Since the beginning of the year we have been working with the Sacred Spaces, Sanctuary team to do some awesome art and activism work. The Sacred Spaces, Sanctuary collaboration is a multi-arts research & development project funded primarily by Arts Council England that explores the cultural, artistic and human connection with Sacred Land, nature, green and blue spaces and the environment. Sacred Spaces are sometimes associated with spirituality; other people interpret them as places of beauty. For some, they are places connected to Indigenous Nations or faith groups, and some are non-obvious locales that are spaces of sanctuary for individuals. These spaces have the ability to draw people to them, creating connections between people and the Earth, and provide sanctuary in different forms, from healing and well-being to creative expression and freedom.
The Sacred Spaces, Sanctuary project has used traditional artistic practices such as ceramics, costume design, and performance, combined with digital arts such as video, coding and digital projection to explore people’s connections to these spaces on physical and metaphysical levels. This mixed arts project pushed the boundaries of how conventional art forms can co-create with emergent and innovative creative processes. As part of the project a physical installation and live performance piece were produced, alongside online manifestations of the work. To create this experimental work a team of North West artists from a range of fields (coding, costume, music, theatre, ceramics and video) have worked alongside Native American rappers, dancers and spoken word poets from the Dream Warriors collective, and co-produced elements of the project with participatory artists.
Well, we’ve been busy crowdsourcing audio stories from around the world about people’s sacred spaces (you can have a listen here!) and also collating micro-films of sacred spaces to create a film dialogue (take a look here!). Contributions have come from Liverpool, Kurdistan, Utah, Alcatraz, Wales and many more places. The curated playlist is a collection of audio stories from across the world about the spaces, places, and lands that are important to people, the reasons why they matter and what they mean to individuals and communities alike. Together these stories and creative expressions produce an international dialogue on the concept of ‘sacred spaces’, providing a range of perspectives that paint a vivid picture of the impact that different physical and metaphysical sites have on our identity, well-being and narratives. The film dialogue produced from the individual micro-films submitted is a rich tapestry of perceptions of the project’s concept, interwoven into film form to portray both complimentary and contradictory understandings of sacred spaces and states of sanctuary. We’ve also created a geo-map of all of the individual elements submitted as part of the project, which you can see here, and if you want to submit your own audio story or micro-film for the map… then just get in touch!!!
We also got to do some pretty awesome projection stuff for the live performance piece using Isadora which we will be exploring further in the future, run some participatory moving image and audio storytelling workshops, install some of work in exhibits (coming to Wigan STEAM very soon!!!!) and screen the film dialogue at the British Library! So basically we’ve been busy bees using digital arts to raise awareness of environmental issues and political issues… and we’ve had a blast! Much more to come in the future we think!
(Performance photos courtesy of Marc Fraser)