Being based in a volcanic Island close to the North pole, the Bird and bat company is naturally being brought to think earth energy as a resource but also as a sensitive and destructive force. Apart from the volcanic specificity Iceland shares this culture with the Nordic countries and more specifically its islands as they are often experiencing extreme situations with natural energies: strong winds, strong and low sun lights, long nights, the omnipresence of the ocean and land water in all its forms from glacier to waterfall.
Energy is tangible and also under a constant discussion. The question of autonomy in terms of energy is a very crucial discussion for islands and the question of its sustainability even more pressing as climate change affects both land and weather patterns.
Energy is also discussed as a resource that sits in us. Educating children on what they can do is a very important part of our modern educative ways. Both leading at empowering children, building up self confidence but also raise awareness of the responsibilities this powers can involve.
The relationship between those two energies is what interests us. A relationship that can both help us to relate and understand better nature, make us closer to it and bring us closer to ourselves as individuals, each with its own energy. What is my energy? How can I use it? Are there hidden energies? Is there energy in a stone? How much energy does I have? Can it be finished? How do I renew it?
The audience will gather in a set space and each group will consist of about 30 audience members (children aged 5-8). They will be given a little bag with tools to help them on their way and together we enter the installation. The performance space will be designed in chapters and in each chapter the performers will deepen the experience with a live performance on the element. In show time, the performers will help the audience to discover how they can influence their environment and enhance the experience through their performance. The children will have to move the set around or climb over to find their way on and use their props to add lights and colour to the surroundings. They will also have to assist the performers in creating energy, dancing as a tornado, to open up the way out of the space. The whole environment will also be reactive to the participants, sound and lights will be coming from all directions and increasing and decreasing as the children move around. The two performers will be hanging from the ceiling, hiding under the floor, climbing on the walls and dancing with the children and together they will find their way out to the other side. Their characters will portray a mix of amoebas, animals and humans with octopus and butterfly as the starting point.
After the performance we will gather the audience for a short workshop before they leave.
For more information on the performance itself, please find a synopsis attached to this application.
We would like that through this adventure, children and their parents experience their own energy as a part of a complex landscape of other energies. We wish the children to feel as proud and amazed of their own machinery of body and mind and of the environment around them. We hope the performance can strengthen their awareness of the connection between themselves and their surroundings. By portraying energy in this abstract way we hope to spark the imagination and start a discussion on nature, natural resources and the connection between man and nature with our young audience. The installation form will also enable more audience to experience the artwork and create a strong relationship to the piece.
Until this point Bird & Bat have always included playtime as an important part of the performances. We believe that the audience’s experience of the show is enhanced and deepened when given time to explore on their own and having the opportunity to touch and play around what they have just seen.
For Spor we are extending interactivity into the performance and giving the audience the chance to be an active throughout the show.
Bird and the Bat is part of another granted research project called “Participate your life”. The research project is funded by Nordic Culture Point and is a collaboration between performance companies from Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, Iceland and Hungary. In this project the companies exchange thoughts and experiences working with youth and participation.
The international research is helping the company to dive in the methods and use the mass of experiences other companies have collected and share. The companies had one meeting in August 2018 in Lithuania. A meeting and a workshop, diving in to the methods and ideology of Kava - theatre of the participant, in Hungary is planned in January 2019. Kava has been developing various methods of participation for over 20 years. The whole group will take part in these workshops to get mutual foundation on the possibilities of participatory theatre.
Spor is a performance and an interactive installation. The space will be created in a way that children can touch it.; see lights and sounds change with the input from their body, reacting on movement speed and scale or touch pressure. In this way the children can relate physically to their environment and explore their own energy.
Children will freely decide in which degree they interact with the environment. The space will be designed in a way that will focus on performance at some time and open for interaction at other times. When the space invites for interaction, children are free to navigate between objects or activities, following their own interests. This is a very important statement for the show that children should be able to invade and use the space in different way, with different levels of intensity and have a diversity of choices as to what they could relate to.
After the tour through the installation, the audience will also be invited to a workshop where they will learn to make a kite from trash or other materials one can find in his surroundings. The kite is a perfect object to make as it needs both the natural energy of the wind as well as physical help from the child to make it fly.
Participation will also appear in the process of making the show as the company will visit children in schools in Greenland and in Faroe Islands and work closely with children on the theme of energy.
Collaboration and nordic co-production
Bird & Bat produces non verbal work and has toured with previous performances around Iceland, to Norway, Sweden, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Working with Faroe Islands and Greenland appears to us as an evidence when working on energy. As we already stated, because of their position on the globe, these three Islands all have a strong consciousness of natural energy and are exposed to quite extreme conditions that have all some cultural influence.
We are interested in researching the similarities and differences in how these consciousness of natural energy as influenced the way we think of our own energy. To do so, we have established contact with these two countries and will travel there before and during our rehearsal time. In these two residencies we would like to meet with school children and talk with them about how energy is manifesting around them and how they consider their own energy. Each session with children will include a dance workshop based on energy and contact.
We believe that by doing this in the three islands we might be able to understand better what effects energy has in our cultures, how we understand it and be able to cover this theme in a much more complete and deepen way.
We are firstly looking at Greenland as we have been there with our two last performances and have made personal connections with artists and institutions in Nuuk. To assist us we have reached out to Greenlandic dance artist and dance teacher Maliina Jensen to guide us in our meeting with Greenlandic children and culture. We also hope to bring the finished work to Nuuk Nordic Festival in 2019 in collaboration with Mats Bjerde director of the Nordic Institutt, NAPA.
We are also in conversation with The Nordic House in Torshavn regarding assistance with contacting schools and artist Mariann Hansen to help us connect with local children in Tórshavn.
We have as well partnered up with norwegian visual artist Lars Skjelbreia who will work with set designer Guðný Hrund Sigurðardóttir on parts of the installation and finnish light designer Mari Agge who will collaborate with Magnús Arnar Sigurðsson on lights and technology.
All Bird & Bats work are devised by the artistic team but for Spor we have emphasized the collaboration between the three artistic directors. We have together come up with a structure/synopsis that will be our starting point before rehearsals start.
Spor will be a technically more advanced project that our previous ones and therefore we have hired Ásta Olga Magnúsdóttir, a project manager from the multimedia solution company Gagarín, as our advisor. Gagarín is an internationally renowned company that have created interactive media solutions for museums, companies, municipalities and institutions. Ásta Olga will advise us on light various multimedia solutions that aid in making the performance space react to sound and movement.
The two performers Snædís and Valgerður have worked with children before and are very experienced in managing the lively audience that children can be.
Aude Busson, our producer will take care of all the organisation, communication and marketing around the project. Until now Bibi & Blaka has auto produced itself and we hope that this new team member will allow us to focus more on our artistic work and enlarge the possibilities of showing our work to a broader audience.
The Ministry of Culture and education, Theatre council of Iceland and Reykjavík city have granted local funding for the project and we have also received funding from Nordic Culture Fund. Nordic House in Reykjavík will support this project with its Black Box space and marketing assistance.
Desember 2018 - Development and production of video - Music composed and recorded
Meetings with Ásta Olga Magnúsdóttir, multimedia consultant
January 2019 - workshop in participatory theatre with Kava in Budapest, Hungary.
January - February 2019 - Site visit and research with school children in Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland by the artistic team
February-march 2019 - Work with performers in studio and stage in Reykjavík. Build set.
March-April 2019 - Premier in the Nordic House last week of march. Performances through the month of April and at the Children's Cultural Festival in Reykjavík.
October 2019 perform at Nuuk Nordic festival in Greenland