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Insight: ‘Requiem For Clouds’ by inklingroom, a dance dialogue with sound

Text by Agata Kik

Requiem For Clouds, inklingroom (2022). Video Still

Requiem For Clouds is a performance project commissioned by inklingroom, a London-based art platform specialising in combining contemporary dance and music. The collective debuted their first series of events in 2019, presenting the careful curation of 30 multimedia artists working with sound, dance, image and fashion.

Rooted in club culture, the idea to start the collaboration was to bring movement to spectatorship or to bring contemporary art to the dance scene. Inklingroom is a hybrid of club music, experimental music and performance’ as one of the co-founders earlier shared. 

Requiem For Clouds is the next in the series of recently published performances directed and choreographed by inklingroom co-founder Keity Pook and performed together with dance artist Lesya Tyminska to the music from Cyclothymia EP composed by award-winning sound designer and artist Jeph Vanger.  For Vanger himself, the interaction between sound, space, movement and the human body has always been an important part of his artistic practice.

The performance piece commissioned by inklingroom opens up space for mutual exchange; horizontal communication between the body and the instrument, resonance between sound and movement; the immaterial activating matter. Sculpting sound in space is like responding to music with movement; while the translation flows both ways, the body sounds, while the sound is embodied. 

The title of the performance responds to the track of the same name coming from Cyclothymia, Vanger’s recently released EP on inklingroom’s new record label. The idea for the dance film was to turn to body movement to deeper explore the subject of the album. Cyclothymia is the name for a mental state disorder characterised by mood swings between depression and elation. Likewise, the music aspires to take the listener on a ‘personal journey through anxiety and euphoria.’  The nine-minute body movement/music piece explores sound and space through electronics interweaving with acoustic reverbs.

A drone of a cello, and some singing strings, are all submerged in an atmospheric ambient of delicate air saturated with a dangerous scent. Vibrating with immense ringing, reflected in the cold empty space built in stone, the sound pierces the physicality, entrances the psyche, and shakes the internal organs.

The performance occurs in Asylum Chapel, a Grade II listed venue in the heart of Peckham in South London. Two female bodies in an abandoned church take careful attempts to increasingly relate to each other, creating a ritualistic practice through their movements and gestures, permeated by feelings of mistrust and restlessness.

As if forced or enslaved by higher powers of their psyches, the performers seem to struggle to develop a common language, a new way to communicate with each other and the surrounding sacral environment. Touch appears to be the most direct. Listening through the skin, speaking through the slowly moving bodies, the film responds to the music, adding an image to what could have been an exorcist happening.

(Media courtesy of the artists)
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