Adrift – InTRANSIT 2016

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Adrift, a commissioned choral piece by Harris Kittos and other emerging composers like Lillie Harris, Daniel McBride, and Robert Ames of the London Contemporary Orchestra, celebrates the human spirit and how it overcomes isolation and adversity. A part of a series of pieces for refugee week, it is particularly focused on perceptions about migrants.

James Bell’s  review of Adrift for A Younger Theatre:

Adrift is, I would be willing to bet, one of the more unusual shows on offer this week. Taking place in a public walkway under the streets of South Kensington, the cavernous space is filled with the echoes and reverberations of refugee voices, timed to coincide with World Refugee Day on 20 June. It is a piece which defies easy categorisation, being part community art, part political performance piece and part orchestral experimentation.

The show started without fanfare. A procession of black-clad figures emerged and split into three groups. Each raised their voices in a wordless ululation, and, modulating the tone of the sound as they went, began to drift slowly in opposite directions down the tunnel. The figures passed out of earshot, their voices fading, before crying out in fresh urgency and making their way back to the small, but captivated audience.

The work unites members of a Public Health England initiative called Sing to Live, Live to Sing, which promotes singing as a social and psychologically positive activity. The effect was startling and at times unnerving. Taking as its inspiration the immigrant experience, the work makes their experiences into a visual, aural and spatial metaphor. It is both a testament to the experience of those on outside and a comment on how we treat those on the borders of our personal world.

The mixing of the difference voices, deliberately wordless, but still with coherent form, is strange to the audiences’ ear, perhaps reflecting our prejudicial view of immigrants as a single mass. Their voices and bodies often mix with passers-by and interact with ambient noise, thus blurring the boundaries between performers and public. Most striking of all is the way in which movement is made part of the performance. As the groups make their way to the peripheries of our awareness, slipping in and out of our perception, this perhaps mimics the ways in which the plight of immigrants appears and fades from our minds with the 24-hour news cycle.

The voices then gave way to a string quartet, performing a piece composed by Catherine Lamb. It is atonal in style, and evokes the same cacophonous, overpowering feeling that the previous performance did. The two, however, felt disconnected and I wondered if there was a way to bring together these two elements, the community and the London Contemporary Orchestra, in a greater show of unity.

All in all, Adrift was the best kind of public theatre: inclusive, evocative, and not afraid of challenging our preconceptions.”

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http://www.intransitfestival.co.uk

@InTRANSITFest | #InTRANSITFestival

InTRANSIT and Toxic Monks – new video released

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In 2015 InTRANSIT followed four runaway monks on a pilgrimage to paradise. Performed in the Kensal Green Dissenters’ Chapel and grounds, the perfect setting for a divine comedy inspired by medieval art, Toxic Monks comprises of an unlikely troupe of a capella barbershop singers on a journey exploring everyday follies.

WATCH THE NEW VIDEO on InTRANSIT’s  youtube channel:

Toxic Monks was created by Jacek Ludwig Scarso. His installations and live projects are currently presented across Europe. For more details visit www.jacekludwigscarso.com.
InTRANSIT returns 17-26 June 2016
@InTransitFest | #InTransitFestival
Toxic Monks 2

2016 poster artwork by Emma Alonze

InTRANSIT 2016 new part of it

New poster artwork by Chelsea Arts Club Bursary recipient Emma Alonze.

“I wanted to make a poster that is lo-fi and fun that pointed towards the idea of looking, seeing and reacting to the world around us.”

Mixed – media collage, Emma Alonze, May 2016 

See what else she is planning for InTRANSIT here: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/intransit/events/emma-alonze-and-people-chelsea-i%E2%80%99m-waving

#InTRANSITFestival

 

 

 

NEW VIDEO – InTRANSIT and ORIGINS 2015

_DSC9523InTRANSIT and ORIGINS 2015 – Voladores de Papantla

VIEW IT HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeZIMy7p_BE

In 2015 InTRANSIT teamed up with Border Crossings’ Origins Festival to bring the legendary bird men of Mexico to north Kensington. Seen for the first time in the UK, the five brave Voladores enacted a ritual uniting earth and skies as part of a weekend of Solstice activity in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance gardens.

http://www.bordercrossings.org.uk | http://www.originsfestival.com

InTRANSIT returns 17-26 June 2016

http://www.intransitfestival.co.uk

@InTRANSITFest | #InTRANSITFestival

{ Guest blog } : Shifting Sands

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Written by James Yabut, City Living Local Life

Landy is a 43-year old who sports headscarves from Israel, and Palestine, and the Golan Heights; she proudly shows off her giant panda tattoo, and even carries a mega-loud Egyptian horn to warn the traffic that she’s coming through.

