Movement artist Simon Whitehead works from both his base in rural west Wales and internationally.
Since 2000 he has developed a body of work from pedestrian practices; his works are place-sensitive and he often invites members of the public to collaborate in a process of ritual construction through the body and mediums of live performance, dance, sound and film.
In 2002, in ‘2mph’, during the wake of foot and mouth disease he walked 300 miles from his home to Smithfield market in London along old drovers’ roads.
He was visiting Artist at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park 2004-06, where he developed ‘walks to illuminate’, a series of nocturnal walks for the public, culminating in a major gallery retrospective of his performance work.
He completed LOUPHOLE in March 2010, an off-site performance commission at Oriel Davies Newtown, which involved the first public howl in the UK and collaboration with the town's silver band. This project was partnered with a gallery-based retrospective of screen-based and performance artefacts, titled 'Afield'.
Over the last 16 years Simon has collaborated closely with Melbourne-based sound artist Barnaby Oliver. They are currently working on ‘Pings’, an online performance project.
As an artist working within a small rural community in the Teifi valley Simon has become interested in how he can continue to develop a role for himself there that is rooted in and related to the community and place.
One of the strategies he has used to establish this relationality is by bringing to light the forms and ideas he works with in ways that can be visible, relevant and thought provoking. As such Simon sees this time as an investment in being in one place and in expanding his practice.
Subsequently Simon intends this year of research to be a personal investment in 3 areas of his practice:
- the development of a physical daily practice. Immersed in and relating to his immediate locality this will be developed both in the field and in the studio and involve elements of movement, sound and drawing;
- a series of collaborative conversations will be realised with visiting dance artists Jennifer Monson (USA), Rosemary Lee (UK) and performance writer Carl Lavery (Wales). These conversations will serve as a baseline and provocation to Simon’s thinking and practices during the year and these will also afford an opportunity to develop a number of collaborations that have been emerging over the last few years. These will have some small informal outcomes in the village during the year and eventually lead to 2 located performance works and a publication beyond the research period;
- Simon will take time to prepare plans for an International Dance and Ecology festival in the Teifi valley. He will begin to create partnerships and networks, identify artists, venues/locations and design the shape and content of such an event.
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