Inspired by the soundsuits of the artist Nick Cave, and produced for The Kick-About No.64, a few more photographs with a dancing ‘glove puppet’ as their subject.
Glove #2 (2022)
Produced in response to the dancing soundsuits of the artist Nick Cave – our inspiration for The Kick-About No.64 – another set of images, the subject of which is, perhaps improbably, an ad-hoc dancing glove puppet…
Glove #1 (2022)
When it comes to meeting the fortnightly creative challenge of The Kick-About, needs must, and so it was I fabricated my own much down-sized ‘soundsuit’ from a single yellow glove, wooden buttons, glass eye pieces and strands of colourful wool. I was drawn to some of the goofier, ‘Jim Henson-esque’ elements of some of Nick Cave’s soundsuits (the prompt for our latest Kick-About) – hence the Muppet-y character of my resulting hand-puppet. Turns out, however, even the goofiest glove puppet can throw some shapes on the dancefloor!
The Kick-About #64 ‘Soundsuits’
If our last Kick-About together was characterised by muted tones and pensive atmospheres, this latest showcase of new works made in a short time is a celebration of colour, movement, costume and dynamism – and how could it not be, inspired as we have been by the artist Nick Cave and his sumptuous soundsuits? In other news, a warm welcome to artist and animator, Claire-Beth Gibson, who joins us this week for her inaugural run-about.
“The sound suit with the spinning tops made me think of the clackety-clackety noise of the whirly spinner I had as a kid. It smelled of old metal and played a strange song. Starting out with so much enthusiasm, it would spin gloriously for a short while and then gradually teeter more and more as it slowed down, before a final wobble into its death fall, spinning on its side and rolling away. Of course, I wanted it to spin the first high energy part longer than it did. Sometimes I would just keep it in my hands, continuously whirring it, keeping that bit alive for as long as I could. This little animation is some of that moment.”
@claire_beth_claire / clairebethclaire.com / vimeo.com/clairebethclaire
“I knew that I wanted to make a film, I wanted it to be loud, aggressive and primal and I wanted to use some sort of fabric or elements that could make up the intricate soundsuits of Nick Cave’s creations. I decided to chuck a bag of shiny sequins of various shapes into a large wok and film it! Bringing down the shutter speed of my camera and aperture while defocusing so that the tacky butterflies, hearts and stars become nothing but dancing spherical orbs lit ablaze with a tiny but powerful led light. It was one of those moments where everything fell into place so nicely. The edit was a dream and thoroughly enjoyable.”
@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog
“There is something really satisfying about Autumn after such a great summer, so much so I’ve been reluctant to cut back the fading twisting Crocosmia (Lucifer) and towering Buddleja – until now that is!! Flamboyant Soundsuits triggered celebrating the summer die-back so, headfirst into weaving I went with sock yarn, a cardboard frame, secateurs and the garden table in glorious sunshine, and two pleasurable days passed.”
“I watched a lot on Youtube of the videos made of Nick Cave’s work and was totally drawn into them. His whirling Dervishes of colourful movement reminded me of my view that is a constant in my life. Beyond my windows, I look out onto the city of Bristol masked by this sea of greenery. This last few days those trees and plants have been whisked into whirling dervishes by the wind. I became intrigued by the differences of each tree or plant. They are all rooted to the spot yet the rhythms of their movement are changed by their shape and weight. Here are three small videos with their own unique surrounding music due to wind or traffic. More study needed to grasp another way of learning from them to use in my work.”
“I intended this to be a “Barbie/Cindy-lolly” but the felt tip doesn’t show enough on the lolly bit so I’ve given her the chance to be the first girl to enter space single handed!.. Enjoyed playing with all the £1 shop had to offer and go wild with colour… what more could I ask?”
“Costumes, dancing, drums – what’s not to love about Nick Cave’s sound suits? The freedom of self-expression that comes with anonymity is powerful and liberating. and I had great fun with this Kick-About. As you may have guessed, the costume is mostly crochet and mostly formed by recycling elements of earlier KAs. I hope these images will bring a smile to your lips, even as you shake your head in bewilderment!”
“I hope we will dream together”
“In 2014, at the very beginning of blogging, I did a post with a dancer in my interpretation of one of Nick Cave’s soundsuits. I always wanted to do more of them, so I was glad to see this prompt. The original one is the star dancer. I hoped to do three new ones, but only managed two. The flower dancer was the first one I did: it’s small, about the same size as the star dancer. Then I decided to work on a large one – a cosmic dancer. It was a challenge to get the look I wanted. I tried a lot of different papers for the circles, but finally found origami paper came closest to what I was imagining. The background of stars was always a given. Perhaps I’ll get to one of those toy dancers in the future…”
who am I?
who can I become?
side and in–
full, entire, complete
kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com
“I am not sure when I am likely to use or wear a soundsuit so I decided to make something which is more on the decorative side. Nick Cave uses recycled objects to make his suits – well, my stylised flowers are made from a bag of old ties given to me by a friend, some twisty wire and an old glass bottle. The flowers tend to sway gently when there is a slight breeze and I was intending to add some old buttons strung together to make a jangling noise. However, they were just too heavy and didn’t look right, so I decided to go for plan B, and used some old dangly earrings instead.”
