Simon met Jennifer Monson back in 2006. They have subsequently developed a friendship and joint line of enquiry into their shared interests in dance, ecology and a kinship with wild places and animals. They have worked, taught and walked together in Wales, Scotland, Spain and the USA. In this wordless Skype conversation, they move, dance, and bring various objects and at one point, chickens, to the screen in an exchange that shifts between partial and full view of their bodies and between a sense of responding-to and being-with each other’s spaces and selves.
This conversation was produced as part of What Now 2013, presented in partnership with Siobhan Davies Studios and Artsadmin, supported by Arts Council England. The festival was curated by Frank Bock with assistant curator Luke Pell, with the intent to ‘draw attention to how bodies already exist in collective relationships…there is critical agency in the way that we direct ‘togetherness’ in the current time.’
Jennifer Monson has been pursuing an original approach to experimental dance forms since 1983. She has created a wide body of work that incorporates collaborative relationships with many artists including Zeena Parkins, DD Dorvillier, Yvonne Meier and Jeff Kolar. She has been meeting with Simon Whitehead in Wales, Brooklyn Scotland and Spain over the past several years to teach, discuss, sense and experiment in various kinds of creative and physical spaces.
Monson uses choreographic practice as a means to discover connections between environmental, philosophical, and aesthetic approaches to the natural and built environment.
Simon Whitehead is a movement artist living in rural west Wales.
Over the last 20 years he has developed a pedestrian performance practice, which has more recently taken him further away from home than he would like.
Simon has collaborated for 18 years with Melbourne-based composer Barnaby Oliver. Their most recent live work was Louphole, an offsite commission for Oriel Davies, Newtown, Powys. This public art work was the culmination of a long term enquiry into the behaviours and survival of the wolf and its extinction from Wales. The project examined ways in which the memory of this animal may still reside in embodied or folk idiom and how collective vocal performance may evoke recollection. Louphole constituted the first public ‘howl’ in the UK as well as a new marching piece for the Newtown silver band.
Simon lives with his partner and two young daughters in the village of Abercych, Pembrokeshire. He is also a Craniosacral Therapist.
Adapted from bios published in 2013.