She is decorated with beautiful brass detailing from Morocco, fishing floats from Lebanon, and a sound system that was picked up somewhere in the Tunisian desert. Her wooden bed, hand-painted in Jordan, is hidden behind curtains from Libya.

Landy is a 1971 Series IIA Land Rover with lots and lots of stories to tell; she is also proof positive that people can be a lot nicer than you might think.

Last year she carried Lucy Engleheart and Anne-Laure Carruth for five and a half months on a journey around the Mediterranean through North Africa and the Middle East. The pair had set out from the UK in March hoping to find good news stories from the region to counterbalance the negative coverage of the area that is usually seen in the UK’s media.

After 18 months of saving and planning, they quit their jobs and almost instantly realised the not-inconsequential flaw in their plan: how exactly were they going to find these happy tales? As Lucy puts it: “You can’t just knock on people’s doors and say ‘have you got a good news story?’” It was at this point that Landy became more than just a means of transport.

To describe her as “noisy” would be an understatement. As the women drove, her engine and sheet metal shell would rattle constantly at close to 100 decibels; having suffered with the noise through France and Spain, the pair were wondering whether they had made a massive mistake. A fortuitous meeting with a group of Marrakech artisans changed everything. The men lined the interior with cork to dampen the vibrations and added the fancy brass work. And they did it all for nothing. The new plan became clear: as Lucy and Anne-Laure travelled through each country, they would ask some of the local people to add their own unique touch to the vehicle.

Lucy Anne Laure

Their additions transformed Landy into a delightful memory box that educates and entertains both adults and children alike. “We’d love to have them again. They would be great for the schools,” said Sela Tekle who lives on Golborne Road. Miranda Pierre, who lives in Trellick Tower, agreed “People think these are scary places, but they’re not as scary as the news makes you believe. They might not be the most pleasant, but every place has good and bad sides.”

20150621_130511The resulting book and website recount the happy stories and generosity of the people they met, and the goodwill Lucy and Anne-Laure encountered on their travels even seemed to follow them to the InTRANSIT Festival. As they camped out overnight in the tent that houses their exhibition, local cafes and businesses on Golborne Road made sure they were topped up with food and drink.

Both women agree that current events only serve to make the exhibition more significant today. As Lucy says: “People in England will only see the negative side in the newspapers and we wanted to talk about the positive stories […] It’s even more important to tell our story now.”

Follow Shifting Sands via their website shifting-sands.com and Twitter @ShiftingSands14

Q&A with Holly Gramazio (54 Cities Puzzle)

Holly Gramazio (in collaboration with Sophie Sampson) is one of the masterminds behind 54 Cities, the ‘walking puzzle’ made from playing cards designed by illustrator Martina Paukova. Here, Holly shares a few of her thoughts on the ‘gaming’ industry. 

When people talk about ‘game designers’ they usually mean people who design video games. But you actually design games that don’t involve a screen, right? 

That’s right! I usually make games that happen in the physical world – things with walking or sneaking or running around or looking.

Intransit

Tell us a little about 54 Cities. What inspired you to create this ‘card game/puzzle’? 

There’s a reference in Thomas More’s Utopia, which was one of the themes of this year’s InTRANSIT festival, where he talks about the 54 cities of this imaginary island he’s writing about. It struck me as an interesting coincidence – there are 54 cards in a standard deck of cards (52 suit cards plus two jokers) and that got me thinking about how it might be neat to find little fragmentary stories and histories and alternate visions of Kensington and Chelsea and put one on each card in a deck.

54 CitiesIn creating 54 Cities, what have you discovered about North Kensington and the surrounding areas?

Oh I can’t tell you that, you’ll need to play the game to find out…

What were some of your favourite games when you were a child? Has your taste in games changed much since then? 

I liked a lot of different board games and playground games! I liked computer games as well when I got the chance, but we didn’t have a computer or a console when I was small. I definitely remember standing on benches and bossing people around, getting them to play some new game; lots of stuff with hiding and sneaking and exploration.

I liked games with elaborate rituals, too – there’s a playground game called Eggs, Bacon, Chips and Cheese we used to play that had about twelve different steps. Really overcomplicated and when I think back I don’t actually think it made much sense as a game, but I liked the ritual of it!