“Needs must and all that, so I fabricated my own much down-sized ‘soundsuit’ from a single yellow glove, wooden buttons, glass eye pieces and strands of colourful wool. I was drawn to some of the goofier, ‘Jim Henson-esque’ elements of some of Cave’s soundsuits – hence the Muppet-y character of my resulting hand-puppet. Turns out, however, even the goofiest glove puppet can throw some shapes on the dancefloor!”
“You have to love Nick Cave’s vibrant animated costumes that make you want to join in. Dance, along with singing and art tends to be a lost activity as you get older. I remember wonderful all-nighters at Sydney Mardi Gras parties vividly. This is my attempt to put down some of the movement. I should have made an animation or danced around – avoiding the computer and put down marks by hand, but the attached, with variation, came out from the computer.”
With a small nod to the current season, a mildly spooksome prompt for our next creative run-about: the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, which, with more than 3.5 million visitors annually, is the most visited necropolis in the world…
Throwback Friday #46 Men-In-Motion (2001)
Okay, so this one is going to take a bit of explaining.
How was it, back in 2001, I ended up choreographing and compèring a male strip show? How was it the participants in the said strip show were also my students at the time? It all sounds rather unsavoury, even more so for actually writing it down these twenty years later!
The short version is we were raising funds for the student degree show for the undergraduate photography course on which I was teaching film and video – an extraordinary project undertaken by an extraordinary cohort of final year students.
Not content with just finishing their respective degrees, the students decided to turn a long-abandoned secondary school in Hackney Downs, London, into an exhibition space for their photography and video work. What ensued, for them, for the photography department’s staff, and for me, was a sometimes gruelling, but deeply satisfying adventure in collaboration. The damp, derelict classrooms and corridors of the school were transformed into clean, white exhibition spaces, the old, empty swimming pool into a venue for the aftershow party. I spent a whole lot of time sitting atop scaffolding towers and shovelling pigeon poo – and likewise everyone else. It took over one hundred days, and hours of hard physical work to prepare the exhibition space – and a lot of money, which is where the male strippers come in….
You have to remember, back in 2001, I was twenty-six years old, so not much older (and in some cases younger) than the students I was teaching in my professional capacity. I was also the licensee of the student campus bar, and so found myself in this rare halfway space between different roles, expectations and responsibilities. I’m happy now, but I was very happy back then, teaching film, talking film, running a very busy bar with all the banter and sauce and boisterousness you’d expect, and working with a team of dedicated educators, who were fearless when it came to fostering extraordinary student experiences.
I don’t think it struck anyone as particularly odd or left-field, or suspect, when I first came up with the suggestion we could ‘put on a show’ to raise funds for the In-Motion degree show big-build at the derelict Secondary School. The Full Monty (1997) must still have been looming large as a pop-cultural touchstone, because the idea of a group of ordinary-shaped students taking their clothes off in support of a good cause didn’t seem problematic in the slightest. I don’t recall a single objection or raised eye-brow.
Contrary perhaps to the associations that go with the objectification of male bodies, I look back at this unlikeliest of episodes as a moment of utter sweetness. As an openly gay member of staff, you might consider how my shifting role from ‘teacher’ to ‘choreographer’ was difficult for some of the young men involved, but apparently not, considering the ebullience and gusto and trust.
One of my fondest and enduring memories will always be, not the pectorals or inguinal creases of these photographers-come-strippers, but the joyousness of that raucous, perfect night; the roar of the crowd, who were in on the joke of it, and what was so charming about the pleasure these blithe young men were taking in their riotously ramshackle show.
Video footage was taken at the night of the performance, and one of my roles, as the resident videographer of the In-Motion project, was to put the content together for posterity. You’ll see straight away how long ago all of this was, on account of the 4:3 aspect ratio and less-than-broadcast quality. I was learning my trade as a video editor at the time, playing fast and loose with copyright and music soundtracks, so interpolating entire sections from the movies A Chorus Line and Cabaret to dial-up the show business accordingly. I appear in this film too – in a fabulously shiny silver shirt, and so young-looking and sleight, I can’t help but sigh.
I’ve only recently dredged up this film from an old DVD and haven’t thought about this particular night in years. To watch it again is to return immediately to that humid bar, which was crammed beyond its capacity with art students of all stripes, all of whom had paid their money to see their friends and classmates bare their bums in a bid to buy litres of white emulsion, hire a crane and scaffolding, buy lights and wire, to make something amazing happen. The film goes someway to conveying the noise in the bar that night, but not all the way. The roof was raised, and then some, by the delightful hooting of students, who couldn’t quite believe we were actually going through with it.
It will sound strange if I admit, that about this one night in the service of one huge transformative project, I feel a genuine sense of achievement and pride. Obviously I’m not talking about the choreography (talk about murder on the dancefloor). I’m talking instead about the directness of what we did that night; I’m talking about our lack of worry and the way we just decided to do an improbable, stupid thing, and then went ahead and did it. I’m talking too about all the people who allowed us do it, about the trust and safety we all felt, and I’m proud of it too, because in this film – on this night – I’m completely confident in all my identities.
Norman McLaren: Pas de deux (1968)
Norman McLaren’s hypnotic 1968 study in human locomotion transforming ballet dancers Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren into snaking chains of vertebrae and carousels of smoke…