explore how technologies produce different bodily capacities and experiences in people and how these experiences might be represented and explored in performance, film, text and sound.

marisazanotti.net

 

Matthew Whiteside is a composer, collaborator and sound designer based in Glasgow. He writes music for concert, film and collaborative installations often-using live electronics within his work. His music has been performed across the world including Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Glasgow City Halls, Salem Artworks in New York and the Belfast International Festival at Queen’s. His debut album Dichroic Light was released in 2015 and includes Solo for Viola d’amore and Live Electronics, recorded by Emma Lloyd. He composed the music for Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia, shown on BBC 4, and has scored the feature films Anna Unbound and The Loudest Sound and the short film Edward. He is a founding member and director of Edit-Point, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of electroacoustic music.

 

Matthew’s project explores physical theatricality within musical performance. His work to date has involved fairly stationary and seated performers but he is interested in the idea of creating a new piece for a small ensemble, singer and dancer.  During Rough Mix, he will explore how technology that tracks people’s movements can be used to control live electronics and visuals.

www.matthewwhiteside.co.uk

Continue reading
1012 Hits
0 Comments

Walden at Hidden Door

We are delighted to be reviving our acclaimed production of Walden for this year’s Hidden Door festival.
Mon 30 May – Wed 1 June 2016, 18.30 & 20.30

“My purpose in going to Walden was not to live cheaply or dearly, but to live deliberately.”

On 4th July 1845, Henry David Thoreau walked into the woods near his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts and decided to stay. He found a spot next to a lake called Walden Pond and built a hut. For the next two years he tried to live entirely by his own resources.

Walden, Thoreau’s account of his ‘experiment in simple living’, is one of the most extraordinary and unclassifiable books ever written, with huge contemporary resonance. It is a meditation on self-sufficiency, the individual’s relationship with the environment and the desire to ‘live deliberately’.

First produced in 2009, Magnetic North’s adaptation was hugely popular with audiences and received a string of 4 and 5 star reviews.

Nicholas Bone, Magnetic North’s Artistic Director, and Walden’s director and adaptor said: “Magnetic North is delighted to have the opportunity to revive Walden for Hidden Door’s invited programme. As an Edinburgh-based company, we’re hugely supportive of the opportunities Hidden Door gives for artists and audiences to share work in otherwise disused spaces in the city. We’re looking forward to being part of the event for the first time this year.”

The production is performed in an intimate, in-the-round setting: 12 beautifully crafted benches made from American cedar join together to create an arena for the audience and actor, with just 40 audience members able to attend each performance.

Listings Information
Hidden Door Festival, Old Lighting Depot, King’s Stables Road, Edinburgh
Monday 30 May – Wed 1 June
18.30 & 20.30
http://hiddendoorblog.org/

Continue reading
853 Hits
0 Comments

Writer in Residence

We are delighted to be hosting New Zealand playwright Arthur Meek as writer in residence with Magnetic North next summer.
Arthur joins us thanks to a joint initiative run by Playmarket New Zealand and Playwrights’ Studio Scotland: the development agencies for playwrights for their respective countries.

We will host Arthur for a 3 month residency from July-Sept 2016. He will participate in Rough Mix, spend a week at Cove Park, have the opportunity to see work and make contacts during the Edinburgh festivals in August as well as being commissioned to write a new play, Erewhon.

Based on Samuel Butler’s satirical utopian novel, Erewhon will be a solo show, performed by Arthur and taking the form of an illustrated theatrical lecture in which Arthur will attempt to amuse an audience of Erewhonians by contrasting his own society with their own. The experience of distance from New Zealand, and the mix of familiarity and difference that is a New Zealander’s experience of living in Scotland, will inform the writing and development of the piece.

Arthur will be supported throughout by our artistic director Nicholas Bone. There will be a work in progress sharing of Erewhon at the end of the residency.

Arthur Meek is an award-winning New Zealand writer for stage and screen. His two published plays, The Trees beneath the Lake and On the Upside Down of the World were both commissioned by the Auckland Theatre Company. His work has been shown in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US.

Continue reading
1824 Hits
0 Comments

Pointing and thinking - what I learnt from Giacometti

GiacomettiFigure

A few weeks ago, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti's sculpture Pointing Man was sold for a world record $141 million [Guardian story]. I first saw this sculpture in real life, rather than in reproduction, at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art about 15 years ago as part of a Giacometti retrospective.

I thought I knew his work quite well from work I'd seen in other galleries and from reproductions, but being confronted by a collection of the work in one place was quite a different experience. I was very moved by what I saw, by the cumulative effect of seeing so much of his work together, and the sense it gave of what he was trying to do. I had probably thought till then that he made a lot of work that was quite similar, but I was missing the point. He was working to refine an idea, not to repeat himself. Particularly striking was the variation in scale. This piece is large - life size, you might say - but other sculptures were tiny, just a few centimetres high. Giacometti said that he didn't set out to make them so small, but that was how they kept ending up. 

So, there are two things that fascinate me in particular about this work: first is the removal of all unnecessary flourish. this is about as far as you could get from baroque style. I remember staring at this sculpture in the gallery and thinking it looked like a figure seen from a distance in a heat haze: the form told you it was human because it contained the essence of the human form, even though there appeared to be no detail. What is interesting about this is that in the mid-1920s – about 20 years before this particular work – Giacometti made a conscious decision to change the way he worked. He had become frustrated by his approach, which was based on the traditional method of working from a model. So in late 1925, at the age of 24, he decided he would work only from memory – he separated out the task of observation from the task of interpretation and his work was transformed.  If you look at his work from before this time, it’s good, but lacking in the  character that makes his later work so distinctly his.

The second thing was about the humanity of the act of pointing. It was only later that I began to see this. Pointing is a human act: no other species understands it as we do. If you try to direct an animal by pointing, the animal will look at the end of your finger, not to where you are pointing. Humans have developed an ability to abstract a pointing finger: we understand that it refers us to something we aren't looking at, or maybe even something we can't see because it's over the next hill. It's such a simple act, but it summarises the sophistication of the human brain. If I point to my cat's bowl, she stares at my finger; if I point to my son's bowl, he looks at the bowl. So here is this beautifully refined - in the sense of anything extraneous being removed - sculpture that perfectly captures what it is to be human, and perhaps what it is to be an artist. The act of pointing is a wonderful thing in itself, but think of how we have refined that act still further. When I went to vote in the Scottish referendum last year, I saw this sign.

electionsign

It's nicely old fashioned in style - the finger is still there, recognisable, though someone has interpreted it.  We see this on signposts sometimes:

Fingerpost sign in Carmunnock 2b Coppermine 7322

but even then it can be abstracted further to an absolute minimum of form that tells us exactly what we need to know. 

roadsign

So is that the job of an artist? To tell people exactly what they need to know? But then how do you know what it is they need to know? Or is it more complex than that? Are artists there to point to the right question? Or to point to a number of possibilities? To leave space for the listener or observer to fill in the gaps?

What would happen if you thought you had found the answer?  Could you carry on?  What’s interesting about the answer Giacometti found when he changed his method of working was that, although it answered one question, it enabled him to ask many more.

This blog is based on part of a talk I gave at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in October 2014.

Continue reading
1533 Hits
0 Comments

Subscribe to our Blog

Latest Comment

J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....