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New choreography for V&A Dundee: storage for future sunsets

Scottish Dance Theatre and V&A Dundee have commissioned choreographer Janine Harrington to create a new gallery work in response to Up-Sticks, a site-specific architectural commission which sits alongside the exhibition Hello, Robot. Inspired by historic Scottish building techniques and made of more than 2,000 wooden planks and timber dowels, Up-Sticks was designed and constructed using computational strategies and robotic technologies by Gramazio Kohler Research with students of the MAS Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich.

Janine is a British choreographer, performer and writer who is interested in game structures, play, access, neurodiversity and the poetics of movement practices. Her work has been presented by galleries and festivals across Europe including London’s iconic Wellcome Collection, Sånafest Norway, Dance Umbrella, Brighton Festival, IDOCDE Vienna, Tanz in Winterhur, Villa Empain Brussels and Stockton International Riverside Festival amongst many others.

We spoke to Janine during her recent visit to Dundee to start the creation with the dancers:
“When I initially researched the Up-Sticks installation and the Hello, Robot exhibition I was fascinated by the idea of the programming and coding behind artificial intelligence as it tries to imitate human processes, I considered how possible it is for these robots to reflect the human body. I also thought about what humans are programmed with; our culture, our stories, our experiences and how this affects how we locate ourselves and how we share that with other people.
During the creation week and being in the space at V&A Dundee with the Up-Sticks structure was inspiring. It feels like a space for dwelling, a nook where you can wait. The arc in it reminds me of a bridge or like people joining hands at a wedding to dance together.
The sculpture itself was inspired by lightweight crofts that were easy to take with you if you moved on, keeping your home even if you moved locations. This made me think about migration and being light-handed with what we carry with us, not just physically but with what we learn and how we communicate that through language, dance, sound and touch.
The process and the performance itself feels quite hopeful. We are not making a dance about being a robot, nor are we trying to replicate the structure literally, rather we are working along with similar ideas of its inspiration. We have decided to title the piece storage for the future sunsets because it is about how we pass information. How that information is received, learned, added to and evolves is related to the ideas of the Up-Sticks structure.”

Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Joan Clevillé said: “Collaborating with V&A Dundee and choreographer Janine Harrington is an exciting opportunity to expand the company’s artistic practice. Leaving the familiar safety of the stage, we are thrilled by the possibility of working in a gallery space and in dialogue with other art forms. We are passionate about bringing dance to people, wherever they are, and working in such an iconic space like V&A Dundee will enable us to connect with many more people and visitors in our home city”.

storage for future sunsets will be performed at V&A Dundee from Thu 6 – Sat 8 Feb 2020. It is a durational performance installation that will run throughout each day from 10am-5pm.
Find out more here


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