Back in my hometown (i.e. Canada), there is a holiday called Family Day that gives people the day off work/school to spend time with their families, with a focus on playing board games together. I’m pretty sure Hasbro invented it to increase sales, but anyway. In your opinion, why is it important for people – whether children or adults – to play games with each other? 

54 Cities 1I think play is one of the main ways we can interact with the world – in the same way that we can tell stories about it, or create images of it, in order to notice new things and communicate and connect. I think playing is a really good way to . Plus we only really tend to play with people and in places that we feel safe with – so it can be a great way to deepen our connection with a person or a place.

54 Cities is available for purchase online via InTRANSIT Festival, or in the following W11 shops. And there are 10 prizes to be won for completing the puzzle. Happy puzzling!

Daunt Books, 112-114 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA
Honeyjam, 2 Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN
Lutyens and Rubensten, 21 Kensington Park Rd, W11 2EV
Book + Kitchen, 31 All Saints Road, London W11 1HE

{ Guest blog } : Urban Beach

Carol Kirkwood BBC 1 builds a sandcastle on Urban Beach
Carol Kirkwood BBC 1 builds a sandcastle on Urban Beach

Written by Stan Moorcroft, City Living Local Life

Ever been stuck on a crowded tube, jostled, pushed and prodded, your face pushed into the armpit of a serial shower shirker? Have you then looked up to see those head height adverts of a sandy beach and a couple, lightly dressed, caressed by the sun as they hold hands watching the water lap in whispers to the shore? How you would love, in such moments, to step off the tube and out onto a sandy beach.

20150623_154438Well if you got off at Ladbroke Grove on Friday evening you could have found a beach a short distance away in Acklam Village. Think deck chairs, sandcastles, wind breakers, beach huts, ice cream, chips in paper cups, bunting, puppet shows, boat making, face painting, circus acts and live music, with an Edwardian theme, all in the late afternoon sunshine. This was Urban Beach.

A joint venture between InTRANSIT Festival, the Westway Trust and the National Trust, the Urban Beach is a celebration of 50 years since the launch of the National Trust Neptune Coastline Campaign. Acklam Village Market was transformed to host three days packed full of exciting seaside holiday fun, food, drink and entertainment.

In 1944 George Orwell, wrote “Except for a few surviving commons, the high roads and land owned by the National Trust, a certain number of parks and the sea shore below high-tide mark, every square inch of England is ‘owned’ by a few thousand families.”

Respecting the British coastline the Neptune campaign has sought to change this state of affairs and has helped to fund the acquisition of 574 miles of coastline. The National Trust now cares for 10% – or 775 miles – of the coastline of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – including the White Cliffs of Dover and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

_DSC0830Not that that this fact mattered much to the children playing in the sand, 40 tons of it, eating ice cream or being entertained from the stage. As Dominica from the Westway Trust explained, there was a strong emphasis on providing a fun environment for children and families, or as Westway Trust Chief Executive Angela McConville put it:

“Many local children grow up in an urban environment where they never normally have the opportunity to visit the coast, so bringing all the fun of the seaside to the Westway will be a truly exciting experience.”

Curated by Helen Scarlett O’Neill and Harry Ross, and commissioned by the National Trust, the Urban Beach represented just one part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s InTRANSIT Festival of Arts.

So on a hot evening in June I found myself taking pictures on the beach. Watching children build sandcastles or posed inside the Edwardian cut outs, all just a stone’s throw away from Portobello Road and the buzz of central London.

Arriving home I even found some sand in my shoes.

Urban Beach is open today until 6pm. Come on by!

{ Guest blog } : An Other World

Written by Stan Moorcroft, City Living Local Life

Given the history of the last century the search for Utopia has understandably fallen out of fashion. Too many mass graves mark the most recent attempts to build a perfect society. Whilst on a more personal level one person’s Utopia can be another’s dystopia.

An Other WorldThus it was brave of the InTRANSIT Festival to co-produce An Other World, particularly when in conjunction with the Neo Futurist Collective, Futurism having been so badly tainted by its association with Fascism. The result was a collage of ideas, images, monologues, song and dance flirting with notions of Utopia. What the event lacked in coherence it made up for in moments of considerable beauty, as when Rebecca Evans and David Ogle produced a dance based on the Japanese tradition of Tanabata, in which people write their wishes for the coming year on scraps of paper. Here Rebecca and David performed the realisation of their wishes. Perhaps Eros and peoples conceptions of Utopia are inextricably linked?

