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Blog - Jo-anne Cox

Engage and Interact workshops, Together! 2012 artists lead the way.

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A Together!2012 artist (picture of hand only) explores with touch a sound resposive vibrotactile lamp, glowing a soft light blue.

Exploring a sound responsive vibrotactile lamp. Photo Oliver Cross

As part of my Engage and Interact,  there were two workshops with project partners Together! 2012 In this blog, I give an overview of what took place.

The first workshop utilised the audio to light technology developed on the project by Charles Mathews and supported by Help Musicians. The small vibrotactile torch proved a great way to break the ice,  as it lit up in response to vocalizing and Kazoo!

For the main activity, Charles introduced the paper lanterns, that respond in colour and intensity to sound.  Plans to use musical ideas from my show in development Defiant Journey proved unnecessary.  Together! 2012 artists led the way, vocalising, singing, rapping, moving, and playing keyboard in a way that was natural and instinctive. All I needed to do as a cellist was to follow and back up the improvisation.  As I found when working with Charles in New River studios,  improvising with colour and light can lead to a deep place.

A Together! 2012 artist, (a preofessional muscian) stands with a sound responsive lantern in each hand, whilst another Together!2012 artist improvises vocals usinga mic.

Together ! 2012 artists, ( a professional musician standing at the right of the image) created powerful improvisation with sound responsive lanterns. Photo Oliver Cross

The second workshop linked electric cello and art. Together! 2012 artists responded to electric cello sounds and soundscapes,  in colour, mark-making and artistic composition.  The electric cello also followed the mark-making of some of the Together! 2012 artists. The workshop felt relaxed, creative and therapeutic. A harp sound on an iPad, for improvising with electric cello and a vibrotactile cushion, enhanced the variety of ways to engage.  One of the Together! 2012 artists engaged with the electric cello through the vibrotactile cushion for quite some time and this led to meaningful non-verbal communication and understanding between us. One of the artists said the sound of the cello cut through the emotionally numbing effects of medication. Another artist kindly gave her linear artistic work created in the workshop, to another artist to take to their studio and use as a visual score, for further composition.

Both workshops set in a more intimate environment than the show allowed space for a greater depth of engagement and became about the authentic voice of the artists who took part. I would like to expand this work on tour, creating journeys in digital and cross-arts for participants, in genuine collaborations with venues and community organisations across the country.

Thank you Together! 2012

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ivan Riches
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Great stuff Jo-anne, fascinating blog, wonderful responses and interactions from participants.