Sonic Arrangements in the Infinite Fill

24 August 2019

Sonic Arrangements in the Infinite Fill is a new site-specific performance on the Derry Walls’ Walker Plinth by artist Candida Powell-Williams in collaboration with Echo Echo Dance Theatre. Sound, movement and costume will combine to explore the dualism of repelling and attracting, taking the transformation of the city walls from defensive architecture to tourist attraction as the starting point.

The dancers will take gestural direction from Powell-William’s first sound piece, synthesised from her ongoing series of ceramic bell idols. Like the walls, bells also repel and attract, worn to fend off evil spirits and simultaneously denote the time of worship therefore bringing people to them. Her bells are based on 7th-6th century BC goddess idols which signifying the forces of nature and the onward march of time. Inspired by the bell idol’s freely moveable legs, the dancers choreography is agile and powerful, taking advantage of all the potential manoeuvres of the spine and legs creating curves, spirals, twists, ripples, knotting together and pushing apart, their costumes inspired by amour and bell shaped forms.

The performance will finish on the Walker plinth which was the base for a neo-classical column that once stretched up into the sky. Columns and bell towers are architectural forms designed to lift us up, to the passage between the worlds, to link us to the notion of what is beyond. The plinth’s now absent column, makes the space between land and the universe available to fill with a new ritual linking the body to the limitless sky.

Powell-William’s artistic practice often plays with the contested meaning of symbols. Her ongoing series of bell idols work with the duality of figurative sculpture and a functional object and are part of a larger enquiry into conduits for practicing meditative rituals.

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