NatashaNatasha Langridge provided a tour de force with an extract from her performance of Memoirs of a Tree W10, a moment when the event in a comfortable lecture theatre in the V and A connected with, if not the ‘real’ world, whatever that might be, but a harder world.

Impresario, and artistic Director of the Neo Futurist Collective [NFC], Giuseppe Marinetti (AKA Joseph Young), provided a running thread to the proceedings, calling up images and ideas from the early 20th century to the 1960s, taking in Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Bertolt Brecht and Guy Debord, to explore thinking about Utopia. Indeed it is hard not to feel that modernism, a socially-progressive trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve and reshape their environment with the aid of Science and technology, has already become a subject of historical curiosity.

Where, outside the NFC, are the modern proponents of a progressive Futurism? I guess that is where, Giuseppe Marinetti would say, the NFC comes in.

An other worldThe final act was the reading of The People’s Manifesto, part of Revolution #10 a follow on from the Beatles White Album track Revolution 9. A vox populi of ‘ordinary’ peoples wishes for a government. You can read the full manifesto on the website above.

Of course if you ask people what they want, they often want contradictory things, and what you end up with is populist rhetoric as was evinced when the manifesto was read out. Guaranteeing a minimum income for all and ‘living within our means’ may not be mutually compatible. Whilst abolishing all the armed forces at the same time as recognising that, “Our rights are never safe, there is always someone ready to take them away,” would seem foolish.

But there was also much in what people voiced to hearten and indeed inspire. People it seems are not governed solely by greed and self-interest.

The Event provided a door into a concept, Utopia, worth examining. Whilst I for one will also be revisiting Futurism.

Q&A with Dimitra Pesta (Encounters)

Artists from Central St Martin’s Performance Design & Practice were invited to respond to the present and past of The Cadogan Estate in Chelsea. Dimitra Pesta created a performance art project exploring utopian states of intimacy, inspired by the life and works of poets Rossetti and Swinburne. She will be presenting herself as the ghost of Rossetti’s wife Elizabeth Siddall, dressed in bubble wrap.

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bubble wrap inspiration

Your project sounds fascinating. If Rossetti, Swinburne, and Siddall were alive and able to attend, what do you think their impressions would be? 

I think they would be more fascinated by the fact that they are somehow in this present time. But I don’t know! I hope they would like it, I guess

You’re going to be covering yourself in bubble wrap and allowing strangers to pop the bubbles. Is this something you often do in your spare time?

Metaphorically, yes! I always interact with a lot of strangers when I go out and I aim to create this sense of honest communication. I let strangers talk to me and touch me. I allow them to come close.

FLYERSAre you one of those people who offers ‘Free Hugs’ in the street and believes in the power of optimism?

I believe in the power of optimism, yes, but I don’t hold up signs giving free hugs. Though I am not against it – it has its own value – I feel like it has too much theatricality to it. And it is a sharing of intimacy, but it is still very much on the surface. People come get a hug and leave. Free hugs have no desire for deep intimacy. I like to give my affection more personally to the people I meet and more organically as well. And that’s what I am trying to do with this performance. The popping of the bubble wrap has duration to it. It is an offering of “Free Hugs!” but the audience and the performer get to know each other. They focus on the detail of my body, I respond to their touch, it is a process. We both open up in the end and we both trust in some level. Also there is the book with the texts that I am giving them. I tell them my secrets, I let myself be exposed and maybe I inspire them to do the same in some level.

Do you think there’sukosukos enough of a sense of ‘intimacy’ in our community? What prevents us from getting closer? 

No I don’t think there is enough sense of intimacy. I don’t think people indulge enough into the sensational feast that is interacting with another person. Especially people don’t indulge enough into the sense of touch. We are very focused on negative emotions I think. We don’t want to be rejected and it is also socially conditioned to behave in a certain way. Our relationships with our emotions and how we express them (i.e. affection) are rooted on some sense of fear. Everyone feels like they need to follow certain rules when it comes to human relationships. “The Game” as people call it. Playing hard to get, Give only what you get. And it’s also interesting to see the idea of the more you give of something the less it is valued. Which makes people more reserved with how inclusively they express affection and allow intimacy. It’s this internalised Capitalism. Translating supply and demand models of thinking into something as holly as love. It’s a shame.

‘Encounters’ takes place tonight only at 8pm at the Coopers Arms, 87 Flood Street, Chelsea SW3. FREE. Booking required.